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HP Color LaserJet 1500, 2500, and 2550 Series Printers - Troubleshooting Print Quality Problems

If a document is printing but the quality is not what was expected, start by using the print-quality checklist.

Print-quality checklist

General print-quality problems can be solved by following the checklist below.

  1. Check the printer driver to make sure the best available print-quality option is being used, or return the printer driver to the default settings.

  2. Check that the paper or print media is within specifications. Generally, smoother paper provides better results; however, coated, photo, and some glossy papers are not supported.

  3. If using a special print media such as labels, grayscale transparencies, or letterhead, ensure that the printer is printing by Type.

  4. Print a Configuration page and Supplies Status page at the printer by pressing (Go) and (Cancel Job) simultaneously.

    • Check the Supplies Status page to see if any supplies are low or empty. No information is provided for non-HP print cartridges.

    • If the pages do not print correctly, the problem may be with the hardware. Contact HP Customer Care. See the flyer that shipped in the printer box or the User’s Guide on the product CD-ROM.

  5. Print a Demo page from the HP Color LaserJet 2500 Toolbox. If the page prints, the problem is with the printer driver. Try printing from one of the other printer drivers. For example, if using the PCL 6 printer driver, print from the PCL 5c or PS printer driver.

  6. Try printing from a different program. If the page prints correctly, the problem is with the program.

  7. Restart the computer and the printer and try printing again. If the problem is not resolved, select one of these options:

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Solving issues with all printed documents

The examples below depict letter-size paper that has passed through the printer short-edge first. These examples illustrate problems that would affect all pages printed, whether in color or in black only. The topics that follow list the typical cause and solution for each of these examples.

Table 1: Illustration of printing problems
Light print or fade
Toner specks
Dropouts
Vertical lines
Gray background
Toner smear
Loose toner
Repetitive defects on the front
Repetitive defects on the back
Misformed characters
Curl or wave
Page skew
Wrinkles or creases
Toner scatter outline
Random image repetition (light)
Random image repetition (dark)
Horizontal black line

Light print or fade

A vertical streak or an incorrect or faded color area appears on the page.

Figure 1: Light print or faded color

  • The paper might not meet HP’s paper specifications (for example, the paper is too moist or too rough).

  • One or more print cartridges are low. If using non-HP print cartridges, no messages appear on the printer control panel or in the embedded Web server.

  • The imaging drum might be low or empty. Print the Supplies Status page to check remaining life. Replace the imaging drum if it is low or empty.

  • If none of the print cartridges or the imaging drum is low or empty, remove the print cartridges one at a time and inspect the toner roller in each to see if the roller is damaged. If so, replace the print cartridge.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Toner specks

Figure 2: Toner specks

  • The paper might not meet specifications. For example, the paper is too moist or too rough.

  • The paper path might need cleaning.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Dropouts

Faded areas, generally rounded, occur randomly on the page.

Figure 3: Dropouts

  • A single sheet of paper might be defective. Try reprinting the job.

  • The moisture content of the paper is uneven or the paper has moist spots on its surface. Try different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • The paper lot is flawed. The manufacturing processes can cause some areas to reject toner. Try a different brand of paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • The imaging drum might be defective. See “ Repetitive defects on the front ” below.

  • If these steps do not correct the problem, contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Vertical lines

Vertical streaks or bands appear on the page.

Figure 4: Vertical lines

  • One or more print cartridges are low or defective. Print the Supplies Status page to check remaining life. If using non-HP print cartridges, no messages appear on the printer control panel or in the embedded Web server.

  • Clean the printer using a cleaning page.

  • A Cleaning Page utility can be found on the Troubleshooting tab of the HP Color LaserJet Toolbox.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Gray background

The amount of background toner shading becomes unacceptable.

Figure 5: Gray background

  • Perform a calibration. See the User’s Guide for assistance.

  • Use a different paper with a lighter basis weight.

  • Check the printer environment. Very dry (low humidity) conditions can increase the amount of background shading.

  • One or more print cartridges are low. If using non-HP print cartridges, no messages appear on the printer control panel or in the embedded Web server.

