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HP Officejet 6800 Printers - Black or Color Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for HP Officejet 6812, 6815, 6820, Officejet Pro 6830, and 6835 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.
note:
If you see an Incompatible, Incompatible Cartridge or Defective Cartridge message for the Cyan cartridge and have an HP Officejet 6810, 6820, 6950, 6960, 8010, 8010e, or HP OfficeJet Pro 6230, 6830, 6960, 6970, 8020, 8020e, 8030, or 8030e series printer, see HP OfficeJet Printers - 'Incompatible Cartridge' message for more help.

Step 1: Reinstall the print driver (Windows only)

If you cannot print color from a Windows computer, uninstall and reinstall the printer software. Skip this step if your printer is able to print in color.
  1. Remove the printer from the devices list.
    For steps on removing the printer from the devices list, go to Uninstalling the Printer Software (Windows).
  2. Go to HP Customer Support - Software and Driver Downloads, and then install the latest software for your printer.
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 2: Clean the printhead

The printhead could be clogged, and you might need to clean the printhead several times to restore print quality. Use an automated tool from the printer control panel 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 tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon .
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Printer Maintenance, and then touch Printer Maintenance.
  4. Touch Clean Printhead.
    A test page prints.
  5. Examine the test page.
    • If the print quality is unacceptable, touch Clean Again to continue the next level of cleaning. If necessary, repeat these steps for the third cleaning cycle.
      note:
      If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes before you perform all three levels of cleaning again.
    • If the print quality is acceptable, touch Done.
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 3: Use genuine HP 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.
Black ink cartridge
Cyan ink cartridge
Magenta ink cartridge
Yellow ink cartridge
HP 934 Black
HP 934XL Black
HP 935 Cyan
HP 935 XL Cyan
HP 935 Magenta
HP 935 XL Magenta
HP 935 Yellow
HP 935 XL Yellow
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 4: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, follow these steps to resolve the issue.
  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon . The Setup menu displays.
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Printer Maintenance, and then touch Printer Maintenance.
  4. Touch Clean Page Smears.
  5. After the printer prints a test page, touch OK.
  6. Review the test page to see if the issue is resolved.
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 5: Check the paper

The quality and type of paper can affect the print job. Use the following guidelines to make sure that 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.
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 6: Check the print settings

Sometimes the print settings can affect the print quality. Select your operating system, and then check the print settings to make sure they are appropriate for your print job.

Step 7: Check the ink levels

Sometimes low ink levels can contribute to poor print quality. Check the color and black ink levels from the printer control panel, and then replace any low or empty ink cartridges.
On the printer control panel, touch the Ink Information icon to display the current estimated ink levels.
Image:  Example of the ink level display with full cartridges.
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.

Step 8: Replace any low or empty cartridges

If you discovered that one or more of the ink cartridges were low or empty, replace the ink cartridges to improve print quality.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Place your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then gently lift up to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the cartridge access area. Wait several seconds until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Image: Slot on the left side of the printer
  3. Press the tab inward on the front of the old cartridge to release it, and then pull up on the cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot
  4. Remove a new cartridge from its package, and then pull the orange pull-tab straight back.
      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 cartridge. When you remove the plastic wrap, the paper label on the top of the cartridge tears slightly, which is necessary to properly vent the cartridge.
    Image:  Pull the orange tab straight back
  5. Hold the cartridge by its sides, and then twist the protective orange cap counter-clockwise to snap it off the cartridge.
    Image: Twist the orange cap to snap it off the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
  6. Turn the cartridge so that the cartridge contacts face downward, and then match the label color with the color dot on the carriage.
  7. Slide the cartridge into its slot, and then gently press the cartridge down until it is firmly seated.
    Image: Install the cartridge
  8. If the cartridge does not firmly seat, remove the cartridge from the printhead. Gently bend the tab away from the cartridge, and then reinsert the cartridge into the printhead.
    Image: Gently bend the tab
      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. Repeat these steps to install all the new cartridges.
  10. Close the cartridge access door. The printer automatically aligns the cartridges.
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon . The Setup menu displays.
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Reports, and then touch Reports.
  4. Touch Print Quality Report. The printer prints the report.
    Image: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic Page.

Step 10: Examine Test Pattern 1

Evaluate Test Pattern 1 on the Print Quality Diagnostic Page to make sure that the lines are straight and connected.
Image: Test Pattern 1
  • If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are straight and connected, skip to the step to examine Test Pattern 2.
  • If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are not straight and connected, continue to the next step to align the printhead.

