Honor Student
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎05-13-2012
Message 1 of 6 (7,850 Views)

Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purchase

HP Deskjet 4180

Genuine HP Tri-Color #22 ink cartridge and Black #21 ink cartridge

Windows 7
Test printing from Photoshop, Windows Picture Viewer and GIMP.


Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purchase.


The experience that I'm having currently contradicts very good, accurate color from HP cartridges in the past from RGB images that I've printed successfully with this printer.  I've previously got excellent color from the true HP ink cartridges on this Deskjet 4180 printer.


But today it is obvious that the yellow is not flowing from this cartridge that was installed only a few weeks ago.  And my ink levels are at 50 percent, and they were even higher when I started today... see the screenshots below.


I'm printing from Photoshop, but for some tests I tried printing from two other applications today but I'm always getting these results that indicate that there is no yellow printing... this is much worse than just a bad color profile.  I'm an experienced photo retoucher and I have a long history of dealing with inkjet printing in the work place with all kinds of printers.


I know that inks can dry up in their cartridges if they don't get printed with every few weeks and if the printer isn't maintained.  I purchased these new cartridges only about three weeks ago and the first test prints and some prints two weeks ago came out perfect.

But today this is the result I'm getting... screenshots below show the original RGB image and an actual scan of the bad print results I'm getting, indicating that no yellow is flowing from the HP tri-color cartridge.  And a screenshot of the ink level indicator panel is at the bottom.

Why is the yellow ink drying up and not flowing so quickly?  How can I prevent this besides doing semi-weekly prints to keep the inks from drying up?  I'm in a fairly humid climat, so dry air is not the problem.  The contact points on the cartridge are clean.


Does HP guarantee their cartridges for this kind of thing?


Good color - original RGB image...



Bad color - actual scan of bad print with no yellow, below...



Ink levels after test printing...



Thanks for any help.



Distinguished Professor
Posts: 5,287
Member Since: ‎11-22-2011
Message 2 of 6 (7,813 Views)

Re: Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purcha

Hi there,

This article should cover the issue you are experiencing. Give the steps outlined a shot and let us know if it helps.

Best of Luck!

You can say thanks by clicking the Kudos Star in my post. If my post resolves your problem, please mark it as Accepted Solution so others can benefit too.
Posts: 26
Member Since: ‎06-13-2012
Message 3 of 6 (7,808 Views)

Re: Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purcha

Hello JohnB,

Thanks for your reply.

I went through the article that you linked for me, but I've gone through all those steps previously, as I wrote about in my original question post.

I'm including a test print sheet (below) as described in the article that you linked to, and it shows, as I said before, that no yellow is printing.

Yet this was previously a brand new tri-color ink cartridge, prior to the test sheets and attempted cartridge cleanings that I tried.

As I said before, this was a brand new HP brand tri-color cartridge that TESTED CORRECTLY with a test print and a trial print of my own when I first installed the cartridge.  Then just a couple weeks later, I go back to do a print and the yellow will not print.

As I also said before, I've gone through this exact same problem with two prior sets of HP cartridges and two prior non-HP cartridges where I installed the tri-color cartridge, it tests and prints just fine, then two weeks later it will not print one or two of the colors when the cartridge is virtually new and full.

As I said, it is as if one or two of the colors seem to dry up only two weeks after the tri-color cartridge is installed and TESTS AND PRINTS CORRECTLY WHEN IT IS FIRST INSTALLED.

Below is a scan of the test print that I printed today, showing no yellow ink and another screenshot of the ink levels that still show at least half way, since I've done several attempted cartridge cleanings through the maintenance tool box.

Any other ideas?







Posts: 26
Member Since: ‎06-13-2012
Message 4 of 6 (7,807 Views)

Re: Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purcha

Also, as far as this forum software is concerned.  This forum interface didn't recognize my password when I tried to log in to respond to JohnB's answer, so I did the "forgot password" thing and then it sent me the email with the link to pick a new password, then it asks me to pick two new security questions, then asks me to pick a NEW screen name.  But when I entered my existing screen name, which is "digiday", then it tells me that screen name is already taken... yes it IS taken, BY ME!


So I had to pick a NEW screen name, which is now "numetro"... that's why I am now responding with a different screen name than I had to begin with when I origianlly posted this question.

So I can see that this forum software is not working correctly since it made me pick a new, different screen name just because I needed to make a new password.

PhD Student
Posts: 821
Member Since: ‎08-12-2009
Message 5 of 6 (7,768 Views)

Re: Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purcha

Hi numetro,


Try cleaning the contacts on the cartridges and on the carriage to see if that is the cause of the problem. I just thinking if the contacts on both the carriage and the cartridge are dirty then it might not be sending the signal through to release the ink. Do make sure that the power is off and the AC adapter is unplugged prior to cleaning the contacts on the carriage.


Check the document below

Binary_Zen (worked at HP )

Click the white Kudos star to say thanks
Please mark Accept As Solution if it solves your problem
Posts: 26
Member Since: ‎06-13-2012
Message 6 of 6 (7,294 Views)

Re: Some colors in the HP tri-color cartridges dry up and stop working only a few weeks after purcha

[ Edited ]

Well, here is the answer I was looking for, only arrived at by way of my own further investigation and experimentation.


It seems that no matter who I asked about this problem, I always got the same questions and answers.


