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An 'Ink Cartridge Failure,' 'Incompatible Ink Cartridges,' or 'Ink Cartridge Problem' Error Message Displays on the Printer

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the HP Officejet Pro 251dw, 276dw, and 8600 printers.
The printer does not print, and one of the following error messages displays on the printer control panel:
  • 'Ink cartridge failure'
  • 'Incompatible ink cartridges'
  • 'Ink cartridge problem'
Important: You must install SETUP cartridges during the initial printer setup, or a cartridge error occurs. Unlike replacement cartridges, SETUP cartridges cannot be purchased from retailers. SETUP cartridges are available only in the box with a new printer.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP cartridges or refilled HP cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the following solutions might not resolve your print quality issue.
To purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer, go to HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper.
If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.
Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Solution two: Make sure that the cartridges are inserted correctly

Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are inserted correctly.
NOTE:Perform these steps only on cartridges that are indicated in the error message.
  1. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent you proceed.
    Figure 1: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    1 - Slot for opening the cartridge access door
  2. Make sure that the colored dot on the cartridge label matches the colored dot on the carriage slot.
    Figure 2: Colored dot on cartridge label should match the colored dot on the carriage slot
    Image: Colored dot on cartridge label should match the colored dot on the carriage slot
  3. Push in on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 3: Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove a cartridge from its slot
  4. Carefully reinsert the cartridge into its slot, and then push the cartridge forward until it clicks into place.
    Figure 4: Push the cartridge forward in the slot until it clicks into place
    Image: Push cartridge forward into slot until it clicks into place
  5. Repeat these steps for other cartridges, if necessary.
  6. Make sure that no cartridge is sticking out farther than the other cartridges. If a cartridge is sticking out, push it until it snaps into place.
  7. Close the cartridge access door.

Solution three: Check the carriage latch

Follow these steps to make sure that the carriage latch is down.
  1. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent you proceed.
    Figure 5: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    1 - Slot for opening the cartridge access door
  2. Make sure that the carriage latch is down. If the carriage latch is up, press it down until it clicks.
    Figure 6: Carriage latch is down
    Image: Carriage latch is down
  3. Close the cartridge access door.

Solution four: Remove, inspect, and then clean the problem cartridge

Ink buildup or debris on the cartridge contacts might cause a cartridge error. Follow these steps to remove, inspect, and clean the problem cartridge (the cartridge or cartridges indicated in the error message). First, make sure that you are using cartridges that are compatible with your printer.

Step 1: Remove and inspect the cartridge

Follow these steps to remove and inspect the problem cartridge.
  1. Find a clean, lint-free cloth (eyeglass wipes or coffee filters work well) that you can use to clean the cartridge contacts.
  2. Press the Power button on the printer to turn it on, if it is not already on.
  3. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent you proceed.
    Figure 7: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    1 - Slot for opening the cartridge access door
  4. Push in on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 8: Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove a cartridge from its slot
  5. Inspect the cartridge for ink buildup or debris.

Step 2: Clean the cartridge contacts

Follow these steps to clean the cartridge contacts.
CAUTION:Clean the cartridges one at a time. Do not leave a cartridge outside of the printer for more than 30 minutes. Also, never turn off the printer when a cartridge is removed from its slot. Leaving cartridge slots empty might cause damage to the cartridge ink system.
  1. With a clean, lint-free cloth (eyeglass wipes or coffee filters work well), wipe the copper-colored contact on the cartridge.
    Figure 9: Copper-colored contact on the cartridge
    Image: Copper-colored contact on the cartridge
  2. Carefully reinsert the cartridge into its slot, and then push the cartridge forward until it clicks into place.
    Figure 10: Push the cartridge forward in the slot until it clicks into place
    Image: Push cartridge forward into slot until it clicks into place
    NOTE:Make sure that the colored dot on the cartridge label matches the colored dot on the carriage slot.
  3. Repeat these steps for other cartridges, if necessary.
  4. Close the cartridge access door.

Solution five: Repeat the cartridge cleaning steps

You might need to clean the cartridges several times to resolve this issue.
If the error message still displays on the printer control panel, repeat the cartridge cleaning steps in the previous solution.

Solution six: Reset the printer

Resetting the printer can reset the connection with the cartridge. Follow these steps to reset the printer.
  1. If the printer is turned off, press the Power button to turn on the printer. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.
  2. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the rear of the printer.
  3. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  4. Wait at least 60 seconds.
  5. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.
    NOTE:HP recommends connecting the printer power cord directly to the wall outlet.
  6. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the printer.
  7. If the printer does not turn on by itself, press the Power button to turn it on.
    NOTE:The printer might go through a warm-up period. The printer lights might flash, and the carriage might move.
  8. Wait until the warm-up period finishes and your printer is idle and silent before you proceed.

Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge

If none of the preceding steps resolved the issue, follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge.
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.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you proceed.
    Figure 11: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    1 - Slot for opening the cartridge access door
  3. Push in on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 12: Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot.
  4. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging.
  5. Hold the cartridge so that the cartridge contacts are facing toward the printer.
  6. Slide the new cartridge into its slot, and then gently push it forward until it clicks into place.
    NOTE:Make sure that the colored dot on the cartridge label matches the colored dot on the slot.
    Figure 13: Insert the cartridge into its color-coded slot
    Image: Insert the cartridge into its color-coded slot.
    CAUTION:Do not lift the latch handle on the carriage to insert cartridges. Doing so could cause the printhead or cartridges to be incorrectly seated, which could damage the print mechanism and cause printing problems.
  7. Repeat these steps for other cartridges, if necessary.
  8. Close the cartridge access door.
  9. Wait until the warm-up sequence finishes and your printer is quiet before you proceed.

Solution eight: 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.
If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a kit with a new printhead assembly, instructions, and a full set of cartridges. You must install the SETUP cartridges that comes with the new printhead, or a cartridge error might occur.
If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.
  1. Go to the HP Parts Store website (in English).
  2. Under Find your part(s), type CR322A in the Search by part number text box.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.

Solution nine: Service the printer

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

Related links

A 'Problem with Ink System' displays, and I cannot print
See A 'Problem with Ink System' Error Message Displays on the Control Panel for more information.
I cannot print in black and white when a color cartridge is empty
See Printing with Depleted Cartridges for more information.

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