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Ratcheting noise with 4500 HP DeskJet

HP Recommended
OfficeJet 4500
Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit)

Ok, once more....4500 OfficeJet produces ratcheting noise when cartridge bank returns home (far right) at start of print. This is not a Clean, Shutoff, Reboot issue. It's mechanical. Stop wasting my time and new cartridges. If the printer is worn out, just say so. Your comments? 

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[Moved from the Sprocket board.]  If you print a document with vertical lines like that at the bottom of my post are the lines straight or are they offset, either on alternating passes or down the page?  If the lines are not straight and the printer has been used a lot it is possible the encoder that keeps track of where the carriage is has become clouded with aerosol.   This can cause the printhead carriage to drift out of place, and eventually crash into the end of travel when returning to the service area. 

 

The web page HP had on this subject has been removed, but said something like the following.  Be sure to read the entire process before starting, and pay attention to the cautions.  The encoder strip is fragile and can be damaged if improperly handled.  Do not use any solvents besides water as these could remove the required lines from the encoder.  Also heed the warnings on cleaning only from right to left (looking from the front of the printer) to avoid dislodging the strip.  Be gentle!

 

HP Deskjet, HP Business Inkjet, and HP Color Inkjet Printers - Cleaning the Encoder Strip for Vertical Flaws in Print, Margin Offsets, or "Stair Stepped" Margins

 

ISSUE:

 

The encoder strip is the semi-clear strip located just above the carriage rod. Its purpose is to help the print cartridge accurately keep track of its position as it moves along the carriage rod. Sometimes dust, ink, or oil can accumulate on this strip and cause the following problems:

 

  • Prints "stair step" down the left margin of the self-test page.
  • The left or right margins of the self-test are not properly placed.
  • The ink cartridge carriage slams to the side of the printer.
  • The self-test shows double-printed or shadowed letters.
  • Flaws run down the length of a printed page (portrait orientation), or across the page (landscape orientation).
  • Printing stops, and the control panel lights on the printer indicate an error.
  • Gaps appear in printed text or images.
  • Slow printing

CAUTION:

Do not clean the encoder strip for the following symptoms: media pick issues, paper jams, paper skewing, ink-cartridge rejection, missing dots or white streaks through print, and smeared or streaked black ink.

 

SOLUTION:

 

Clean the encoder strip inside the printer by following the steps below:

 

NOTE:

Extreme care must be taken during the cleaning process. If too much pressure is placed on the encoder strip, it could become scratched (destroying the etching on the strip), bent, broken, or even become dislodged from the inside of the printer. If damage of this type occurs, the printer must be returned to HP for repair.

 

  1. With the printer turned on, open the top cover to allow the print cartridge cradle to move to the center of the printer.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the printer.
  3. Slide the cradle to the far-right position.
  4. Identify the semi-clear encoder strip, located just above the round, metal, cradle rod.  

 

 
 

encoder2.jpg

 

Figure 1:  The semi-clear encoder strip.

 

CAUTION:

When pulling the cloth along the encoder strip in Step 5, grasp the strip gently, to ensure that the strip does not break. Pull the cloth only in a right-to-left direction, otherwise there is risk the encoder strip may become dislodged from its mounting tabs.

 

  1. Moisten a clean cloth or tissue with water, then gently grasp the strip between the thumb and forefinger, and carefully pull the moistened cloth along the entire length of the strip in a right-to-left direction. Repeat this step with a different portion of the cloth to ensure that all foreign matter is removed.
  2. Move the cradle to the far-left position and repeat Step 5 on the right side of the encoder strip, beginning as far right as possible. Again, gently pull the cloth in a right-to-left direction.
  3. Allow the encoder strip to dry, or gently dry the encoder strip with a clean, dry cloth or tissue.
  4. Position the cradle near the center, and then plug the power cord into the printer.
  5. Close the top cover to allow the print cartridge cradle to move back to the right of the printer.
  6. Print a self-test to ensure that the printer is functioning properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 ----------------

 

The following is the test to print:

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

|                                                                    |

 


Bob Headrick,  HP Expert

I am not an employee of HP, I am a volunteer posting here on my own time.

If your problem is solved please click the "Accept as Solution" button 

If my answer was helpful please click the "Thumbs Up" to say "Thank You"

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Thanks Bob. Great information. 

 

I tried the cleaning but to no avail. Every time the cartridge holder returns to home I get the ratcheting sound. I think the strip is not functioning. That said, unless you have other suggestions, is there an HP printer (AIO) type you would recommend comparable to the 4500? 

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If you print the test with lines down the page are the lines straight or are they offset, either alternating back and forth or steadily offset further and further across the page?

 

If the lines are straight then something else is likely at fault.  When the grinding occurs is it as the carriage moves to the right, or is it when the carriage is to the right and the capping station is trying to move to cap the cartridges?


Bob Headrick,  HP Expert

I am not an employee of HP, I am a volunteer posting here on my own time.

If your problem is solved please click the "Accept as Solution" button 

If my answer was helpful please click the "Thumbs Up" to say "Thank You"

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Hi Bob

I printed Page 3 of your first message and the lines all printed correctly. The carriage goes all the way to the right on a print request. When it gets there and final position, the ratcheting starts and then stops and then prints the document as requested. At completion of printing, no sounds - only at start of printing. Occasionally at the start of a job, after sound and paper partially advanced, the display says Printing.... but nothing happens. I then cancel job and try again and it works, but of course with sounds. 

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