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Get help with Large Format Printers, with direct access to all Latex Knowledge Center · Ask anything · Find anything · Share anything at HP LKC
HP Recommended
macOS 10.14 Mojave

I am on my knees as I write this message!


My Designjet Z3200 PS (Q6720A) is always left switched on. However recently it had to be switchwed off for about 10 days. When switched back on the job queue had disappeared (this has happened before) and now jobs don't print with the correct colours - especially MK. This is particularly evident with Hp Matte Litho realistic paper. I can print on any paper and the job is 90% correct. If I change th setting to Hp Matte Litho the colours are wildly out due to missing MK.


None of the printheads are blocked. I have installed a new Mk - R head for good measure. The diagnostic image shows MK to be more grey than rich black. I have uninstalled and reinstalled all drivers. I have even reinstalled the firmware afresh. I have calibrated the paper. I have cleaned the contacts in the printhead carrier. I have left the machine unplugged with the cable removed overnight. I have no idea what is causing the problem but I've run out of ideas.


She runs off a Mac with OS 10.14. I've also tried a different Mac running 10.11 but this hasn't helped.


Any suggestions short of a sledgehammer will be warmly received!


Thank you.

HP Recommended

Hello @BrettL .


If in the diagnostics image the Mk doesn't print correct I have the suspicious of a defective printhead. Is it possible you can send me a picture on how the Mk prints in the diagnostics image?


Thank you.

I am an HP employee
HP Recommended

Hi @HarryCR


Many thanks for getting back to me. I have attached some photos to show how the diagnostics image looks now and also how it looks on this printer when everything is functioning normally (I always keep a copy for comparison). Unfortunately the photos don't accurately represent the colours (dark grey and black all look black when the lighting is poor). Hopefully you can see the MK appears faded and far less saturated (as does the GN) in the recent image (the first one pictured below). Although all the colours seem a little faded but that's just the photo.


The problem is that after this situation arose I replaced the MK - R printhead with a new one but it made no difference. I also replaced the MK and the R cartridges. I switched the machine off for 48 hours to see if it would reset itself. Upon restart I got the message: Reseat MK-R printhead. This has happened a few times recently (with both the old and new printhead). After reseating the printhead it took several attempts to load paper as the roll edge wasn't being detected. Then finally the printhead alignment couldn't take place due to scanning problems (photo attached). Also on one occasion very recently (with the old printhead) MK failed to print at all on the diagnostic image.


So I don't know whether it's a scanning issue failing to recognise the paper or whether there is a circuit board attached to the printhead carrier that is failing?


Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Most recent diagnosticMost recent diagnostic

Z3200 Healthy DiagnosticsZ3200 Healthy Diagnostics

z3200 fault.jpg

HP Recommended

May need to remove and clean or replace the Q5669-60684  color sensor spectrophotometer assembly (ESP).  You can see what it looks like on the LPS Computers website:  https://www.lpscomputer.com/products/q5669-60684-designjet-z3100-spectrophotomer-assembly.


It should be located on the right side of the carriage.


I worked on a Z6200 that had a similar problem and turned out the ESP was dirty with ink residue.  Tried to clean but ended up replacing instead.  You can find them on Ebay for reasonable pricies, less than $100.  Should be replaceable without removing the whole carriage.  Download a copy of the service manual for free:


Page 5-17, item 7.


You might want to look through the manual before buying or removing because there's other tests in it that will help pinpoint any problems with the sensors.  Lots of possibilities when diagnosing color problems.  But this seems to be the most likely culprit since it sits so close to the printheads and can take quite a bit of overspray.  And if it's not functioning correctly, most likely it's giving you the calibration error as well.  


There is another sensor on the left hand side of the carriage that may also need cleaning or replacing.  The line sensor is used to read the edge of the paper and you said you had trouble loading paper so I would suggest you take a look at the diagram in the service manual for the location.  I believe this sensor can also lead to the scanning difficulties you describe.  Also easy to remove without removing the carriage and also widely available because they're used on quite a few models.  Page 5-17, item 6 in the service manual.  Just take care when reseating the ribbon cable.


Printhead reseating error may be caused by ink overspray getting onto the connectors on the carriage that meet up with the contacts on the printheads.  You can gently clean the contacts with a damp (water only) coffee filter.  Coffee filter won't leave behind fibers like a paper towel or cloth might.


Good luck.  Let us know what you find.  Hopefully you can keep that printer working since IMO, they were one of the best HP put out when it comes to photo printing.


HP Recommended

That's a fantastic response thanks so much! The service manual is just what I need.


I shall follow your advice and have a good read before looking at removing the ESP.


I have performed the ESP Diagnostics test in the diagnostics menu. Initially it stopped half way through with a 79:04. It worked second time around and gave me a Maximum DeltaE of 5.131


Would that indicate an ESP issue? I have no idea of what the result should be but I thought in general below 3 for a DeltaE is desirable?


Many thanks.

HP Recommended

Looking at the service manual, yes, I would think anything below 3 is desirable.  And the fact that you had to do it twice to get a reading speaks to the possibility of a malfunction.


Hopefully, someone with more experience can lend some insight into the reading you're getting.  Or you might want to contact LPS Computers and ask the question.  They're usually very good about helping out with diagnosing.

HP Recommended

Here is an update on the Z3200 woes!


In the end I found a temporary help by cleaning the spectro but this was literally only for 24 hours. So I ordered a new one from China on eBay (my budget just doesn't run to a new HP one). This has just arrived and I have fitted it (and replaced the carriage belt at the same  time).


Sadly the problem hasn't been cured.


After running all of the relevant diagnostic and calibration tests that I could find in the manual I have discovered that the carriage assembly fails the diagnostics:


The 'PCA Rev' values should be between 0.823 and 1.005 (according to the manual). Mine reads 2.313 - so that’s a fail at the first hurdle.
The next test is the carriage voltage (+vs). That should read between 43.6 and 46.3. Mine reads 32.355 - a fail on the second test.
Next is the carriage voltage (+Vaux) test. Mine reads 5.719 which I think is a pass.
I then failed the Pens Voltage (Vpp) first time. However I passed it second time with 29.254 (it should be between 26.5 and 33 Volts).
Finally the new colour spectro seemed to fail. However I’m guessing and hoping that’s a consequence of all the other failures. That would indicate that perhaps the original spectro wasn't faulty either.
So now it looks like a new carriage assembly or maybe just the carriage PCA board?
I really have no idea how to proceed.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
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