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HP Deskjet F2400 All-in-One Printer Series - Troubleshooting Print-Quality Issues

Issue

The quality of the printout or printed image is not as expected.

Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

NOTE: Some of the following solutions require the full HP software. If you did not install the full software when you installed your product, click here to go to the software and drivers page , and then download and install the full feature software.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP cartridges or refilled HP cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the following solutions might not resolve your print quality issue.

Solution two: Allow the All-in-One to rest

Sometimes, print-quality issues can be resolved during a period of inactivity. Consider waiting for about 40 minutes, and then try the print job again.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the product with an appropriate paper type.

  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. 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. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.

    Figure 1: Do not use wrinkled paper

    Image: 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.

      Figure 2: Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing

    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.

    • Some media may 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 will determine if the problem is related to the paper.

NOTE: Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts (or if the problem occurs on a copy, dirty scanner glass usually causes the issue). Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
Examples of horizontal streaks and vertical streaks in printout

Figure 3: Horizontal streaks in printout

Illustration of horizontal streaks

Figure 4: Vertical streaks in printout

Illustration of vertical streaks
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print-quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document, or search for a document that covers this issue.

After trying the preceding guidelines, try printing again.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.

Step one: Check the print quality settings

  1. Open the Print dialog box in the software program you are trying to print from.

    • Windows XP: Click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), move the cursor to Print, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.

  2. Select your product, and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.

  3. Choose the correct tab to find the settings

    • Windows XP: Click the Printing Shortcuts tab, and then click the type of job you are trying to print.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Paper/Quality tab.

  4. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.

    • Paper sizes: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.

    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.

    • Print quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, decrease the print quality.

  5. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the print job.

Step two: Check the Print in Grayscale setting

  1. Open the Print dialog box

    • Windows XP: Click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), move the cursor to Print, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.

  2. Select your product, and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.

  3. Choose the correct tab to find the setting

    • Windows XP: Click the Features tab.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Color tab.

  4. Under Color Options, make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.

  5. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the print job.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution five: Check ink levels and replace low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the ink levels on your product, and then replace low or empty cartridges according to the results.

NOTE: Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low-ink levels, consider having a replacement cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  2. Click Settings ().

  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens.

  4. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab. The estimated ink levels display in a graphic on the computer.

    Figure 5: Estimated ink level graphic in the Toolbox - Black ink slightly lower than color ink

    Illustration of estimated ink levels

    The colored bars represent the estimated ink levels in the corresponding cartridge. Full color bars represent high ink levels, while color bars that approach the bottom of the bar represent low ink.

Solution six: Print and evaluate an extended self test report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate an extended self test report.

Step one: Print an extended self test report

  1. Make sure you have plain white, letter-size paper loaded in the input tray.

  2. Press and hold the Power button () and the Cancel button () for 10 seconds. The extended self test report prints.

    Figure 6: Example extended self test report

    Illustration of the extended self test report.

Step two: Determine which cartridges printed which areas of the extended self test report

Different cartridges print different areas of the extended self test report. Use the following guidelines to determine which cartridge printed which areas.

  • The black cartridge prints the black areas of the report, such as the black bars and black text.

  • The color cartridge prints the color areas of the report, such as the cyan (blue), magenta, and yellow color bars.

Figure 7: Which cartridges print which areas of the extended self test report

Illustration of the different parts of the extended self test report
1 - Printed by the color cartridge
2 - Printed by the black cartridge

Make a note of which cartridges printed which areas of the extended self test, and then continue to the next step to check the extended self test report for defects.

Step three: Check the extended self test report for defects

In general, if the product and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.

Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the extended-self test report. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.

Examples of defects on the extended self test report
Defect
Example
Description or cause
Broken lines in grid patterns
Illustration of broken lines
Problem with the ink nozzles
Faded or nonuniform colors in the color blocks
Illustration of nonuniform colors
Depleted cartridges, or ink mixing together
Track marks or ink smears in the text
Illustration of smeared text
Fibers or other debris on one or both of the cartridges
The color blocks are streaked or lined
Illustration of streaks in the report
The cartridge might be running out of ink or the nozzles might be clogged
One or more of the colored blocks is missing entirely
Illustration of missing colors on report
1 - All colors printed - no missing colors
2 - Yellow missing - the color cartridge is not printing correctly
The cartridge is out of one color of ink or the ink nozzles might be clogged.
  • If you see no defects on the extended self test report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try these general print-quality guidelines, and then do not continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document.

    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that have been enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.

    • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a print, use the software you installed with the product, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.

  • If you see one or more of these defects on the extended self test report, continue to the next steps.

Step four: Clean the cartridges using an automated utility

Follow these steps to run an automated tool to clean the cartridges if you found defects on the extended self test report.

