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Solving Image Problems on HP Laser Printers

There are several image related problems that can occur.  If you want to save money and repair it yourself this article is for you. Read about the most common image related problems that HP Laser Printers have and how to resolve them.

Here are a few examples of image related problems:

Blank, Solid Black, Streaks, Double Images, Specks, Lines, Light Print, Dark Print, Blurred Image, Flaking / Rubs off

Cartridges:  Most of these problems are related to the toner cartridge.  If you don’t have another cartridge to test it you can diagnose the problem another way.  Put a sheet of paper in tray 1.  Run a configuration page with your hand on the power switch.  When the page reaches midway, turn the power off.  You may have to do this a couple more times to get the timing correct.  Now that you have stopped the paper midway, carefully remove the cartridge and the paper from the machine.  Inspect it to see if the problem exists before it reached the fuser.  If it does then it is in the cartridge, or possibly it could be in the Laser or scanner assembly.  If it does not, then you have a bad fuser assembly.  Remove the fuser and inspect it.

Cartridge problems are the most common cause of image related problems.  I find more problems with remanufactured cartridges because the manufacturer is not replacing certain major components that cause the defects.  Make sure they replace the drum.  Also, look for companies that are ISO 9002/14001 certified and STMC certified.  This will help weed out the undesirable cartridges.  To be honest, I have seen a lot of OEM cartridges fail.  Cartridges fail for several reasons, such as foreign objects getting up into the cartridge causing lines, streaks and leaking.  This can be resolved by being careful not to remove staple or paper clips in and around machine.  You should also have your machine cleaned.  Vacuuming all of the paper and toner dust can help decrease this.  Remember to only use a service vacuum that can handle the tiny particle size of toner.

Printing a Configuration page:  You will always need to print a configuration page, and here are some reasons.

Image quality test, Page count, Serial number of machine, Configuration of printer, The last few errors, Jet Direct print server card is installed, Many others…

Here are a few directions on how to print out a configuration page.If you don’t see your model scroll through the menu on your printer and it should be easy to find.

HP LJ-4000/4050/4100

1 Press [Menu] until INFORMATION MENU appears.

2 Press [Item] until PRINT CONFIGURATION appears.

3 Press [Select] to print the Configuration Page.

HP LJ-4200/4250/4300/4350

1 Press (SELECT button) or the MENU button to open the menus.

2 Use (UP ARROW button) or (DOWN ARROW button) to scroll to INFORMATION, and then press the Check button (Select)

3 Use or to scroll to PRINT CONFIGURATION, and then press the check button.

HP LJ-8000/8100/8150

1 Press MENU until INFORMATION MENU appears.

2 Press ITEM until PRINT CONFIGURATION appears.

3 Press SELECT to print the configuration pages.

Image problems caused by the Fuser Assembly:  Symptoms are, toner not fusing, streaking, double imaging.

Note:  The 4200 series had a problem with the film getting ripped.  You will see strands of plastic pieces coming out of the exit area.  It will cause as an image defect, streaking and double imaging. 

Diagnose: You can diagnose it by running a configuration page.  Rub on the print.  Is it flakey?  Does the print rub off easy?  If it does, it is probably the fuser.  Remove and inspect it.  You can inspect the film or roller.  If you see any damage replacement is necessary.

Note:  Most fusers on HP Laser Printers are very easy to remove.  If you need instructions on how to remove and install them, I have maintenance kit installation procedures on my website on the front page.  Look under customer menus.

Solution – The fuser is replaced as an assembly.  Remove and replace Fuser Assembly   

WARNING! Let the Fuser Assembly cool before disassembly.

Regarding Light Prints: 

If you have replaced your cartridge and you still have light prints or if you have light print over the entire page, you may have economy mode on.  Go to quality menu and turn off.  I would also try the transfer roller.  This is also easy to replace, look in Maintenance kit installation procedure.

One last thing:  If you have tried all of the above, there could be another problem.  This procedure can be difficult for the average person to repair.  It is cleaning the scanner or laser unit.  If you are in a very dusty environment the mirror inside this assembly may be dirty.  When the mirrors accumulate dust on them the image defect is light prints.  I go into detail on cleaning the HP LJ-4000 scanner on another article I have.  If you would likePsychology Articles, you can go to my website in my article section and check it out.

I hope this article has helped you save some of your hard earned money.  There really is no reason to spend money when you can just clean it yourself!

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Bill Tucker has been in the office equipment and supply industry for over 20 years and has several published industry related articles that help the end-user as well as the technician.

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