6540 HP Deskjet printer not working

Posted on 2009-04-17
Last Modified: 2013-12-15

We're using Windows Vista.

Our 6540 HP Deskjet Printer

It printed earlier today.

We added an HP Officejet 6210 All in One and the scanner works. The printer in the All-in-one never worked.

Wasn't printing after we hooked up the 6210

There was an error on the control panel -> printers page - said "Error" next to Deskjet 6540

Deleted the 6540 from control panel printers.

Now we can't get the 6540 going again. When we unplug and plug in the USB cable, no "Add New Hardware" bubble pops up. We run "Add new hardware" and nothing happens.

What do we do next?
Question by:weikelbob
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    try to uninstall / reinstall the 6540
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    >>  The printer in the All-in-one never worked   <<   can you do an off-line copy ? to test the printer ?
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    by:Gregg DesElms
    As I've written around here about three times just in the last week...

    ...HP printers (perhaps more than others, but with Vista, many other printers, too) need to be installed in a certain way, or they exhibit all manner of weirdness.

    Completely uninstall any and all software related to any and all printers, printer/scanners, etc.  Be really thorough.  Look closely at the list of installed printer software and make really certain that anything and everything having to do with those products is gone.

    Go into "Printers" in "Control Panel," and if any printers remain after uninstalling their software, delete them.

    If you *really* want to be thorough, go into the "Program Files" folder and if the folders where the printer software once lived are still there, delete them.  Make sure there are no startup menu folders or shortcuts for them, either.  If you're up for it, use RegEdit and look for terms like "HP Deskjet" or "Deskjet" or "6540" or "6500 series" and, if found, delete them.

    Then shut down the computer.

    Then shut down all printers and other such devices that you'll be re-installing.

    Then turn all printers and other such devices that uyou'll be re-installing back on... and wait and make sure they're fully up and online and waiting to be used.

    Then turn the computer back on and let it fully boot up and login and let it settle down.  Before you do anything else, go back into "Printers" in "Control Panel" and verify that whatever you deleted hasn't mysteriously re-appeared... just to be safe.  Assuming nothing did, then...

    ...go to the device's manufacturer's web site and download the device's absolutely newest, latest, greatest *FULL* software suite.  Note also if there are any additional patches, and download those, too.

    Then run the installer for the fully software suite; and let said installer find and properly configure the printer.  Do *NOT* use the "Add Printer" method in the printers part of Windows!

    After installing one (1) printer, reboot.  Then if there were any additional patches for that first printer, install them.  Then reboot again.

    Then run the full software suite installer for the next printer... and let it find and configure said printer.  Then reboot.  Then install any patches (if any), then reboot again.

    That's the generally best way to install printers... be they USB-connected or LAN-connected... especially (but necessarily solely) if they're made by HP.

    NOTE:  Make sure that the device is compatible with the version of Windows you're using; and make sure that the version of full software suite and/or patches is for that device on your particular version of Windows.

    NOTE:  Be sure to check on the device manufacturer's web site to see if there are any BIOS upgrades for your device.  If there are, download and install those, too... probably after you've installed the device's full software suite, otherwise the BIOS installer may not be able to "see" the device on your system.

    Hope that helps.
    LVL 7

    Author Comment

    Thank you Deselms (and Nobus)

    Our next workday is Monday and our first task will be to impliment what we learned here.

    We will be back to post if we run into any issues.


    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    DesElms - i think you missed one thing on the uninstall part : from the printer section>File>Server properties>Drivers delete all references to your printer
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    by:Gregg DesElms
    True enough.  Drivers, and ports, too.

    Sometimes those get removed when the printer gets deleted... but, yes, you're right.  It should always be checked-for manually the way you describe.

    However, that's all stored in the registry... so should be caught by that part of the process... that is, if one does that registry part of the process.

    Still... yes... you're right.
    LVL 7

    Author Comment

    We got it going with the color cartrage only. It won't take the black one.

    Do you guys know if it's likely that 2 black cartrages in a row are bad, or if these kind of things go out on the printer's end sometimes?

    Thanks, I'll wrap this question up soon.

    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    It is not likely... that is, unless the cartridge is an aftermarket or refilled cartridge.  If so, then all bets are off.  So many of those are of such low quality that no only can the printer misread them, but in extreme (and in admittedly rare) cases, they can even damage either the electronics of the printer, or its ink flow logistics, or both.  Remember that there's a chip on every cartridge that the printer needs to read.  Those chips are often wrongly programmed, or damaged, or not programmed at all on third-party (non-HP) cartridges, or even sometimes on HP cartridges that have been refilled by anyone other than you.