  • The imaging drum might be low or empty. Print the Supplies Status page to check remaining life. Replace the imaging drum if it is low or empty.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Toner smear

Toner smears appear on the leading edge of the paper.

Figure 6: Toner smears

  • Check the paper type and quality. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • If toner smears appear on the leading edge of the paper, the paper guides are dirty, or there is debris in the print path.

  • The imaging drum might be low or empty. Check the status of the imaging drum using the printer control panel or the embedded Web server and replace the imaging drum if it is low or empty.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Loose toner

Toner smears easily when touched.

Figure 7: Loose toner

  • In the printer driver, select the Paper tab and set Type is to match the type of paper being used. Print speed might be slower if using heavy paper. For UNIX(R), Linux, and OS/2, this feature is available in the embedded Web server if the printer is connected to a network.

  • Check the paper type and quality. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • Clean the inside of the printer.

  • Remove and reinstall the fuser. See the User’s Guide for assistance.

  • The fuser might be damaged. Contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Repetitive defects on the front

Marks repeatedly appear on the printed side of the page at even intervals.

Figure 8: Repetitive defects

  • In the printer driver, select the Paper tab and set Type is to match the type of paper being used. Print speed might be slower if using heavy paper. For UNIX, Linux, and OS/2, this feature is available in the embedded Web server if the printer is connected to a network.

  • Clean the printer.

  • A Cleaning Page utility can be found on the Troubleshooting tab of the HP Color LaserJet Toolbox.

  • The imaging drum might be defective. Replace the imaging drum.

  • Remove and reinstall the fuser. See the User’s Guide for assistance.

  • The fuser might be damaged. Contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Repetitive defects on the back

Marks repeatedly appear on the unprinted side of the page at even intervals.

Figure 9: Repetitive defects on unprinted side of page

  • Internal parts might have toner on them. The problem will likely correct itself after a few more pages.

  • Clean the printer.

  • Remove and reinstall the fuser. See the User’s Guide for assistance.

  • The fuser might be damaged. Contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Misformed characters

Figure 10: Misformed characters

  • If characters are improperly formed so that they produce hollow images, the paper might be paper that is too slick, such as a photo, glossy, or coated paper. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • If characters are improperly formed so that they produce a wavy effect, the laser scanner might need service. Verify that the problem also occurs on the Configuration page. If so, contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Curl or wave

Figure 11: Curl or wave

  • Turn over the stack of paper in the tray. Also, try rotating the paper 180 degrees in the input tray.

  • Set the correct Type in the printer driver. Heavier paper might take longer to print.

  • Open the rear output door to print to the straight-through paper path.

  • Check the paper type and quality. Both high temperature and humidity will cause paper curl. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Page skew

Figure 12: Page skew

  • Make sure the paper or other print media is loaded correctly and that the guides are not too tight or too loose against the stack.

  • Check the paper type and quality. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Wrinkles or creases

Figure 13: Wrinkles or creases

  • Make sure that paper is loaded properly.

  • Turn over the stack of paper in the input tray, or try rotating the paper 180 degrees in the input tray.

  • Open the rear output door to print to the straight-through paper path.

  • Check the paper type and quality. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Toner scatter outline

Figure 14: Toner scatter outline

  • Turn over the stack of paper in the tray.

  • Perform a calibration. See the User’s Guide for assistance.

  • Small amounts of toner scatter are normal for laser printing.

  • If large amounts of toner have scattered around the characters, the paper might have high resistivity. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • Change the Print mode in the embedded Web server to High Resistivity .

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Random image repetition

If an image that appears at the top of the page (in solid black) repeats farther down the page (in gray field), the toner might not have been completely erased from the last job. The repeated image might be lighter or darker than the field in which it appears.

Figure 15: Random image repetition

  • From the program, change the tone (darkness) of the field that the repeated image appears in.

  • From the program, rotate the whole page 180 degrees to print the lighter image first.

  • Change the order in which the images are printed. For example, have the lighter image at the top of the page, and the darker image further down the page.

  • If the defect occurs later in a print job, turn the printer off for 10 minutes, and then turn the printer on to restart the print job.

  • If the problem is not resolved, see “ If the problem is not resolved ” below.

