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HP Recommended

Brand new cartridge suddenly not printing red

HP Deskjet F4480
Microsoft Windows XP

Because I know the only way to get any help is to give a preposterously detailed list of specs, here they are. For actual troubleshooting, skip to the double line.


Dell Inspiron 530 Desktop (heavily modified)

Windows XP Pro SP 2

Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E 6550 @2.33GHz



Printing from:
Microsoft Word 2003 (As part of the MS Office 2003 Corporate Edition)

HP Business Card Template (template ID unknown; heavily modified)


Printer connected via USB 2.0 cable through Nextech2 7-port powered USB 2.0 Hub; connected to rear tower bus.


HP Deskjet F4480

FPU# CB745-64001

Serial# [edit]

Regulatory Model# SNPRH-0801

Warranty Status: Expired
Extended Warranty Status: Expired

HP Product Service Support Program Status: Expired


Let me first say that I have loved this printer from day 1. I've had it for genuinely years (over a decade now?), and have never once experienced even minor issues. I've used this for professional and personal printing, and, although it's honestly not all that good for photo-quality printing, things like basic brochures, business cards, and paper reports work beautifully.


This afternoon I installed new ink cartridges (Yes, HP-Branded 60XL Tricolor and 60XL Black, bought off the rack at Staples, not a non-branded cartridge, the exact thing HP says we're supposed to do but nobody but me does because HP is more expensive). With every install I've ever done, I've always done a cleaning and alignment (once before cleaning, once after). I have never gone beyond the first level of cleaning. 


The reason I do this is to keep the head fresh, since I really only go through 2 or 3 cartridges a year. I also never buy anything that isn't "XL" specifically for this reason. 


After running the second alignment (post-cleaning), everything worked perfectly: I printed a test page I've been using which has a small amount of a decent variety of basic colors (red, black, yellow, blue, green, pink, orange). Not a photo page, just a basic printout that contains some text and less than two-inches square of some color.


That first page came out fine. So I began my print job, which was to print out some business cards (using HP's business card paper...that way you can't get me on not using the right paper). Again, the first two sheets of business cards came out perfectly. For the record, all they use are some bold-face black (Arial Bold font) and some red ink (RGB = 255, 0, 0) for the logo. Two colors.


After the second sheet, all-of-a-sudden the red ink gradually stopped printing properly: I was seeing lines, and some yellow was starting to show up. So I did what anyone would do: cleaned the head, checked the report (looked fine), continued printing. Then it got much worse. Now the red isn't coming through at all, and the cartridge seems to be printing yellow instead. The black works fine, and so is the alignment, but, after multiple cleanings (all the way to "prime" several times) and multiple tests, the red just isn't coming through at all.


And this seems to be the case regardless of what I'm printing from or what paper I'm printing onto, and regardless of the printer settings. Strangely, every time I clean the head it gets even worse, and, now, even the alignment is beginning to misfire, and is steadily getting worse with each realignment. 


It's been unbelievably frustrating finding a printer I like over the years, so I'm flat-out not throwing this one away if I don't absolutely have to, and it's also the printer hooked up to my oldest computer (my last remaining XP computer), so I'm leery of going out on the hunt for a new printer for this computer anyway, and, no, I'm not throwing away a perfectly-working XP computer (which actually runs certain programs that will not run on any other computer and which cannot be replaced). 


Any thoughts? Could I have done something wrong when I cleaned the head? Will further repetitions eventually improve the printing quality? Why is a Tri-Color cartridge not printing one color (and with streaks, indicating this is not a communications issue) but printing the rest just fine? Did I just get a lemon? What gives?


HP Support Agent
HP Support Agent
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HP Recommended

Brand new cartridge suddenly not printing red

@msennello, Welcome to HP Support Community!


I understand you have an issue printing red from the printer, I really appreciate you explaining the issue in such a descriptive manner. Having read the post, it seems like an issue with the tricolor ink cartridge or it could also be an issue with the printer. 


In order to isolate the issue, I'd recommend you follow the steps from the document Troubleshooting Print-Quality Issues. If the issue is isolated to be with the ink cartridge, you can get a replacement for the same. 


If not, please reach out to the HP Support in your region regarding the service options for your printer.


Hope this helps!


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