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HP Color LaserJet 4600, 4610, 4650, 5500 and 5550 Series Printers - Print Quality Troubleshooting

Introduction
This document contains information about troubleshooting print quality problems associated with paper and print media, the environment, and paper jams. It also contains instructions for using the printers' built-in troubleshooting pages for print quality to help diagnose and solve print quality problems.
Many different types of paper and other print media can be used with HP Color LaserJet 4600 and 5500 series printers; however, some print quality problems and possible printer damage may arise from the use of inappropriate paper or other print media. It is important to always use paper and other print media that meets the requirements. Click here to download the HP LaserJet Printer Family Print Media Guide for more information.
It is possible that paper and print media could meet all of the guidelines specified in the HP LaserJet Printer Family Print Media Guide and still not print satisfactorily. This may be due to abnormal characteristics of the printing environment or to other variables over which Hewlett-Packard has no control (for example, extremes in temperature and humidity). Hewlett-Packard recommends testing any paper and print media before buying it in large quantities.
Print quality problems associated with paper and print media
Some print quality problems arise from use of inappropriate paper and print media:
Cause
Solution
Surface of the paper is too smooth.
Use paper that meets HP paper specifications. Click here to download the HP LaserJet Printer Family Print Media Guide for more information.
Check the driver setting. If necessary, change the Paper Type setting to heavy or glossy.
Paper being used is too heavy for the printer, and toner is not fusing to the paper.
Use paper that meets HP paper specifications. Click here to download the HP LaserJet Printer Family Print Media Guide for more information.
Transparencies being used are not designed for proper toner adhesion.
Use only transparencies designed for HP Color LaserJet printers.
The moisture content of the paper is uneven, too high, or too low.
Use paper from a different source or from an unopened ream of paper.
Some areas of the paper reject toner.
Use paper from a different source or from an unopened ream of paper.
Letterhead being used is printed on rough paper.
Use a smoother, xerographic paper. If this solves the problem, consult with the printer of the letterhead to verify that the paper used meets the specifications for this printer.
Paper is excessively rough.
Use a smoother, xerographic paper.
The driver setting is incorrect. (HP Color LaserJet 4650)
Change the paper type setting to glossy for Trays 2, 3, or 4, or heavy or heavy glossy for Tray 1.
Paper to avoid
Use of paper outside the printer’s specifications will cause a loss of print quality and increase the chance of paper jams occurring.
  • Do not use paper with cutouts or perforations other than standard 3-hole punched paper.
  • Do not use multipart forms.
  • Do not use paper that has already been printed on or that has been fed through a photocopier.
  • Do not use paper with a watermark when printing solid patterns.
  • Do not use paper with a photo finish, matte finish, or brochure paper that is not HP-recommended specifically for the HP Color LaserJet 4600 or 5500 series printer.
Recommended paper and media
  • Soft Gloss Laser Paper - part number C4179A
  • LaserJet Tough Paper - part number Q1298A
  • High Gloss Laser Paper - part number Q2419A
  • Color LaserJet Transparency - part number Q2934A
Paper and print media that may damage the printer
In rare circumstances paper and print media can damage the printer. The following paper and print media must be avoided to prevent possible damage:
  • Do not use paper with staples attached.
  • Do not use transparencies designed for Inkjet printers or other low-temperature printers. Use only transparencies that are specified for use with HP Color LaserJet printers.
  • Do not use paper that is embossed or coated and is not designed for the temperatures of the HP Color LaserJet 4600 image fuser. Select paper and print media that can tolerate temperatures of 190 degrees C (374 degrees F) for 0.1 second. HP produces a selection of paper and print media that is designed for the Color LaserJet 4600 and 5500 series printer.
  • Do not use letterhead paper with low temperature dyes or thermography. Preprinted forms or letterhead must use inks that can tolerate temperatures of 190 degrees C (374 degrees F) for 0.1 second.
  • Do not use any paper or print media that produces hazardous emissions, or that melts, offsets, or discolors when exposed to 190 degrees C (374 degrees F) for 0.1 second.
Overhead transparency defects
Overhead transparencies might display any of the image quality problems associated with paper and other print media, as well as defects specific to printing transparencies. In addition, because transparencies are pliable while in the print path, they are subject to being marked by the paper-handling components.
  note:
Allow transparencies to cool at least 30 seconds before handling them.
  • In the printer driver’s Paper tab, select Transparency as the print media type. Also, make sure that the tray is correctly configured for transparencies.
  • Check that the transparencies meet the specifications for this printer. For more information, click here to download the HP LaserJet Printer Family Print Media Guide.
  • Handle transparencies by the edges. Skin oil on the surface of transparencies can cause spots and smudges.
  • Small, random dark areas on the trailing edge of solid-fill pages might be caused by transparencies sticking together in the output bin. Try printing the job in smaller batches.
  • If the selected colors are undesirable when printed, select different colors in the software application or printer driver.
  • If using a reflective overhead projector, use a standard overhead projector instead.
Print quality problems associated with the environment
Print quality problems might be due to abnormal characteristics of the work environment, for example, excessively humid or dry conditions. Verify that the printer is in a work environment within the following specifications:
Environmental specifications
Environment
Recommended
Allowed
Temperature
17 to 25° C (62.6 to 77° F)
10 to 30° C (50 to 86° F)
Humidity
30 to 70% RH
10 to 80% RH
Altitude
0 to 2600 m (0 to 8530 ft)
Print quality problems associated with jams
  • Make sure that all paper is cleared from the paper path.
  • If the printer recently jammed, print two to three pages to clean the printer.
  • When the paper does not pass through the fuser, image defects may appear on subsequent documents. Print two to three pages to clean the printer. However, if the problem persists see the next section for instructions on printing print quality troubleshooting pages.
Print quality troubleshooting pages
Use the built-in print quality troubleshooting pages to help diagnose and solve print quality problems.
  1. Press MENU or the Select button to enter the MENUS.
  2. Press (Down arrow) to highlight DIAGNOSTICS.
  3. Press Select button to select DIAGNOSTICS.
  4. Press Down arrow to highlight PQ TROUBLESHOOTING.
  5. Press Select button to print the pages.
The printer returns to the READY state after printing the print quality troubleshooting pages.
Proceed to the below section for additional help on interpreting the print quality troubleshooting pages.
Print Quality Troubleshooting Tool
The print quality troubleshooting tool helps you identify and troubleshoot print quality issues. The tool includes solutions for many print quality issues, using standard images to provide a common diagnostic environment. It is designed to provide intuitive, step-by-step directions for printing troubleshooting pages that are used to isolate print quality problems and provide possible solutions.
To find the print quality troubleshooting tool, go to the appropriate URL:
For the HP Color LaserJet 4600 Series Printers - Click here to go to http://www.hp.com/go/printquality/clj4600.
For the HP Color LaserJet 4610 Series Printers - Click here to go to http://www.hp.com/go/printquality/clj4610.
For the HP Color LaserJet 4650 Series Printers - Click here to go to http://www.hp.com/go/printquality/clj4650.
For the HP Color LaserJet 5500 Series Printers - Click here to go to http://www.hp.com/go/printquality/clj5500.
For the HP Color LaserJet 5550 Series Printers - Click here to go to http://www.hp.com/go/printquality/clj5550.

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