Monday, November 2, 2009

HP Photosmart C4280 Cartridge Problems

If you have an HP Photosmart C4280 Printer, HP might try to rob you… on ink cartridges. If the printer displays a message:
Print cartridge(s) missing or not detected.

It doesn't mean that! You might think that the cartridge is empty or damaged. You couldn't be more WRONG! It just means that HP wants YOU to BUY a NEW CARTRIDGE - but DON'T DO THAT! You cartridge is presumably fine!

Actually you can try to convince the printer that the cartridge is ok by entering the service mode. To do that press buttons in the following sequence:

  • Power and Cancel simultanously, then
  • Blue, Green, Gray buttons, in turn.

Congrats! You entered the service mode. Now you can read and edit some of the printer settings. Watch the LCD display, it should say sth like:

Support
PlxxFN0724AR

Now, the color buttons mean:

  • Blue: next
  • Gray: previous
  • Green: enter

Which allow you to browse the menu and options.

In order to cure your cartridge press Blue once. You will see Information Menu displayed. Enter the menu by pressing Green. Go to Pen supply, level of Ink (LOI) submenu by pressing 11 times Blue and enter it by pressing Green. Then you can see some ink levels on the display. At this point your job is done. Press Cancel 3 times – it will quit the service mode. And you will notice that the nasty message about the cartridge being missing is gone.

Putting it all together, to reset the message press:

  • Power and Cancel simultaneously,
  • Blue, Green, Gray, in turn,
  • Blue
  • Green
  • 11 times Blue
  • Green
  • 3 times cancel.

I found these service codes on the web and accidently i figured out that viewing the ink level resets the nasty message. The drawback is that you need to reset the printer pretty much every print job.

It's been about 400 pages since I reset the thing and the cartridge is still operational despite its ink levels being reported as nonexistant.

182 comments:

  1. Thank you so much...tried several other suggestions and none worked until this...

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    1. TRIED THIS OVER AND OVER AND IT DID NOT WORK! !! Goes right back to "print cartridge missing or not detected." Does anyone have a real answer to this frustrating problem?

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  2. Replies
    1. Thankyou for this, have spent hours looking at different web sites trying to sort it out, and had almost given up when I found your post - printer working ok now and I have printed off your advise to keep so that if it happens again I can sort it out.

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  3. Wow. What a timely solution. Thank you Igor. This should be posted and resposted on many websites regarding HP printers.

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  4. Thank you. Just what I needed and could not get from HP.

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  5. sheer genius....was about to take a hammer to it.....

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  6. i am so thankfull!! great tip man!!!!
    thanx a lot!!
    i love u!!

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  7. Thanks, saved 68% of my XL black ink. I know for sure that will never go for HP ink jet printer anymore.

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  8. thank you so much!!! it worked!! i tried everything else! HP sucks!!

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  9. does anyone know how to keep from having to reset every time you want to print?

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  10. you rock!!!!! it worked great

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  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Went from hp to forum to forum. Tried many "fixes." Kept going hoping to find you and this answer. I agree... you rock.

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  12. You are my new hero. Because of you we successfully printed my daughter's paper on Catcher in the Rye. Catastrophe averted. Much drama averted.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Brooklyn, New York

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  13. Thanks kindly! Having "googled" the error message I found your great help site! Coincidentally both my sister and I have the same printer and of course same problem which you have helped solved - thank you thank you!

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  14. Thank you so much mate, you saved me a lot of trouble as I was using brand new cartridges when I suddenly got this damn error message ! didn't have time to buy new ones... saving time and money, wishing you the best man ! Thanks again, cheers

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  15. respect, U help me verry much

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  16. my hp c4280 only prints before last step (following your procedure) and I need to repeat procedure every time before printing but I'm very satisfied,no need for new cartridge, thanks man!!!

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  17. GOD, FINALLY. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew they were trying to rob me somehow... I JUST bought ink for it too, but I can't return it anymore since I just opened it. You are a life saver

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  18. Thanks so much
    Now I can send in my registration for my Italian Conversation Class
    CIAO

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  19. you are the man, everyone else is a idiot, thanks a million

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  20. It worked!! Thank you for sharing your brilliance. :)

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  21. Thanks Heaps for your help there dood. This fixed the problem, I now have 30000% full black ink cartridge!! wtf?, thanks HP for nothing!

