HP Printer quality

I have an HP Officejet Pro X551dw printer.  I connect to it wirelessly.  In the past several months, it has developed print quality issues when printing multiple copies.  The first copy is fine, but subsequent copies have areas of the page that are faded or missing.  No amount of print head cleaning helps.  Single copies of a print job are fine, but other copies are not.
pjfromnyAsked:
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Does this occur in all colors, or only in black?

If it occurs only in black, the most likely reason is that the ink feed to the jets is failing for some reason.  Thus enough ink could trickle down to the jets to do some initial printing, but then it would fade out as the ink supply cuts off.

Diagnostics:  This is unlikely to happen exactly at the edge of a page, so if the first page is always perfect no matter how dense the print or how short the print, and the subsequent pages are always light, this is not the problem.

If you have already changed both ink and printhead, this is not the problem.

If you used non-HP ink in the printer, this suggests confirmation.  There seems to be a lot of bad third party ink going around over the last few months.
Michael-BestCommented:
Your ink heads are going bad.
If new ink cartridges do not help then replacement of the ink heads is the only solution which may cost more than total replacement of the printer...
Buy a new printer.
nobusCommented:
i would test this issue out by connecting the printer over USB on another PC
it seems weird that single prints are ok - evene repeated, and multiple not
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DansDadUKCommented:
i agree with the comment from nobus that "it seems weird that single prints are ok - evene repeated, and multiple not".

What happens with a multiple-page document (rather than a single-page document with multiple copies)?
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Its fine if the first document has multiple pages (like this morning printed a job with a 22 page document), but I can't send even 2 copies of it.  But one print job at a time seems fine.
nobusCommented:
can you test if it happens when the printer is installed on another PC?
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Result is the same for different computers.
Michael-BestCommented:
"Its fine if the first document has multiple pages (like this morning printed a job with a 22 page document), but I can't send even 2 copies of it.  But one print job at a time seems fine."
"Result is the same for different computers."

Wow never heard this issue before now....
Multi pages on one print job OK but second print job / subsequent copies "have areas of the page that are faded or missing.

No software fault on the part of the computers is causing this.
The heads and ink supply must be fine to complete a 22 page document OK.

You should update the printers firmware from the HP site, but if this does not help then the only deduction is that the printer is bad and if service is no longer under warranty replacement will be the cheaper option.
Contact HP service to ask if they have any recalls on this model.
nobusCommented:
if it is the same for different PC's then the printer has a flaw - and should be serviced
you can try hard resetting it, or updating the firmware also
http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/swd/public/readIndex?sp4ts.oid=5144406&swLangOid=8&swEnvOid=4063

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DansDadUKCommented:
@Michael-Best
No software fault on the part of the computers is causing this.
@nobus
if it is the same for different PC's then the printer has a flaw - and should be serviced

I'm not sure that I agree:
If the printer can print a single-copy multiple-page document OK, then the print engine / heads would appear to be OK.
Unless a printer has a hard disk (or an extremely large amount of memory), multiple copies are produced by the printer driver generating the commands / escape sequences / etc. for the first copy, then repeating these for the second copy, etc., all within the same print 'job'.
i.e. the 'multiple copy' mechanism is not usually produced by the printer itself.

Unusually for an inkjet printer, this model supports the 'traditional' Page Description Languages (PCL5, PCL6 (PCL XL), PostScript) and Direct-PDF, rather than the simpler raster-based languages (e.g. PCL3 GUI) used on most inkjet devices.

it would, perhaps, be illuminating to generate a small (sanitised data) multiple-copy print job, but use the 'print to file' option to capture the job into a .prn file, then examine that file to see just how the multiple copies are produced, and to check for any differences in the 'commands' used in those copies.

If the driver used is a PCL5 or PCL6 driver, to help with this check, you can analyse the captured file using the PRN File Analyse tool in the PCL Paraphernalia application, available via http://www.pclparaphernalia.eu

... or you could just try using a different driver - e.g.. if you are currently using the PCL5 driver, try the PCL6 or PostScript driver instead (assuming that these alternative drivers are available for your operating system version).
nobusCommented:
Dansdad - if it does not work fully on different pc -s; then the pc's are not at fault; the printer is
keep it simple
DansDadUKCommented:
if it does not work fully on different pc -s; then the pc's are not at fault; the printer is

But if those different PCs all use the same driver, and that driver has a fault?

We at least ought to try to eliminate this possibility.
nobusCommented:
do you know if they have the same driver ? i don't
DansDadUKCommented:
do you know if they have the same driver ? i don't

No - but it's a possibility.

