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Printer cartridge not printing

Posted on 2005-04-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
My HP 500 printer cartridge recently ran out of ink. Up to that point it printed fine.  I installed a new one which didn't give good print quality.  I have several new, unopened cartridges and have now installed them all with poor results.  The dates are expired on them but I would think that at least one of them would work.   I have cleaned the contacts, removed and reinserted the cartridges, and primed.  Is there something else I can try or any troubleshooting I can do with the printer itself?
Thanks,
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Question by:susiehoke
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Expert Comment

by:Edan
ID: 13861390
Some ideas:
1. When exactly did your cartridges expire? the ink could have dried up by now. If the expiry date is not too long gone, hold one cartridge upside down and drop a few droplets of lukewarm water on top. After about a minute, dry it by gently tapping the top with a soft tissue paper (don't wipe) and try printing again.
2. Are your cartridges original or "compatible"? The compatible/refilled ones are often a source of problems.
3. Get a cartridge from a similar printer and test it on yours. If it still doesn't print, you could be looking at a printer problem (which is uneconomical to fix, assuming you're referring to the DeskJet 500).
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Author Comment

by:susiehoke
ID: 13861665
The cartridges expired 1999 but the ink is clearly liquid.  They look fine.  I have soaked them and gently patted them dry.  They are original.

I don't know where I'd get a cartridge from a similar printer so I guess that's out.  I agree that repair doesn't make sense.  The strange thing is, everything was perfect until the cartridge I was using ran out so it doesn't really sound like a printer problem.  I guess I'll get a new, current cartridge and give it the supreme test.
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nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 13864880
i wipe the printing surface with a moistened cloth, till i see ink comes out. you may have to do this for some minutes, to allow the ink to get wet again. Or you can put the cartridge with the opening downon the moistened cloth (ven tied with a rubber) for some time and try again.
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Author Comment

by:susiehoke
ID: 13866730
There is plenty of ink and it comes out freely.  I have pressurized the cartridge.  When I print, the type is light with non-printed streaks uniformly across the whole page of print. I hope that's clear.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13866848
the only thing you can do, is clean all contacts of printhead and cartridge, with something like isopropyl alcohol
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13866894

1999 ????? Give me a break !!!

The expiration date is there for a reason.  Not only are inkjet cartridges not sealed (the ink compartments are "vented"), the envelopes in which they come are not sealed either (they have holes in them).  The solvents in the ink do evaporate, and as that happens, the ink thickens, ultimately to a point where it partially or completely clogs the nozzles and doesn't perform correctly.  Certainly, you can use cartridges past the expiration date up to a point (I'd say 6 to 12 months in many cases), but if these cartridges are years expired, they probably won't work.  You can try "refilling them" with new ink, even, if necessary, first removing the "old" ink (with the same type of syringe that you use to fill them).  However, and this is especially true for pigmented inks, the nozzles may be irreversibly clogged with dry, extra viscous ink, so this may not work.  Also, there are no "universal" inkjet inks .... you need to get an ink that is specifically formulated for the type of cartridge that you are using.  If you do anything like this, understand that the print quality may be poor for as much as 24 to 48 hours.  When you refill, you often introduce air bubbles into the cartridge, and takes a while for the ink to settle and for the bubbles to rise to the surface and resolve themselves.

You really should buy a new printer.  You can new printers nearly "free" (meaning that the printer cost is about the cost of the inkjet cartridges that it comes with).  OfficeMax often has very good deals on HP closeout (discontinues model) and factory refurb (and these are real, HP factory refurb) printers.  That printer is truly ancient, something like 15 years old at this point.  You have no idea how much better modern printers are.
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Expert Comment

by:rudy_bagga
ID: 13868546
Watzman - Thanks for suggesting that she buy a new printer.  I was trying to come up with a polite way of suggesting the same.  I hate sending hardware to the landfills as much as anyone but a deskjet500 is getting pretty old and the economics of printers is such that the printer itself is pretty much disposable.

