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HP Inkjet Cartridges - Resolving Banding, Missing Dots, or White Streaks in Printed Output

Introduction

The most common causes for banding, missing dots, and white streaks in printed output are listed in the table below:
Cause
Example
Banding: Multiple missing nozzles on HP Inkjet cartridges may cause white streaks in the printed output.
Color out: If one color is missing on the printer test page, the cartridge may be empty. The test page should show a color band of black, yellow, cyan, and magenta. The example on the right is missing yellow, indicating that yellow out in the cartridge.
Color out can be caused by prolonged storage on one of the flat sides of the cartridge.
Determine how long the cartridge has been installed. White streaking through the printout or an entire missing color both indicate an empty cartridge. If the cartridge is depleted of one color, it needs to be replaced. Each color is necessary to create the colors used in day-to-day printing.
Color mixing: If the colors on the printer test page are dark or are not yellow, cyan, and magenta, the inks in the cartridge may have mixed together.
Color mixing can occur if tape has been replaced over the print cartridge nozzles or if the entire print cartridge is placed into a resealable plastic bag to keep the print cartridges from drying out. If the nozzle area comes into contact with the plastic bag, color mixing can result.
HP has indications that the lubricant on the printer carriage assembly tabs and the flex circuit contacts on the print cartridge can collect debris (fibers and dust), which may cause poor output. The lubricant is used to ensure that the interaction between the cartridge and the carriage assembly does not cause tears in the flex circuit. Refer to the following instructions to solve this issue.
Cleaning the cartridges can improve the quality of printing. If the printed page is missing lines or dots, or if it contains ink streaks, perform Procedure 1 in this section. If problems persist after performing Procedure 1, perform Procedure 2.
note:
Use plain paper for these maintenance activities rather than more expensive specialty papers.

Procedure 1: Clean the cartridge electrical contacts

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Open the top cover. The cartridges should move to the center of the printer.
  3. Unplug the printer power cord from the power outlet.
      warning:
    Keep new and used cartridges out of the reach of children.
  4. Remove the color cartridge.
  5. Locate the copper-colored circuitry strip on the back of the cartridge. With a clean, soft, dry, lint-free cloth, use an upward motion to wipe the copper strip from the nozzle end to the top of the cartridge (see Figure 1).
    Figure : Cleaning cartridge electrical contacts
    A- Clean, soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
    B- Copper-colored circuitry strip on the back of the cartridge
    C- Clean this area from the nozzle end to the top of the cartridge .
      caution:
    Do not wipe the nozzle plate on the bottom of the cartridge. Wiping the nozzle plate can damage the cartridge (see Figure 2).
    Figure : Do not wipe the nozzle plate
  6. Remove the black cartridge. With a clean part of the cloth, repeat Step 5 with the black ink cartridge.

Cleaning the electrical contacts inside the carriage assembly

  1. Look for fibers or other contaminants on the electrical contacts inside the carriage assembly. The contacts in the printer can be damaged if too much pressure is applied during the wiping process. If necessary, the contacts may be cleaned by wiping them very gently with a dry, lint-free cloth (see Figure 3). Try to gently remove any visible debris within the carriage.
      warning:
    Make sure the printer power is turned off before cleaning inside the printer.
    Figure : Cleaning the contacts inside the printer
  2. Reinsert both cartridges. On printers with cartridge latches, close the latch over the top of the cartridges.
  3. 3. Close the top cover.
  4. Plug the power cord into the power outlet.
  5. Print a test page. If the problem persists, go to Procedure 2.

Procedure 2: Align and clean the cartridges

Use the HP Deskjet Toolbox or Printer Assistant utility on the desktop (the utility name will depend on which HP Deskjet model is installed on the computer).

HP Deskjet Toolbox

To align the cartridges from the HP Deskjet toolbox, follow the steps below:
  1. Open the HP Deskjet toolbox. The toolbox is located on your desktop in Microsoft (R) Windows XP, Me, 2000, 98, 95, and NT 4.0. In Windows 3.1x, the toolbox is located in the program group for the printer.
  2. Select the Printer Services tab in the toolbox.
  3. Select Cartridge Alignment and follow the steps on the screen.
  4. After the alignment process is completed, perform a Cartridge Cleaning from the toolbox.
    1. Double-click the HP Deskjet Toolbox shortcut (or icon) on the desktop.
    2. Click the Printer Services tab.
    3. Click Clean the Print Cartridges. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen

HP Printer Assistant

To align the cartridges from the Printer Assistant, follow the steps below:
  1. Launch the Printer Assistant by clicking the Printer Assistant icon located on the desktop
  2. Select Tools and Updates.
  3. Go to Printer Maintenance.
  4. Select Calibrate Printer.
  5. Click Calibrate and follow the onscreen instructions.
After the alignment process is completed, perform a cartridge cleaning from Printer Assistant.
  1. Select Tools and Updates.
  2. Go to Printer Maintenance.
  3. Select Clean Cartridges.
  4. Click Clean and follow the onscreen instructions.
If the problem persists, replace the cartridge. If the cartridge still exhibits banding even after cleaning and priming actions in the HP Deskjet toolbox are complete, the cartridge may need to be replaced. Verify the end for warranty date on the cartridge before returning it to the reseller.
Typically, banding problems are most pronounced in images produced on plain paper in Normal mode. In many cases, simply changing to Best mode will alleviate the problem and produce satisfactory output. If switching modes does not result in acceptable performance, use the cleaning steps described above.

Internal test from the printer

Running an internal test from the printer can perform a clean test. See document titled HP Deskjet Printers - Printing Internal Tests for instructions on how to run internal tests.
If the problem persists, replace the cartridge.

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