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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer Series (C310)

This document is for the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer Series (C310).

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.

To resolve most print quality issues, use genuine HP cartridges, and in some cases, you might need to allow the printer to complete the automatic servicing routine. Check the paper and print settings to make sure that they are correct for the print job, and clean the cartridges and printhead. You might need to replace any empty or defective cartridges.

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 automatic servicing to complete

Many print quality problems with black ink, such as poor black text or issues that occur with a newly installed black cartridge, clear up with the printer's automatic servicing routine. There is nothing you need to do. The print quality should start improving in a few hours.

If you cannot wait, continue with these troubleshooting steps.

Solution three: Check the paper

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

To purchase paper, go to HP Home & Home Office .

  • 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 and vertical streaks in a printout

Figure 3: Horizontal streaks in a printout

Image: Horizontal streaks  in a printout
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal lines or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.

Figure 4: Vertical streaks in a printout

Image: Vertical streaks in a printout
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. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.

After you use the preceding guidelines to make sure that the paper you use is appropriate for the print job, try to print again.

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.

  1. In the software program from which you are trying to print, click File, and then click Print. The Print window opens.

  2. Select your printer from the Name: drop-down list, and then click Properties. The printer Properties window opens.

  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.

  4. Under the Printing Shortcuts section, click the type of job you are trying to print.

    Figure 5: Printer Properties window with Printing shortcuts highlighted

    Graphic: Printer Properties window with Printing shortcuts highlighted
  5. Review the following options on the right side of the printer Properties window, 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.

  6. Click the Features tab.

  7. Under the Color Options section, make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.

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

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

Follow these steps to check the cartridge ink levels with HP Solution Center, and then replace low or empty cartridges, if necessary.

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.

To purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer, go to HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper.

If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.

  1. Go to HP SureSupply .

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.

Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Which cartridges you use might depend on your country/region. Follow these steps to purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer using HP SureSupply.

  1. Go to HP SureSupply .

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.

NOTE: For the United States only, go to the HP Home & Home Office Store .

Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

  1. Open HP Solution Center:

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

    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: 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 6: Estimated ink level graphic in the Toolbox

    Illustration: Estimated ink level graphic in the Toolbox

Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report.

Step one: Print a Print Quality Diagnostic Report

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.

  2. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon (), and then touch Tools.

  3. Touch Print Quality Report. The Print Quality Diagnostic Report prints.

    Figure 7: Print Quality Diagnostic Report example

    Graphic: Print Quality Diagnostic Report

Step two: Check the Print Quality Diagnostic Report for defects

In general, if the printer and its cartridges work correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.

Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.

Examples of defects on the print quality diagnostic report
Defect
Example
Large font text is ragged on one end
illustration of ragged large text
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars
Illustration of streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color bars
Illustration of ragged color bars
The color bars are streaked with another color
Illustration of streaked color bars
The color blocks have regular white streaks
Illustration of white streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patterns
Illustration of jagged alignment patterns
  • If you see no defects on the print quality diagnostic 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 printout, use the software you installed with the printer, 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 print quality diagnostic report, continue to the next steps.

Step three: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly

If the vent on the top of the cartridge is clogged or obstructed, the cartridge might not work properly. Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly.

  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.

  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer.

    Figure 8: Open the cartridge access door

    Graphic: Open the cartridge access door
  3. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up to remove it from its slot.

    Figure 9: Remove the cartridge from the slot

    Graphic: Remove the cartridge from the slot
  4. Examine the vent area on each cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.

    Figure 10: Vent area on the top of the cartridge

    Image: Vent area on the top of the cartridge
  5. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.

    Figure 11: Orange pull tab

    Image: Orange pull tab.
  6. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.

    Figure 12: Clean the clogged vent with a pin

    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. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place.

    NOTE: Make sure that each cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
  8. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.

  9. Make sure that each cartridge is firmly in place 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.

  10. Close the cartridge access door. The carriage returns to the right side of the printer.

    Figure 13: Close the cartridge access door

    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  11. Try the print job again.

Step four: Install a firmware upgrade

Check for a firmware upgrade that might help solve the problem:

  1. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon ().

  2. Touch Web.

  3. Touch printer Updates.

  4. Touch Check for printer Updates.

  5. Touch Yes to update. The update might take 10 to 20 minutes. Do not turn off the printer until the update is complete. The printer will shut down and start back up automatically.

