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HP Designjet 4000 Printer Series - Printing and Interpreting the Image Diagnostic Print

Introduction

The Image Diagnostics print consists of patterns designed to highlight print quality problems. It helps determine print quality problems, and if present, what the cause of the problem is and how to resolve it.
Before using the Image Diagnostics Print, ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used (i.e. correct paper type and print quality settings).

Printing the image diagnostic print

  1. Ensure that paper of at least A3 size (29.7 × 42 cm = 11.7 × 16.5 in) is loaded into the printer. Use the same paper type as when a problem was detected.
  2. Ensure that the front panel has the same print quality settings that were used when the problem was detected.
    In the Image Diagnostics print, the only difference between Drawings/text and Images is that the latter uses more ink in part 2, so that the colors appear darker. The Image Diagnostics Print will take about two minutes with Images selected; the time may be less with Drawings/text selected (depending on the paper type).
  3. Using the Arrow keys on the printer's front panel, highlight the (printer) icon, and press the Select key.
  4. Scroll to Information, Internal prints, Print image diagnostics, Drawings/text or Images (pressing the Select key for each selection).
  5. The Image Diagnostic print will begin. The Diagnostic print is printed in three different numbered sections:
    • Part 1 tests printhead alignment.
    • Part 2 tests printhead performance and the paper advance mechanism.
    • If part 2 has revealed a printhead problem, part 3 identifies which of the eight printheads is responsible for a printhead problem that is revealed in part 2 (if applicable). If part 2 has not revealed any problem, ignore part 3.

Interpreting part 1 the image diagnostics print

The purpose of part 1 is to identify color-to-color alignment and bidirectional alignment problems.
Figure : Image diagnostic print, part 1
Below is an example of horizontal misalignment:
Figure : Horizontal misalignment
Below is an example of vertical misalignment:
Figure : Vertical misalignment
Below is an example of bidirectional misalignment:
Figure : Bidirectional misalignment
Corrective action
  1. Align the printheads, using the same paper type as the unacceptable print quality occured on.
  2. If there is no improvement in print quality, ensure paper type being used is supported.
Click here for information on supported paper types at http://www.designjet.hp.com/supplies/home.html?newlang=en&uid=2274065.

Interpreting part 2 the image diagnostics print

The purpose of part 2 is to test whether the printheads and the paper advance mechanism are working correctly. This part of the print should not be used to check for color consistency or accuracy.
Figure : Diagnostic image print, part 2
Banding
Banding has occurred when repetitive horizontal bands are visible within the printed image. They can appear as light bands:
Figure : Banding
or dark bands:
Figure : Banding (dark bands)
or as a more gradual wave effect:
Figure : Wave effect
Horizontal bands across strips of one color only
If a printhead is faulty, horizontal bands will occur across strips of one color only; or at least the horizontal bands will be much more noticeable in one color than in the others.
note:
Banding in the green strips is more difficult to see; and it may be caused by a yellow printhead or by a cyan printhead. If you see banding is seen in the green strip only, it is caused by a yellow printhead; if banding is seen in the green and cyan strips, it is caused by a cyan printhead.
Figure : Horizontal bands in one color
Corrective action
  1. Check that you are using appropriate print quality settings.
  2. Clean the printheads.
    Click here for information on cleaning the printheads at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00264815.html.
  3. Reprint the Image Diagnostics Print. If banding re-appears, continue with steps 4 and 5.
  4. As there are two printheads for each color, check exactly which printhead is responsible for the problem using part 3 of the Image Diagnostics print.
  5. Replace the printhead that shows the problem.
Horizontal bands across all the colored strips
If the printer has paper advance problems horizontal bands will be seen across all the colored strips.
note:
Banding in the green strips is more difficult to see.
Corrective action
  1. Ensure that the appropriate print quality settings are being used.
  2. If using low-quality paper, try better-quality paper. The performance of the printer can be guaranteed only if using recommended papers.
  3. Perform paper advance calibration with the same paper type that you intend to use for the final print.
  4. If there is no improvement in print quality, contact HP support.

Interpreting part 3 the image diagnostics print

If part 2 has revealed a printhead problem, the purpose of part 3 is to identify which particular printhead is faulty. Each rectangle in this plot is labeled with the number of the printhead that produced it.
Figure : Image diagnostic print, part 3
Here are three examples of a black rectangle in close-up, showing the fine lines of which it is made:
Figure : Black rectangle close-up
In the first two examples above, there are so many missing lines that the printhead may be faulty. In the third case there are only a few missing lines, which are acceptable, because the printer can compensate for such minor problems.
Corrective action
If part 3 shows a problem with one printhead, but part 2 shows no problem, there is no immediate need to take any corrective action, because the printer is able to compensate for the problem and maintain print quality. However, if part 2 also shows a problem, continue as follows:
  1. Clean the printheads.
    Click here for information on cleaning the printheads at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00264815.html.
  2. If there is no improvement in print quality, replace the printhead that shows the problem.

If problems persist

If the entire Image Diagnostics print contains no defects and print quality problems are still occuring, here are some things to check:
  • Try using a higher print quality option.
  • Ensure the correct HP driver is being used.
  • If you are using a non-HP RIP, its settings may be incorrect. Refer to the documentation that came with the RIP.
  • Ensure that the printer's firmware is up to date.
  • Ensure the right settings are being used in the software application.

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