As the title says, the printer just refuses to print in color. I got it second hand and just got around to setting it up after having it in storage for a while, so I don't know if it was defective when the last owner had it (they said it was fine, but maybe they never printed in color) or if it's something that's happened since.

It detects the ink levels in software, but on the diagnostics page (and on a test color photo I printed) no color is ever printed, only black. It doesn't just print images as if they were grayscale, it seems to be trying to print in color but only the black ink is actually being used. It also claims that the print head alignment is failing any time I try to do that, probably because the alignment page has no color marks on it.

Things I have tried so far:

  • Reseat the ink cartridges (they are new and should be full)

  • Align print head (fails)

  • Manually clean print head according to HP instructions

I have no idea where to go from here. HP recommends buying a new print head. That seems to be about a $30 investment - is it likely to work? Is there a better solution to get this printer working again?

If there is there any more information that would be helpful in getting an answer, please let me know and I'll add it in.

The ability to print in color is pretty important to me, so if I can't get this guy working I'll probably need to invest a few hundred in a new printer.

  • Install and run this....support.hp.com/us-en/topic/printscandoctor – Moab Aug 22 '19 at 15:16
  • There are a few things it could be. It's possible that all nozzles for colored ink are caked with dried ink (although it would be odd for 100% of those to be clogged but none of the black). You can try to clean that (see How do I clean just one color of my inkjet printhead?. If that's the problem and you clear even some of the nozzles, you will see some color and it will confirm the problem. With enough effort, you might clean it, or end up needing a new printhead, anyway. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Aug 22 '19 at 21:13
  • There are a few other potential problems involving the printhead, but it doesn't sound like those apply. It's possible that it's a printer firmware problem. I don't know of a good way to test that, unless HP has a utility to self-test, and a new printhead wouldn't fix that. Another possibility is a problem with the printer driver. You could try reinstalling that. – fixer1234 Aug 22 '19 at 21:13
  • @fixer1234 I don't think a clogged print head is the explanation. I just cleaned the entire print head, and nothing has changed. Also, unlike the linked question, there is no visible trace of any of the three color inks. They're not just faded, they don't print at all. – realityChemist Aug 22 '19 at 21:20
  • When you say you cleaned the printhead, did you remove it and soak it, or just ran the cleaning cycle? If all of the nozzles are caked with dried ink, the cleaning cycle won't make any difference (could make it worse), and you may not see any ink getting through when you print. – fixer1234 Aug 22 '19 at 21:25

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