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  22. Thanks, IT was working fine, until I took out black Ink out to read its number i.e 74. and cleaned its head. I, Figured out Support menu Comes with BLUE GREEN GREY Combination, IF you tinker with other sequence more things are revealed.
    In my case the printer went NUTS, IT would print combination of funny lines(not ascii) Spill inks in fine lines like as if you are configuring the/aligning the head.It is like it is smudging all over. ANd the message comes back after each print job. MoreoverTHe region for coler remaind 2 after rest but the black changed to 31, and black 2000% color remained as 64%. It making me crazy??? Has anyone got any clue..

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  23. i dont have the option of "information menu" or "pen supply" or "level of ink" on my printer. and i still have the error message displayed... help?

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  24. I followed your directions and they seemed to have worked...the ink error message went away. Thank you as it was a brand new cartridge.

    However, now it just doesn't print at all. Sends the job to the print queue, but nothing happens. Just sits in the queue. Uninstalled and reinstalled the printer, but that did not work.

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  25. The Service mode accesses a lot of internal functions ie. calibration parameters etc. Be careful while playing with them.

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  26. I can't halp you if your printer stopped printing - sorry :( - there might be tons of causes.

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  27. Those funny lines, this might be either tests, or calibration results. As I said you ned to be careful with the service mode.

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  28. pamperedpumpkinMay 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

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  29. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO SOOO MUCH!

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  30. Thanks a bunch!!!! Worked for me!!

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  31. dzięki wielkie:) to działa

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  32. Igor,
    Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you!!!
    U Da Man! :)

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  33. excellent advice thankyou

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  34. If anybody isn't getting the "information menu" then you need to try the initial codes in a different order.

    Try:

    Blue
    Green
    Gray

    That worked for me.

    Good luck

    VC

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  35. Thank you! :)
    From Brazil.

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  36. Thanks for this! Worked for me!

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  37. Yeah you gotta go it every time unless you get new ink, but at least its a workaround until I can just get a new printer. NOT a HP this time HAHAHA thanks Igor.

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  38. Thanks! This worked but I need to do it every time I print. Is there a way around that?

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  39. @Anonymous unfortunatelly I haven't found any other way around it.

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  40. Thank you for this information. No need to buy a new printer.

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  41. Wonderful!!!! Thanks for your advise. It worked perfect!!!
    Chuck

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  42. When I try the sequence you suggest I get as far as "Information menu" displayed after pressing Blue, but then pressing Green does not enter the menu or do anything as far as I can tell??? So cannot get to "Pen supply, level of Ink [LoI" submenu. Would be grateful for any suggestions.

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  43. @Anonymous. After pressing green while "Information Menu" is displayed, you should get "info menu" displayed in turn. Than pressing blue should get you to through consecutive menus" "model number", "serial number" etc. down to "pen supply...". Remember that green works as "enter", blue as "next", gray as "previous" and cancel (red cross) as "back".

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  44. I did what you said but when I print something, it comes out in like smudged lines,like some type of coding so you can't read anything at all. Do you know any solution to that?

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  45. @sapa, I guess this smudging is a separate issue. It could be caused by a dried off cartridge or by truly low ink level. Either way you should try cleaning the cartridge. If it doesn't help I'd get a new one.

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  46. Worked for me too. You are my hero. Tried the other stuff but this actually worked.

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  47. Thank you so much!!!!!!

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  48. I tried the above steps, and the displays says: "enter special key combo" what do I do?

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  49. @Anonymous. The special key combo is: Blue Green Gray. It allows you to enter the service mode.

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  50. Brilliant it worked, so simple to do and saved lots of money.

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  51. I tried the above steps, but as soon as I power on the lcd always displayed Incompatible print cartridge(s) and I can't do any thing. Pls help

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  52. @Anonymous I'm afraid that if the printer says that cartridges are incompatible the above method do not apply. Check if the cartridge connectors are clean (gold contacts). If they are not (some ink, dust or other stuff might be sick to them) try to clean them with alcohol or pencil eraser.

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  53. Mine prints one document which the color looks pretty good but the black is smeared and mostly unreadable. As soon as the one document prints it goes back to the error message. I had an earlier version of this printer that worked for years w/o problems, refilling my own cartridges and all. This one was a refill from Kroger which worked for a short while. Now I don't know if to buy a new HP cartridge or to jump ship.

