HP Inkjet troubleshoot

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Hewlett Packard Inkjet Printers : A guide to surviving with your sanity intact

This will be a work in progress but it covers most of the issues and questions that have cropped up about HP Officejet printers in the past 3 years with a bit more info from various sources too.

Paper Feed Issues

One key thing that many HP Inkjets seem to have in common is problems with paper feeding.

Usually the issue starts with multiple sheets of paper being drawn in at once or paper not being picked up at all.

In almost all cases the problem is related to the chemical make-up or coating on the paper and is often found to be a bigger problem with more expensive paper brands than cheaper ones.

Some Solutions

  • Try a number of different paper brands to see if you identify one that works better.
  • Purchase of a roller cleaning or even replacement kit.
  • "Knock-up" your paper before filling it in the paper tray
  • Adjust the guides in the paper tray to avoid too tight/loose stopping paper from passing through or being skewed.

In most cases, altering the brand of paper used resolves the problem quite quickly.

Expansion Paper Trays

One major problem with paper feeding comes with the extra or expanded paper tray that some inkjets like the L7780, K5400dtn, etc.. provide to bump the media input from 250 to 600 sheets of paper.

These things are very sensitive to position, seating and generally need a little TLC to get them right.

It's well worth testing the paper feed from the bottom tray when you first get it setup and if it's not playing, lifting the printer off the unit and then re-seating often solves the problem in the end. Patience is required though.

The HP88 Printhead

The HP88 printhead was brought out in 2007 for the K550 Officejet unit and has since appeared in the K5400, K8600 and the L7000 series of Multifunctional units (eg: L7580, L7680, L7780, L7590).

Allegedly these printheads are meant to be more rugged and able to handle a much higher printing duty but in reality they are more unreliable and prone to a greater number of environmental issues compared to their older HP11 siblings.

Black/Pigment & Environment

The HP88 black printhead is much more prone to suffer clogging due to environmental influences, in particular dry and/or hot environments. I particular, air conditioned or high temp' environments such as computer rooms where a large amount of artificially dry air circulates.

It seems that the black, in particular is prone to this problem due to the fact the ink is pigment based.

The solutions to the problems include:

  • Place the printer in a well ventilated area
  • Keep away from heaters, radiators, etc...
  • Avoid using in an air-conditioned room

If however, your environment can't help but seat a printer near these things then seriously consider a dyebase black as an alternative ink. This means looking at refilling or finding a supplier that provides dyebase inks (ironically, probably a very cheap quality type).