Printer Cartridge Alignment Failed
December 13, 2005 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Printer Cartridge Alignment Failed! Printer won't print now. HELP! I need to make all my Christmas presents!

I have an HP G55 OfficeJet printer/copier. It has been a trustworthy and loyal machine for years. I was right in the middle of printing my Christmas cards when the display said that my color and black ink cartridges were both low, so I changed them. The display told me to hit enter to print a cartridge alignment page. It failed. I tried again. Same results. I reseated both cartridges. Failure. I put in a new color cartridge, because the test page only showed magenta. Failure. Turned the machine on and off. Nothing. Reseated both again. Zip. Printed test page a dozen times. Nope.

There isn't anything on HPs Help Page that actually helps. I need to fix this fast, since I have to make all my Christmas presents pronto. Every single gift I am giving this year is something I'll make and print. HELP!
posted by Corky to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You don't say which HP webpage you were trying to work from. Is this what you were trying? Have you tried bypassing the auto alignment?

There's also this fixyourownprinter webpage - maybe there's something there that could help?
posted by jasper411 at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2005

If you've tried optioning out of auto align and it doesn't help, then maybe try reinstalling the driver. Doing that has solved my printer woes countless times. If you can't find the driver CD, you can surely download the driver from the HP site.
posted by iconomy at 12:06 PM on December 13, 2005

If you've tried switching the printer off and rebooting, I'd definitely second reinstalling the driver (and another switch off+reboot). Good luck!
posted by ceri richard at 12:52 PM on December 13, 2005

I'm having a very similar problem with my Epson printer and my MeFi mix CD swap cover art.
posted by matildaben at 12:57 PM on December 13, 2005

I can't offer any computer advice, but if you'll pardon a minor derail from "fix" to "solve": How about taking your files to a copy shop?

If you can't afford it, or if there isn't one nearby, then so be it; but sometimes folks tend to overlook simple solutions, especially when panicked, so I thought it was worth mentioning. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 1:11 PM on December 13, 2005

go to kinkos.
posted by radioamy at 7:34 PM on December 13, 2005

I just went through this with my HP printer. What worked for me is this:

Unplug the printer.

Open it up, as if you were going to change the cartridge.

Manually move the cartridge(s) to the center, and make sure it's properly seated.

Plug in the printer and try again.

I had to try it twice, but it worked. Don't know what caused the problem, but it happened when I changed a cartridge so it was probably my fault. The HP website wasn't much help.

Good Luck!
posted by shifafa at 7:35 PM on December 13, 2005

I've been out of the printer repair business for a couple of years, but here are some thoughts:

Most, if not all, HP inkjet cartridges have some circuitry built into them - where say, a Canon BubbleJet has a dedicated printhead and separate ink tanks with no logic, an HP cart has a printhead built into each one. If this has gotten zapped from static electricity, or rough handling, or whatever, it could easily cause the problem you're having.

Have you tried putting the "original" carts back in - the ones that you replaced just before this happened? If you still have them, try them and see if they still work ok - that should tell you whether it's the cartridges or not.

If it's not the cartridges, it's the printer hardware, the printer firmware, the printer driver on your PC, or maybe the communication between your PC and the printer. Most likely, and easiest to try, is (as previoulsy mentioned) the driver. Uninstall and reinstall, and try again. Follow the installation instructions with regards to when to connect the printer, etc.

(This is pretty unlikely, but possible - HP inkjets for years, and I believe this is still the case, have had a registration strip, a thin piece of clear plastic marked with bars that runs nearly the width of the printer. A sensor in the carriage reads the bars and can determine where the carriage is located along its path. If this gets dirty or comes loose on one or both ends, you'll have problems getting the printer to initialize and get to ready status, or it will hang during printing. Since you're able to print alignment tests (though they fail) and test pages, I doubt this is an issue for you. But it might be worth a peek.)

That idea makes me think, though - the older HP (x)Jets used to print an alignment page and ask the user to look at it and return some input on what adjustments needed to be made. Many/most/all? of the newer ones instead have a sensor that reads the alignment tests as they are printed, and the printer adjusts itself. If that sensor is blocked (ink/dust/crud) or has stopped functioning, your alignment test would fail, but you should be able to print okay. Do you see a little blue light on the underside of the carriage as the alignment test is printing? If not, that may be your problem.
posted by attercoppe at 7:40 PM on December 13, 2005

It would be nice if Corky posted again to this thread and let us know what happened.
posted by iconomy at 6:25 AM on December 15, 2005

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