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Missing Lines in the Patterns or Streaks in the Bars on the Diagnostic Page

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the C4100 All-in-One printer series.
You printed a diagnostic page and found missing lines in one or more of the test patterns or streaks in one or more of the color bars.

Step One: Did you just install a new tri-color or photo cartridge?

If all three of the following are true, the problem can probably be solved just by letting the printer sit for 30 minutes:
  • You just installed a photo or tri-color print cartridge (the cartridge can be either new or previously-used)
  • The problem appeared right after you installed the cartridge
  • The recently-installed cartridge is the one that is printing the defective patterns on the diagnostic page
Sometimes when a tri-color or photo print cartridge is snapped into the print carriage, it ingests a small amount of air, which can prevent some nozzles from working properly. The air soon works its way out of the cartridge.

Step two: Run the clean print cartridges utility

If the step above did not solve the problem, clean the print cartridges.
  1. Press the Setup button.
  2. Press the down arrow key.
  3. Select Clean Print Cartridge and then press OK . The device prints a test page.
  4. Examine the test page. If the print quality of the page is good, stop here. If the print quality is bad, go on to the next step for further cleaning.
  5. Open the Printer Toolbox . There are two ways to do this:
    • Open HP Solution Center , select the Settings menu, then the Print Settings submenu, and finally the Printer Toolbox .
    • Open Printers and Faxes in the Windows Control Panel , then right-click your printer icon and choose Properties . Click Printing Preferences . Click the Features tab, then click the Printer Services button.
  6. The Printer Toolbox opens. On the Device Services tab, click Clean the Print Cartridges , then follow the on-screen instructions. Up to three levels of cleaning are available. Discard or recycle the page that prints.

Step three: Clean the contacts

  1. Gather the following items to clean the cartridge and carriage:
    • Clean distilled water. Use bottled or filtered water if distilled water is not available. Tap water can contain contaminants that damage the cartridge.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
    • Sheets of paper or a paper towel to rest the cartridge on during cleaning.
  2. Open the cartridge access door and wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
  3. Disconnect the power cord from the back of the printer.
  4. Remove the cartridge and place it on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
    NOTE:Do not leave the cartridges outside of the printer for more than 30 minutes. If the cartridge is outside of the printer for too long, the ink can dry and clog the nozzles.
  5. Dip a clean foam-rubber swab or lint-free cloth into distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from it.
  6. Clean only the copper-colored contacts
    Figure 1: Clean the contacts
    1 - Copper-colored contacts
    2 - Ink nozzles (do not clean)
  7. Repeat these steps for the other cartridge.
  8. Lightly moisten another cotton swab with distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from the swab.
  9. Use the swab to clean the electrical contacts in the carriage, located inside the printer on the carriage slots.
    Figure 2: The electrical contacts in the cartridge slots
    Image: The electrical contacts in the cartridge slots
  10. Wait 10 minutes to allow the cartridge and carriage electrical contacts to dry.
  11. Reinstall the cartridges.
  12. Close the cartridge access door.
  13. Reconnect the power cord to the back of the printer.
  14. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  15. Try to print a page.
  16. If you are still unable to print, repeat these steps to clean and reseat the cartridges. Multiple cleanings might be necessary to restore printing.

Step four: Black cartridges only: remove and rest for two hours

NOTE:The procedure below will not fix missing lines or streaked bars printed by the tri-color, photo, or gray photo cartridges, or other color printing problems. Only perform the steps below if the black print cartridge has printed defective patterns, or if you notice non-uniform black text darkness.
In the black print cartridge, this problem may be caused by sediments collecting in the nozzle area. Follow the steps below to solve this problem:
  1. Remove the black print cartridge.
  2. If the carriage has a latch, re-latch it and then close the printer - this is important. If the printer is not closed, it cannot adequately protect the remaining tri-color cartridge.
  3. Place the cartridge on a level surface with the nozzles up (label down).
    Figure 3: Cartridge with the nozzles up
  4. Allow the cartridge to sit undisturbed for two hours.
  5. Reinstall the cartridge and print another diagnostic page.
    1. Load the paper tray with unused plain white paper.
    2. Press Setup . The Setup menu displays.
    3. Press the down arrow or the up arrow to highlight Print Report , then press OK .
    4. Press OK again. The self-test report prints.
  6. Look for defects on the page.
    • If the diagnostic page shows no defects for the black cartridge, and if the cartridge was new, align the cartridge. To align the cartridge, follow the steps below:
      1. Load fresh, white paper.
      2. Press the Setup button.
      3. Select Tools and press OK .
      4. Select Align Print Cartridges and press OK .
    • If the cartridge was not new, there is no reason to align the print cartridges.
    • If the page still shows defects, go to the next step.

Step five: Replace the problem cartridge

If a cartridge replacement was not tried previously to solve this problem, replace the problem cartridge now. Click here (c00206040) (in English) to see if the cartridge is covered under warranty.

Preventing missing lines

Missing lines occur when the cartridge nozzles dry out, or when a cartridge is running low on ink.
  • Do not remove the protective tape from a new print cartridge until just before you install it. Once you remove the tape, do not reapply it.
  • After you have removed the protective tape, do not allow anything to touch the nozzles.
  • Print at least once a month to keep the print cartridges in good working order.
  • Always turn the printer off by pressing the button on the printer control panel, rather than by unplugging the printer. Turning the printer off properly allows it to protect the cartridges.
  • If you are removing a cartridge from the printer temporarily (for instance, removing the black cartridge in order to install the photo cartridge), put it in a cartridge protector.
  • If you do not have a cartridge protector and need to remove a cartridge temporarily, put it in an airtight plastic tub. Make sure nothing touches the nozzles. Do not use a plastic bag. If you intend to store print cartridges in a tub for a long period of time, place color cartridges with the nozzles down, and black cartridges with the nozzles up.

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