We're all waiting on some more information / feedback from the question author.
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Sorry, full of meetings for a few days.  Both computers are using the same driver - PCL6.  We printed a large document (40 pages) yesterday as long as we sent each print job separately, and did not send the jobs in rapid succession (let it finish printing and rest a minute or so), it was fine.  As soon as we sent 2, the second one was unreadable (large faded areas).

I'm not completely sure how to change the driver, so I will have to do a bit of research.  I don't see a print to file option.  I'm using Win 7.
DansDadUKCommented:
>> ... We printed a large document (40 pages) yesterday as long as we sent each print job separately, and did not send the jobs in rapid succession (let it finish printing and rest a minute or so), it was fine.
>> ... As soon as we sent 2, the second one was unreadable  ...


This description (sending multiple separate print jobs of same (or different) document) is not the same as what I assumed you originally meant by "printing multiple copies", where you select something like "Number of copies = n" within the Print dialogue.

The "rest a minute or so), it was fine" comment would seem to put the problem ball back in the court of the printer hardware/firmware.
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Right, the issue occurs when number of copies of a document >1, and when print jobs are sent in rapid succession.  The length of the document does not seem to be the defining issue.  We created the error by sending distinct jobs (same document, n=1), but hitting "print" as quickly as the computer would allow.  If there's a little time between "print" long documents seem to print fine.
DansDadUKCommented:
So, perhaps some fault in the firmware which is not performing a full "new job" reset in a timely fashion.

Or some sort of hardware issue (although I can't imagine what).
nobusCommented:
easiest solution might be a freh install
heaven knows what happened...
DansDadUKCommented:
Other tests you could perhaps perform would be:

Create a test print job by printing a sample document, but choose the 'print to file' option in the Print dialogue to capture the job into a .prn file.
'Send' the content of this .prn file direct to the printer port; how to do this depends on Operating System and how device is connected (e.g. for network printer on a Windows system, use the 'lpr' command within a command-prompt session).
Repeat this 'send' (which is of exactly the same print commands each time) at varying intervals, and note the results.
The printer probably has mechanisms (either via front panel menus, or Embedded Web Server equivalent) to initiate various print reports (e.g. Demo page or Diagnostics page) direct from the printer; I've no idea if it is possible to try to invoke several of these in quick succession or not, but it may be worth a try.
Michael-BestCommented:
Please update the printers firmware as suggested:
Michael-Best2015-05-18 at 01:04:21ID: 40781840
DansDadUKCommented:
This README document specifies fixes in recent firmware updates.

I can't see anything relevant, except, possibly, for:
"Added a support menu option to enable/disable Job Tailgating" - but (as I've no idea what "Job Tailgating" is), I don't know.
"Mopier mode support: Reduces network load on print jobs printing multiple copies" - but the problem also occurs with single-copy jobs in quick succession.
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Will update firmware as soon as I am back in the office tomorrow.  Thank you.
hdhondtCommented:
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Hello,  The issue was not resolved by the responses, but I am willing to award points for the suggestions offered.  I finally took the printer for service, where they could not diagnose anything.
Michael-BestCommented:
"I finally took the printer for service, where they could not diagnose anything."

It is possible that the print heads were temporally blocked...and then cleaned themselves.?
If it works fine now, that's great to hear.

Regards,
Michael
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Would it be appropriate to award points for those who participated though the issue was not resolved by those responses?
DansDadUKCommented:
>> ... Would it be appropriate to award points for those who participated though the issue was not resolved by those responses? ...

That's up to you.
If you think that some of the responses have helped you in arriving at your final diagnosis (either by pointing you in the right direction, or by suggesting other causes that you've been able to eliminate), then by all means do so (especially if you think that the discussion may be of use to anyone else with similar symptoms).
Michael-BestCommented:
Maker service includes purging of the print heads with a cleaning fluid then fitting new ink cartridges, which is a more aggressive cleaning method than can be run by by you via printer or PC standard cleaning cycles.
Thus concluding the result:  " where they could not diagnose anything "
It seems to me that you had blocked print heads or bad ink cartridges.
This information may help others reading your post, so you may wish to award points to either your own comments and also to any other Experts comments that may be of help to other EE members reading your post.
pjfromnyAuthor Commented:
Ultimately I took the printer to a shop.  They were unable to recreate the error, and believe that it is a mechanical malfunction (print head, jam) that cleared itself.  The comments were very useful as I was able to give the shop a lot of background info, and test quite a few things.
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