    Also, HP inkjet printers are, in the main, notoriously intolerant of being powered-down by any means other than the printer's own front-panel (or rear- or side-switched) power button/switch.  If ever an HP inkjet printer is powered-down by turning off the power strip into which it's plugged; or go off because of a power failure or brown-out or momentary dropout or something, then it will, from that point forward until it is properly turned off (using its power switch and no other), and then back on again, be goofy...

    ...and the most salient symptom it exhibits (the most costly one) is that until it is properly power-cycled using its on/of switch (and not by any other means) it will BURN THROUGH INK CARTRIDGES!

    Like water, sometimes... or even misread a replacement cartridge and consider it bad right out of the box.

    Other possibilities are the contacts where the cartridge plugs-in in the printer.  If those get dirty or go bad for any other reason, the device will always misread (or fail to read at all) whether any newly-inserted cartridge is bad or good or in the middle.

    If the printer has replaceable print heads, and if one or more of them goes bad or is clogged, that, too, can cause all manner of seemingly ink-cartridge-related false errors.

    Your printer not taking the black cartridge is a problem... a big one.  You should not be running it without a cartridge --- even if one or two of them are empty -- in every position.

    Power-off the printer.

    Unplug it from the computer (or LAN).

    Power-up the printer.

    Open the cover where the cartridges are and remove them.

    If there are removable/replaceable print heads, remove those, too.

    Power-off the printer.

    Get two completely new cartridges, and make sure they're brand new HP brand... even though those are, of course, the most painfully expensive.  (Notice that I didn't say to install them yet.  Just get them.)

    If there are any print heads involved, get new of them, too... again, with HP brand product... and, again, don't install them yet.

    Open up as many places on the printer as you can which will give you access to the paper path... and, especially, all rubber and plastic rollers (of both the truly rolling, and also the pinch-and-shove type).

    Get a can or two or three of compressed air.  Blow as much dust as you can out of everything, everywhere.  Vaccuum (very carefully) also, if you want.

    Get a bottle of denatured alcohol and some long "Q-Tip" type swab sticks (most easily from Radio Shack).  If you happen to find (at Radio Shack) a liquid product that's specifically intended to clean rubber rollers, that's even better.  There used to be a product available at office supply stores called "Dr. Scat" that worked magic on rubber rollers (but was murder on any plastic that it happened to touch... and so isn't easily available anymore... but if you can find at least something like it, that would be good... though, denatured alcohol is perfect).  Regular isopropyl alcohol will work fine, too... but if you use it to clean rubber too many times, it will dry it out and crack it... so if you use it, just use it this one time.

    A small tube of white lithium grease for the gears would be good, too, if you can get it.

    Remove and clean all rollers that can be easily snaped-out... leave all others in... clean pretty much anything else that touches paper.  If you use a Dr. Scat sort of product, use it only on truly rubber rollers, not on plastic.  Use the alcohol on the plastic... or on everything if you want, just ignoring anything as powerful (and potentially damaging) as Dr. Scat (or anything like it).

    Anything that's supposed to touch or grab the paper needs to be absoutely clean and dust free.  If it's rubber, it needs to be clean enough to have some serious friction against paper.  Keep your finger prints (and body oil) off of them.

    Any white or black plastic gears or other moving parts which you can get at (and WHICH DO NOT TOUCH PAPER) should have a *VERY* light appliication of white lithium grease applied to them (probably just using a fingertip or a cotton swab or something like that)... being careful not to get it anywhere it doesn't belong... most especially on any rollers or anything that touches the paper.  Be really careful with the grease... don't use it if you're not comfortable that you can control it and also make sure it only gets onto the right parts, and in the right quantities.

    Any gold contacts in the little places which hold the print cartridges, and which can be seen and accessed, should be cleaned to the degree possible... BUT NOT WITH THE PRINTER TURNED ON, and certainly not with anything liquid.  Use a good, clean, soft, brand-new eraser on a number 2 yellow pencil.  Make sure to thoroughly blow out (or vaccuum out) any eraser dust.

    The reason for going through all of this is that you would not believe how one little part in the printer hanging, or sticking, or dirty, or slippery, or for whatever reason unable to do its thing properly can cause seemingly completely unrelated errors.  A raft of them!  It's unbelievable how this can happen.  

