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HP 920 Ink Series Printer Models

Degraded Image Quality or Missing Colors

Many of the HP Officejet 6000, 6500A, 7000 and 7500A series printer models which use HP 920 ink cartridges may experience poor image quality performance or ‘color cross-contamination’ at some point during the printer’s life.

HP 920 Cartridges_smaller


It is suggested to first initiate the Printer Clean Utility (i.e. “Clean Printhead” under the TOOLS/MAINTENANCE menus) to ensure air is not trapped in the newly refilled ink cartridge or printhead. You may need to perform this once or twice to pull ink from ink cartridges and into the PRINTHEAD assembly.

NOTE: The Printer Clean Utility (“Clean Printhead” feature) can also help clear a clogged PRINTHEAD.

Bad Self-Test


HP Printhead Cleaning:



Still Missing Colors? – allow 24-48 hours for cartridge foam to fully absorb ink:

If, after following several attempted ‘Clean Printhead’ actions, select colors do not recover, then allow the newly refilled cartridge sit upright and idle in the printer (or with storage caps installed if cartridges are not yet installed), for at least 36 hours (i.e. do not use printer during this time).  Quite often HP 920 or HP 920XL ink cartridges which have been allowed to dry out (or select colors were allowed to run completely empty during normal printing usage) will be problematic immediately following ink refilling – you will need to allow cartridge foam (ink port at base of suspect ink cartridge) to fully absorb the ink – unfortunately this typically takes  24 – 48 hours.



To verify all colors are firing properly, print a Self Test page or Print Quality Report under the tools or maintenance menu. You may also select an Inkjet411 test print by clicking the button below:


A normal looking Print Quality Report (i.e. internal printer test) is pictured below:




To help verify that all colors are firing properly, HP Officejet printers include a Self-Test page under the tools or maintenance menu. You may also select an Inkjet411 test print by clicking the button below:


If this does not correct the poor image quality or ink cross-contamination (i.e. appearance of color bleed between colors and/or ink smearing) then the issue can also be corrected by cleaning the service station (capping station/parking pad) seals of all ink residue and build-up. You may also wish to consider cleaning the printhead’s rear electrical contacts and the carriage assemblies electrical contact area of any ink residue (steps 4-9). Refer to User Manual for complete instruction; the following procedures are provided for general guidance only.

1) Open top cover/cartridge cover to printer – carriage should move away from service station/capping station.

2) Remove the cartridges from the carriage assembly.

3) At service station area (at right side of printer bay), using a water-dampened cotton swab (de-ionized water suggested), thoroughly clean service/capping station seals and surrounding areas along seal edges – remove all ink residue & build-up. As necessary, repeat using multiple swabs until all ink residue is gone from seal base and seal edges.

CAUTION: Seals are delicate and can be broken easily if pushed with too much resistance. Clean gently!

Service Staion Seals Cleaning_HP 6500A (HP 920s)_FINAL_sm

4) Remove printhead assembly by pulling up on lever at right side of carriage.

HP 6500A (HP 920s) Printhead Removal_15) Using an isopropyl alcohol dampened lint-free cloth or towel, thoroughly the clean the printhead’s rear electrical contacts area by gently wiping (DO NOT TOUCH NOZZLE PLATE AREA). Repeat until no ink residue remains. NOTE: Coffee filters and glass-cleaning cloths work well. Ensure three key areas are thoroughly clean – refer to picture below.

B210 Printhead cleaning

6) Using the same cleaning materials in step 5, clean electrical contacts on carriage chassis – remove all ink residues.

Carriage Assy Electrical Contacts_sm

7) Reinstall printhead assembly (lower latch to secure assembly), reinstall ink cartridges.

NOTE: Carefully lower the latch handle before reinserting the cartridges. Leaving the latch handle raised can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing issues. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.

8) Re-test print performance to determine if print quality problem has been resolved.

9) If the problem continues with either new or refilled ink cartridges then the electronic printhead assembly may need to be replaced.


Severe Print Quality Issues / Missing Colors

If the printer continues to exhibit severe print quality performance and/or multiple colors are missing following the repeated activation of the ‘Clean Printhead’ / ‘Deep Cleaning’ feature, then you may need to perform a Hot Water PRINTHEAD flush to help fully recover the printer’s ink system*


HP 920 Printers – Hot Water Printhead Flush

If print quality does not improve and all steps from HP and/or above have been performed, then click here.


HP Officejet 6500/6500A/7500A Printhead Diagnostics

To verify the PRINTHEAD’s electrical performance activate the PRINTHEAD Health Diagnostics Test Report:


Advanced HP Printer Diagnostics

To view advanced diagnostics tests for your HP printer, click here:



Printhead Life 

The replaceable PRINTHEAD will eventually fail over time with usage and age.



NOTE: The electronic semi-permanent printhead, which is responsible for pulling ink from the ink cartridges and firing ink drops onto the page, may eventually fail in time. This is primarily based on a combination of total printed pages (rated duty cycle) vs. image content and printing frequency. Dry firing, where one particular color is not printing, can significantly increase the chances of a permanent printhead failure.

*The HP 920 PRINTHEAD flushing procedure is applicable to the following HP printer models: HP OfficeJet 6000, OfficeJet 6500, OfficeJet 6500a, OfficeJet 6500a Plus, OfficeJet 7000, OfficeJet 7500a


How an Inkjet Printhead Works:



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