Step five: Clean the printhead

Follow these steps to run a utility to clean the printhead.

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.

  2. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon (), and then touch Tools.

  3. Touch Clean Cartridges.

    NOTE: Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.
NOTE: Never turn off the printer when cartridges are missing. Make sure that you replace any missing cartridges as soon as possible to avoid print quality issues and possible extra ink usage or damage to the ink system. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead, always turn the printer off with the Power button on the printer itself.

Step six: Align the printer

Follow these steps to align the printer, if you found defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report.

  1. Open HP Solution Center:

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

    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

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

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

  4. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().

  5. Click Print Page. The printer prints an alignment page.

Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge

If none of the preceding steps resolved the issue, replace the cartridge that corresponds to the defect on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report. For example, if one of the magenta color bars is defective, replace the magenta cartridge. Use the following steps to replace the problem cartridge.

Step one: Replace the problem cartridge

  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.

  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.

    Figure 14: Open the cartridge access door

    Graphic: Open the cartridge access door
  3. To release the old cartridge, press the tab on the front of the cartridge, and then remove it from the slot.

    Figure 15: Remove the cartridge from the slot

    Graphic: Remove the cartridge from the slot
    CAUTION: Do not lift the latch next to the carriage to install the cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.
  4. On the new cartridge, pull the orange pull-tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.

    Figure 16: Remove the plastic wrap

    Graphic: Unwrap the new cartridge
  5. Twist the orange cap counter clockwise to snap it off.

    Figure 17: Remove the orange cap

    Graphic: Twist the orange cap to remove it
  6. With the cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the cartridge into the appropriate slot as indicated by the color-coded icons on the cartridge and in the printhead.

    Figure 18: Insert the cartridge

    Graphic: Insert the cartridge
  7. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.

    Figure 19: Press the cartridge firmly into place

    Graphic: Press the cartridge firmly into place
  8. Repeat these steps to replace other cartridges, if necessary.

  9. Close the cartridge access door. The carriage returns to the right side of the printer.

    Figure 20: Close the cartridge access door

    Graphic: Close the cartridge access door

Step two: Load plain paper

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  1. Raise and hold the output tray in the open position.

  2. Slide the paper width guide to its outermost position.

    Figure 21: Slide the paper guide outward

    Graphic: Move the paper width guide outward
  3. Insert the stack of paper into the input tray with the short edge forward and the print side down.

    Figure 22: Load plain paper

    Graphic: Load plain paper
  4. Adjust the paper width guide so that it rests against the stack of paper.

    Figure 23: Adjust the paper width guide to the stack of paper

    Graphic: Adjust the paper width guide to rest against the stack of paper
  5. Lower the output tray, and then pull the tray extender towards you, as far as it will go. Flip up the paper catch at the end of the tray extender.

    Figure 24: Lower the output tray

    Graphic: Lower the output tray

Step three: Align the printer

After loading plain white paper, touch OK on the printer control panel. The printer automatically prints an alignment page to align the cartridges.

Figure 25: Example alignment page

Graphic: Example alignment page

If the printer fails to align automatically, follow these steps to align the printer through HP Solution Center.

  1. Open HP Solution Center:

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

    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

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

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

  4. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().

  5. Click Print Page. The printer prints an alignment page.

Solution eight: Replace the printhead

If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, replace the printhead.

CAUTION: Wait until you have a new printhead assembly available before you remove the cartridges. HP recommends that you do not leave the cartridges outside the printer longer than 30 minutes. This could damage both the printer and the cartridges.

These steps apply to the United States only.

If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges.

If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.

  1. Go to the HP Parts Store website (in English).

  2. Under Find your part(s), type CN642A in the Search by part number text box.

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.

These steps apply to all countries/regions except the United States.

If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges with the replacement printhead.

If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.

  1. Go to the HP How to Buy website , and then click your country-language.

  2. A Buy HP page displays. Look for the HP Parts store on this page. The location of the HP Parts store varies depending on your region. Click HP Parts store.

  3. Under Find your part(s), type CN642A in the Search by part number text box. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.

This information applies to Asia Pacific only.

If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges. If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, call the HP Customer Care Center for assistance.

When you have the replacement printhead, go to the replace the printhead for your printer.

Solution nine: Service the printer

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).

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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