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HP Photosmart Plus All-in-One Printer - B209a support

'Ink Cartridge Problem' Message Displays on the Product Control Panel

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the HP Photosmart Plus B209a, B209b, and B209c All-in-One printers.
An 'Ink Cartridge Problem ' error message displays on the control panel, and the printer does not print.

Step 1: Make sure the cartridges are installed correctly

Follow these steps to check the cartridges.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Open the cartridge access door.
    Figure 1: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    CAUTION:Before proceeding, wait until the carriage stops moving.
  3. Make sure that the colored shape icon on each cartridge label matches the colored shape icon on the carriage slot.
    Figure 2: Match the colored shape icons
    Image: Match the colored shape icons
  4. Run a finger along the top of the cartridges to detect unseated cartridges in the carriage. Press down on any cartridge that is slightly higher than the others to snap it firmly into place.
  5. Close the cartridge access door, and then check to see if the error message is still displaying.
    Figure 3: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step two: Remove the cartridges

Follow these steps to remove the cartridges.
  1. Open the cartridge access door.
    Figure 4: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    CAUTION:Before proceeding, wait until the carriage stops moving.
  2. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up and out to remove it from its slot.
    • If the error message mentions a specific cartridge, find that cartridge, and then remove it from the carriage. Continue with the next step.
    • If the error message does not mention a specific cartridge, remove all the cartridges, one at a time. Continue with the next step.
    Figure 5: Remove the cartridge from the slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from the slot

Step three: Make sure the cartridges are vented

On each cartridge, examine the vent area on the top of the cartridge above the HP logo.
Figure 6: Vent area
Image: Vent area
  • Remove the orange tab if it is still attached to the cartridge.
    Figure 7: Orange tab attached to cartridge
    Image: Orange tab attached to cartridge
  • If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
    Figure 8: Properly vented (left) and clogged vent (right)
    Image: Clean the clogged vent with a pin.
    1 - Clogged vent
    2 - With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3 - Unclogged vent

Step four: Reinstall the cartridge

Follow these steps to reinstall the cartridge.
  1. With the cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the cartridge into the correct slot. The color-coded icons on the cartridge and on the printhead indicate the correct slot.
    Figure 9: Reinstall the cartridge
    Image: Reinstall the cartridge
    CAUTION:Do not lift the latch handle on the carriage to install the cartridges. This results in incorrectly seated cartridges and the printer will not function correctly. Leave the latch down to install the cartridges correctly.
    Figure 10: Example of the printhead in a latched position
    Image: Example of the latch
  2. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place. If the cartridge does not snap into place, remove the cartridge from the carriage. Gently bend the tab away from the cartridge, and then reinsert the cartridge into the carriage.
    Figure 11: Pull the cartridge tab
    Image: Pull the cartridge tab
    CAUTION:Be careful not to bend the tab out more than 1.27 cm (0.5 inches). Moving the tab too far might damage the cartridge or cause the tab to break off.
  3. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 12: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  4. Try the print job again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step five: Turn the printer off and on

  1. Press the Power button ( ) to turn the printer off.
  2. Wait 60 seconds, and then press the Power button ( ) to turn the printer on.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step six: Clean the electrical contacts

Follow these steps to clean the electrical contacts.
  1. Gather the following items:
    • Clean cotton swabs
    • Clean, lint-free paper to rest the cartridges on (coffee filters work well)
  2. Press the Power button ( ) to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  3. Open the cartridge access door.
    Figure 13: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    CAUTION:Before proceeding, wait until the print carriage stops moving.
  4. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up and out to remove it from its slot.
    • If the error message mentions a specific cartridge, find that cartridge, and then remove it from the carriage. Continue with the next step.
    • If the error message does not mention a specific cartridge, remove all the cartridges, one at a time. Continue with the next step.
    Figure 14: Remove the cartridge from the slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from the slot
  5. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzle facing up.
  6. Find the electrical contacts on the bottom of the cartridge. The electrical contacts are four small rectangles of copper-colored metal.
    Figure 15: Cartridge window and electrical contacts
    Image: Cartridge window and electrical contacts
    1 - Ink window
    2 - Electrical contacts
  7. Wipe the electrical contacts with a clean, dry, cotton swab until no debris remains on them. Make sure that no ink or debris smears onto the clear window next to the electrical contacts.
  8. Place the cartridge on the clean, lint-free paper with the nozzle facing up.
  9. Find the electrical contacts inside the carriage. The electrical contacts look like a set of four copper-colored pins positioned to touch the electrical contacts on the cartridge.
    Figure 16: Ink contacts in carriage
    Ink contacts in carriage
  10. Wipe the electrical contacts inside the carriage with an unused clean, dry, cotton swab.
  11. Slide the cartridge into the correct slot until it clicks into place. The color-coded icons on the cartridge and on the printhead indicate the correct slot.
    Figure 17: Reinstall the cartridge
    Image: Reinstall the cartridge
  12. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 18: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  13. Try the print job again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step seven: Make sure the carriage latch is closed

An open carriage latch can result in incorrectly seated cartridges. The printer cannot function properly with incorrectly seated cartridges. Follow these steps to verify that the carriage latch is closed.
  1. Open the cartridge access door.
    Figure 19: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    CAUTION:Before proceeding, wait until the print carriage stops moving.
  2. Make sure that the carriage latch is in the down position.
    Figure 20: Example of the printhead in a latched position
    Image: Example of the latch
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step eight: Replace the problem cartridge

If the error message mentions a specific cartridge, replace that cartridge with a new, genuine HP cartridge. If the error message does not mention a specific cartridge, replace all 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.

Video of replacing a cartridge

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
NOTE:This video shows the HP Photosmart Plus All-in-One Printer series (B209), 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 .
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step nine: Replace the printhead

If the previous steps did not resolve the issue, replace the printhead. Note however that printhead replacement is not recommended as a solution for 'Incompatible Cartridge’ errors occurring with compatible cartridges. Contact HP support to obtain a replacement printhead.
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 will receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new cartridges.
If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.
  1. Click this link to go to the HP Parts store.
  2. Under Find your part(s) , type one of the part numbers below in the Search by part number text box.
    • If your printer uses 4 ink cartridges, type CN643A
    • If your printer uses 5 ink cartridges, type CN642A
  3. Follow the online instructions to order the printhead assembly.
Once you have the replacement printhead, click here for instructions to replace the printhead .
  • If these steps resolved the issue , there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next step.

Step ten: 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.
HP Photosmart Plus All-in-One Printer - B209a

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