Jump to content

HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One Printer support

Faded or Fuzzy Black Text

  • PrintPrint

Issue

The black text in a printout is faded or fuzzy. The black text does not appear as clear or crisp as expected. The issue might only appear on one end of the line of text rather than throughout the entire block of text.
Figure 1: Examples of fuzzy or faded black text

Solution

Follow these steps in the order presented to resolve the issue.

Step one: Make sure you have genuine HP ink cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink cartridges. Genuine HP ink cartridges are designed and tested with HP printers to help you easily produce great results, time after time. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP supplies. Product service or repairs required as a result of using a non-HP ink supply will not be covered under warranty. Make sure you are using genuine HP ink cartridges before continuing.

Step two: Let the black cartridge rest

NOTE:If you are installing the product for the first time, or installing a new ink cartridge, follow these steps. If you have been using the product for some time and are just now experiencing this issue, you can skip to the next step.
Many black print problems, especially those that occur with a newly installed black ink cartridge, will clear up with automatic printer servicing (priming).
Print quality issues will likely diminish after the first priming, and continue to improve after secondary priming events. Consider waiting 3 to 5 hours to make sure the product has had sufficient time for priming.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step three: Check ink levels

Use one of the following methods to check the estimated ink levels in the ink cartridges.
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.

Method one: Check ink levels from the control panel

  1. Press the Setup button () on the product control panel. The Setup Menu opens.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press the OK button. The Tools menu opens.
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Display Estimated Ink Levels, and then press the OK button.
    The ink level indicator displays on the control panel.
    Figure 2: Ink level indicator on the control panel
  4. When you are finished reviewing the ink level indicator, press the OK button. The control panel display returns to the Tools menu.
  5. If necessary, press the Home button () to return to the main screen.
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to Step four in this document to select a higher print-quality setting.

Method two: Check ink levels from the computer using HP Solution Center

  1. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a separate window.
  2. Click Settings ().
  3. Under Print Settings, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  4. Click the Estimated Ink Level tab.
    The ink level indicator graphic displays on the computer.
    Figure 3: Ink level indicator graphic in printer Toolbox
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to Step four in this document to select a higher print-quality setting.

Step four: Replace low or empty ink cartridges

Watch the following video to learn how to replace low or empty ink cartridges, or continue to the following steps for detailed instructions.
NOTE:This video is provided as a supplement to the following instructions. For best quality on dial-up connections, wait until the video is completely loaded before viewing.
Adobe Flash Player from Macromedia is required to view this video. If necessary, click here to go to the Macromedia Web site (in English) to download and install Flash Player.
  1. If the product is not already on, press the Power button () to turn it on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge door by lifting from the front right of the product until the door locks into place in the upright position.
    Figure 4: Open the ink cartridge door
    The carriage moves to the center of the product. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
  3. Press the tab on the front of the ink cartridge that is being replaced to release it, and then remove it from its slot.
    Figure 5: Remove the ink cartridge
    CAUTION:Do not lift the gray latch next to the carriage to install the ink cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated ink cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down in order to correctly install the ink cartridges.
  4. On the new cartridge, pull the orange pull-tab to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure 6: Remove the plastic wrap
  5. Twist the orange cap counter-clockwise to snap it off.
    Figure 7: Remove the orange cap
    NOTE:The orange cap might seem difficult to remove. If so, firmly twist the cap.
  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 8: Insert the ink cartridge
  7. Press down on the ink cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    Figure 9: Press the ink cartridge into place
  8. Repeat these steps for each cartridge you are replacing.
  9. Close the ink cartridge door.
    Figure 10: Close the ink cartridge access door
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step five: Select a higher print-quality setting

  1. From the program you are using to print, click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Make sure the correct product is listed in the Name: drop-down list.
  3. Click the button that opens the Properties dialog box. This name of this button varies depending on the software, and can be called any of the following:
    • Properties
    • Options
    • Printer Setup
    • Printer
    • Preferences
  4. Click the Features tab.
  5. From the Print Quality: drop-down list, select a higher print quality setting, such as Best or Maximum dpi.
    NOTE:The Maximum dpi setting is not available when printing on plain paper.
  6. Click OK. The Properties dialog box closes and the Print dialog box remains open. Click OK again to close it.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step six: Align the printer

Use one of the following methods to align the product.
NOTE:Align the product only when instructed. Aligning the product unnecessarily wastes ink and can shorten the life of the cartridges.

Method one: Align the printer using the control panel

  1. Make sure there is plain white paper loaded in the input tray.
  2. Press Setup () on the product control panel. The Setup Menu opens.
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Tools, and then press OK. The Tools menu opens.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then press OK. During alignment, the message 'Aligning Cartridges' displays on the control panel, and the product makes mechanical noises.
  5. When the alignment is complete, the product prints an alignment page, and the message ' Alignment successful' displays on the control panel. Press OK.
    Figure 11: Example alignment page
  6. Press the Back button () to return to the main screen.

Method two: Align the printer from HP Solution Center

  1. Make sure there is plain white paper loaded in the input tray.
  2. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a separate window.
  3. Click Settings ().
  4. Under Print Settings, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  5. Click the Device Services tab.
  6. Click Align the Printheads.
    The product aligns the printheads and the message 'Aligning Cartridges' displays on the control panel. When the alignment is complete, the product prints an alignment page.
    Figure 12: Example alignment page
    NOTE:Mechanical noises during alignment are normal.
  7. Recycle or discard the alignment page.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step seven: Run the automatic utility to clean the printhead

  1. Make sure there is plain white paper loaded in the input tray.
  2. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a separate window.
  3. Click Settings ().
  4. Under Print Settings, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  5. Click the Device Services tab.
  6. Click Clean the Printheads.
  7. Follow the on-screen prompts until you are satisfied with the quality of the output, and then click Done.
    When the cleaning is complete, the product prints a test page.
    Figure 13: Example test page
  8. Recycle or discard the test page.

Step eight: Replace the black ink cartridge

If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, the black ink cartridge might be defective. Obtain a new black ink cartridge, and then refer to Step four: Replace low or empty ink cartridges earlier in this document for steps on installing the replacement cartridge.

Step nine: Contact HP

If you have completed all the steps listed above and are still experiencing a problem, contact HP to replace the printhead.

Cause

Any of the following factors can contribute to this print quality issue:
  • Low or empty ink cartridges
  • Insufficient priming events (deprime)
  • Air in the printhead
HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One Printer

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum