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The 'Incompatible Cartridge,' 'Incorrect Print Cartridge,' or 'Print Cartridge Problem' Message Displays on the Control Panel

  • PrintPrint

Issue

After installing a cartridge or during normal use, the printer does not print. An error message might display on the printer control panel.
  • Print Cartridge Problem
  • Incorrect Print Cartridge(s)
  • Incompatible Cartridge
The error message might also be accompanied by the following conditions.
  • The attention light ( ) flashes red
  • The cartridge status indicator ( ) on the control panel display flashes
These errors, including Incompatible cartridge can occur with the correct HP cartridges under certain circumstances. The cartridge might need to be reinstalled, the electrical contacts could be dirty, the cartridges might need to be aligned, or there could be a failure of the cartridge or printer.
NOTE:HP cannot guarantee the quality of non-HP cartridges

Solution

Follow these steps in the order presented to resolve the issue.
NOTE:Several of the following steps reference a "problem" cartridge. The blinking status indicator identifies which cartridge is causing the problem. The color of the indicator corresponds with the problem cartridge.

Video of resolving an 'Incompatible Print Cartridge' message that displays on the printer

The following video demonstrates the troubleshooting steps for an 'Incompatible Print Cartridge' message that displays on your printer.
NOTE:This video shows the HP Officejet J4680 All-in-One printer, but the steps are the same for your printer.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube .

Step one: Check the cartridge compatibility

Click this link, HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper to purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer.
If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.
  1. Click this link, HP SureSupply .
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country or region location is correct.

Step two: Remove, inspect, and reinstall the cartridge

The cartridge might not have the full electrical contact it needs. Removing and reinstalling the cartridge might help.
NOTE:HP cannot guarantee the quality of remanufactured or refilled cartridges.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Open the front access door. The carriage moves to the far right side.
    CAUTION:If the printer is off when the front access door is opened, it will not release the cartridges.
  3. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then lightly press down on a cartridge to release it.
    • To replace the tri-color cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the left.
    • To replace the black cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the right.
    Figure 1: Remove the cartridges
    Image: Remove the cartridges.
  4. Slide the cartridge out and inspect it to make sure that all of the clear protective tape is removed.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper electrical contacts or the ink nozzles.
  5. Slide the cartridge at a slight upward angle into the empty cartridge slot. Push the cartridge in firmly until it snaps into place.
    • To install a tri-color cartridge, insert it into the left slot.
    • To install a black cartridge, insert it into the right slot.
    Figure 2: Install the cartridges
    Image: Install the cartridges.
  6. Close the front access door.
  7. Check the control panel to see if the error message still displays.
    • If the error message does not display, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
    • If the error message still displays, continue to the next step.