  1. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP:

      1. Click Start.

      2. Click All Programs.

      3. Click HP.

      4. Click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista or Windows 7:

      1. Click the Windows icon ().

      2. Click All Programs.

      3. Click HP.

      4. Click HP Solution Center.

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  2. Click Settings ().

  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens.

  4. On the Device Services tab, click Clean the Print Cartridge(s) ().

  5. Click Clean to begin the process.

    NOTE: Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.

Step five: Align the printer

  1. Make sure that you have plain paper loaded in the product.

  2. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  3. In HP Solution Center, click Settings ().

  4. In the Print Settings section, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.

  5. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().

  6. Click Print Page. The product prints an alignment page.

  7. Lift the product lid.

    Figure 8: Lift the product lid

    Illustration of lifting the product lid
  8. Place the alignment page with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment sheet.

    Figure 9: Load the alignment page

    Illustration of loading the alignment sheet.
  9. Lower the product lid.

    Figure 10: Lower the lid

    Illustration of lowering the product lid
  10. Press Start Copy Black, or Start Copy Color to start the alignment.

  11. When the cartridge alignment is complete, recycle or discard the alignment page.

Step six: Clean the area around the ink nozzles

You need to complete these steps only if you noticed track marks or smears in the text on the extended self test report as described earlier in this document.

CAUTION: Do not perform these steps unless your extended self test report specifically shows smeared text or track marks. If your report does not show this defect, continue to the next solution.

  1. Gather the following materials:

    • Dry foam-rubber swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that will not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well)

    • Clean sheets of paper

    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the print cartridges)

      CAUTION: Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the area. These can damage the cartridge or the product.
  2. Press the Power button () to turn on the product, if it is not already on.

  3. Open the front access door.

    Figure 11: Open the front access door

    Illustration of opening the front access door.
  4. Wait for the carriage to move to the center of the product.

  5. Press down on one of the cartridges to release it, and then pull it out from its slot.

    Figure 12: Remove the cartridge

    Illustration of removing the cartridge.
    CAUTION: Do not remove both cartridges at the same time. Do not leave a cartridge outside the product for more than 30 minutes.
    CAUTION: Do not touch the cartridge contacts or nozzles.

    Figure 13: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles

    Illustration: Do not touch the cartridge contacts or nozzles.
  6. Set the cartridge on a piece of paper with the ink nozzles facing up.

  7. Lightly moisten a clean, foam-rubber swab with distilled water.

  8. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.

    CAUTION: Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.

    Figure 14: Clean the area around the ink nozzle

    Illustration of the ink nozzle and cartridge contacts
    1 - Nozzle plate - DO NOT CLEAN
    2 - Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3 - Cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  9. Either let the cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.

  10. Hold the cartridge with the HP logo on top, and insert the cartridge back into its slot. Push the cartridge in firmly until it snaps into place. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.

    Figure 15: Insert cartridge

    Illustrating of inserting the cartridge.
    • Insert the tri-color cartridge in the slot on the left.

    • Insert the black cartridge in the slot on the right.

  11. Repeat these steps to clean the area surrounding the ink nozzle on the other cartridge.

  12. Close the front access door.

    Figure 16: Close the front access door

    Illustration of closing the front access door.
  13. Try printing again.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge

Follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge if you saw defects on the extended self test report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the cartridge is not low on ink. The problem cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the extended self test report as described earlier in this document.

These steps are only basic instructions for installing a new cartridge. If you prefer detailed steps, click here for step-by-step instructions on replacing the cartridges (c01761015) (in English).

  1. With the product on, remove the old cartridge.

  2. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging.

  3. Remove the pink pull-tab from the new cartridge.

    CAUTION: Do not touch the copper-colored electrical contacts or the ink nozzles on the cartridge. Doing so can cause bad electrical connections, clogged ink nozzles, or poor print quality.
  4. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the product, and then slide the cartridge into its color-coded slot until it snaps into place. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.

    • Insert the color cartridge in the slot on the left.

    • Insert the black cartridge in the slot on the right.

  5. Follow the steps in "Solution six, Step five" of this document to align the printer.

Solution eight: Service the All-in-One

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.

Contacting HP for service in Asia Pacific.

If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, you may need further assistance from HP to remedy your concern.

Please contact HP using one of the options found at Contact HP to obtain service.

Contacting HP for service in all countries/regions except Asia Pacific.

If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, service the product.

Determine if your product is in warranty or out of warranty. If you need help determining your product’s warranty status, go to HP’s Warranty Check Tool .

  • If your product is in warranty, Contact HP to obtain service.

  • If your product is out of warranty, Contact HP to find an authorized service provider or to setup service (fees might apply).

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