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HP LaserJet Pro CP1525n and CP1525nw Color Printers - Resolving Print Quality Issues

Issue

Print quality or paper output is not as expected.

Graphic: Garbled, jumbled, or illogical text.
NOTE: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, see Resolving Strange, Garbled or Illogical Text, Incomplete Printouts, or Missing Text or Graphics (in English).

Examples of print quality issues

The following tables contain examples of general and color print quality issues.

General print quality issues

Sample defect
Symptom
Fuzzy, blurry, or bold areas (graphic)
Blurry, fuzzy, or dark print
Page with skewed print (graphic)
Crooked or skewed output
Creased or wrinkled paper (graphic)
Creased or wrinkled paper
Curled or Wavy paper (graphic)
Curled or wavy paper
Printout with a character shadow (graphic)
Character shadows
Distorted characters (graphic)
Distorted characters
Dropped out text (graphic)
Dropped-out text
Dropped edges (graphic)
Dropped edges
Dull, faded or light text (graphic)
Dull, faded, or light print
Gray shading or background (graphic)
Gray shading or background
Vertical repetitive marks (graphic)
Repetitive toner marks
Vertical lines or streaks (graphic)
Streaks or vertical lines
Image with white vertical lines
Streaks or vertical lines (photos)
Printout with smeared toner (graphic) Toner Specks (graphic)
Toner smears, specks or other marks
Vertical white stripes (graphic)
Vertical white stripes
Water droplets on the printed page (graphic)
Water droplets on the printed page
NOTE: For unexpected print quality or paper output causes, see the Causes section.

Color print quality issues

Sample defect
Symptom
Graphic: Only black printing.
Document prints black when it should print color
Graphic: One or more colors are not printing.
One or more colors do not print, or are inaccurate
Graphic: Color inconsistency after loading new print cartridge.
A color prints inconsistently after installation of new print cartridge
Graphic: Colors on the page do not match colors on the screen.
Colors on printed page do not match colors on the screen
Graphic: Finish on printed page is inconsistent.
Inconsistent finish on the printed color page

Causes

Review the following table for possible causes of print quality issues.

Symptom
Causes
Character shadows
Paper quality is poor
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Crooked or skewed output
Paper fed incorrectly due to paper type or poor paper quality
Media guides are too tight or too loose
Color does not print at all
Color mode is not selected in the software program or printer driver
Correct printer driver is not selected in the software program
Product not correctly configured
Colors not printing or inaccurate
Sealing tape still on the print cartridges
Print cartridge is damaged
Paper quality is poor, likely due to extremely high or low humidity
Color printing inconsistently after installing new cartridge
The product is set to override the Replace <Color> Cartridge message and to continue printing
Another print cartridge is damaged
Colors on the printed page do not match the colors on the screen
Colors on the computer monitor might differ from the product output
Software program might interpret extremely light colors as white or extremely dark colors as black
Paper quality is poor
Curled or wavy paper
Paper quality is poor
Paper is too thin
Fuse temperature is too high
Toner fuse setting needs adjusting
Distorted characters
Paper quality is poor
Paper is too glossy or too textured
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Dropped edges
Paper quality is poor
Dropped out text
Paper quality is poor
Paper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Paper path is dirty
Dull, faded or light text
Paper quality is poor
Paper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Print settings need adjusting
Paper path is dirty
Finish on the printed color page is inconsistent
Paper path is dirty
Paper too rough
Fuzzy, blurry, or bold areas
Paper quality is poor
Extreme humidity conditions
Product is exposed to environmental conditions
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Print settings need adjusting
Print cartridge is damaged
Gray shading or background
Paper quality is poor, likely due to extremely high or low humidity
Paper tray is not correctly in place
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Print settings need adjusting
Print cartridge is damaged
Marks repeat on unprinted side of page
Paper path is dirty
The fuser might be damaged or dirty.
Toner smears
Paper is too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is damaged
Toner specks
Paper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is damaged
Paper path is dirty
Streaks or vertical lines
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Paper path is dirty
Streaks or vertical lines (photos)
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Repeating image
Software settings need adjusting
Power surge might have affected the product
Order of images printed might affect printing
Repetitive marks at even intervals
Paper path is dirty
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Vertical white stripes or banding
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Scanner is dirty
Water droplets on the printed page
Extremely high humidity
Wrinkled or creased paper
Paper fed incorrectly
Media guides are too tight or too loose
Paper type is too thin, too textured, or too moist
Media path is obstructed