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  54. Worked great! We fought this for a couple of weeks, including turning off the printer and then back on, which would sometimes fix it. Eventually it got to where nothing would reset it, so that's when I searched on the web and found your fix. It's annoying that it can't be permanently fixed, but your workaround consistently does the trick. Once you know how to enter it, it only takes a few seconds to key it in. I was ready to throw the printer in the trash can and go buy a new one!! It still prints fine, though, so now I can keep it for quite awhile longer. THANK YOU!!

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  55. Igor, thanks a lot for your help! I wonder if HP employees know about this trick. It works and prints as usual, the only bad thing that you have to enter this combination every time you turn the HP on and want to print smth.. Anyway, you are genius, and i am assuming you're Russian? (-: as Russian guys can figured out a lot of those tricks and how to be able to come around the system!

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  56. @Anastasia

    I'm glad I could help. HP employees do know about the service mode, however I'm not sure if they know about this particular trick. Actually I discovered it by accident while trying to force my printer to... well print. And no, I'm not Russian, but close, I'm Polish, however my name is Russian.

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  57. That's what might help those poor unfortunate soles preventing them from a use of their hammer:

    Alternate reset procedure (for older C4280 products):

    1. Unplug the power cord from printer.
    2. Hold both o.k [Green, I assume] and Cancel simultaneously.
    3. Plug the power cable while holding the buttons.

    This worked for me when the above blue-green-gray trick didn't lead the thing to any menus. I guess the model is too old in my case, it is CC200A*01 [32]. So enjoy!

    My name is Igor too, good meeting you, Igor ))

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  58. Thank you!!!! Worked perfectly.

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  59. Hi Igor, thank you for the tip...I followed it but the message still does not go away. In fact at the LOI step it says 'left cartridge is missing'(so the colour cartridge, which I don't even need). I took it out several times and cleaned it. Any other tips? thank you in advance

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  60. @Anonymous, It seems that there is no communication between your color cartridge and the printer. Did you clean the actual connections (gold dots) on the cartridge? You can do it i.e. with a pencil eraser. It could help. Otherwise it might be that your color cartridge is just damaged, in such a case you need to replace it because C4280 is nasty enough not to print with any of the cartridges missing.

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  61. Hi,
    I tried following the steps, and I cannot get it to work. After pushing the colored buttons, what comes up is Underware:
    Pixx0708AR

    Then, if I press the blue button once, I get boot code menu
    Help please!!!
    Thanks!

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  62. Wow, you rock. Thank you so much for sharing this information with all of us!

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  63. many thank for this info.

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  64. @Higostudy, perhaps you have a different firmware, I'm not sure though. Try pressing the blue button until you get to 'Information menu'

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  65. Thanks ever so much... You save me a lot of time and money..

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  66. Hi Igor,

    purchased the printer from Australia and now it is in the UK. recently I had to change the cartridge.

    previous cartridges were HP75 & HP74 (Which I bought from Australia)

    When I searched for this model for cartridges in the UK the models are different hp350 Black and HP351 tri colour.

    Is there any way to use different region cartridges together.? in my case 75 colour and 350 black?

    I am getting the error "incompatible cartridge" is it because my newly installed black 350 cartridge?

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  67. You are truly a god!!!! I thought my printer was about to get thrown across the room until I found this article!

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  68. Hi
    Like Higostudy, I'm not having anyluck either. This is what happens with my printer. I get as far as :PlxxFN0724AR. Press blue - boot code menu. Green - set to mfg_code, Green set to usercode. Lots of blues - copy menu, photo menu, scan menu, scan udw menu, ui menu, Green -print mech
    button tap,
    green - Code=0, Grey - Code=65535, Blue - Clear derivative?
    Was I getting warm anywhere along this path?
    Thanks. I'm really jealous of all these guys for which this worked, but glad for them.

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  69. recently begun happening to me also. all i can say is HP make the worst products i have ever used and will never buy anything from them again. This is ridiculous that the product know's it can work fine but refuses to unless you enter the service mode

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  70. You have saved my sanity...thankyou.

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  71. Higostudy that is what i got if i hit blue gray green. make sure you are hitting blue green gray

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  72. Much thanks for the hint!

    (I don't even try to comment HP's conduct.)

