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HP Deskjet 3055A e-All-in-One Printer - J611n support

Fixing Ink Streaks, Faded Prints, and Other Common Print Quality Problems

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the HP Deskjet 3050 All-in-One printers.
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
To resolve most print quality issues, use genuine HP cartridges, and in some cases, you might need to allow the printer to rest. Check the paper and print settings to make sure that they are correct for the print job, and clean the cartridges and printhead. You might need to replace any empty or defective cartridges.

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 or region location is correct.

Solution two: Allow the printer to rest

Sometimes, print quality issues can be resolved during a period of inactivity. Consider waiting for about 30 minutes, and then try the print job again.

Solution three: Do not leave photo paper in the input tray

If photo paper is left in the tray for too long, a reaction between the paper rollers and the photo paper might occur. This can result in lines or marks on the printed photo.
Recommendation: Do not leave photo paper in the tray for more than 30 minutes. Only leave photo paper in the tray when you want to print on photo paper. Store the photo paper in a resealable bag when not in use.

Solution four: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
To purchase paper, go to HP Home & Home Office .
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
    Figure 1: Do not use wrinkled paper
    Image: Do not use wrinkled paper
  • Use the correct paper type for your project.
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
      Figure 2: Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
    • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
  • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. This will determine if the problem is related to the paper.
NOTE:Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts (or if the problem occurs on a copy, dirty scanner glass usually causes the issue). Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
Examples of horizontal and vertical streaks in a printout
Figure 3: Horizontal streaks in a printout
Image: Horizontal streaks  in a printout

Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal lines or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Figure 4: Vertical streaks in a printout
Image: Vertical streaks in a printout

Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document or search for a document that covers this issue. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
After trying the preceding guidelines, try printing again.

Solution five: Check the print settings

The print settings mignt be the cause of incorrect colors or print quality issues. Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job.
Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job.
  1. In the program you are trying to print from, click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Select your printer, and then click the button that opens the Properties dialog box. Depending on the software program, the button might be Properties, Options, Printer Setup, Printer, or Preferences.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. From the Media drop-down, select the paper type that matches the paper loaded in the input tray and then select the desired print quality.
  5. Click OK to apply the settings, and then click Print.
NOTE:If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.
Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job.
  1. In the program you are trying to print from, click File, and then click Print. The Print window opens.
  2. Click the button that opens the Properties dialog box. Depending on the software program, the button might be Properties, Options, Printer Setup, Printer, or Preferences.
  3. Select the print settings for the current print job, click OK to apply the settings, and then click Print.
NOTE:If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.
Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job in Mac OS X Snow Leopard v10.6, OS X Lion v10.7, and OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.
  1. Open a document, click File, and then click Print.
  2. Select the Paper Type/Quality or Media & Quality menu.
  3. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes:
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, decrease the print quality.
NOTE: To save these settings for future print jobs, choose Save in the Presets menu, and then name the new preset. If multiple printers are installed, open System Preferences, and then click Print & Fax or Print & Scan (depending on your Mac OS X version). Set the Default Printer to Last Printer Used.

Solution six: Check the estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges.

Step one: Check the estimated ink levels

Follow these steps to check the estimated ink levels.
  1. Open the HP printer software:
    • Windows XP: Click Start (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows 8:
      If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in these steps might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
      Right-click the Start button () in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search, type HP, and then click your printer.
    NOTE:You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
    The printer software opens in a new window.
  2. In the printer software, double-click Estimated Ink Levels ().
    The HP Toolbox opens.
  3. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab. A graphic displays that represents the estimated ink levels for your printer.
    Figure 5: The estimated ink levels graphic
    Image: Estimated ink levels
NOTE:Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low-ink levels, consider having a replacement cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Continue to the next solution.
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step two: Replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to replace any low or empty cartridges.

Video of replacing the cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
NOTE:The video shows the HP Deskjet 3050. The outside of the product might not look the same as your product, but the steps are the same.
.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube .
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  3. Open the cartridge door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure 6: Open the cartridge door
    Image: Open the cartridge door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 7: Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
    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 8: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Graphic: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the pull tab to remove the plastic 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.
    Figure 9: Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape
  6. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the contacts toward the printer and the nozzles facing down toward the bottom of the product, and then insert the cartridge into its slot.
    • The tri-color cartridge () goes in the slot on the left
    • The black cartridge () goes in the slot on the right
    Figure 10: Insert the cartridge into its slot
    Image: Insert the  cartridge into its slot
  7. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 11: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  10. Press the button next to OK on the control panel display ().
    The printer prints an alignment page.

Step three: Align the cartridges

Follow these steps to align the cartridges
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass to help load the alignment page.
    Figure 12: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the button () next to OK.
    The product scans the alignment page.
  5. When the Alignment successful message displays on the control panel screen, press the button () next to OK to complete the alignment.

Solution seven: Print and evaluate a Printer Status Report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate the Printer Status Report.