Solutions

If you are experiencing any of the print quality issues listed in the tables, the following solutions can help resolve most problems. Even if your issue is not listed, the solutions might help.

NOTE: If you are familiar with HP ToolboxFX that comes with the full HP software, you can use it to troubleshoot print quality issues in addition to trying the solutions listed in this document. If you did not install the full software when you installed your product, click here to go to the Software and Driver Downloads page, and then download and install the full feature software.

IMPORTANT: You must follow these solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

Solution one: Remove any protective tape from the print cartridges

Print quality issues occur if protective tape remains on the print cartridges.

  1. Open the print cartridge door.

    Figure 1: Open the print cartridge door

    Image: Open the print cartridge door .
  2. Pull out the print cartridge drawer.

    Figure 2: Pull out the print cartridge drawer

    Image: Pull out the print cartridge drawer.
  3. Check each print cartridge to remove any protective tape.

    Figure 3: Remove protective tape from print cartridges

    Illustration of removing the protective tape from the print cartridges.
    CAUTION: Do not touch the imaging drum on the bottom of the print cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print quality issues.

    Figure 4: Do not touch imaging drum

    Illustration: Do not touch imaging drum.
  4. Remove the print cartridges, one at a time. Hold the print cartridge at each end, and then gently rock it from front to back to distribute the toner evenly inside the print cartridge.

    CAUTION: Do not touch the imaging drum on the bottom of the print cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print quality issues.

    Figure 5: Do not touch imaging drum

    Illustration: Do not touch imaging drum.

    Figure 6: Gently rock the print cartridge

    Illustration: Gently rock the print cartridge from front to back.
  5. Close the print cartridge drawer.

    Figure 7: Close the print cartridge drawer

    Image: Close the print cartridge drawer.
  6. Figure 8: Close the print cartridge door

    Image: Close the print cartridge door.
  7. 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 three: Adjust, reload, and change the paper

The most common cause for print quality issues is paper that is not compatible with the product. This can result in poor paper feeding, or in poor toner adhesion. Make sure that the paper or media type meets HP's specifications.

Step one: Adjust and reload the paper

  1. For the best paper-feeding conditions, make sure of the following:

    • Examine the paper for dust, lint, or signs of humidity. If the paper is dusty, too dry or too moist, replace it with fresh paper.

      NOTE: Extreme temperatures or humidity can directly affect paper quality. If you live in an area with extreme conditions, protect your paper supply by storing it in a plastic airtight container.
    • Turn over the paper stack, rotate it 180°, and then reload the paper into the paper tray.

    • Adjust the paper guides so that they are not too tight or too loose against the paper stack.

      NOTE: A small amount of skew is normal and might be noticeable when using preprinted forms. Crooked or skewed printouts can result if the guides are not snug against the paper.
    • Make sure that the paper tray is in place, and that it is not overloaded.

  2. Try again to print.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step two: Change the paper

  1. Change the paper to a high-quality paper that is compatible with your HP product.

    • If you are experiencing curled or wavy paper, the paper might be too light, too thin, or too moist.

      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a heavier basis weight.

    • If you are experiencing creased or wrinkled paper, the paper might be too textured, too thin, or too moist.

      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a heavier basis weight or a smoother texture.

    • If you are experiencing distorted characters, the paper might be too glossy or too textured.

