Print Quality Troubleshooting Guide

Print Quality Troubleshooting Guide

Background Scatter

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
background scatterFuser assembly is badDo a half-way test to determine if it is the fuser
background scatterTransfer Roller is dirty or worn. A worn Transfer Roller can cause background scatter due to improper bias voltages.Replace the transfer roller.
background scatterToner cartridge is defectiveInstall a new toner cartridge

Black lines (parallel or perpendicular)

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
black lines – parallel or perpendicularIf the lines are repeated at a consistent interval down the page, this is a repetitive defect.See the Repetitive Image Defect Ruler in the service manual to measure and determine source of lines.

Black page

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
black pageDefective toner cartridgeInstall a new toner cartridge
black pageHigh voltage power supply circuit is defective (not supplying the correct negative voltage)Replace the High Voltage Power Supply PCA
black pageDC controller PCA is defective. If the DC Controller turns on the laser beam continuously, the entire surface of the Photosensitive drum is neutralized causing a completely black page.Replace the DC Controller PCA

Blank pages , all pages

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
blank page – all pagesNo toner is available  for printRemove sealing tape on toner cartridge, or replace the toner cartridge if necessary.
blank page – all pagesMalfunctioning laser shutterPerform a half-way test  and see if there is an image on the imaging drum. If there is no image on the drum, check the laser shutter for correct operation when inserting the toner cartridge.
blank page – all pagesNo transfer roller voltagePerform a half-way test  and see if there is an image on the imaging drum. If there is an image on the drum, make sure the transfer roller is installed. Without transfer roller voltage, toner cannot be attracted from the surface of the drum to the print media. Replace the transfer roller if necessary.
blank page – all pagesNo developing biasPerform a half-way test  and see if there is an image on the imaging drum. If there is no image on the drum, clean the high-voltage power supply contacts. With no developing bias charge, toner is not attracted to the drum. Replace the engine controller board if necessary.
blank page – all pagesDefective laser scanner cablePerform a half-way test  and see if there is an image on the imaging drum. If there is no image on the drum, low-level signals exchanged between the laser/scanner assembly and the engine controller board could theoretically affect laser output. Replace the laser/scanner cable assembly if necessary.

Blank pages , occasionally

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
blank page – occasionalMultiple feedsThe printer may be feeding two or more pages at once because the paper is difficult to separate. Flex the paper a bit to help separate before installing in printer.
blank page – occasionalSoftware configuration , network configurationRe-install printer driver.  Check paper size settings in software. Check any software/network settings related to printing a blank separator page between jobs.
blank page – occasionalMalfunctioning paper pickup assemblyThe paper pickup solenoids can misfire and intermittently cause the pickup rollers to rotate an extra revolution.  This will cause a blank page.  Replace or repair paper pickup solenoids.

Blank spots

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
blank spotsDefective toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge.
blank spotsDirty laser scanner mirrorsClean the laser scanner mirrors. On some models, this is an advanced procedure; consult the service manual for instructions on accessing the laser scanner assembly.
blank spotsContaminated or deformed transfer rollerReplace the transfer roller.

Bubble Print

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
bubble printDefective High Voltage Power SupplyReplace the High Voltage Power Supply
bubble printPhotosensitive drum inside toner cartridge is not groundedCheck for proper mounting of the High Voltage Power Supply, and the HVPS ground contact on the toner cartridge. Check for proper seating of toner cartridge. Replace toner cartridge.
bubble printPaper does not meet specifications — moisture content, conductivity, or surface finish may not work correctly with the electrophotographic process.Try a different paper type
bubble printDefective toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge.

Compressed Print

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
compressed printDrive gear is broken or wornInspect and replace the worn gear of assembly
compressed printToner cartridge bushings are too tightReplace the toner cartridge

Contamination on back

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
contamination on backContamination inside printer1. Print at least 10 pages to see if the problem goes away on its own.

2. Print a cleaning page (consult User’s Guide/ Service Manual.)

3. Identify and clean the contaminated part, or better yet, replace the contaminated part if replacements are orderable.

4. If contamination continues, check toner cartridge for leaks. Replace cartridge.

compressed printPrint media does not meet printer specifications, or is stored improperly.1. Print a few more pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Turn over the stack of media in the tray. Also try rotating the media 180 degrees.