Horizontal black line

Figure 16: Horizontal black line

  1. One or more print cartridges are low or defective. Print the Supplies Status page to check remaining life. If using non-HP print cartridges, no messages appear on the printer control panel or in the embedded Web server.

  2. Clean the printer using a cleaning page.

  3. A Cleaning Page utility can be found on the Troubleshooting tab of the HP Color LaserJet Toolbox.

  4. If the problem is not resolved, see the " If the problem is not resolved " section below.

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If the problem is not resolved

If the problem is not resolved, try these steps:

  1. Perform a cleaning and calibration.

  2. Print the Configuration page and Supplies Status page again.

    • If the pages print correctly, then the problem is with the program, computer, or printer driver. Go to the next step.

    • If the pages do not print correctly, then the problem is with the printer itself. The problem might be the fuser. Remove and reinstall the fuser.. If the issue continues, contact HP Customer Care. See the support flyer that came in the printer box.

  3. Change the Type setting in the printer driver, or change the print mode in the embedded Web server. If this step does not help, go to the next step.

  4. If the problem still persists, check the paper type and quality. Use a different paper, such as high-quality paper intended for laser printers. Coated, photo, and glossy papers are not supported.

  5. Print to a different printer.

    • If the page prints correctly, then the problem may be with the printer driver for the HP Color LaserJet 2500 printer. Uninstall and then reinstall the printer driver.

    • If the page does not print correctly, the problem may be with the program, file, or the computer. See the documentation for the program or the computer.

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Solving issues with color documents

This section describes issues that can occur when printing in color. Whenever there are color-related issues, calibrate the printer before trying any other steps.

Only black printing
Missing or incorrect color
Color printing inconsistently
Colors not matching
Color pages with inconsistent finish

Only black prints

Only black is printing when the document should be printing in color.

Figure 17: Only black printing

  • Color mode is not selected in the program or printer driver. Select color mode instead of grayscale mode.

  • If printing on transparencies, all transparencies print in grayscale.

  • The correct printer driver is not selected in the program. Select the correct printer driver.

  • The printer is not properly configured. Verify the printer configuration by printing a Configuration page. If no color appears on the Configuration page, contact HP Customer Care.

Missing or incorrect color

Figure 18: Missing or incorrect color

  • The color settings have been changed manually. Return the color setting to Automatic.

  • The print media does not meet the specifications for this printer. Use a different paper, such as a high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • The printer is operating in excessively humid conditions. Verify that the printer environment is within humidity specifications.

  • A print cartridge might be low. Check the printer control panel, print a Supplies Status page, or view the embedded Web server. (If using a non-HP cartridge, none of these sources will provide information about a low or empty print cartridge.) If so, replace the print cartridge.

  • Perform a calibration.

Color prints inconsistently

A color is printing inconsistently after loading a new print cartridge.

Figure 19: Color printing inconsistently

  • Another print cartridge might be low. Check the supplies status lights or embedded Web server to see if a print cartridge is low and replace it if necessary. If using a non-HP print cartridge, it might be low or empty but an indication will not display.

  • Print cartridges might be improperly installed. Remove the print cartridge for the color that is printing inconsistently and reinstall it.

Colors do not match

The colors on the printed page do not match the colors as they appear on the screen.

Figure 20: Colors not matching

  • The colors on the computer monitor differ from the printer output. Try selecting Screen Match in the Color tab of the printer driver.

  • Print the Configuration and Supplies Status pages to ensure that they print correctly. If not, the problem is with the printer.

  • Try printing from a different program or one of the other printer drivers. For example, if using the PCL 6 printer driver, try the PCL 5c or PS printer driver.

  • Extremely light colors or extremely dark colors on screen are not printing. The program might interpret extremely light colors as white or extremely dark colors as black. If so, avoid using extremely light or extremely dark colors.

  • Other factors, such as the light or paper quality, are affecting the output. Use a different paper, such as a high-quality paper intended for laser printers.

  • Perform a calibration.

Color pages have inconsistent finish

Figure 21: Color pages with inconsistent finish

Use a smooth paper or print media, such as a high-quality paper made for laser printers. Generally, the smoother the paper, the better the results. Coated, photo, and glossy papers are not supported.