Step 11: Use an automated tool to align the printhead

If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are not straight and connected, align the printhead from the printer control panel to troubleshoot the issue, and then try to print again.
  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon . The Setup menu displays.
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Printer Maintenance, and then touch Printer Maintenance.
  4. Touch Align Printhead.
  5. After the printer prints the alignment page, touch OK, and then recycle or discard the alignment page.
  6. Try to print.
    • If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are straight and connected, continue to the next step.
    • If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are not straight and connected, skip to service the printer.

Step 12: Examine Test Pattern 2

Examine the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 on the Print Quality Diagnostic Page.
Test Pattern 2 with white lines in a color bar
Image: Test Pattern 2 with white lines in a color bar.
Test Pattern 2 with a missing color block
Image: Test Pattern 2 with a missing color block.
  • If the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 do not show white lines, and are not faded or missing, skip to examine Test Pattern 3.
  • If any of the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 show white lines or are faded or missing completely, continue to the next step.

Step 13: Make sure the ink cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly

If the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 display white lines or are faded or missing completely, check the vents on the top of the ink cartridges. If they are clogged or obstructed, the cartridges might not work properly, which can affect print quality.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Place your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then gently lift up to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the cartridge access area. Wait several seconds until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  3. Press the tab inward on the front of the old cartridge to release it, and then pull up on the cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot
  4. Examine the vent area above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.
    Image: Examine the vent area on the top of the cartridge
  5. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Image: Remove the orange pull-tab
  6. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      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
  7. Turn the cartridge so that the cartridge contacts face downward, and then match the label color with the color dot on the carriage.
  8. Slide the cartridge into its slot, and then gently press the cartridge down until it clicks into place.
    Image: Install the cartridge
  9. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  10. Make sure that 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.
  11. Close the cartridge access door.
    Image: Close the cartridge access door

Step 14: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

After checking the vents on top of the ink cartridges, clean the printhead from the control panel, and then try to print.
  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 tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon . The Setup menu displays.
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Printer Maintenance, and then touch Printer Maintenance.
  4. Touch Clean Printhead.
    A test page prints.
  5. Examine the test page.
    • If the print quality is unacceptable, touch Clean Again to continue the next level of cleaning. If necessary, repeat these steps for the third cleaning cycle.
      note:
      If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes before you perform all three levels of cleaning again.
    • If the print quality is acceptable, touch Done.
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 15: Examine Test Pattern 3

Examine the green columns in Test Pattern 3 on the Print Quality Diagnostic Page.
Image: Test Pattern 3 with white gaps in the columns.
  • If the columns in Test Pattern 3 do not display dark lines or white gaps where the arrows are pointing, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the columns in Test Pattern 3 display dark lines or white gaps where the arrows are pointing, continue to the next step.

Step 16: Use an automated tool to align the printhead

If the columns in Test Pattern 3 display dark lines or white gaps, align the printhead from the printer control panel to troubleshoot the issue, and then try to print.
  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to scroll to Setup, and then touch the Setup icon . The Setup menu displays.
  3. Swipe the display to scroll to Printer Maintenance, and then touch Printer Maintenance.
  4. Touch Align Printhead.
  5. After the printer prints the alignment page, touch OK, and then recycle or discard the alignment page.
  6. Try to print.
    • If there are no defects on the page, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
    • If there are still dark lines or white gaps where the arrows are pointing in Test Pattern 3, continue to the next step.

Step 17: Replace the problem ink cartridge

Replace the problem cartridge with a genuine HP ink cartridge.
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. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Place your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then gently lift up to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the cartridge access area. Wait several seconds until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Image: Slot on the left side of the printer
  3. Press the tab inward on the front of the old cartridge to release it, and then pull up on the cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot
  4. Remove a new cartridge from its package, and then pull the orange pull-tab straight back.
      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 cartridge. When you remove the plastic wrap, the paper label on the top of the cartridge tears slightly, which is necessary to properly vent the cartridge.
    Image:  Pull the orange tab straight back
  5. Hold the cartridge by its sides, and then twist the protective orange cap counter-clockwise to snap it off the cartridge.
    Image: Twist the orange cap to snap it off the cartridge
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
  6. Turn the cartridge so that the cartridge contacts face downward, and then match the label color with the color dot on the carriage.
  7. Slide the cartridge into its slot, and then gently press the cartridge down until it is firmly seated.
    Image: Install the cartridge
  8. If the cartridge does not firmly seat, remove the cartridge from the printhead. Gently bend the tab away from the cartridge, and then reinsert the cartridge into the printhead.
    Image: Gently bend the tab
      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. Repeat these steps to install all the new cartridges.
  10. Close the cartridge access door. The printer automatically aligns the cartridges.
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
Try to print. If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 18: 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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