3.  If the print media does not meet HP specifications, replace the paper, and advise the customer to use the recommended print media and store it properly.

Creases

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
creasesPaper is loaded incorrectly.Make sure print media is loaded into tray correctly, and that the tray guides are adjusted properly to fit against the paper stack.
creasesDetermine the cause by performing a half-way test to isolate the defective component.Replace defective component. Common possibilities include slipping paper pickup assembly, slipping feed assembly, slipping fuser assembly.

Curl

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
curlPrint media does not meet printer specifications or is stored improperly.1. Print a few more pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Turn over the stack of media in the tray. Also try rotating the media 180 degrees.

3. I the print media does not meet HP specs, replace the paper.

curlWrong fuser setting for print media typeFrom the paper-handling menu on the control panel, change the fuser mode setting or choose another paper type from the printer driver.
curlWrong output binPrint to a different output bin (top or rear output bin).

Distorted Image

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
distorted imageDefective engine controller boardReplace the engine controller board
distorted imageDefective laser scannerReplace the laser scanner
distorted imagePoor connection of cables to the engine controller boardReseat the cables connected to the engine controller board
distorted imagePrint media does not meet printer specifications or is stored improperly1. Print a few more pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Turn over the stack of media in the tray. Also try rotating the media 180°.

3. If the print media does not meet HP specifications, replace the paper, and advise the customer to use the recommended print media and store it properly

Laser printer print defects – Dropouts

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
dropoutsFailing toner cartridge, or wrong toner density settingReplace toner cartridge, or wrong toner density setting
dropoutsFailing upper fuser roller in fuserReplace fuser
dropoutsDC Controller is defective (low primary voltage)Replace the DC controller
dropoutsHigh Voltage Power Supply is defectiveReplace the high voltage power supply
dropoutsTransfer roller is defectiveReplace the Transfer Roller

Fading print with bubbles

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
fading print with bubblesToner cartridge drum not grounded properlyWith no ground path, the drum cannot discharge. The negative charge on the drum repels toner and leaves a white page with bubble print.

1. Replace toner cartridge.

2. Check the drum ground spring and reconnect it, if necessary.

3. Replace the engine controller board

Fading print

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
fading printToner supply is low , failingShake the cartridge gently to redistribute the toner, or replace the cartridge
fading printTransfer roller is defective or incorrectly installed.  If the Transfer roller loses conductivity, it cannot effectively pull toner from the drum to the paperInspect the Transfer Roller for proper installation and contact. If the Transfer Roller is damaged, replace it
fading printLaser mirror is dirty or shutter is not functioningClean the scanner mirror.  Check the Laser/Scanner shutter door for proper operation. If defective, replace the Laser/Scanner Assembly.
fading printPrint density is set incorrectlyChange to a darker setting and retry printing
fading printEconoMode is on. (EconoMode saves toner by reducing the dot density. This may appear to be a print quality problem in some cases.)Turn EconoMode off. EconoMode settings are stored in either the printer driver or the job application.

Faulty registration

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Faulty registrationPaper guide on the paper tray is incorrectly adjusted.If the guide is pushing too tightly against the paper, it may be delayed in being pulled into the printer. If the guide is too loose, it may cause image skewing. Make sure that the paper guide is adjusted for the correct paper size and is locked into position.
Faulty registrationPaper is being picked up skewed; worn pickup , feed, or registration rollers.Inspect all paper path rollers, looking for wear, cracks, or glazing. Replace worn rollers.
Faulty registrationPaper tray is overloaded. If the tray is overloaded, the Pickup Rollers may not pick correctly.Reload proper amount of paper squarely in the tray. Review paper loading with the customer.

Gray background

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Gray backgroundFaulty toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge
Gray backgroundHigh voltage power supply failureReplace high voltage power supply
Gray backgroundFormatter failureReplace formatter
Gray backgroundWrong toner density settingFrom the print-quality menu on the control panel, adjust the toner density setting.

