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Press Enter to Align Cartridges

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The following error message appears on the LCD panel on top of the printer after you insert a cartridge: Press enter to align cartridges. You press Enter, but the error message does not go away. The printer will not print.


To bypass the cartridge alignment, do the following:
  1. Press and hold the Setup button.
  2. Press the Options button. The printer should be ready to print.
If the print quality is unacceptable after bypassing alignment, follow the steps below until the error is corrected.

Step 1 - Check the paper

Make sure the printer is loaded with clean, unused, white paper. If the paper is not feeding properly, check the paper path. For information about how to do that, see the instructions under "If the paper does not feed correctly" at the end of this document.

Step 2 - Remove and inspect the cartridges

NOTE:The "problem" cartridge is the cartridge indicated by the error message.
  1. Turn on the unit, then open the print carriage access door. The print carriage moves to the center of the unit.
  2. Press down lightly on the top of the ink cartridge latch and pull the lower section of the latch out to release the cartridge.
    Figure 1: Removing the cartridge
  3. Pull the problem cartridge out of the print carriage.
  4. Inspect the cartridge. If the cartridge is new, make sure to remove the protective tape covering the nozzles.
  5. Reinsert the cartridge into the carriage at a slight angle, as shown in the illustration below. When the cartridge is fully inserted into the carriage, rock it upright.
    Figure 2: Reseating the cartridge
  6. Hold the hinged flap of the latch out while lowering the latch.
  7. When the latch is fully lowered, release the hinged flap. It should catch under the tabs on the carriage, as shown in the illustration below.
    Figure 3: Closing the cartridge latch
  8. Close the cartridge access door.
  9. The LCD display may indicate that the cartridges need to be aligned. Press Enter on the front panel. You may discard the alignment page that prints.
If the problem continues, check the cartridge ink levels.

Step 3 - Check ink levels

Both cartridges must have ink in them for successful alignment, so replace empty cartridges.
When cartridges get low on ink, they begin to fail. This can cause lines or streaks in the printed output. If you have installed the HP Director software (requires a computer connected to the printer), check the estimated ink levels in the Printer Toolbox.
You can check ink levels only if you have the HP Director software installed on the printer's computer.
  1. Open HP Director by selecting Start , Programs, and then HP Director.
  2. In the HP Director software, click Settings, click Print Settings, and then click Printer Toolbox.
  3. In the Printer Toolbox, select the Estimate of Ink Level tab.
    Figure 4: Estimate of Ink Level tab
  4. If ink levels are low, replace the cartridge to get the best print quality. If one of the colors has been fully consumed, you must replace the cartridge.

Step 4 - Realign the cartridges

  1. Press Setup on the top control panel.
  2. Press 5 to select Maintenance, then 2 to select Align Print Cartridges.
  3. Watch the area inside the front of the printer as the alignment procedure runs. You should see a blue light below the cartridges as they move back and forth, as shown in the illustration below. If you do not see the blue light, click the link at the top of this page to contact HP. The printer needs to be serviced.
    Figure 5: Blue alignment light
  4. Compare the alignment page produced by the printer to the illustration below.
    Figure 6: Alignment page
  5. If any of the colors are missing, run the "clean print cartridges" utility.

Step 5 - Clean the print cartridges

NOTE: Never clean print cartridges unnecessarily. It wastes ink and shortens the life of the ink nozzles.
  1. Make sure the printer is loaded with plain, white paper. Remove any special or colored paper.
  2. Press Setup on the top control panel.
  3. Press 5 to select Maintenance, then 1 to select Clean Print Cartridges. The procedure takes about a minute and produces a printout, which may be discarded.

Step 6 - Clean the contacts

If the steps above have not helped, clean the cartridge contacts.
NOTE:Try to clean the contacts quickly enough that the cartridges are not outside of the unit for more than 30 minutes. The ink can dry and clog the nozzles if the cartridges are outside of the unit for too long.
  1. Gather the following items to clean the cartridges and print carriage:
    • Clean distilled water. Use bottled or filtered water if distilled water is not available.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
  2. Remove the problem cartridge.
  3. Place the cartridge on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
  4. Unplug the unit power cord.
  5. Lightly moisten the lint-free cleaning material with clean water.
  6. Clean the cartridge contacts. Avoid touching the nozzles. Replace the cleaning material if it gets dirty.
    Figure 7: Cleaning contacts (avoid nozzles)
  7. Clean the carriage contacts. Use new cleaning material if the material used on the cartridge contacts is no longer clean.
  8. Let the parts dry for five minutes before reinserting the cartridges.
    Figure 8: Cleaning carriage contacts

Step 7 - Replace the cartridge or service the printer

If the steps above have not helped, replace the cartridges or service the printer.
Replacing the cartridges can help determine whether a problem is caused by the cartridges or the unit. However, cartridge replacement will not solve problems that are caused by the unit.
  • If you have not previously tried replacing the cartridges to solve the problem, or if replacing the cartridges solved a similar problem in the past, replace the cartridges now.
  • If you have already tried cartridge replacement without fixing the problem, the unit may need to be serviced. Contact HP to see how to proceed. Click the link at the top of this page for contact information.

If the paper does not feed correctly

Work through these sections and try printing after each step.

Step 1 - Check paper path

  1. Make sure the printer is on and then open the print carriage access door. When the carriage moves to the middle of the access area, unplug the power cord.
  2. Remove both cartridges and relatch the empty carriage.
    Figure 9: Remove the cartridge
    1 - print carriage access door
    2 - carriage latch
  3. Remove all paper from the supply tray.
  4. Check the two white paper path absorbers, indicated in the picture below. If the print carriage is in the way, gently push it to one side with your fingers. The top of the white absorbers should be level with the surrounding black plastic. If either white absorber is raised, press it down with your finger.
    Figure 10: White paper path absorbers
    1 - Proper position
    2 - Improper position - press down
    3 - Location of white paper path absorbers
  5. Remove the rear access door and check it for damage. Remove any paper or paper scraps.
    Figure 11: Remove the back door
  6. Make sure the rollers inside of the back door rotate freely.
  7. Reinstall the back door and make sure it is securely fastened. Close the print access door, plug in the power cord, and turn on the all-in-one power. The LCD panel should read Insert right cartridge.
  8. Install the cartridges, reload the paper tray, and follow the directions on the LCD to align the cartridges.

Step 2 - Clean the paper feed rollers

If the problem persists, clean the paper rollers.
  1. Unplug the all-in-one power cord and remove the back door.
  2. Wipe the paper rollers with a lint-free cloth lightly moistened with distilled or bottled water. Rotate the rollers with your fingers to clean all the way around.
    Figure 12: Paper rollers
  3. Allow the rollers to dry completely, then close the rear door.
  4. Open the print carriage access door.
    Figure 13: Access door to print carriage
  5. Use a soft cotton swab dampened with water to clean the four small metal paper rollers. Avoid touching the encoder strip. The illustration below shows the relative locations of these parts.
    Figure 14: Encoder strip, carriage rod, and metal rollers
    1 - Encoder strip
    2 - Carriage rod
    3 - Metal rollers
  6. Use a clean, dry cotton cloth to wipe the carriage rod. Move the carriage as needed to clean the full length of the rod. Do not lubricate the rod.
  7. Close the all-in-one, plug the power cord in, and turn on the all-in-one power.

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