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HP Customer Support - Knowledge Base

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HP Printers - Improving Fax Quality

This document is for HP printers with faxing capability.
Faxes sent or received have quality issues, such as vertical or horizontal lines, bands, or poor resolution.
note:
To check the quality of faxes you send, ask your fax recipients about the quality of your faxes. If most of your fax recipients receive faxes of good quality, then the problem might be caused by the receiving machines. If all of your recipients tell you that the faxes they receive from your printer have a problem, such as vertical lines, then your printer is at fault and requires attention.
To check the quality of faxes you receive, use the HP Test Fax Service (only in the US). Send a one page black and white text fax to 1-888-hpfaxme (1-888-473-2963). When your fax is received by the HP Test Fax Service, it sends a return fax within five minutes that you can use to check for quality issues.
Examples of poor fax quality

Step 1: Confirm the issue

Make sure the quality issue is a faxing issue and not a printing issue.
Print a document or photo from the computer.
  • If quality issues occur when printing from the computer, do not continue with these steps. Go to HP Customer Support, type your printer model number if necessary, then search for print quality to find the Fixing Poor Print Quality document for steps to resolve the issue.
  • If the printout from your computer does not have quality issues, then continue.
Evaluate when the image quality problems occur.
  • If quality issues only occur when receiving a fax, then skip to the step to change the fax speed.
  • If quality issues only occur when sending a fax, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Clean the scanner components

Clean dust and smudges from scanner components to resolve lines and color issues with faxes you send to others.
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • A clean, lint-free cloth, or any cloth that does not come apart or leave fibers
    • Glass cleaner
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might damage the printer)
  2. Turn the printer off, then disconnect the power cord.
  3. Lift the scanner lid.
  4. Spray a soft, lint-free cloth with glass cleaner, then wipe the scanner glass, glass strip (if present), the white backing under the scanner lid, and the white strip under the lid (if present) until clean, dry, and streak-free.
      caution:
    To protect the interior printer parts, do not spray the cleaner directly on the glass or on the underside of the lid.
      Clean the scanner glass and  under the lid, and any glass or white strips
    1. White scanner lid backing
    2. White ADF scanner lid strip (if present)
    3. Glass ADF scanner strip (if present)
    4. Main scanner glass
  5. Close the scanner lid.
    • If your printer does not have an ADF (automatic document feeder), skip to the step to change the fax speed.
    • If your printer does have an ADF and you used it to send the fax, continue with these steps.
  6. Open the ADF cover.
  7. Find the paper pick rollers and the separator pad inside the ADF.
    Example of the paper pick rollers and separator pad in a LaserJet printer
    Example of the paper pick rollers and separator pad in an OfficeJet printer
    The paper pick rollers and separator pad
  8. Lightly dampen a clean, lint-free cloth with filtered or distilled water, then squeeze any excess liquid from the cloth.
  9. Use the damp cloth to wipe any residue off the paper pick rollers and the separator pad.
  10. Leave the ADF cover open for two minutes to allow the paper pick rollers and separator pad to dry, then close the ADF cover.
  11. Reconnect the power cord, turn on the printer, then send a fax.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Reset the printer

Resetting the printer can force some types of scanning mechanisms to calibrate which might fix the problem.
  1. Remove any items from the scanner glass and automatic document feeder (ADF), then close the scanner lid.
  2. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the printer and from the wall outlet or power strip.
  3. Wait at least 60 seconds.
  4. Plug the power cord back into a wall outlet.
    note:
    HP recommends connecting the printer power cord directly to a wall outlet.
  5. Reconnect the power cord to the printer.
  6. Load the original document or photo, then send a fax.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Change the fax speed

Higher fax speeds can result in lower fax quality.
To lower the fax speed, find the fax settings on your printer control panel, select Basic Fax Settings, Advanced Fax Settings, or Preferences, select Speed, then select Slow.
These steps might be different for your printer. For specific steps, go to HP Customer Support, type your printer model number, and then click User Guides.
Send or receive a fax. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Change the Error Correction Mode setting

Error Correction Mode (ECM) prevents loss of data due to poor phone lines by detecting errors that occur during transmission and automatically requesting retransmission of the erroneous portion. Phone charges are unaffected, or might even be reduced, on good phone lines. Depending on the age and quality of the phone lines, ECM can improve fax quality or cause data loss. The default setting is On.
To turn change the ECM setting, open the fax menu, select Basic Fax Settings, Advanced Fax Settings, or Preferences, select Error Correction Mode, then select On or Off.
These steps might be different for your printer. For specific steps, go to HP Customer Support, type your printer model number, and then click User Guides.
Send or receive a fax. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Update the printer firmware

HP regularly releases new printer firmware versions with product enhancements or issue fixes. Depending on your printer, apps on the printer control panel might also receive updates. Keeping your firmware and apps up to date helps ensure you are getting the most out of your printer.
Use one of the following methods to update the firmware. If one method does not work, try the other.
Send or receive a fax. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Service or replace 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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