Horizontal black lines

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Horizontal black linesDefective laser scanner assembly or engine controller board1. See the “Repetitive defect ruler”

2. Reseat connectors on the laser scanner and engine controller board.

3. Replace the laser/scanner assembly followed by the engine controller board, if necessary

Horizontal smudges

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Horizontal smudgesPaper path contamination or damage1. See the Repetitive defect ruler.

2. Check the toner cartridge and replace it if necessary.

3. Check the fuser and replace it, if necessary

Laser printer print defects – Horizontal white lines

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Horizontal white linesDefective toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge
Horizontal white linesDirty / defective laser scanner assemblyClean laser scanner mirrors. Replace scanner assembly if necessary.
Horizontal white linesDefective DC controllerReplace DC controller

Image skew

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Image skewPickup roller are worn. Paper is being fed at a skewed angle.Inspect all paper path rollers, looking for wear, cracks or glazing. Replace worn rollers.
Image skewPaper size adjustment levers are not in correct positionVerify position of paper size adjustment levers, and correct
Image skewPaper is loaded incorrectly. If paper is not installed flush and tight in the paper tray, a skewing problem will result.Remove paper from the tray, and install paper correctly.  Position the paper guide correctly for the paper size being used.
Image skewFailing registration assemblyReplace registration assembly

Light print, dark print, or fade

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Light print, dark print, or fadeToner cartridge is low or failingReplace the toner cartridge
Light print, dark print, or fadeToner cartridge is low or failingReinstall transfer roller, making sure it is fully seated. Replace transfer roller if necessary.
Light print, dark print, or fadeDirty laser scanner, or defective laser scannerClean laser scanner mirrors. Replace laser scanner if necessary.
Light print, dark print, or fadePoor contact from toner cartridge to engine controller board, or failing engine controller board, or failing high voltage power supply1.  Ensure that the drum ground spring is connected to the engine controller board correctly.

2. Clean the contacts if they are contaminated. If the problem remains after cleaning, or parts are damaged or deformed, replace them.

3. Replace the engine controller board.

4. Replace the high voltage power supply.

Light print, dark print, or fadeWrong toner density setting, or EconoMode settingFrom the Print Quality menu, adjust the toner density setting. Make sure EconoMode is off.

Loose toner

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Loose tonerDefective , failing fuserReplace the fuser
Loose tonerToner cartridge is defectiveReplace the toner cartridge
Loose tonerWrong fuser setting for paper typePaper type settings control the heat of the fuser and bonding of the toner.  From the paper-handling menu on the control panel, change the fuser mode setting or choose a different paper type from the printer driver
Loose tonerToner spill contamination inside the printerPrint a few more pages to see if the problem corrects itself. Clean the inside of the printer or use the printer’s cleaning page.
Loose tonerPaper type might be unusable (too thick, too smooth, etc).Try an alternate paper type

Misshapen characters

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Misshapen charactersDefective , failing fuser assemblyReplace the fuser
Misshapen charactersLaser scanner assembly is defectiveReplace the laser scanner assembly
Misshapen charactersFailing drive gears causing fuser rollers to “slip” when bondingListen for excessive drive gear noise; examine drive gears for wear. Replace if necessary.
Misshapen charactersFailing transfer rollerClean or replace transfer roller
Misshapen charactersPaper surface is too smooth for proper toner adhesionTry an alternate paper type with different surface
Misshapen charactersPaper surface is too rough; toner migrates to low spots and leaves higher areas voidTry an alternate paper type with different surface

Partial blank page

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Partial blank pageToner cartridge is failingReplace the toner cartridge
Partial blank pageUnseated transfer rollerCheck transfer roller to ensure proper installation
Partial blank pageDirty laser scanner, or defective laser scannerClean laser scanner mirrors. Checker shutters for correct operation.  Replace laser scanner if necessary.
Partial blank pageFailing engine controller board, failing high voltage power supply1.  Ensure that the drum ground spring is connected to the engine controller board correctly.

2. Clean the contacts if they are contaminated. If the problem remains after cleaning, or parts are damaged or deformed, replace them.

3. Replace the engine controller board.

4. Replace the high voltage power supply.

Partial blank pagePage is too complex or not enough memoryMemory overflow error should occur, or “page too complex” error.  Try an alternate print driver. Add printer memory if necessary.

