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HP Designjet T610 Printer Series - Print quality troubleshooting

General advice
When you have any print-quality problem:
  • To achieve the best performance from your printer, use only genuine manufacturer's supplies and accessories, whose reliability and performance have been thoroughly tested to give trouble-free performance and best-quality prints.
  • Make sure that the paper type selected in the front panel is the same as the paper type loaded into the printer. To check this, use the View loaded paper key on the front panel. At the same time, check that the paper type has been calibrated. Also make sure that the paper type selected in your software is the same as the paper type loaded into the printer.
      caution:
    If you have the wrong paper type selected, you could experience poor print quality and incorrect colors, and perhaps even damage to the printheads.
  • Check that you are using the most appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. You are likely to see lower print quality if you have moved the print-quality slider to the 'Speed' end of the scale, or set the custom quality level to Fast.
  • Check that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are in the recommended range.
  • Check that your ink cartridges and printheads have not passed their expiration dates.
Print quality troubleshooting wizard
The Print Quality Troubleshooting Wizard can help with the following problems:
  • Horizontal lines across the image (banding)
  • The whole image is blurry or grainy
  • Lines are too thick, too thin, or missing
  • Colors are inaccurate
To start the wizard:
  • From HP Easy Printer Care under Windows: go to the Support tab, and select Print quality troubleshooting.
  • From HP Printer Utility under Mac OS: select Support, then Print quality troubleshooting.
  • From the Mac OS Print dialog: go to the Services panel, select Device Maintenance, then select Print quality troubleshooting from the list of maintenance tasks.
  • From the Embedded Web Server: select Troubleshooting, then select Print quality troubleshooting.
Figure : Print Quality Troubleshooting wizard
Alternatively, or if you have other print quality problems, you can continue reading this chapter.
Horizontal lines across the image (banding)
If your printed image suffers from added horizontal lines as shown (the color may vary):
Figure : Banding
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  2. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. In some cases, you can overcome a print-quality problem merely by selecting a higher print-quality level. For instance, if you have set the Print Quality slider to Speed, try setting it to Quality. If you change the print-quality settings, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  3. Print the Image Diagnostics Print.
  4. If the printheads are working correctly, go to the front panel and press the View loaded paper key to see the paper advance calibration status. If the status is DEFAULT, try performing paper advance calibration.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.
Lines are too thick, too thin, or missing
Figure : Thin and missing lines
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  2. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. Select the custom print-quality options in the driver dialog (Mac OS Print dialog), and try turning on the Maximum detail option (if available). You may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  3. If the resolution of your image is greater than the printing resolution, you may notice a loss of line quality. If you are using the PCL or HP-GL/2 driver for Windows, you can find the Max. Application Resolution option in the driver dialog's Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features. If you change this option, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  4. If lines are too thin or missing, print the Image Diagnostics Print.
  5. If the problem remains, go to the front panel and select the Ink menu icon , then Printhead information to see the printhead alignment status. If the status is PENDING, you should align the printheads. After alignment, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  6. Go to the front panel and press the View loaded paper key to see the paper advance calibration status. If the status is DEFAULT, you should perform paper advance calibration.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.
Lines appear stepped or jagged
If lines in your image appear stepped or jagged when printed:
Figure : Stepped line
  1. The problem may be inherent in the image. Try to improve the image with the application you are using to edit it.
  2. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.
  3. Select the custom print-quality options in the driver dialog (Mac OS Print dialog), and turn on the Maximum detail option (if available).
  4. If you are using the PCL or HP-GL/2 driver for Windows, you can change your image rendering resolution to 300 dpi or 600 dpi depending on your printing needs. You can find the Max. Application Resolution option in the driver dialog's Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features.
Lines print double or in the wrong colors
This problem can have various visible symptoms:
  • Colored lines are printed double, in different colors.
    Figure : Colored lines printed double
  • The borders of colored blocks are wrongly colored.
    Figure : Colored blocks wrongly colored
To correct this kind of problem:
  1. Reseat the printheads by removing them and then reinserting them.
  2. Align the printheads.
Lines are discontinuous
If your lines are broken in the following way:
Figure : Vertical lines wavy or blurred
  1. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.
