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HP Photosmart C4340 All-in-One Series - Faded or Dull Colors in Printouts

Issue

The printer is working, but colors in the printed output are missing, faded or dull in comparison to the original.

Solution one: Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job

  • Many papers have printing and non-printing sides. Load the paper with the printing side down.
  • Use the correct paper type for the project. For everyday documents, plain paper works well. For documents with dense printing, such as high-contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced paper for the best results.
  • If these steps do not help, try a different paper. Ink might not bleed as easily on heavier paper. Paper that does not accept ink well is also prone to bleeding and smearing. HP designs its inks and papers to work together.

Solution two: Check the ink levels

note:
If a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another product, is installed, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the HP software:
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Printer Toolbox.
    note:
    The Printer Toolbox can also be opened from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, select Printing Preferences, click the Features tab, and then click Printer Services.
  4. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels
    note:
    A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows ink remains in the cartridge. Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink. Replace print cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink.
    The ink levels are estimates. When the ink in print cartridges is actually low, printouts are faded or streaked. When print quality is acceptable, there is no reason to replace print cartridges. Low-ink warnings are for planning purposes only.

Solution three: Check the print settings

  1. In the software that is being used to print from, click File, and then click Print.
    The Print window opens.
  2. Make sure that the appropriate product is selected, and then click Preferences.
    The Printing Preferences window opens.
  3. Click the Features tab.
    Options on the Features tab include the following:
    • Print quality: If the quality of the printouts is not as good as expected, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
    • Paper type: Click the drop-down box. If one of the options matches the paper type exactly, click it rather than Automatic.
    • Size: Make sure the paper size matches the paper being used.

Solution four: Check for defects using a self-test report

Follow these steps to check for defects using a self-test report.

Step one: Printing a self-test report

Follow these steps to print a self-test report.
  1. Load letter or A4 unused plain white paper into the input tray.
  2. Press and hold the Cancel button () and then press the Start Copy Color button ().
    The product prints a self-test report, which might indicate the source of the printing issue.
    Figure : Self-test report
  3. Make sure the test patterns show a complete grid and the thick color lines are complete.
    • If more than a few lines in a pattern are broken, this might indicate a problem with the nozzles. You might need to clean the print cartridges.
    • If the black line is missing, faded, streaked, or shows lines, this might indicate a problem with the black or photo print cartridge in the right slot.
    • If any of the color lines are missing, faded, streaked, or show lines, this might indicate a problem with the tri-color print cartridge in the left slot.

Step two: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the self-test report

Identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test report, so that if you find defects on the page, you know which cartridge is the problem.
However, you can install different combinations of print cartridges in your All-in-One, and different cartridge combinations print different self-test report patterns. The self-test report might not look exactly like the example presented here, but the right and left cartridges print in the same areas of the page no matter which cartridges are installed.
    Figure : Self-Test Report layout
  1. Printed by the right cartridge
  2. Printed by the left cartridge
note:
If you are printing in reserve mode (one cartridge is missing), the area of the self-test report where that cartridge prints is blank.
The patterns in each area might look slightly different on your page.

Step three: Check for defects using a diagnostic page

In general, if the printer and print cartridges are working properly, the patterns (which look like grids of lines) contain few or no missing lines. Also, the colors of the patterns and bars should be approximately the same as the color dots on the print cartridge label.
note:
Do not compare the colors on the self-test report to the colors on this Web page. Unless your monitor is calibrated, the colors are not correct. Instead, compare the colors on the page to the color dots on the print cartridge label. While the color dots might not be perfectly accurate, they are likely to be more accurate than the colors on the monitor.
Missing lines or streaked bars
If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that print cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : Right cartridge shows missing lines and a streaked bar
Figure : Left cartridge shows missing lines and a streaked bar
If the self-test report shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832192) (in English).
Color mix
If the color of the patterns or bars is different from the color dots on the cartridge label, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : Color dots on the left (tri-color) cartridge label
Figure : Color of one of the left cartridge bars is different from the color on the cartridge label
If the self-test report shows colors that are different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832204) (in English).
Missing colors
If any of the color blocks or patterns is entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The yellow pattern and bar are missing
If any of the patterns or color blocks is entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832204) (in English).
Ink smears
If the self-test report shows smeared ink, you might need to clean the cartridges.
Figure : Left (black) cartridge shows smeared ink
If the self-test report shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00726682) (in English).

Step four: Service your product

Service or replace your HP product if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.
Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.
To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.

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