      Change the paper type to one with a matte finish or a smoother texture.

    • If you are experiencing faded text, dropped-out text, or toner scatter, the paper might be too moist, too thick or too glossy, and is resisting the toner.

      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a matte finish or a smoother texture.

      NOTE: Small amounts of toner scattered on the paper is normal for laser printing. If large amounts of toner scatter occur, the paper might be resisting the toner. Some paper manufacturing processes can cause paper to reject toner.
  2. Try again to print.

  • 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 printer environment

The product environment can directly affect print quality and is a common cause for print quality or paper feeding issues.

  1. For the best possible print quality, make sure of the following:

    • Move the product away from drafty locations such as open windows or doors, or air conditioning vents.

    • Make sure the product is not exposed to high temperatures or extreme humidity.

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

      • Very wet (high humidity) conditions can fog up the laser scanner optics, cause drop-outs, cause uneven dark, light or fuzzy print, or leave water droplets on the printed page.

    • Remove the product from confined spaces such as a cabinet.

    • Remove anything blocking the top vents. Make sure that there is good air flow throughout the product, including the top.

    • Protect the product from airborne debris, steam, grease, or other elements that can leave residue inside the product.

  2. Try again to print.

  • 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 the printer connections

Devices attached between the computer and the product, or between the product and the wall outlet, can sometimes interfere with communication to and from the product. This can result in character shadows, areas of fuzzy or dark print, or toner marks. To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the product directly to the computer.

  2. Connect the product directly to the wall outlet.

  3. Try again to print.

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

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

Solution six: Clean inside the printer

During the printing process, paper, toner, and dust particles can accumulate inside the product. Over time, this buildup can cause print quality issues such as toner specks, smears, or marks. Follow these steps to print a Cleaning page.

  1. On the product control panel, press OK.

  2. Press the Right Arrow button () to scroll to and select Service, and then press OK.

  3. Press the Right Arrow button () to scroll to and select Cleaning Page.

  4. Press OK to begin the cleaning process.

    The product processes a single page, and then returns to the Ready state when the cleaning process ends.

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

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

Solution seven: Change the driver settings

Try to resolve the issue by adjusting the driver settings.

Step one: Change the printer default

  1. Open the Printers window.

    • Windows XP

      Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.

    • Windows Vista

      Click the Windows icon (), click Control Panel, click Hardware and Sound, and then click Printer.

    • Windows 7

      Click the Windows icon (), and then click Devices and printers.

  2. Find your product, and check whether it is selected as the default printer.

    • If the product icon appears with a checkmark (), skip to the next step.

    • If the product icon does not appear with a checkmark (), right-click the product icon, and select Set as Default Printer.

NOTE: If the wrong printer driver is selected during software installation, toner marks or smears might show on the printed page.

Step two: Change the paper type, print quality, and color mode settings

  1. In the Printers window, right-click the product icon, and then click Printing Preferences.

  2. Click the Paper/Quality tab.

  3. Click the Paper type drop-down list, and then click More.

  4. Click the Plus sign () next to Type is, and then click the Plus sign () next to the type of paper you are using.

  5. Click the name of the paper that matches or is closest to your paper type, and then click OK.

    TIP
    HP does not recommend the use of heavily textured paper or extremely thin paper.
  6. If you are experiencing the following issues, change the settings in the Type is drop-down list to adjust the fuse temperature.

    TIP
    Unlike ink printers, laser printers use heat to fuse a plastic toner to the surface of the paper. Make sure that you use heat-resistant paper, and labels and envelopes that use adhesives compatible with the heat and pressure of the product’s fusing process.

    Paper is curled or wavy

    • Use one of the following methods to decrease the fuse temperature:

      • Click the Plus sign () next to Everyday, and then click Light 60-74g.

      • Click the Plus sign () next to Other, and then click Color Laser Transparency.

