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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Photosmart e-All-in-One (D110a and D110b) Printer Series

This document is for the HP Photosmart e-All-in-One (D110a and D110b) printers.
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
To resolve most print quality issues, use genuine HP cartridges, and in some cases, you might need to allow the printer to rest. Check the paper and print settings to make sure that they are correct for the print job, and clean the cartridges and printhead. You might need to replace any empty or defective cartridges.
If you need to print immediately and the quality of the printouts is not a concern, you can print in backup mode.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink or toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to the HP anti-counterfeit webpage (in English).
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

Solution two: Allow the printer to rest

Sometimes, print quality issues can be resolved during a period of inactivity. Consider waiting for about 30 minutes, and then try the print job again.

Solution three: Check the paper

Follow these steps to check the paper.
note:
To purchase paper in the United States and Canada, go to HP Home & Home Office.
  1. Use these guidelines to make sure that the paper is appropriate for the print job.
    • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
    • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
      Figure : Do not use wrinkled paper
      Graphic: Do not use wrinkled paper
    • Use the correct paper type for your project.
      • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
        Figure : Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
      • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
      • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
    • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
    • Try using a different paper. This will determine if the problem is related to the paper.
    • Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts. Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
    • If streaks occur on a copy, clean the scanner glass.
  2. If the paper is inappropriate for the print job, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
  3. After completing the preceding steps, try the print job again.

Solution four: Check the print settings

The print settings might be the cause of incorrect colors or print quality issues. Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job.
note:
This solution requires the full HP software. If you did not install the full software during the installation process, go to the software and drivers page, and then download and install the full feature software (Windows only).

Solution five: Check the estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges.

Step 1: Check the estimated ink levels

Follow these steps to check the estimated ink levels.
note:
Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low ink levels, consider having a replacement ink cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace ink cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  1. Load plain white paper in the paper tray.
  2. Touch the button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Estimated Ink Levels, and then touch OK.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels graphic that shows full cartridges
    Image: Estimated ink levels
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Continue to the next solution.
  • If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step 2: Replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to replace any low or empty cartridges.

Video of replacing the cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  3. Open the cartridge door. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure : Open the cartridge door
    Image: Open the cartridge door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not re-tape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the pull tab to remove the plastic tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not re-tape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape
  6. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the cartridge into its color-coded slot until it snaps into place. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.
    • Insert the tri-color cartridge in the slot on the left.
    • Insert the black cartridge in the slot on the right.
    Figure : Color-coded cartridge slots
    Image: Color-coded cartridge slots
    Figure : Example of inserting the tri-color cartridge
    Image: Reinserting the cartridge
  7. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the cartridge door.

Step 3: Align the printer

Follow the steps below to align the cartridges.
  1. Make sure the printer is turned on and paper is loaded.
  2. Touch the button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then touch OK. The printer prints an alignment page.
  5. Lift the printer lid.
  6. Place the alignment page on with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment page.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  7. Close the lid, and then press OK to complete the alignment.
  8. Wait while the printer scans the alignment sheet and completes the alignment process.

Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate the Print Quality Diagnostic Report.

Step 1: Print a Print Quality Diagnostic Report

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Touch the ATM button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the right arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the right arrow button () to select Print Quality Report, and then touch OK. The printer prints the report.
    Figure : Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic Report with no defects
    Image: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic Report with no defects.

Step 2: Check the Print Quality Diagnostic Report for defects

Review the diagnostic areas of the Print Quality Diagnostic Report to check for defects. Defects on the report can help you identify the print quality issue, and then troubleshoot it.
    Figure : Diagnostic areas of the Print Quality Diagnostic Report
    Image: Diagnostic areas of the Print Quality Diagnostic Report
  1. Sample text
  2. Alignment patterns
  3. Color bars
In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
See the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the print quality diagnostic report
Defect
Example
Large font text is ragged on one end (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Ragged large text.
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Streaked or faded color bars.
Ragged color bars (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Ragged color bars.
The color bars are streaked with another color (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Streaked color bars.
The color blocks have regular white streaks (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: White streaks in the color bars.
Completely missing (black) color (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Missing color (black).
Page is blank or nearly blank (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Nearly blank page.
Jagged alignment patterns (possible alignment problem)
Image: Jagged alignment patterns.
  • If you do not see defects on the test page, the print mechanism and cartridges work correctly. Do not continue the troubleshooting steps in this document. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try the following general print quality guidelines.
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that are enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the issue is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer or another software program to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not display on the other end of the printout.
    Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout (graphic)
    Windows only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the test page, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Align the printer

Follow the steps below to align the cartridges if there were defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report that indicate an alignment problem.
  1. Make sure the printer is turned on and paper is loaded.
  2. Touch the button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then touch OK. The printer prints an alignment page.
  5. Lift the printer lid.
  6. Place the alignment page on with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment page.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  7. Close the lid, and then press OK to complete the alignment.
  8. Wait while the printer scans the alignment sheet and completes the alignment process.