  2. Reseat the printheads by removing them and then reinserting them.
  3. Align the printheads.
Lines are blurred
Figure : Blurred lines
Humidity can cause ink to soak into the paper, making the lines blurred and fuzzy. Try the following:
  1. Check that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are suitable for high-quality printing.
  2. Check that the paper type selected in the front panel is the same as the paper type you are using. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  3. Try changing to a heavier paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  4. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  5. If you are using glossy paper, try changing to a different type of glossy paper.
  6. Align the printheads.
Line lengths are inaccurate
If you have measured your printed lines and find that the lengths are not sufficiently accurate for your purposes, you can try to improve line length accuracy in the following ways.
  1. Print on HP Matte Film, for which your printer's line length accuracy is specified.
    Polyester film is about ten times more dimensionally stable than paper. However, using film that is thinner or thicker than HP Matte Film will reduce line length accuracy.
  2. Set the Print Quality slider to Quality.
  3. Maintain the room at a steady temperature between 10 and 30°C (50 and 86°F).
  4. Load the roll of film and let it rest for five minutes before printing.
  5. If you are still not satisfied, try recalibrating the paper advance.
The whole image is blurry or grainy
Figure : Graininess
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  2. Check that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings. In some cases, you can overcome a print-quality problem merely by selecting a higher print-quality level. For instance, if you have set the Print Quality slider to Speed, try setting it to Quality. If you change the print-quality settings, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  4. Go to the front panel and select the Ink menu icon , then Printhead information to see the printhead alignment status. If the status is PENDING, you should align the printheads. After alignment, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  5. Go to the front panel and press the View loaded paper key to see the paper advance calibration status. If the status is DEFAULT, you should perform paper advance calibration.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.
The paper is not flat
If the paper does not lie flat when it comes out of the printer, but has shallow waves in it, you are likely to see defects in the printed image, such as vertical stripes. This can happen when you use thin paper that becomes saturated with ink.
Figure : Waves in the paper
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  2. Try changing to a thicker paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  3. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
The print is scuffed or scratched
The black ink pigment can be scuffed or scratched when touched by a finger, a pen, or some other object. This is particularly noticeable on coated paper and matte proofing paper.
Glossy paper may be extremely sensitive to the basket or to anything else that it contacts soon after printing, depending on the amount of ink used and the environmental conditions at the time of printing.
To reduce the risk of scuffs and scratches:
  • Handle prints carefully.
  • Avoid stacking prints on top of each other.
  • Disable the automatic cutter before printing, so that the print will not fall into the basket. Alternatively, leave a sheet of paper in the basket so that freshly printed sheets do not make direct contact with the basket.
Ink marks on the paper
This problem can occur for several different reasons.
Horizontal smears on the front of coated paper
If a lot of ink is used on plain or coated paper, the paper absorbs the ink quickly and expands. As the printheads move over the paper, the printheads may come into contact with the paper and smear the printed image. This problem is normally seen only on cut sheets of paper (not on roll paper).
Figure : Smears
Whenever you notice this problem, cancel the printing job immediately. Press the Cancel key and also cancel the job from your computer application. Soaked paper can damage the printheads.
Try the following suggestions to avoid this problem:
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key .
  2. Use a recommended paper type and the correct print settings.
  3. If using sheet paper, try rotating the sheet 90 degrees. The orientation of the paper fibers may affect performance.
  4. Try changing to a thicker paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper and HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  5. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  6. Try to increase the margins by relocating the image to the center of the page using your software application.
Ink marks on the back of the paper
This can happen after a lot of borderless printing, especially with non-standard paper sizes. Ink residues on the platen are likely to mark the back of the paper.
Clean the platen with a soft cloth. Clean each rib separately without touching the foam between the ribs.
Black ink comes off when you touch the print
This problem may be caused by printing with matte black ink on glossy paper. The printer will not use matte black ink if it knows that the paper will not retain it. To be sure of avoiding matte black ink, you can select Photo Glossy Paper as the paper type (in the Photo Paper category).
Edges of objects are stepped or not sharp
Figure : Unsharp edges
If edges of objects or lines appear to be poorly defined or lighter in density, and you have already set the print-quality slider to Quality in the driver dialog (Mac OS Print dialog), select the custom print-quality options, and try setting the quality level to Normal.