Step one: Print a Printer Status Report

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Open the HP printer software:
    • Windows XP: Click Start (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows 8:
      If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in these steps might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
      Right-click the Start button () in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search, type HP, and then click your printer.
    NOTE:You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
    The printer software opens in a new window.
  3. In the printer software, double-click Printer Actions ().
  4. Double-click Maintenance Tasks (). The HP Toolbox opens.
  5. Click the Device Services tab, and then click Print Status Information. The Printer Status Report prints.
    Figure 13: Example Printer Status Report
    Image: Example Printer Status Report

Step two: Check the Printer Status Report for defects

Different cartridges print different areas of the Printer Status Report. Follow these guidelines to determine which cartridge printed which areas.
Figure 14: Which cartridges print which areas of the Printer Status Report
Image: Which cartridges print which areas of the Printer Status Report
1 - Printed by the color cartridge
2 - Printed by the black cartridge
Make a note of which cartridges printed which areas of the Printer Status Report, and then continue to the next step to check the report for defects.
In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the Printer Status Report. The following examples are not inclusive, but they tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the Printer Status Report
DefectExampleDescription or cause
Broken lines in grid patternsImage: Broken linesProblem with the ink nozzles
Faded or nonuniform colors in the color blocksImage: Nnonuniform colorsDepleted cartridges, or ink mixing together
Track marks or ink smears in the textImage: Ssmeared textFibers or other debris on one or both of the cartridges
The color blocks are streaked or linedImage: Streaks in the reportThe cartridge might be running out of ink or the nozzles might be clogged
One or more of the colored blocks is missing entirelyImage: Missing colors on report
1 - All colors printed - no missing colors
2 - Yellow missing - the color cartridge is not printing correctly
The cartridge is out of one color of ink or the ink nozzles might be clogged.
  • If you do not see defects on the test page, the print mechanism and cartridges work correctly. Do not continue the troubleshooting steps in this document. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try the following general print quality guidelines.
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that are enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the issue is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer or another software program to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not display on the other end of the printout.
    Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout (graphic)Windows only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the test page, continue to the next step.

Step three: Align the cartridges

  1. Open the HP printer software:
    • Windows XP: Click Start (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows 8:
      If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in these steps might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
      Right-click the Start button () in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search, type HP, and then click your printer.
    NOTE:You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
    The printer software opens in a new window.
  2. In the printer software, double-click Printer Actions ().
  3. Double-click Maintenance Tasks (). The HP Toolbox opens.
  4. Click the Device Services tab.
  5. Click Align Ink Cartridges, and then follow the on-screen instructions to print the alignment page.
  6. Lift the scanner lid.
  7. Follow the instructions on the control panel to finish the alignment.

Step four: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

If you found defects on the alignment page, the printhead could be clogged. Follow these steps to run an automated tool to clean the printhead.
NOTE:To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead, always turn the printer off with the Power button.
  1. Open the HP printer software:
    • Windows XP: Click Start (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP printer, and then click the icon for your HP printer ().
    • Windows 8:
      If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in these steps might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
      Right-click the Start button () in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search, type HP, and then click your printer.
    NOTE:You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
    The printer software opens in a new window.
  2. In the printer software, double-click Printer Actions ().
  3. Double-click Maintenance Tasks (). The HP Toolbox opens.
  4. Click the Device Services tab.
  5. Click Clean Ink Cartridges, and then follow the on-screen instructions to clean the cartridges.
  6. After running the tool, click Print to print a test page. If the print quality is still unacceptable, follow the on-screen instructions to run a Second-level clean.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you can stop troubleshooting.
  • If the test page that you printed earlier shows track marks or smears, continue to the next step to clean the area around the ink nozzles.

Step five: Clean the area around the ink nozzles

Complete these steps only if you see track marks or smears in the text on the Printer Status Report or on your printout, skip to the next solution to replace the problem cartridge and align the cartridges .
Figure 15: Example of smeared text
Image: Example of smeared text
Figure 16: Example of text with track marks
Image: Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Dry foam-rubber swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that will not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well)
    • Clean sheets of paper
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the print cartridges)
      CAUTION:Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the area. These can damage the cartridge or the printer.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  3. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent to continue.
    Figure 17: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 18: Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
    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 19: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Place the cartridge on a piece of paper with the ink nozzles up.
  6. Lightly moisten a clean, foam-rubber swab with distilled water.
  7. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
    CAUTION:Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
    Figure 20: Clean the area around the ink nozzle
    Illustration of the ink nozzle and cartridge contacts
    1 - Nozzle plate - DO NOT CLEAN
    2 - Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3 - Cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  8. Let the cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  9. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the cartridge into its slot. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.
    • The tri-color cartridge () goes in the slot on the left
    • The black cartridge () goes in the slot on the right
    Figure 21: Insert the cartridge into its slot
    Image: Insert the cartridge into its slot
  10. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Figure 22: Snap the cartridge into place
    Image: Snap the cartridge into place
  11. Repeat these steps to clean the area surrounding the ink nozzle on the other cartridge.
  12. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 23: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  13. Try to print again.

Solution eight: Replace the problem cartridge and align the cartridges

Follow these steps to replace the problem cartridge if you saw defects on the Printer Status Report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the cartridge is not low on ink. The problem cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the Printer Status Report as described earlier in this document.

Step one: Replace the problem cartridge

Follow these steps to replace any low or empty cartridges.

Video of replacing the cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
NOTE:The video shows the HP Deskjet 3050. The outside of the product might not look the same as your product, but the steps are the same.
.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube .
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  3. Open the cartridge door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure 24: Open the cartridge door
    Image: Open the cartridge door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 25: Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
    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 26: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Graphic: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the pull tab to remove the plastic 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.
    Figure 27: Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape
  6. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the contacts toward the printer and the nozzles facing down toward the bottom of the product, and then insert the cartridge into its slot.
    • The tri-color cartridge () goes in the slot on the left
    • The black cartridge () goes in the slot on the right
    Figure 28: Insert the cartridge into its slot
    Image: Insert the  cartridge into its slot
  7. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 29: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  10. Press the button next to OK on the control panel display ().
    The printer prints an alignment page.

Step two: Align the cartridges

Follow these steps to align the cartridges.
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the printed-side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass to help load the alignment page.
    Figure 30: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the button () next to OK.
    The product scans the alignment page.
  5. When the Alignment successful message displays on the control panel screen, press the button () next to OK to complete the alignment.

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.
NOTE:Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.
HP Deskjet 3055A e-All-in-One Printer - J611n

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