For example, the people at the HP 800 number for consumer help, where it seemed I was not talking to someone who was actually familiar with the product, because they came to the conclusion that I need to buy a new HP printer... wow, isn't that a big surprise for an HP employee to say, "Just buy a new one!".


No one, and I mean no one, would seem to be able to listen to or understand what I wrote in my original question on this thread about how this printer prints fine when I first put in a new ink cartridge, and then just a few weeks later one or two of the colors seem to be dried up and they won't print.


And it seems that somewhere I read that you need to print a test maintenance print every month or so to keep the inks from drying up... but the inks seem to be drying up in less than three weeks now, even though I used to be able to go for months without doing a print and the inks would still be fine.


So when I was talking to someone in India, Malaysia or the Philippines at the HP 800 customer phone support number, after going through so much crap about whether this printer was still in warranty just to have a simple question answered you'd think I was trying to launch nuclear missiles and my launch codes weren't current.


And it was much the same situation to get on HP's "Live Chat" customer service on the net, and then they'd go through the same line of questions and answers as the support people on the HP 800 phone line...


Q: "Do you have dirty nozzles on your ink cartridges?"


A: "No, like I said in my original statement, I cleaned those and they weren't dirty to begin with."


Response: "Because you need to clean those every so often, you know."



Q: "Did you try cleaning the contacts on the cartridges?"


A: "Yes, like I said in my original statement, I already did that."


Response: "Because you need to clean those contacts every so often, you know."



Q: "Did you try putting in a new cartridge?"


A: "Yes, like I said in my original statement, this cartridge is nearly new and it shows a 90% ink level."


Response: "Because you need to put in new cartridges when the ink runs out, you know."



Q: "Did you do a test print?"


A: "Yes, like I said in my original statement, I did a test print and that's what is telling me that the yellow and magenta are not printing any longer."


Response: "Because that's how you can tell if any colors aren't printing, you know."



So is anyone else seeing a pattern here?  It's not like I'm talking or live chatting with a real human being, but maybe an automated voice prompt system that only has an A, B, C   or   1, 2, 3   type of response system that it's working from. 


The people hear a answer, and regardless of what that question was in the troubleshooting category that they are in, they just have a stock response that seems to bypass what the customer's answer was, so it's like I'm talking or live chatting with a machine that is uttering its responses in a fixed pattern, regardless of what I'm saying.


HP customer service is like talking to someone who isn't listening, so often they ask their next question, but I just answered that question with my previous answer.



Like I said, the way it used to be, HP or even after market ink cartridges could sit for months without doing a maintenance print and I would still get a perfect print every time.  And that's pretty typical for maybe an older person who isn't printing prints that often, but they just want to print one every few months or so, like my mom, with her HP printer, who I've been troubleshooting this problem for.


Or even with my own large format Epson printer or any of the pro level inkjet printers and even IRIS printers that I've used in the workplace over the course of the last 20 years... you could do a print every two months and there was no problem with dried up inks.


And I know somewhere in the past  I read that the maintenance print that the instructions was recommending be printed only needed to be done every 4 to 6 weeks to keep the inks from drying up, although when I go through the entire full blown PDF instruction manual now I can't find ANYTHING about how often a maintenance print needs to be done... that's right, nothing!


But on Christmas eve I once again exchanged my last, dried up HP tri-color ink cartridge at a Walgreens store where my mom had purchased it months prior (and the guy was nice enough to exchange it even after 5 months)  which was yet another HP tri-color ink cartridge that had at least two of it's colors dry up after only a few weeks.  At that Walgreens they had been nice enough to replace three prior HP tri-color ink cartridges with the same problem in the last year, and before that three different after market, off brand tri-color ink cartridges from another store had dried up after only a few weeks.


So the guy at Walgreens told me that now  with HP cartridges you need to do a maintenance test print EVERY WEEK in order to keep the inks from drying up... THAT'S EVERY WEEK YOU ARE NOW SUPPOSED TO DO A TEST PRINT FOR MAINTENANCE.


Now, you DO NOT need to do one of the test prints where it prints a photo of a pear, which uses quite a bit of ink, but you can just do one of the self test prints where you hold down on the CANCEL button and then press the COLOR COPY button and it prints a quick test page with just a little color and a lot of B&W text, and that's apparently enough.


And that seems to be enough to keep the ink cartridges from drying up, the way they seem to be otherwise doing so quickly now, as opposed to how HP and other brand ink cartridges used to.


And in fact, now after about a month, after doing weekly self test prints, the ink cartridges are still flowing well and they just did some full color prints quite nicely... ALERT THE MEDIA AND ANYONE WHO CONSIDERS THEMSELVES HP PRINTING EXPERTS!


So the questions I would ask myself are these...


First, why is it that NO ONE at HP customer service knew this, whether it be on the HP 800 phone support or on the HP "Live Chat" with people in India, Malaysia and the Philippines, or even here on the HP Help Forum with so-called EXPERTS from HP?


Second, how have the inks changed so that in the past, you didn't need to do maintenance prints every week, but maybe every two months at the most, in order to keep the inks from drying up, but now the inks dry up in a matter of less than two weeks unless a maintenance print is done once a week?


Have HP and other ink makers changed the formula of their inks so they dry up much faster, forcing people to buy new cartridges when the last ink cartridge is still at a 90% level with dried up ink?

And as a result, are people on the HP 800 customer phone support line and on HP "Live Chat" telling people that they need to buy a new printer, when in actuallity their ink cartridges are just drying up within a new record short period of time?

You tell me, HP experts.

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