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HP Photosmart 5510 and 6510 e-All-in-One Printer Series - An 'Alignment failed' Error Message Displays on the Printer

Issue

The error message 'Alignment failed' displays on the printer control panel.

Solution one: Reset the printer

  1. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the rear of the printer.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  3. Wait at least 15 seconds.
  4. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.
  5. Reconnect the power cord to the printer.
  6. Turn the printer on.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution two: Check the paper type, and then try aligning the printer again

Follow these steps to make sure that the paper type is appropriate to print an alignment page, and then try to align the printer again.

Step one: Load the correct type of paper

Follow these steps to make sure that you are using an appropriate paper type.
  1. Remove all the paper from the tray.
  2. Make sure that you are using clean, unused, plain U.S. letter or A4 size paper.
    note:
    Using color, photo, or used paper can cause the printer alignment to fail.

Step two: Use an automated tool to align the printer

Follow these steps to retry the printer alignment.
Important: To complete the alignment process, the printer must successfully print and scan the alignment page. After the alignment page prints, make sure that you complete the steps to scan the page.
  1. From the control panel home screen, touch the Right Arrow (), and then touch the Setup icon ().
  2. Touch Tools.
  3. Touch the Down Arrow (), and then touch Align Printer. The product prints an alignment page.
  4. Open the lid.
    Figure : Open the lid
    Image: Open the lid
  5. Place the alignment page on the scanner glass with the printed side down, and then position it along the front right corner of the glass.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  6. Close the lid, and then touch OK. The alignment page scans.

Step three: Examine the printer alignment page

Follow these steps to examine the alignment page for defects, and then continue with the appropriate steps.
  1. Does the printer alignment page include the following two colors?
    • Black
    • Cyan
    Figure : Example of a correct alignment page
    Image: Example of a correct alignment page
  2. Are either of the two colors faint, faded, or inconsistent?
  3. Are there any streaks, stripes, or vertical lines on the printer alignment page?
  • If you answered NO to all of the questions and the 'Alignment failed' message persists, the sensor in the printer is faulty. Skip to the solution to service the printer.
  • If you answered YES to any of the questions, there is a problem with the ink system. Continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Check the cartridges

Low ink can contribute to poor print quality. Follow these steps to check the ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges.

Step one: Check the 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.
From the home screen of the printer control panel, touch the Ink icon .
The current ink levels display.
Estimated ink levels displaying on the control panel

Step two: Replace any depleted cartridges

Watch a video or use the following steps to replace a depleted cartridge.

Video of cartridge replacement

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
note:
This video shows an HP Photosmart 5510 (B111a) printer, but the steps are the same for your printer.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  3. Press the tab on the front of the ink cartridge inward to release it, and then pull up on the ink cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge from the slot
    Image: Remove the ink cartridge from the slot
  4. Pull the orange tab to remove the new ink cartridge from the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Remove the new ink cartridge from the plastic wrap
    Image: Remove the new ink cartridge from the plastic wrapMake sure that you remove the orange pull-tab and plastic wrap completely before you twist the orange cap in the next step. Otherwise, ink might leak from the ink cartridge. When you remove the plastic wrap, the paper label on the top of the ink cartridge tears slightly, which is necessary to properly vent the ink cartridge.
  5. Twist the orange cap counter clockwise until it snaps off the new ink cartridge.
    Figure : Remove the orange cap from the new ink cartridge
    Image: Remove the orange cap from the new ink cartridge
  6. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the ink cartridge into its slot. Press down on the ink cartridge until it is firmly seated.
    Figure : Insert the ink cartridge
    Image: Insert the ink cartridge
  7. Make sure each cartridge is firmly installed 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.
  8. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the ink cartridge access door
    Close the ink cartridge access door
  9. When you insert a new ink cartridge, the printer automatically prompts you to align the ink cartridges. Touch OK on the control panel to complete the alignment.
  10. If the printer control panel states that the alignment has failed, repeat the steps to Clean the Cartridge contacts.

Step three: Align the printer

If you replaced any depleted cartridges, align the printer again. Otherwise, skip to the next solution.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Step four: Make sure that the cartridge vents are not clogged

Follow these steps to make sure the cartridges are sufficiently vented.
  1. If the printer is not already on, press the Power button to turn it on.
  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Figure : Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  3. Press the tab on the front the cartridge to release it, and then remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot.
  4. Examine the vent area on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure : Vent area on the top of the cartridge
    Image: Vent area on the top of the cartridge.
    • If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
      Figure : Orange pull tab
      Image: Orange pull tab.
    • If the cartridge has a clogged vent, try cleaning the vent with a pin.
      Figure : Correctly vented ink cartridge
      Image: Unclogged vent.
      Figure : Vent clogged with adhesive
      Image: Clogged vent.
  5. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the cartridge into its slot, and then press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place.
    Figure : Reinsert the cartridge
    Image: Reinsert the cartridge.
  6. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  7. Run a finger along the top of the cartridges to check for any unseated cartridges in the carriage. Press down on any cartridge that is higher than the others to firmly snap the cartridge into its slot.
    Figure : Snap the cartridge into its slot
    Image: Snap the cartridge into its slot.
  8. If the cartridge does not snap into place, remove the cartridge from the carriage. Gently bend the tab away from the cartridge, and then reinsert the cartridge into the carriage.
      caution:
    Be careful not to bend the tab out more than 1.27 cm (0.5 in). Moving the tab too far might damage the cartridge or cause the tab to break off.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door.

Step five: Align the printer

If you cleared a vent or correctly seated a cartridge, align the printer again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

note:
This process uses ink to try to unclog and clean the nozzles in the printhead. This process might take a few minutes and uses one or more sheets of paper.
You should only clean the printhead if the alignment page is streaked, faded, or missing colors.

Step one: Clean the printhead

  1. Load letter, A4, or legal size, unused, plain white paper into the input tray.
  2. Press the Setup button ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to highlight Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to highlight Clean Printhead, and then press OK. The product cleans the printhead.
  5. Assess the print quality by examining the printhead cleaning page.
note:
If the printhead is badly clogged, you might need to clean the printhead several times to restore normal print quality.
  • If the print quality has improved, continue to the next step.
  • If the print quality is poor after cleaning two times, skip to the step to service the printer.

Step two: Align the printer

Once the printer finishes cleaning the printhead, align the printer.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution five: 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.

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