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Troubleshooting checklist

If the printer is not responding properly, complete the steps in the following checklist, in order. If the printer does not pass a step, follow the corresponding troubleshooting suggestions. If a step resolves the problem, stop without performing the rest of the steps on the checklist.

  1. Make sure the printer Ready light is on. If no lights are on, complete these steps:

    • Check the power cable connections.

    • Check that the power switch is on.

    • Check the power source by plugging the printer directly into the wall or into a different outlet.

    • Try a new or different power cord.

    • If none of these measures restores power, contact HP Customer Care. (See the support flyer that came in the printer box.)

  2. Check the cabling.

    • Check the cable connection between the printer and the computer or network port. Make sure the connection is secure.

    • Make sure that the cable itself is not faulty by using a different cable, if possible.

    • Check the network connection. See “ Checking the network ” below.

  3. Ensure that the print media being used meets specifications.

  4. Press (Go) and (Cancel Job) simultaneously to print a Configuration page and a Supplies Status page. An HP Jetdirect page also prints, if a print server card is installed.

    • If the pages do not print, check that there is paper in at least one tray.

    • If the page jams in the printer, go to “Clearing jams.”

  5. If the Configuration and Supplies Status pages print, check the following items.

    • If the pages print correctly, then the printer hardware is working. The problem is with the computer being used, with the printer driver, or with the program.

    • If the pages do not print correctly, calibrate the printer. Print the pages again. If the pages still do not print correctly, the problem is with the printer hardware. Contact HP Customer Care. (See the support flyer that came in the printer box.)

  6. At the computer, check the print queue or print spooler (Print Monitor or Print Center Queue for Mac OSs) to see if the printer is paused or set to print offline.

  7. Verify that the HP Color LaserJet 2500 series printer driver has been installed. Check the program to make sure that an HP Color LaserJet 2500 series printer driver is being used.

  8. Print a page from the HP Color LaserJet 2500 Toolbox (Windows 98 and higher only).

    • If it prints, then the problem is with the printer driver. Try using one of the other printer drivers. Or, uninstall the printer driver and reinstall it (see the getting started guide).

    • If the page does not print, then the problem is with the computer or the program.

  9. Print a short document from a different program that has worked in the past. If this solution works, then the problem is with the program being used. If this solution does not work (the document does not print) complete these steps:

    • Try printing the job from another computer that has the printer software installed.

    • If the printer is connected to the network, connect the printer directly to a computer with a parallel or USB cable. Redirect the printer to the proper port, or reinstall the software, choosing the new connection type being used.

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Checking the network

It is recommended that the HP Color LaserJet 2500 CD-ROM be used to install and set up the printer on a network. Follow these steps to see if the problem is caused by the network.

  • When the Configuration page was printed, an HP Jetdirect configuration page should have printed if an HP Jetdirect print server card is installed. Verify that all network settings are properly configured. For more information about the HP Jetdirect page, see the HP Jetdirect Print Server Administrator’s Guide , which can be installed from the View Documentation or User Documentation sections on the HP Color LaserJet 2500 CD-ROM.

  • See the HP Jetdirect Print Server Administrator’s Guide , which can be installed from the View Documentation or User Documentation sections on the HP Color LaserJet 2500 CD-ROM.

  • Contact a network administrator for assistance.

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Repetitive image defect ruler

Figure 22: Repetitive image defect ruler

Callout
Description
Measurement
1
First occurrence of defect
0 mm (0 inches)
2
Pre-ICL roller
22.1 mm (.87 inches)
3
Developer sleeve
33.9 mm (1.33 inches)
4
ICL roller and Charge roller
ICL Roller 37.9 mm (1.49 inches)
charge roller 38.1 mm (1.50 inches)
5
RS roller
41.9 mm (1.65 inches)
6
T1 transfer
44.3 mm (1.74 inches)
7
T2 transfer
56.9 mm (2.24 inches)
8
Pressure roller
66.6 mm (2.62 inches)
9
Fuser film
75.6 mm (2.98 inches)
10
Transfer belt drive roller
89.0 mm (3.50 inches)
11
Transfer belt tension roller
90.0 mm (3.54 inches)
12
Cartridge drum
148.3 mm (5.84 inches)

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