Step three: Clean the contacts

  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Distilled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the cartridge)
    • Cotton swabs, coffee filter or other soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the electrical contacts
    • Clean sheet of paper
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  3. Open the front access door. The carriage moves to the far right side.
    CAUTION:If the printer is off when the front access door is opened, it will not release the cartridges.
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then lightly press down on a cartridge to release it.
  5. Press down on the cartridge, and then slide it out of the carriage to remove it. Repeat this step for each cartridge.
    Figure 3: Remove the cartridges
    Image: Remove the cartridges.
  6. Place the cartridges on a sheet of paper with the copper strips facing up.
    CAUTION:Do not leave tri-color or photo cartridges out for more than 30 minutes to prevent the ink or toner from drying out.
  7. Unplug the power cord from the rear of the printer.
  8. Clean the copper-colored contacts.
    1. Lightly moisten the lint-free material with distilled water and squeeze out any excess water.
    2. Gently wipe the cartridge copper contacts clean.
      CAUTION:Do not touch the ink nozzles. Doing so results in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
      Figure 4: Ink nozzles and copper-colored contacts on the cartridge
      Image: Ink nozzles and copper-colored contacts on the cartridge
      1 - Ink nozzles (do not touch)
      2 - Copper-colored contacts
    3. Repeat this process on both cartridges until no ink residue or debris appears on the cleaning material.
  9. Clean the carriage contacts.
    1. Lightly moisten the lint-free material with distilled water and squeeze out any excess water.
    2. Clean the electrical contacts in the carriage that holds the cartridges.
      Figure 5: Electrical contacts inside the carriage
      Image: Electrical contacts inside the carriage
    3. Either let the cartridges and carriage sit for ten minutes to dry, or use lint-free material to dry the cleaned areas.
  10. Reinstall the cartridges.
    1. Slide each cartridge at a slight upward angle into the carriage until the cartridge snaps into place.
      Figure 6: Install the cartridges
      Image: Install the cartridges.
      • To install a tri-color cartridge, insert it into the left slot.
      • To install a black cartridge, insert it into the right slot.
  11. Plug the power cord back into the rear of the printer.
  12. Close the front access door.
  13. Try to print a test page again to see if the same message appears.
    1. Press the Setup ( ) button.
    2. Use the right arrow button ( ) to highlight Print Report , and then press the OK button.
    3. Use the right arrow button ( ) to highlight Self-Test Report , and then press the OK button.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step four: Repeat the cleaning and reinstalling steps

Repeat the steps to Remove, inspect, and reinstall the problem cartridge and Clean the contacts and then try to print again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step five: Replace the problem cartridge

Follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge.
If there is no replacement cartridge, and the quality of the printouts is not a concern, you can still print in ink-backup mode. Consider the following, before printing in ink-backup mode:
  • If the tri-color cartridge is removed, printouts will be in grayscale.
  • Removing the black or photo cartridge will result in slower printing and the colors in the printouts will vary.
Follow these steps to print in ink-backup mode.
  1. Open the front access door.
  2. Wait until the carriage moves to the right side and is idle and quiet.
  3. Press down on the cartridge, and then slide it out of the carriage to remove it.
    NOTE:Remove only the cartridge that the control panel indicates has a problem.
    Remove the problem cartridgeImage: Remove the problem cartridge.
  4. Close the front access door.
    NOTE:The control panel displays a message that one of the cartridges is not available for printing.
  5. Press the OK button to clear the message.
NOTE:To stop printing in ink-backup mode, reinstall the missing cartridge.
Important: To check if your ink supplies can be replaced under warranty, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country, and look for ‘ink supplies warranty’.
To install a new cartridge in place of the old one, follow these steps.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
    CAUTION:If the printer is off when the cartridge door is opened, then it will not release the cartridges.
  2. Open the front access door. The carriage moves to the far right side of the printer.
  3. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then lightly press down on a cartridge to release it.
    • Remove the cartridge from the slot on the left to replace the tri-color cartridge.
    • Remove the cartridge from the slot on the right to replace the black cartridge.
  4. Pull the cartridge toward you out of its slot.
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, being careful to touch only the black plastic. Gently remove the plastic tape by pulling the pull tab.
    Remove the tapeCopper-colored contactsPlastic tape with pull tab (must be removed before installing)Ink nozzles under tapeImage: Remove the tape.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure 9: Do not touch the copper contacts or ink nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the copper contacts or ink nozzles.
  6. Slide the new cartridge at a slight upward angle into the empty slot, and gently push it until it snaps into place.
    • To install a tri-color cartridge, insert it into the left slot.
    • To install a black cartridge, insert it into the right slot.
    Figure 10: Install the cartridge
    Image: Install the cartridge.
  7. Close the front access door.
  8. When prompted, make sure unused, plain white, U.S. letter or A4 sized paper is loaded correctly, and then press OK on the printer control panel.
    The printer calibrates itself, prints a test page, and then aligns the printhead.
  9. Press OK to continue.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step six: Service the printer

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.
  • If your product is out of warranty , fees might apply for contacting HP.

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