Repetitive defects

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Repetitive defectsDefective toner cartridgePerform a half-way test. Replace the toner cartridge if necessary.
Repetitive defectsDefective fuserPerform a half-way test. Replace the fuser if necessary.
Repetitive defectsThere are a variety of causes for repetitive defects. Check the repetitive defects ruler.See repetitive defect ruler.

Skew

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
SkewPrint media is not loaded correctly, or trays are not adjusted properly.1. Make sure paper is loaded straight/neatly/correctly.

2. Make sure paper tray is not filled past capacity.

3. Ensure the paper guides in the tray fit properly against the paper.

SkewPaper pickup / feed rollers are worn and feeding paper at a skewed angleCheck pickup / feed rollers for wear. If possible, print from a different tray / paper path to verify that only rollers in that path are failing. Replace worn rollers.
SkewRegistration assembly is failingReplace registration assembly if necessary
SkewObject blocking paper pathCheck the paper path for obstruction
SkewLaser scanner assembly is failing.Replace laser scanner assembly if necessary

Tire tracks

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Toner smearFailing toner cartridgeReplace toner cartridge
Toner smearContamination on paper pickup / feed rollersClean or replace rollers.

Toner smear

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Toner smearFailing toner cartridgeDo halfway test to isolate the problem. Replace toner cartridge
Toner smearFuser assembly has toner buildup, or is failing.Do halfway test to isolate the problem. Run some more pages to try to clear the toner buildup. If needed, replace fuser
Toner smearToner spill contamination in the printer1. Print a few pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Clean the inside of the printer or use the printer’s cleaning page.

Toner smearWrong fuser setting for paper typeFrom the paper-handling menu on the Control Panel, change the fuser mode setting or choose another paper type from the printer driver.
Toner smearDefective DC controller. (DC controller regulates fuser temperature).If a replacement fuser doesn’t solve the problem, replace DC controller PCA.
Toner smearPaper type may be unusable (too smooth, too thick, too rough)Try a different paper type

Toner specks

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Toner specksFailing toner cartridgeReplace toner cartridge
Toner specksFailing toner cartridge1. Print a few pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Clean the inside of the printer or use the printer’s cleaning page.

Toner specksFailing toner cartridgeDo halfway test to isolate the problem. Run some more pages to try to clear the toner buildup. If needed, replace fuser

Vertical black lines

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Vertical black linesDefective toner cartridgeVery common — Install another toner cartridge or perform a halfway test to isolate the problem. Replace toner cartridge if necessary.
Vertical black linesWorn , failing fuser filmSomewhat common — Perform a halfway test to isolate the problem. Check fuser film for tearing or wear.  Replace the fuser if necessary.
Vertical black linesDefective formatter generating a “video line”Less common — Replace formatter if necessary
Vertical black linesFaulty DC controller or high voltage power supplyLess common — Replace DC controller , high voltage if necessary

Vertical dots

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Vertical dotsDefective toner cartridgeReplace toner cartridge
Vertical dotsDefective engine controller boardReplace engine controller board
Vertical dotsDeformed or deteriorated transfer rollerReplace the transfer roller
Vertical dotsFaulty DC controller or high voltage power supplyReplace DC controller , high voltage if necessary

Vertical white lines

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Vertical white linesFailing toner cartridgeVery common — Try gently shaking the cartridge to redistribute the toner. If the problem continues, replace the toner cartridge.
Vertical white linesContamination in the laser pathSomewhat common —

1. Clean the laser scanner mirrors and lens.

2. Replace the laser / scanner assembly.

White spots on black

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
Vertical white dotsDefective toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge
Vertical white dotsDefective high voltage power supply (HVPS) or fuser.1. Print a few more pages to see if the problem corrects itself.

2. Make sure that print media type and quality meet HP specifications.

3. Make sure that the environmental specifications for the printer are being met.

4. Replace the toner cartridge, HVPS, or fuser.

White stripes parallel to path

SampleProblemPossible CauseSolution
White stripes parallel to pathFailing toner cartridgeReplace the toner cartridge
White stripes parallel to pathFailing transfer rollerReplace the transfer roller
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