Step 4: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

If you found defects on the alignment page, the printhead could be clogged. Follow these steps to run an automated tool to clean the printhead.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Touch the button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Clean Printhead, and then touch OK. The printer starts the cleaning process.
    note:
    Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.
  5. Review the print quality on the printhead test page. If the print quality is still unacceptable, follow the instructions to run the Intermediate cleaning and the Prime cleaning, if necessary.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you can stop troubleshooting.
  • If the test page that you printed earlier shows track marks or smears, continue to the next step to clean the area around the ink nozzles.
note:
To avoid issues that require cleaning, always turn the printer off with the Power button.

Step 5: Clean the area around the ink nozzles

Complete these steps only if you see track marks or smears in the text on the test page or on your printout. Do not perform these steps unless the test page or printout specifically shows smeared text or track marks. If you do not see these defects, skip to the next solution to replace the problem cartridge and align the cartridges.
Figure : Example of smeared text
Image: Example of smeared text
Figure : Example of text with track marks
Image: Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Dry foam-rubber swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that will not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well)
    • Clean sheets of paper
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the print cartridges)
        caution:
      Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the area. These can damage the cartridge or the printer.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  3. Open the front access door.
    Figure : Open the front access door
    Image: Open the front access door
  4. Wait for the carriage to move to the center of the printer.
  5. Press down on one of the cartridges to release it, and then pull it out from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  6. Place the cartridge on a piece of paper with the ink nozzles face up.
  7. Lightly moisten a clean, foam-rubber swab with distilled water.
  8. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
      caution:
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
      Figure : Clean the area around the ink nozzle
      Image: Clean the area around the ink nozzle
    1. Nozzle plate - DO NOT CLEAN
    2. Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3. Cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  9. Let the cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  10. Insert the cartridge into its designated slot. The black parallelogram icon () designates the slot for the black cartridge, and the magenta half circle icon () designates the slot for the color cartridge.
    Figure : Example of inserting the tri-color cartridge
    Image: Reinserting the cartridge
  11. Press the cartridge in to snap it into place.
    Figure : Snap cartridge into place
    Image: Snap cartridge into place
  12. Repeat these steps to clean the area surrounding the ink nozzle on the other cartridge.
  13. Close the front access door.
  14. Try printing again.

Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge and align the cartridges

Follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge if you saw defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the cartridge is not low on ink. The problem cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report as described earlier in this document.

Step 1: Replace the problem cartridge

Follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge.

Video of replacing the cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  3. Open the cartridge door. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure : Open the cartridge door
    Image: Open the cartridge door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not re-tape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the pull tab to remove the plastic tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not re-tape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape
  6. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the cartridge into its color-coded slot until it snaps into place. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.
    • Insert the tri-color cartridge in the slot on the left.
    • Insert the black cartridge in the slot on the right.
    Figure : Color-coded cartridge slots
    Image: Color-coded cartridge slots
    Figure : Example of inserting the tri-color cartridge
    Image: Reinserting the cartridge
  7. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the cartridge door.

Step 2: Align the printer

Follow the steps below to align the cartridges.
  1. Make sure the printer is turned on and paper is loaded.
  2. Touch the button () next to the Setup icon () in the lower-left corner of the control panel.
  3. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Tools, and then touch OK.
  4. Touch the Right Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then touch OK. The printer prints an alignment page.
  5. Lift the printer lid.
  6. Place the alignment page on with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment page.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  7. Close the lid, and then press OK to complete the alignment.
  8. Wait while the printer scans the alignment sheet and completes the alignment process.

Solution eight: Service the Printer

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.
note:
Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.
If you do not have a replacement cartridge, you can still print in ink backup mode. Simply remove the problem cartridge, and print with the remaining cartridge.
  • If you remove the tri-color cartridge, printouts will be in grayscale.
  • If you remove the black or photo cartridge, the product prints slowly and the colors in the printouts might differ.

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