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DeskJet 2600 won't print. Weird behavior. Ubuntu 20.04

HP Recommended
Linux

We have a DeskJet 2600. A great printer and we bought it used a couple of months ago. It's worked fine under Ubuntu 20.04, but now it acts very oddly. Here's what happens:

 

The HP software says "unable to communicate with device". Yet, I can still print with it by using the systen printer settings. Lately, I initiate a print job. The HP software duly reports that a job has been started. The printer goes through the motions. I can feel it shake as the printer heads move back and forth. The power light stays solid. Then the software reports that the job is completed, however there is no paper in the out tray.

 

If I press and hold the Cancel button, it springs to action and prints the configuration settings page without a hitch.

 

We purchased a new printer cable as the one we had was pretty old. No change. We tried different USB slots, again no change. Once in a blue moon, I can get it to print something, but I have to fight with it (i.e. remove printer, reinstall printer, uninstall CUPS, reinstall same, uninstall HPLIP, over and over) Then it will decide arbitrarily to print.

 

I have searched everwhere and have not found anything close to a solution. So, I am reaching out here before I give up and buy a brand-new printer.

 

Thanks for listenine!

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