Things to watch for:   Some of the printer manufacturers have gone to supplying low capacity ink cartridges with their lower price printers. It is easy to be enticed by the low printer price without realizing how much you will be spending on frequent cartridge replacement.

 Example:

HP has low end printers priced from $35 to $89 that use the HP27 cartridge holding only 10mL of ink.  The HP27 cartridge sells for around $18.

HPs next level of printers starts at $129 but uses the HP96 cartridge that holds 21mL of ink.  The HP96 cartridges sell for around $20.

Do the math and make the right decision for your own needs.
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13868774
HP was supplying low capacity "starter" cartridges with their printers, until they got hit with a class action lawsuitin about 2002.  They have since stopped the practice, and all of their printers (even factory refurbs) now come with "full" cartridges.  Some other printer vendors, however, do still engage in the practice of supplying "starter" consumables.  By a "full" cartridge, I mean that they supply a cartridge that is sold at retail (previously, when they were being sued, they were supplying a cartrige with the printers that was different (lower in capacity) than any cartridge that they offered for separate retail sale).  But you are right, they do have different size cartridges.  Although it's a pain in the ass and takes some skill and learning, I have had very good luck with refilling cartridges in the 56/57/58/59 group.  For the cost of one cartridge, you can refill ten of them, and these cartridges will actually last through 5 to 10 refills, up to 18 to 24 months.
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Expert Comment

by:rudy_bagga
ID: 13870123
I tried refilling cartridges back when the first refill kits hit the streets.  It took me several days to get all the black ink off of my hands and I never tried again.  It sounds like things have improved significantly. Perhaps I should give it another try
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Author Comment

by:susiehoke
ID: 13870474
I think it is inappropriate for "experts" to advise purchasing a new printer when there is nothing wrong with the old one.  I obviously know that buying a new one is an option.  I don't need an expert to give me that information.  My question related to the printer cartridge.  
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Expert Comment

by:rudy_bagga
ID: 13870579
Ouch!    If there was "nothing wrong with the old one", you never would have asked our opinion in the first place.  Let's see,  you tried a "new" cartridge, then several more, so what if they were all 6 years past their expiration dates.  By my count, you've already used up about $100 in cartridges.  We have been focusing on the cartidge but the possibility existed that the printer itself had gone south.There are a lot of mechanical moving parts in a printer that can and do break.   I don't see a whole lot of point to continuing to throw good money after bad. I stand by my opinion.  It's time to move on.
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Author Comment

by:susiehoke
ID: 13926943
I have to get one last comment in here.  I bought a new cartridge and the printer is performing perfectly.  All I wanted was hints on tweaking the cartridge which some of you supplied.  Apparently, the cartridges were beyond tweaking, but the printer is fine.  Sorry if I took offence at buying a new printer but our "throw-away" society is frustrating to me.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13927701
for me too!
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13928540

I agree with you on the "throw-away society" up to a point, but this is way past that point.

You had a cartridge with a 1999 expiration date (probably made in 1997) for a printer that is more than a decade old (and I think it's a black and white only printer at that).  In fact, the Deskjet 500 may even date back to the late 1980's.

You bought a new cartridge, I don't know what it cost but I'm going to guess $30 or so.  For $50 or so, you can get a factory refurb new color printer at OfficeMax, WITH a set of new ink cartridges.  There is no comparison between the Deskjet 500 and any new printer, and among those differences are that the old Deskjet 500 uses relatively huge amounts of ink .... it's droplet size is more than an order of magnitude (and perhaps several orders of magnitude) greater than current generation printers.

Certainly, I agree that if the old printer could have been used with the print cartridges that you already have, then doing so would have been the most appropriate thing to do.  But you HAD to buy NEW cartridges no matter what, and in that situation, I think that buying new cartridges for this ancient, poor print quality, environmentally unfriendly printer was probably not, in the overall scheme of things, the best solution to the problem.

As for your comment that a piece of advise is "inappropriate", I am sorry to differ.  However, first, I think that there are no inappropriate recommendations that get the problem resolved (and the problem is "can't print"), and, second, many times the question authors do not fully understand all of the implications of various courses of actions.

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