Edges of objects are darker than expected
Figure : Dark edges
If edges of objects seem darker than expected, and you have already set the print-quality slider to Quality in the driver dialog (Mac OS Print dialog), select the custom print-quality options, and try setting the quality level to Normal.
Horizontal lines at the end of a cut sheet print
This type of defect affects only the end of a print, within approximately 30 mm of the trailing edge of the paper. You may see some very thin horizontal lines across the print.
To avoid this problem:
  1. Print the Image Diagnostics Print.
  2. Consider printing with roll paper.
  3. Consider using larger margins around your image.
Vertical lines of different colors
If your print has vertical bands of different colors along it:
  1. Try using thicker paper, choosing from the recommended paper types such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper and HP Super Heavyweight Paper. See Order paper.
  2. Try using higher print-quality settings. For instance, if you have set the Print Quality slider to Speed, try setting it to Quality.
White spots on the print
You may notice white spots on the print. This is probably due to paper fibers, dust, or loose coating material. To avoid this problem:
  1. Try cleaning the paper manually with a brush before printing, to remove any loose fibers or particles.
  2. Always keep the cover of your printer closed.
  3. Protect your paper rolls and sheets by storing them in bags or boxes.
Colors are inaccurate
Figure : Inaccurate colors
If the colors of your print do not match your expectations, try the following:
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View loaded paper key . At the same time, check the color calibration status. If the status is PENDING or OBSOLETE, you should perform color calibration. If you have made any changes, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  2. Check that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings. If you have selected the Speed or Fast options, you may not get the most accurate colors. If you change the print-quality settings, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  4. If you are using Application Color Management, check that the color profile you are using corresponds to the selected paper type and print-quality settings.
  5. If the problem consists of color differences between your print and your monitor, please follow the instructions in the “How to calibrate your monitor” section of the HP Color Center. At this point, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  6. Print the Image Diagnostics Print.
  7. Try using the color adjustment options to produce the colors you want.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.
Color accuracy using EPS or PDF images in page layout applications
Page layout applications such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress do not support color management of EPS, PDF, or grayscale files.
If you have to use such files, try to ensure that the EPS, PDF, or grayscale images are already in the same color space that you intend to use later on in Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. For instance, if your final goal is to print the job in a press that follows the SWOP standard, convert the image into SWOP when you create it.
Colors are fading
If you print on instant-dry photo paper, your prints will fade rapidly. If you plan to display the prints for more than two weeks, you should laminate them to achieve longer life.
Prints on swellable coated papers will fade much less rapidly. However, lamination will increase the life of prints (depending on the type of lamination) with all paper types. For more information, consult your laminate provider.
The image is incomplete (clipped at the bottom)
  • Did you press Cancel before all the data were received by the printer? If so, you have ended the data transmission and will have to print the page again.
  • The I/O timeout setting may be too short. This setting determines how long the printer waits for the computer to send more data, before deciding that the job is finished. From the front panel, increase the I/O timeout setting to a longer period and then send the print again. From the Connectivity menu , select Advanced, Select I/O timeout.
  • There may be a communications problem between your computer and the printer. Check your USB or network cable.
  • Check to make sure that your software settings are correct for your current page size (for example, long-axis prints).
  • If you are using network software, make sure it has not timed out.
The image is clipped
Clipping normally indicates a discrepancy between the actual printable area on the loaded paper and the printable area as understood by your software.
  • Check the actual printable area for the paper size you have loaded.
    printable area = paper size – margins
  • Check what your software understands to be the printable area (which it may call "printing area" or "imageable area"). For example, some software applications assume standard printable areas that are larger than those used in this printer.
  • If you have defined a custom page size with very narrow margins, the printer may impose its own minimal margins, clipping your image slightly. You may want to consider using a larger paper size, or borderless printing.
  • If your image contains its own margins, you may be able to print it successfully by using the Clip Contents by Margins option.
  • If you are trying to print a very long image on a roll, check that your software is capable of printing an image of that size.
  • You may have asked to rotate the page from portrait to landscape on a paper size that is not wide enough.
  • If necessary, reduce the size of the image or document in your software application, so it fits between the margins.
