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HP Deskjet, Photosmart 5520 Printers - Black or Color Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for Deskjet Ink Advantage 5525 and HP Photosmart 5520, 5521, 5522, 5524, and 5525 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.

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.
If using genuine HP ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Allow automatic servicing to complete

Your HP printer has an automatic servicing routine that can solve many print quality issues. There is nothing you need to do. The print quality should improve a few hours after you experience the issue.
If you cannot wait for the automatic servicing routine to complete, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check the paper

The quality and type of paper can affect the print job. Follow these guidelines to make sure the paper is appropriate. If it is not, load an appropriate paper type.
  • 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.
note:
Incorrect paper type or dirty scanner glass can cause vertical streaks in printouts. Do not replace ink cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
  • Horizontal streaks in printout: Continue troubleshooting if your printout contains horizontal streaks or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
    Horizontal streaks
  • Vertical streaks in printout: Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document.
    Vertical streaks
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check the print settings

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

Step 5: Check the estimated ink levels

Check estimated ink levels to see if any ink cartridges are critically low or empty.
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
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to the step to print a Print Quality Diagnostic report.
  • If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step 6: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace any critically low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again. Skip this step if all ink cartridges display full ink levels.
  1. If the printer is off, press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Opening the ink 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.
    Removing the ink cartridge from the slot
  4. Remove the plastic wrap from a new ink cartridge by pulling the orange tab.
      caution:
    Make 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 vent the ink cartridge.
    Removing the plastic wrap from a new ink cartridge
  5. Remove the orange cap from the ink cartridge. Twist the cap counter-clockwise until it snaps off.
    Removing the orange cap from the ink cartridge
  6. Slide the ink cartridge into its slot, and then press down on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    note:
    Make sure that each ink cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the ink cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
    Reinserting the ink cartridge
  7. Repeat these steps to insert the other ink cartridges.
  8. Close the ink cartridge access door.
Try to print. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.
  1. Load plain, white paper in the tray.
  2. From the control panel home screen, touch the Settings icon .
  3. Touch Tools, and then touch Print Quality Report.
    The printer prints the Print Quality Diagnostic report.
     Print Quality Diagnostic report with no defects
Continue to the next step.

Step 8: Examine the Print Quality Diagnostic report for defects

If the printer and the ink cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be complete, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not have ink streaks.
Examples of defects on a Print Quality Diagnostic report
Defect
Example
Irregular streaks
Irregular streaks
Faded color bars
Faded color bars
Missing color
Missing color
Color bars with regular white streaks
Regular white streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patterns
Jagged alignment patterns
  • If you do not see defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report, the print mechanism and ink cartridges work correctly. Return to the step to check the print settings.
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Make sure the ink cartridges are properly vented and correctly seated

Check the vents on the top of the ink cartridges. If they are clogged or obstructed, the ink cartridges might not work properly, which can affect print quality.
note:
To avoid print quality issues and dried out ink cartridges, do not leave any ink cartridges outside the printer for longer than 30 minutes.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Opening the ink 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.
    Removing the ink cartridge from the slot
  4. Examine the vent area on each ink cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the ink cartridge.
    Vent area on the top of the ink cartridge
  5. If the ink cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Orange pull tab
  6. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      Cleaning the clogged vent with a pin
    1. Clogged vent
    2. With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3. Unclogged vent
  7. Slide the ink cartridge into its slot, and then press down on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    note:
    Make sure that each ink cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the ink cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
    Reinserting the ink cartridge
  8. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the ink cartridges.
  9. Make sure that 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.
  10. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  11. Try the print job again.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 10: Clean the printhead

If you found defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report, run an automated tool to clean the printhead.
  1. Make sure that plain white U.S. letter or A4 size paper is loaded in the tray.
  2. From the control panel home screen, touch the Settings icon , and then touch Tools.
  3. Touch the Down Arrow , and then touch Clean Printhead. The printer cleans the printheads, and then prints a test page.
  4. Review the print quality on the test page.
    Printhead cleaning test page
    • If the print quality on the test page is satisfactory, return to the current print job.
    • If the print quality on the test page is unsatisfactory, perform a secondary cleaning of the printhead.
      If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes after the last cleaning stage to start the first stage of the cleaning process over again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting. The following precautions might prevent the issue in the future.
    • Avoid leaving unprotected ink cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
    • Always use the Power button to turn off the printer. This protects the ink cartridges from exposure to air.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 11: Align the Printer

Align the printer using the control panel.
  1. From the home screen, touch the Setup icon , and then touch Tools.
  2. Touch the Down Arrow , and then touch Align Printer. The alignment page prints.
  3. Lift the lid on the printer, and then place the alignment page print side down in the right front corner of the scanner glass.
    Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass
  4. Close the lid, and then press OK on the control panel. The printer aligns automatically. Press OK to continue.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 12: Replace the problem ink cartridge

If the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, replace the ink cartridge that printed defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report, even if the ink cartridge is not low on ink.
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.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 13: 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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