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HP Photosmart C4480 All-in-One Printer support

A 'Cartridge Problem', 'Incompatible Cartridge', or 'Cartridge Missing or Damaged' Message Displays on the Computer or Printer Control Panel

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the Photosmart C4400 and C4500 All-in-One printers.
The printer does not print, the status lights blink, and one of the following errors messages might display on the computer or printer control panel:
  • 'Cartridge Problem'
  • 'Incompatible Cartridge'
  • 'Cartridge Missing or Damaged'
These errors, including 'Incompatible cartridge ' can occur with genuine 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 cartridge or printer failure.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

Make sure that the cartridges are compatible with your printer.
Which cartridges you use depends on your country or region. Follow these steps to purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer using HP SureSupply.
NOTE:For the United States only, go to the HP Home & Home Office Store .
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country or region location is correct.

Solution two: Remove, inspect, and then reinstall the cartridges

A cartridge error message might display if a cartridge does not have full electrical contact with the printer. Follow these steps to remove and then reinstall the cartridge.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Open the cartridge access door and wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
  3. Press down lightly on the end of the cartridge to release it.
    Figure 1: Remove the tri-color cartridge
    Image: Release the problem cartridge
  4. Slide the cartridge out.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored electrical contacts or the ink nozzles.
    Figure 2: Copper-colored electrical contacts and nozzles
    1 - Copper-colored electrical contacts
    2 - Nozzles
  5. Remove any clear protective tape that still might be on the nozzles.
    Figure 3: Remove the protective tape
    Image: Remove the protective tape
    CAUTION:Do not attempt to remove the copper electrical strip.
  6. If the cartridge is compatible, reinstall it.
    • The tricolor cartridge goes into the left carriage slot.
    • The black cartridge goes into the right carriage slot.
    Figure 4: Slide the cartridge into the carriage
    Image: Slide in the cartridge
    Figure 5: Push the cartridge into place
    Image: Push the cartridge until it snaps into place
  7. Close the cartridge access door.
  8. Try to print again.

Solution three: Clean the cartridge and carriage electrical 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 6: 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 7: 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.

Solution four: Reset the printer

Follow these steps to reset the printer.
  1. Press the Power button ( ) to turn on the product.
  2. With the product turned on , disconnect the power cord from the rear of the product.
  3. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  4. Wait at least 15 seconds.
  5. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.
  6. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the product.
  7. If the product does not turn on by itself, press the Power button ( ) to turn it on.

Solution five: Replace the problem cartridge

If cleaning and reseating the cartridge does not fix the problem, replace the cartridge with a new, compatible HP cartridge. If you need to print immediately and the quality of the printouts is not a concern, you can print in backup mode .
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. Make sure the product is turned on.
    CAUTION:If the product is turned off when the cartridge door is opened to access the cartridges, it will not release the cartridges for changing. The product might be damaged if the cartridges are not docked safely when trying to remove them.
    A prompt displays on the control panel display of the All-in-One to indicate that the cartridge is low on ink and will need to be replaced soon.
  2. Open the cartridge door.
    The carriage moves to the right side of the product. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
    Figure 8: Opening the cartridge door
  3. Lightly press down on a cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge toward you out of its slot.
    • If replacing the tri-color cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the left.
    • If replacing the black or photo cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the right.
  4. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging and, being careful to touch only the black plastic, gently remove the plastic tape by using the pink pull tab.
    Figure 9: Removing the tape
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not re-tape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
  5. Hold the cartridge with the HP logo on top, and insert the new cartridge into the empty cartridge slot.
    • If installing the tri-color cartridge, slide it into the left slot.
    • If installing a black, photo, or gray photo cartridge, slide it into the right slot.
    Figure 10: Inserting the cartridges
  6. Push the cartridge firmly into the slot until it snaps into place.
  7. Close the cartridge door.

Solution 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.

Workaround: Print in backup mode

If you do not have a replacement cartridge available, you can still print. Remove the problem cartridge, and then print with the remaining cartridge. If you remove the tri-color cartridge, the printouts are in grayscale. If you remove the black cartridge, the printer prints slowly and the colors in the printouts might differ.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  3. Push down on the top of the problem cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 11: Remove the problem cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
  4. Close the cartridge access door.
  5. Wait a few moments for the cartridge to calibrate, and then send a print job.
HP Photosmart C4480 All-in-One Printer

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