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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    HP Ink Cartridges

    I know this is a crazy question but does anyone know of a way to test whether an ink cartridge is bad, out of the box, or the printer is malfunctioning? I have a rather old HP 970cxi printer that has, up until now, been working just fine. I replaced an empty color cartridge yesterday and can get no color out of the printer. So, I don't know how to check whether the cartridge is bad or the printer has gone belly up, other than buying another cartridge (whew!) to see if that works. I've tried everything in the Toolbox from test print, calibration of all levels, clean the cartridge and so on through test print. No color, no way! The toolbox reports 90% full and that concerns me - why doesn't it say 100%? I can't find any help at the HP site and (obviously) the model is now out of production. Anyone got any tricks up their sleeve?

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Al,
    I'm sorry but I couldn't resist this. Have you seen the commercial recently, where the young office clerk reports that the printer is out of ink and the office old hand says, just shake the printer. The clerk dutifully picks up the printer and shakes it like a cocktail shaker.

    If after cleaning the print heads gently, ( on both the cartridge and the receptacle ) there is still no color, I would opt for a return of the cartridge. I HAVE had BAD new cartridges right out of the box. I assume this is a HP replacement and not a refill uint?

    The report of 90% full, I would take with a grain of salt. That test? of the capacity of the cartridge has never been accurate anyway.
    BOB
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  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    The obvious question is, "Did you remove the clear tape that comes over the print head?
    Legare Coleman

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    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    For a laser printer (cartridge) that is the accepted method of extending the life of the toner cartridge when the message is "Toner Low". But you'd probably have a problem shaking the entire laser printer!

    I agree that you should take back the ink cartridge and ask for a new one...

    John
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  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Not only can ("genuine HP") ink cartridges be bad out of the box, entire lots can be bad.

    Recently, I've had two in a row Magenta 5500 cartridges with defective printing, and just a week later, 3 more. A check of the numbers showed that they all came from the same lot number, while the good ones were from different numbers.

    Usually the HP cartridges are really good, but you can get a bad on, don't be shy about sending one back.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Hi Al,

    Have you tried putting the old color cartridge back in the printer to see if you can get any hint of color printing. If so, then obviously the new cartridge is defective. If you cannot see any hint of color, then perhaps the cartridge housing station has some paper dust blocking the way.

    I'm also assuming you checked the expiry date on the packaging for the new cartridge? (Sorry for asking <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>).

    Cheers, Bob

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    To everyone: Thanks for the thoughts and comments. I thought someone might know of an "undocumented" trick to jump-start a flow of ink, or at least try to do so. It is a genuine HP branded cartridge, bought at my local CompUSA store 6 or 8 weeks ago and since I've NEVER had a problem with 'em, I unfortunately didn't keep the sales receipt, so I don't think they'll take it back, but I'm gonna try. The protective tape is removed, I've carefully wiped the electrical contacts, run calibration, etc. to no avail. I was also so confident that I put the old one in the bin and it was emptied today. I didn't check the expiration date for I've also never had a problem there either, but you can bet I will check in the future. I usually buy "one and a spare" but they don't sit here normally more than a month or two. I have to be honest and say that I've had great service from this 970Cxi, so I've got no complaints if I get "stung" with a bad one. Thanks everyone!

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    One idea on your lack of a reciept for that cartridge. It seems you'll have to buy another one if you want to see if it's the printer or the cartridge. So if the repalcement works, simply return the defective one on the reciept for the working replacement. I don't believe that would be dishonest since you have a legitimate problem with the defective cartridge. Just a thought. Let your moral compass be your guide. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
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  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Oh, I think you're 100% correct on that one, Doc. I'd have no compunctions with that as I know I bought it at that local store. Nothing dishonest about that, in my opinion.

  10. #10
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    I thought most of those big chain store now have pretty liberal return policies. You don't even want a refund, just an exchange. On the other hand, if the easily exchanged defective ink cartridges, how would they prevent fraud (the guy who uses his ink till it runs dry and then tries to get it replaced as "defective").

    You might be able to send it back to HP for a replacement. You'd have to buy another one now, but you would be set for next time.

    I hate when I lose an important reciept. And it's never the ones from the grocery store, those stay around forever. It's always the ones that I need to get a refund or something.

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Just to close the loop on this, I did take the cartridge back and it was gladly exchanged for me, in spite of my loss of receipt. I bought a spare while I was there as well. The replacement does work well, so at least I know the printer has not gone belly-up. I did verify that the defective cartridge was in fact HP-branded and not some phony that might have gotten stuck in an HP box. All is well and my HP970 is perking right along. An "attaboy" to CompUSA!

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Two ideas come to mind.

    You spoke of cleaning the contacts. Did you look at the contacts on the cartridge carrier on the printer itself?

    We all become attached to a favorite forum. This one is very dependable. However, FWIW, I have had good advice from another one as well (although it has had to do with a far more ancient HP Laserjet 4L. Yes, it is still running, with a few parts replaced from time to time.

    http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/

    Have a look and see what you can learn there.
    Baumgrenze
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  13. #13
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Big Al,

    I'm not sure if your printer is one of the HP models similarly affected, but have a look at <!post=this,466881>this<!/post>. I remember it thoroughly brassed me off at the time.
    Regards,

    Steve

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  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    Thanks for the comments, Steve. I took a look at your post as well as the BBC article mentioned by Waggers. Since almost two years have passed since then, I don't know what ever became of that lady's allegation against HP. I don't recall seeing anything in web news about it since then, but obviously I could've missed something. As I mentioned in a post up above, I never have been in the habit of checking the expiry date on ink, I guess because the 970 has given me such excellent service. More pointedely, I ended up buying an HP in the first place because I had TWO Lexmark ink jets whose ink kept "drying up" and thus failed color printing. Some here will remember that I used to work there when the name was IBM, so I was very distressed to say the least. Because I was by then retired, even my contact "friends" in Lexmark Engineering wouldn't say anything revealing to me about their cartridges! They simply replaced one as it went dead on me. Since all that trauma and hoopla, I've not kept up with Lexmark ink performance, so I don't know how their products perform these days.

    I will say this about the HP970 - mine is rarely used and I've had only this ONE problem in a several year span. I would think that if ink "expiration" were built-in, I would be one of the first to get bitten since my printer is so seldom run. BTW, while I was at the CompUSA I bought a spare black and another tri-color and the dates on the boxes say March and April 2008 respectively. I think that should cover me quite effectively. Just for my own safety, from now on I plan on saving my receipts and the box, just in case.

    Lastly, the clerk at CompUSA told me one gets a $2 discount for bringing in an empty cartridge when you purchase a new one. I don't know how widespread that program is and it's easy to see why it's being done!

  15. #15
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: HP Ink Cartridges

    I would be interested to know how the HP printer determines what the date is...

    John
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