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  • Information
    Important Print Security Update

    HP was recently made aware of a vulnerability in certain inkjet printers by a third-party researcher. HP has updates available for download to address the vulnerability. Details and more information are available in the Security Bulletin

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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Photosmart Premium Fax All-in-One Printer Series (C410a, C410b, C410c, C410d, C410e)

This document is for HP Photosmart Premium Fax All-in-One printers (C410a, C410b, C410c, C410d, and C410e).
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 complete the automatic servicing routine. 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.
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.
Many print quality problems with black ink, such as poor black text or issues that occur with a newly installed black cartridge, clear up with the printer's automatic servicing routine. There is nothing you need to do. The print quality should start improving in a few hours.
If you cannot wait, continue with these troubleshooting steps.
Solution three: Check the paper
Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you use is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
  note:
To purchase paper in the United States and Canada, go to HP Home & Home Office.
  • 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.
    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.
      ColorLok logo
    • 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 determines if the problem is related to the paper.
  note:
Inappropriate, damaged, or unsupported paper can cause vertical streaks in printouts.
Examples of horizontal and vertical streaks in a printout
Image: Horizontal streaks  in a printout.
If your printout contains horizontal lines or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks, continue to the next step.
Image: Vertical streaks in a printout.
Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document or search for a document that covers this issue. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
After you use these guidelines to make sure that the paper you use is appropriate for the print job, try to print again.
Solution four: Check the print settings
Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.
  1. In the software program from which you are trying to print, click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Select your printer, and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.
  4. Under Printing Shortcuts, click the type of job you are trying to print.
  5. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.
    • Paper sizes: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Print quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.
  6. Click the Features tab.
  7. Under Color Options, make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.
  8. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the print job.
Solution five: Check the estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges
Follow these steps to check the estimated ink levels on your printer, and then replace any low or empty cartridges according to the results.
Step 1: Check the estimated ink levels
Low ink can contribute to poor print quality. 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. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button ().
  2. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  3. Press OK to select Display Estimated Ink Levels. The control panel displays the estimated ink level of each cartridge.
    Figure : Example of estimated ink levels graphic
    Image: Example of the estimated ink level graphic.
  • 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
  caution:
Do not leave cartridges outside the printer for an extended period. This can result in damage to the printer and the cartridges. Have a new cartridge available before removing an old cartridge.
  1. Press the Power button () to turn on the product.
  2. Use the access handles on the sides of the product to open the cartridge door.
    Figure : Open the cartridge door
    Illustration: Open the cartridge access door.
  3. Press the tab on the front of the old cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Press the tab of the old cartridge
    Illustration of pressing the tab of  the old cartridge.
  4. Remove the cartridge from the slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Illustration of removing the old cartridge.
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the orange tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Remove the plastic wrap
    Illustration of removing the plastic wrap by pulling the orange tab.
  6. Twist the orange cap counterclockwise to snap it off.
    Figure : Remove the orange cap
    Illustration of removing the orange cap from the cartridge
  7. With the cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the cartridge into the empty slot.
      caution:
    Do not lift the latch next to the carriage to install the cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing issues. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.
    Figure : Slide the cartridge into its slot
    Illustration: Slide the cartridge into its slot.
  8. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    Figure : Press down on the cartridge
    Illustration:  Press down on the cartridge
  9. Repeat these steps for each cartridge you replace.
  10. Close the cartridge door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge door
    Illustration: Close the cartridge  door
Step 3: Align the printer
Follow these steps to align the printer.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press Setup ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then press OK.
    The product aligns the printheads. When the alignment is complete, the product prints an alignment page.
      note:
    Mechanical noises during and after alignment are normal.
    Figure : Example of an alignment page
    Illustration of an alignment page.
  5. Recycle or discard the alignment page.
Solution six: Print and evaluate the Print Quality Diagnostic Report and troubleshoot defects
Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate the Print Quality Diagnostic Report.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press Setup ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Print Quality Report, and then press OK.
    The product prints the print quality diagnostic report.
    Figure : Example print quality diagnostic report
    Illustration of a print quality diagnostic report.
Step 2: Check the Print Quality Diagnostic Report for defects
In general, if the printer and its cartridges work correctly, all the color bars are present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page does not show ink streaks.
    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
Use 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 ink 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: Make sure the cartridges are correctly vented
If the vent on the top of the cartridge is clogged or obstructed, the cartridge might not work properly. Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Use the access handles on the sides of the printer to open the cartridge door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Figure : Open the cartridge door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  3. Press the tab on the front of the old cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Press the tab of the cartridge
