What’s wrong with my printer? (HP CP1515n)

I have a nice printer: an HP Color Laserjet CP1515n. It printed really clean, strong colours until a few months ago, when it started displacing the magenta. Check out this portion of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux test page:

As you can see, each individual nozzle (cyan, magenta, yellow) produces a really nice, clean print. And the green composite comes out nicely, too, because the cyan and yellow nozzles are correctly aligned. But the red (= magenta + yellow) and blue (= cyan + magenta) are fuzzy, because the magenta nozzle is not correctly aligned with the other two.

(Also: the “black” is wrongly aligned, because printing from Ubuntu stupidly uses a C/M/Y composite to render black, instead of using the black cartridge. Printing from the Mac does not have this problem. But ignore that — it’s a separate issue.)

Stranger still, the magenta misalignment is not consistent across the page. As you can see from the top border, it’s worst on the left, and becomes progressively less extreme towards the right.

I thought a new magenta cartridge would solve this problem, but I bought and installed one recently and it doesn’t make any difference at all.

Does anyone have any idea what’s going on here, and how I can fix it? It’s a really good printer otherwise, so I am loath to just junk it and get a new one.


8 responses to “What’s wrong with my printer? (HP CP1515n)

  1. Have you tried removing and re-seating the nozzles?

  2. How? Where are they?

  3. It’s a laser printer, so it doesn’t have nozzles. A bit of Googling suggests that the printer has a built-in calibration procedure that should help, but it might need to be run more than once. Have you tried that already?

  4. I’ve run the thing called “calibration” (indeed, it runs on its own every few weeks), but it doesn’t seem to be what I would think of as calibration — at least, it doesn’t ask me anything about the output, it runs as an autonomous process.

    A laser printer may not have nozzles per se, but it evidently has something functionally equivalent.

  5. It could be that the drum needs replacing, if it’s a model that uses both drums and toners.

    But, and I hate to be that horribly cynical guy, have you considered it’s actually working as intended? That is, prompting you to consider spending money on a new printer? Planned obsolescence is a real thing.

  6. Interesting thoughts, Ron.

    But I doubt the drum needs replacing: this doesn’t feel like something that has gradually worn out — there was no progressive degradation in colour alignment, at least not that I noticed. It was working one day and not the next. It’s as though a single crucial part has slipped to a different position.

    As for planned obsolescence: yes, it’s real. But I doubt a company as established and respected as HP would do something so skeezy as suddenly stopping working in such a weird way; and if they did, it’s surely something we would have heard about.

  7. You can find some suggestions (generally not for your specific printer, but I expect there’s a lot in common between different HP colour lasers) here: http://printers-repair.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/hp-color-laserjet-2605-colours-out-of.html — the most promising ones seem like (1) the NVRAM reset described in the blog post itself, which I guess addresses the situation where some setting has got corrupted, and (2) the suggestion to clean the colour-plane registration sensor.

    This page https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Inkjet-Printing/CP1515n-colors-are-badly-out-of-alignment/td-p/1865217/page/2 seems to have instructions on how to do the NVRAM reset thing for the CP1515. I didn’t find any information on how to find the CPR sensor for a CP1515.

    Elsewhere, some people claim to have had similar problems go away when they updated the firmware on their printer. My guess is that when this has worked it’s not because the new firmware was better but because upgrading the firmware somehow invalidated the old parameters and made the printer measure or compute them again.

    The calibration procedure could well be effective even if it doesn’t ask you anything about the output, if the thing that drifts out of alignment is capable of being measured internally.

  8. Very helpful, g, thank you!

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