There is another possible explanation for a clipped image. Some applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, use an internal 16-bit coordinate system which means that they cannot handle an image of more than 32,768 pixels. If you try to print an image larger than this from these applications, the bottom of the image will be clipped. In this case, the only way to print the whole image is to reduce the resolution so that the whole image requires fewer than 32,768 pixels. The PCL and HP-GL/2 drivers for Windows include an option called 16-bit App. Compatibility, which can be used to reduce the resolution of such images automatically. You can find this option in the Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features.
Some objects are missing from the printed image
Large quantities of data may be necessary to print a high-quality large-format print job, and in some specific workflows there may be issues that can lead to some objects missing from the output. Here are some recommendations for the use of the PCL or HP-GL/2 drivers for Windows in these cases.
  • In the Advanced tab, select Document options, Printer features, and set Send job as bitmap to Enabled (HP-GL/2 driver only).
  • In the Advanced tab, select Document options, Printer features, and set 16-bit App. Compatibility to Enabled.
  • In the Advanced tab, select Document options, Printer features, and set Max. Application resolution to 300.
The above settings are mentioned for troubleshooting purposes and may adversely affect the final output quality or the time necessary to generate the print job. Therefore, they should be restored to their default values if they do not help to solve the problem.
If you are working under Mac OS, the above settings are not available. Instead, you could try reducing the resolution of bitmap images in your application software.
A PDF file is clipped or objects are missing
In older versions of Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, large PDF files could be clipped or lose some objects when printing with the HP-GL/2 driver at high resolution. In order to avoid such problems, upgrade your Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader software to the latest version. From version 7 onwards, these problems should be solved.
The Image Diagnostics Print
The Image Diagnostics Print consists of patterns designed to highlight printhead reliability problems. It helps you to check the performance of the printheads that are currently installed in your printer, and whether any printhead suffers from clogging or other problems.
To print the Image Diagnostics Print:
  1. Use the same paper type that you were using when you detected a problem.
  2. Use the View loaded paper key on the front panel to check that the selected paper type is the same as the paper type loaded into the printer.
  3. At the printer's front panel, select the Image Quality Maintenance menu icon , then Print diagnostic image.
It takes about two minutes to print the Image Diagnostics Print.
The print is divided into two parts, both of which test printhead performance.
  • Part 1 (top) consists of rectangles of pure colors, one for each printhead. This part represents the print quality that you will get from each color.
  • Part 2 (bottom) consists of small dashes, one for each nozzle on each printhead. This part complements the first, and aims more specifically to detect how many faulty nozzles each printhead has.
Please look carefully at the print. The names of the colors are shown above the rectangles and in the center of the patterns of dashes.
Figure : Image Diagnostics Print
First look at the upper part of the print (part 1). Each colored rectangle should be a uniform color without any horizontal lines across it.
Then look at the bottom part of the print (part 2). For each individual colored pattern, check that most of the dashes are present.
If you see horizontal lines in part 1 and also missing dashes in part 2 for the same color, the printhead responsible needs cleaning. However, if the rectangles look solid, do not worry about just a few missing dashes in part 2; these are acceptable because the printer can compensate for a few clogged nozzles.
Here is an example of a gray printhead in a good state:
Figure : Gray printhead sample (good)
And here is an example of the same printhead in a bad state:
Figure : Gray printhead sample (bad)
Corrective action
  1. Clean any faulty printheads. Then reprint the Image Diagnostics Print to see whether the problem has been solved.
  2. If the problem remains, clean the printheads again, and reprint the Image Diagnostics Print to see whether the problem has been solved.
  3. If the problem remains, consider cleaning your printheads manually . You could also try reprinting your current print job, in case it now prints satisfactorily.
  4. If the problem remains, try cleaning the printhead drop detector. The printer normally notifies you when this is necessary, but it may be worth trying even if the printer has not suggested it.
  5. If the problem still remains, replace any persistently faulty printheads , or contact HP Support.
If you still have a problem
If you still experience print-quality problems after applying the advice in this chapter, here are some further things that you can do:
  • Try using a higher print-quality option.
  • Check the driver you are using to print with. If it is a non-HP driver, consult the driver vendor about the problem. You could also try using the correct HP driver, if feasible. The latest HP drivers can be downloaded from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet/.
  • If you are using a non-HP RIP, its settings may be incorrect. See the documentation that came with the RIP.
  • Check that your printer's firmware is up to date.
  • Check that you have the right settings in your software application.

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