    Image: Press the tab of the cartridge
  4. Remove the cartridge from the slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not lift the latch next to the carriage to install the cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing issues. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.
  5. Examine the vent area on each cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure : Vent area on the top of the cartridge
    Image: Vent area on the top of the cartridge
  6. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure : Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  7. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      Figure : Clean the clogged vent with a pin
      Image: Clean the clogged vent with a pin.
    1. Clogged vent
    2. With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3. Unclogged vent
  8. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place.
      note:
    Make sure that each cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
  9. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  10. Make sure that each cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each cartridge snaps into place.
  11. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  12. Close the cartridge door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge door
    Image: Close the cartridge  door
  13. Try the print job again.
Step 4: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead
Cleaning the printhead might improve the print quality of your printer. Follow these steps to clean the printhead.
  note:
If the printhead is badly clogged, you might need to clean the printhead several times to restore normal print quality.
  1. On the product control panel, press Setup ().
  2. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Clean Printhead, and then press OK. The cleaning process begins.
      note:
    Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.
  caution:
Never turn off the printer when ink cartridges are not installed. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead or that can damage the ink system, always replace ink cartridges as soon as possible, and always turn off the printer using the Power button.
Step 5: Use an automated tool to align the printer
If there were defects on the print quality diagnostic report, follow these steps to align the printhead.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press Setup ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then press OK.
    The product aligns the printheads. When the alignment is complete, the product prints an alignment page.
      note:
    Mechanical noises during and after alignment are normal.
    Figure : Example of an alignment page
    Illustration of an alignment page.
  5. Recycle or discard the alignment page.
Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge
If none of the preceding steps resolved the issue, replace the cartridge that corresponds to the defect on the print quality diagnostic report. For example, if one of the magenta color bars are defective, replace the magenta cartridge. Use the following steps to replace the problem cartridge.
Step 1: Replace the problem cartridge
  caution:
Do not leave cartridges outside the printer for an extended period. This can result in damage to the printer and the cartridges. Have a new cartridge available before removing an old cartridge.
  1. Press the Power button () to turn on the product.
  2. Use the access handles on the sides of the product to open the cartridge door.
    Figure : Open the cartridge door
    Illustration: Open the cartridge access door.
  3. Press the tab on the front of the old cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Press the tab of the old cartridge
    Illustration of pressing the tab of  the old cartridge.
  4. Remove the cartridge from the slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Illustration of removing the old cartridge.
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the orange tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Remove the plastic wrap
    Illustration of removing the plastic wrap by pulling the orange tab.
  6. Twist the orange cap counterclockwise to snap it off.
    Figure : Remove the orange cap
    Illustration of removing the orange cap from the cartridge
  7. With the cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the cartridge into the empty slot.
      caution:
    Do not lift the latch next to the carriage to install the cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing issues. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.
    Figure : Slide the cartridge into its slot
    Illustration: Slide the cartridge into its slot.
  8. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    Figure : Press down on the cartridge
    Illustration:  Press down on the cartridge
  9. Repeat these steps for each cartridge you replace.
  10. Close the cartridge door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge door
    Illustration: Close the cartridge  door
Step 2: Align the printer
Follow these steps to align the printer.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press Setup ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then press OK.
    The product aligns the printheads. When the alignment is complete, the product prints an alignment page.
      note:
    Mechanical noises during and after alignment are normal.
    Figure : Example of an alignment page
    Illustration of an alignment page.
  5. Recycle or discard the alignment page.
Solution eight: Replace the printhead
If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, contact HP to replace the printhead.
  caution:
Wait until you have a new printhead assembly available before you remove the cartridges. HP recommends that you do not leave the cartridges outside the printer longer than 30 minutes. This could damage both the printer and the cartridges.
These steps are for the United States only.
If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges.
If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.
  1. Go to the HP Parts Store website (in English).
  2. Under Find your part(s), type CN642A in the Search by part number text box.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.
These steps are for all countries/regions except the United States.
If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges with the replacement printhead.
If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.
  1. Go to the HP How to Buy website, and then click your country-language.
  2. A Buy HP page displays. Look for the HP Parts store on this page. The location of the HP Parts store varies depending on your region. Click HP Parts store.
  3. Under Find your part(s), type CN642A in the Search by part number text box. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.
This information is for Asia Pacific only.
If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges. If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, call the HP Customer Care Center for assistance.
When you have the replacement printhead, go to the replace the printhead for your printer.
Service or replace your HP product if you completed all preceding steps.
To see if your product is still under warranty, go to the warranty check website http://www.support.hp.com/checkwarranty. Contact HP Support to schedule a repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, Contact HP Support to find a local service center in your area.
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.

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