    • Improve toner fusing. To do this, click the Plus sign () next to Everyday, and then click Bond.

    Printout has areas of fuzzy or dark print, or toner scatter

    • Increase the fuse temperature setting. To do this, click a heavier setting for the type of paper you are using.

    • If this does not resolve the fuzzy, dark print, or toner scatter issues, use a lower basis weight or thinner paper.

  7. If the document is printing in black when it should be printing in color, click the Color tab. Click the Print in Grayscale check box to clear it.

  8. When you finish changing the settings, click Apply, click OK, and then close the Printing Preferences window.

Step three: Change the print density settings

NOTE: If you are familiar with HP ToolboxFX that comes with the full HP software, you can use it to change the print density settings. If you did not install the full software when you installed your product, click here to go to the Software and Driver Downloads page, and then download and install the full feature software.
  1. Open HP ToolboxFX.

    • Windows XP

      Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, click your product, and then click HP ToolboxFX.

    • Windows Vista

      Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click your product, and then click HP ToolboxFX.

    • Windows 7

      Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click your product, and then click HP ToolboxFX.

  2. Click the Plus sign () next to System Settings, and then click Print Density.

  3. If you are experiencing the following issues, change the Print Density settings.

    • Printout has areas of gray shading or a gray background

      Decrease the print density settings in the Contrasts, Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows sections for each color.

    • Printout has light, dull, or faded areas

      Increase the print density settings in the Contrasts, Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows sections for each color.

  4. Click Apply at the bottom of the Print Density window.

  5. Try the print job again.

    If these steps do not resolve a light, dull, or faded issue, a print cartridge is almost empty. See Solution eleven: Identify and replace the problem print cartridge .

Solution nine: Restart the printer and the computer

Consider bookmarking this page on your Web browser, so that you can reference it after restarting the computer.

  1. Flip the power switch to turn off the product.

  2. Restart the computer.

  3. Flip the power switch again to turn on the product.

  4. Try again to print.

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

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

Solution ten: Calibrate the printer

Follow these steps to calibrate the product.

Step one: Calibrate the printer

Follow these steps to calibrate the product.

  1. On the product control panel, press OK.

  2. Press the Right Arrow button () to scroll to and select System Setup, and then press OK.

  3. Press the Right Arrow button () to scroll to and select Print Quality, and then press OK.

  4. Press OK to select Calibrate Color.

  5. Press OK again to select Calibrate Now. The calibration process lasts a few minutes.

Step two: Try the print job again

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 eleven: Identify and replace the problem print cartridge

Follow these steps to identify and replace the problem print cartridge.

Step one: Identify the problem print cartridge

Follow these steps to print a Print quality page to identify which print cartridge is causing the issue.

  1. On the product control panel, press OK, and then press OK again to select Reports.

  2. Press the Right Arrow button ( ) to scroll to and select Print Quality.
  3. Press OK to print the print quality page.

    The page prints five bands of color, which are divided into four overlapping sections. By examining each section, you can isolate the problem to a particular print cartridge.

    Figure 10: Print quality troubleshooting bands

    Illustration: Print quality troubleshooting bands
    • If a mark or line appears in only one section, replace the print cartridge that corresponds to that section.

    • If a mark or line appears in more than one section, replace the print cartridge that matches the color of the mark or line.

Step two: Replace the problem print cartridge and try printing again

These steps are only basic instructions for installing a new print cartridge. If you prefer detailed steps, see the instructions available in Replacing Print Cartridges (c02482741) (in English).

  1. Remove the old print cartridge.

  2. Remove the new print cartridge from the packaging.

  3. Remove the orange plastic shield from the bottom of the new print cartridge. Do not remove the protective tape from the print cartridge yet.

  4. Insert the new print cartridge into its color-coded slot.

  5. Pull the tab on the left side of the print cartridge straight up to completely remove the protective tape.

  6. Wait until the product is idle and silent, 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 twelve: 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).

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