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Banding, Streaks, or Lines in the Printout

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the HP Photosmart Pro B9100 and B9180gp Photo printers.
The printout shows streaks or lines, perpendicular to the direction the paper moved through the printer. Streaking might display on the first few calibration pages printed during startup.
There are several possible causes for streaks and lines, including clogged printhead nozzles or scratched paper. Printing in high-speed modes can also cause streaks in areas of uniform black fill.
Figure 1: Examples of streaked printouts
Image: Examples of streaked printouts

Step 1: Retry the print

If printing on glossy paper was paused or interrupted in the middle of the print job (for instance, if a cartridge was replaced), the resulting print might show a grainy band. In this case, retry the print and avoid interrupting the job.

Step 2: Free up system resources and make sure direct communication

The computer can cause the printer to pause if it is not fast enough to keep the printer fed with data. The following steps can help alleviate this problem.
  1. Make sure that the computer meets the minimum system requirements for this printer.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Close out of all programs except for the program the print out will originate from.
  4. Shut down programs running in the Task Bar by right clicking on them and choosing exit. These programs will restart the next time the computer is rebooted.
  5. Make sure that the USB cable is 10 feet in length or less. Make sure that the USB cable goes directly from the printer to the computer with no intervening devices in between such as a USB hub.

Step 3: Check the paper or specialty printing material

  • Make sure the media is not damaged, scratched, or curled. Always store printing materials in a sealed plastic bag, especially in a humid environment, to help protect the material from damage or curl.
  • HP inks and media are designed to deliver optimum results. Other media may not perform as well.

Step 4: Increase the print quality mode

If reprinting did not help and the paper or specialty printing material is not damaged, check the print quality mode.
  1. Open the Printer Properties dialog box.
  2. On the File menu in your software program, click Print.
  3. Make sure your printer is selected.
  4. Click the button that opens the Properties dialog box. Depending on your software program, this button might be called Properties, Options, Printer Setup, or Printer.
  5. Click the Features tab.
  6. In the Print Quality drop down list, choose a higher print quality (for instance, if the print quality is Fast Draft or Normal, switch to Best or Maximum DPI).

Step 5: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

If you still see streaks or lines in your printouts, clean the printheads from the printer control panel.
NOTE:Always allow the printhead cleaning routine to complete. If the printer loses power in the middle of a cleaning, make sure to repeat the cleaning and allow the printer to complete it.
  1. On the printer control panel, press Menu.
    Figure 2: Menu button on the printer control panel
    Image: Menu button on the printer control panel
  2. Using the arrow keys to move through the menu options, find and select Clean printheads, and then press OK.
  3. Following the directions on the printer screen, load paper so the printer can print a test page after cleaning the printheads. Use plain paper to conserve photo paper.
  4. Press OK to begin cleaning the printheads. A Print Quality Diagnostic page prints at the end of the cleaning.
    Figure 3: The Print Quality Diagnostics Page
    Image: The Print Quality Diagnostics Page
  5. If there are white lines across any of the color blocks on the Print Quality Diagnostic page, press Cancel to repeat the cleaning.
    Figure 4: Example of streaking in the blocks at the top of one of the calibration pages printed during startup
    Image: Example of streaking in the blocks at the top of one of the calibration pages printed during startup
  6. Cleaning may be repeated a number of times. The number of cleanings (and therefore the length of the procedure and the amount of ink and paper used) will vary depending on the severity of the problem. A Print Quality Diagnostic page is printed after each cleaning. Look for white lines through the blocks after each cleaning, and if the print quality seems to be getting better (fewer white lines), continue to repeat the cleaning. Eventually, a Recommend Six-Minute Cleaning message will display on the printer display. If the print quality has been improving, press OK to perform six-minute cleaning.
    • As soon as the white lines no longer display in the color blocks, the problem should be solved. Print a normal print job to confirm that the print quality is acceptable.
    • If the print quality is still bad after the six-minute cleaning, or does not improve with repeated cleaning, or is not acceptable even though there are no white lines through the color blocks, go on to the next step.

Step 6: Use an automated tool to align and calibrate the printheads

If you still see streaks or lines in your printouts, align and calibrate the printheads.
  1. Align the printheads:
    1. Load plain, white, unused paper in the main tray.
    2. Press Menu on the printer control panel.
      Figure 5: Menu button on the printer control panel
    3. Select Calibrate Printer, and then press OK.
    4. Select Align Printheads, and then press OK.
  2. Reset the closed loop calibration:
    1. Press Menu on the printer control panel.
    2. Select Calibrate printer, and then press OK.
    3. Select Reset closed loop calibration, and then press OK.
    4. The printer LCD will display Ready.
  3. Color calibrate the printer using closed loop calibration.
    1. Load HP Advanced Glossy Photo Paper in the main tray.
      NOTE:Only HP Advanced Glossy Photo Paper should be used for this process. If plain paper is detected by the printer, the calibration procedure may fail or print quality may be affected.
    2. Press Menu on the printer control panel.
    3. Select Calibrate Printer, and then press OK.
    4. Select Closed Loop Calibration, and then press OK.

Step 7: Clean the printheads manually

If you still see streaks or lines in your printouts, clean the printheads manually:
  1. Gather the following items to clean the nozzles on the printheads:
    • Distilled water (tap water might contain contaminants that could damage the printheads)
    • Cotton swabs or other soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the printhead
    • Sheets of paper or paper towels to rest the printheads on
  2. Open the top door of the printer.
  3. Press and hold OK until the printhead assembly moves to the left side of the printer and stops.
  4. Raise the printhead assembly cover.
  5. Remove a printhead and place it on a piece of paper with the ink nozzle plate facing up.
    Figure 6: Removing a printhead
    NOTE:Do not touch the ink nozzle plate with your fingers. Touching the ink nozzle plate will result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    NOTE:Do not leave the printhead outside the printer for more than 30 minutes. Ink nozzles exposed to the air longer than this might dry out and cause printing problems.
  6. Lightly moisten a cotton swab with distilled water and squeeze any excess water from the swab by pressing it against a clean plastic or tile surface. Do not use your fingers to squeeze the excess water from the swab, because the oil from your fingers could contaminate the swab.
  7. Gently wipe the nozzles on the printhead with the cotton swab.
    Figure 7: Wiping the nozzles
  8. Wipe until no ink residue or dust appears on a clean swab.
  9. Insert the printhead in the printer.
  10. Repeat the steps above for each printhead. When all the printheads have been cleaned and reinstalled, close the top door of the printer.
    NOTE:If a message appears on the printer screen directing you to replace a printhead, click the Contact HP link on this page to contact HP support.

Step 8: 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 removing 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.
If you have a defective cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink supplies, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country/region, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.

Step 9: Service the printer

If the previous troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, you might need to service the printer.
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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