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HP Deskjet 3520 Printers - Black Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for HP Deskjet 3520, 3521, 3522, 3524, 3526, and Deskjet Ink Advantage 3525 e-All-in-One 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.
note:
Rough handling at the store or during installation can cause print quality problems with newly installed ink cartridges. If you see print problems with newly installed ink cartridges, wait for a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.

Step 1: Use genuine HP ink 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.

Step 2: Check the paper

Make sure 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, such as photo paper and envelopes. 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. Use only clean, wrinkle-free paper.
    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 photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.
    • Some paper might 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.
Vertical streaks in printout: Do not replace ink cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts (or if the problem occurs on a copy, dirty scanner glass usually causes the issue).
Image of vertical streaks
Horizontal streaks in printout: Continue to the next step if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print quality issues.
Image of horizontal streaks

Step 3: Check the print settings

Check the print settings to make sure they are appropriate for your print job.
Try to print. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check ink levels, and then replace low or empty ink cartridges

Check the estimated ink levels on your printer, and then replace low or empty ink cartridges as necessary.
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.
On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow to select Ink Levels, and then press OK.
The Ink Levels screen displays with gauges for all four ink colors.
  • If the ink-level graphic shows low or empty ink cartridges, and you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, skip to the step to replace the problem ink cartridges.
  • If the ink-level graphic shows full ink cartridges, you do not need to replace the ink cartridges yet. Continue to the next step.

Step 5: Print and evaluate a print quality report and troubleshoot defects

Print, and then evaluate a print quality report. Troubleshoot any print quality defects.

Print a print quality report

  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow to select Print Quality Report, and then press OK.
    The report prints.
    Image of a print quality report

Check the print quality report for defects

If the printer and ink cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the report. The black text on the report should not show ink streaks. Review these examples of common defects on a print quality report.
Large font text is ragged on one end
Image of ragged large text
Jagged alignment patterns
Image of jagged alignment patterns
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars
Image of streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color bars
Image of ragged color bars
The color bars are streaked with another color
Image of streaked color bars
The color blocks have regular white streaks
Image of white streaks in the color bars
  • If you see no defects on the report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly.
    • Make sure the image has sufficient resolution. Images that are enlarged too much might look fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use printer software to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
  • If you see one or more defects on the report, continue to the next section.

Make sure the ink cartridges are properly vented

Check the vents on the top of the ink cartridges. If they are clogged or obstructed, the ink cartridges might not work properly.
  1. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Open the ink cartridge access door
  2. 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.
    • If the error message mentions a specific ink cartridge, locate that ink cartridge, remove it from the carriage, and then continue with the next step.
    • If the error message does not mention a specific ink cartridge, remove all the ink cartridges, one at a time, and then continue with the next step.
    Remove the ink cartridge
  3. Examine the vent area on each ink cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the ink cartridge.
    Image of the ink cartridge vent area
  4. If the ink cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Orange pull tab
  5. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      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
  6. With the nozzle and the contacts facing down, push the ink cartridge into its slot. Press down on the ink cartridge until it clicks into place. Make sure that the color icon on the ink cartridge label matches the color icon on the slot.
    Insert the ink cartridge
  7. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the ink cartridges.
  8. Make sure each ink cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the ink cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each ink cartridge snaps into place.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Close the ink cartridge access door
  10. Try the print job again.

Clean the printhead automatically

Run an automatic utility to clean the printhead.
  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.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow to select Clean Printhead, and then press OK.
    The printer cleans the printhead, and then prints a test page.
  5. Review the print quality on the test page.
    • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
    • If the issue persists, continue to the next section.

Align the printhead

Use the Align Printer tool on the printer control panel to align the printhead.
  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow to select Align Printer, and then press OK. The printer prints an alignment page.
  5. Open the lid.
    Open  the lid
  6. Place the alignment page on the scanner glass with the printed side down, and then position it on the front right corner of the glass.
    Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  7. Close the lid, and then press OK. The printer scans the alignment page.
  8. Follow the control panel instructions to complete the alignment.
  9. Recycle or discard the alignment page.
Try to print. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Replace the problem ink cartridges

Replace any ink cartridge that corresponds to a defect on the print quality report. For example, if one of the magenta color bars is defective, replace the magenta ink cartridge. The printer prompts you to print an alignment page after replacing ink cartridges.
If you have a defective cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink or toner supplies, go to Printer and Page Yield Overview, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.
  1. Turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
  3. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Opening the ink cartridge access door
  4. 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 its slot.
    note:
    Replace missing ink cartridges promptly.
     Removing the ink cartridge
  5. Pull the orange tab to remove the plastic wrap from the new ink cartridge.
    Removing the plastic wrap from the new ink cartridge
      caution:
    Make sure 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.
  6. Twist the orange cap counter-clockwise until it snaps off.
    Removing the orange cap from the ink cartridge
  7. With the nozzle and the contacts facing down, insert the ink cartridge into its color-coded slot. Press down on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
     Inserting the ink cartridge
  8. Repeat these steps to replace any other ink cartridges.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
     Closing the ink cartridge access door

Align the printer

After you load new ink cartridges and close the ink cartridge access door, the printer automatically prompts you to print an alignment page.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press OK.
    The printer prints an alignment page.
    Alignment page did not print?
    If the printer does not prompt you to print an alignment page, print the alignment page through the control panel menu:
    1. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow to select Settings, and then press OK.
    2. Press the Down Arrow to select Tools, and then press OK.
    3. Press the Down Arrow to select Align Printer, and then press OK.
      The printer prints an alignment page.
  3. Open the scanner lid.
    Opening  the scanner lid
  4. Place the alignment page with the print side down on the scanner glass, and then position it according to the engraved guides around the glass.
     Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass
  5. Close the lid, and then press OK.
    The printer scans the alignment page.
  6. Follow the control panel instructions to complete the alignment.
Try to print. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 7: 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.

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