    So it's always best, when one has a problem like this, to reduce it down to the very basics and cover everything.  At least then, if the error continues, you'll kinda' know where you stand in terms of the physicality of the machine... the paper path, most specifically.  Plus, what the heck, a clean and properly-lubed printer is a happy (and quieter, and longer-lasting) printer.

    Then, with the cartridges (and print heads, if any, and if replaceable) still out, close all doors and parts of the printer and power up.  There will be lights flashing and error messages and all manner of complaining.  That's fine.  Just do it, and leave it on until it settles down and just exhibits the error or the flashing lights or both.

    Then power off.

    Then do it again... one, then wait/settle-down, then off.

    Then unplug all power from the machine, and leave it, for the moment, unplugged.  Go get coffee (still leaving it unplugged).

    Then plug power back into the machine.  

    Open one of the new print heads (if any), and one of the ink cartridges.  For perhaps the first time in your life, maybe (if you're like most people) BOTHER TO READ THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS, AND FOLLOW THEM TO THE LETTER!  If you're instructed to install with the printer off, then do so.  If on, then do so.  Whatever it says, to the letter, do.  Deviate not.   (Remember, the printer is still, at this point, unplugged from the computer or LAN.)

    Power off the printer.

    Plug it back into the computer or LAN.

    Power it up again.

    If the printer is of the type which allows it to be done manually, align the print heads (there sud be a utility for so doing as part of the printer's suite of software).  Otherwise, the printer may auto-align itself... or may prompt you do do things... like, for example, to take a printed sheet and insert it, just so, face down, on the scanner glass... and the press something.  Do whatever it says if it tries to do things automatically.  Or go into the utility that allows you to manually align the heads and do it that way.

    Then print a few test pages and make sure everything seems to look okay.  If it doesn't, then there maybe no point in continuing, but...

    Then power off.  Wait a minute or two.

    Then power on.

    At that point, if the printer's not somehow broken, it should work better than maybe it ever has... even, maybe, better than it did right out of the box.  If it's LAN-attached, you may need to figure out what its IP address has become (if it's not the same as it was before you did all this) and modify the port in Windows accordingly.  Either that or delete it completely from the printers list, and then let the software suite sense and find it, and auto-install/configure it (which is actually better).

    Certainly, if it doesn't work more or less perfect at that point, then it really is quite likely to be broken somehow... which point one must ask oneself if it's worth it to get it repaired.  HP printers, any more, are so economical that at least a few of them cost less than it would cost for shipping to send them back for repair.  Even those which cost more than that are rarely worth getting repaired.  It's not like the old days when an old LaserJet-I cost $2,900 (or more... and, yes, I'm old enough to remember that).

    Hope that helps... and, believe it or not, it's all called for at this point, based on what you've written here.  Others may (and almost certainly will) disagree.  Do what you think is best.
    LVL 7

    Author Comment


    This is great! I actually used to work at a printer call in center, it looks like you've been around the block. I'm keeping this last post as a document for future help as we always buy hp printers.


    We're getting a new printer, so I won't want to buy new ink cartriges. But I will file your posts for any time we need to troubleshoot our hp printers, which is quite often. I certainly do not disagree with your post.

    I hope that it is OK with nobus that I give most of the points to DesElms.

    Thanks again!


    Featured Post

    How to run any project with ease

    Manage projects of all sizes how you want. Great for personal to-do lists, project milestones, team priorities and launch plans.
    - Combine task lists, docs, spreadsheets, and chat in one
    - View and edit from mobile/offline
    - Cut down on emails

    Join & Write a Comment

    Well I am not sure whether i deserve anything (credit or points) for this article, since I have not written the source code but discovered the same while browsing the net. I only wish to help EE users save some money and probably help the environmen…
    Causes of paper jams:The following are the main causes of paper jams. Guides:If the guides for the paper are not set correctly they may cause the paper to enter at an angle. You should ensure that the guides are set correctly for the paper type a…
    To add imagery to an HTML email signature, you have two options available to you. You can either add a logo/image by embedding it directly into the signature or hosting it externally and linking to it. The vast majority of email clients display l…
    Illustrator's Shape Builder tool will let you combine shapes visually and interactively. This video shows the Mac version, but the tool works the same way in Windows. To follow along with this video, you can draw your own shapes or download the file…

    734 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    26 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now