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  73. Igor, great tip. It worked for me the same as many others have commented, i.e. I have to redo the code sequence for each document. My question is why is this just showing up? We've had this printer for years without this problem. Did we download a soft/firmware update without realizing it? Is there any way to go back?

    Thanks again, Mike

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    Replies
    1. Mike, I suspect that these problems of ours are caused by some software (or wiring so to speak) in cartridges. It seems that some of them are built in such a way to tell the printer that they are done (whatever it means). And the printer is designed to listen to them.

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  74. This worked - thank you so much!

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    Replies
    1. Did not work for me! Very frustrating.

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  75. THANK YOU! You are amazing. :)))

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  76. You are GREAT, thanks so much

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  77. You are awesome! I followed your instructions exactly and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

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  78. I can't find the information menu. It goes to 'boot code menu' and I can't find the 'pen supply' menu

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry I can't do much about that. You might have a different firmware. Just try to look around the menu, perhaps you can find it buried somewhere else.

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  79. I take that back. worked like a charm. I messed up the sequence

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  80. This worked!! Thanks for the proceedure.

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  81. thank you so much! it was super frustrating, as i replaced both cartidges and still got the message. plus hp customer service takes forever...and they never have the answers!

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  82. Awsome - thank you!!!!

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  83. Whoever posted the solution. It is amazing it really helped me and worked.
    Thank you.

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  84. You are freaking awesome. Saved so much money.

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  85. Thanks, Igor! you solved in a minute a problem that had me bogged all morning! hat's off to you

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  86. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  88. Thank you so much... I had my cartridges refilled and then got this message. All is well kudos to you.

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  89. Thank you so much for this!!

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  90. I love you! ( No homo ) :D
    I was about to go buy another cartridge because I thought mine was broken. Thanks Alot!

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  91. PERFECT...THIS WORKED AFTER EVERYTHING ELSE....THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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  92. i have c4280 printer.im running it now on a single cartridged mode..before it works well now it prints the text color green.anything color black it cant print..instead it print green what seems to be its problem

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  93. Thanks as well. Usually i get depressed when i search for tips since its so fully of shite random nonsense but i came across yours quickly - and it really worked
    STUART

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  94. @AnonymousMar 24, 2012 07:27 AM, what do you mean by 'single cartridge mode'? Just a black cartridge which gives green effects? Or just a color one?

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  95. Great that worked thanks!!

    If you see "boot code menu" you have pressed the wrong keycombo... After pressing "on" and "cancel" press top button, down middle colour button.

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  96. Thank you so much - looks to have it sorted...until the message re-appears - darn it!!!

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  97. Just tried this twice. It printed the test page then went back to error message. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. For my printer, I have to press the codes at least twice before it lets me have a print menu. And then I can print 2 pages before I have to press the codes again.

      Delete
  98. @AnonymousApr 17, 2012 01:55 PM: Unfortunately you need to repeat the procedure after each printout :( - fortunatelly not every single page...

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  99. This worked great for a few times (THANK YOU!) but now I am experiencing some kind of printing issue with black horizontal lines running throughout. So I tried to align the cartridges, and they are completely unreadable. Then I tried cleaning the cartridges, and the printer just stalls out at that point. If I cancel out of the clean, it spits out something that should have been an alphabet, but it's completely compressed, almost as if the paper isn't feeding. And yet, the paper feed is not the problem. Any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. Not many, your cartridge could finally give up, or the printer itself. If you have a spare cartridge - try it. If the printer behaves in the same way sth might be damaged. There is one more thing - did you check the connections? Some of the connectors (gold plated pins) might get dirty from ink residues. You can try cleaning them with alcohol - it might help.

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    2. Perfect! Cleaning the connectors on the printer cartridges worked!! I still have to press the codes every time, but at least I can read the text. Thank you!!

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  100. thank you for this fix and now i have the problem that when i try to copy anything it prints out as garbled mess??? Is there anything i can do to fix this as i need to copy things soon??? can you email me at schoolbear@cox.net thank you mary

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  101. o meu pc deixou de reconhecer o central de problemas da hp

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  102. peço desculpa é o central de soluçoes.já tentei tudo e nao consigo abrir.

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  103. alguem me ajuda por favor .desde já muito obrigado

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  104. You are a genius - thank you - you have saved me - thank you - Ceri in NW England

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  105. THANK YOU!!! You are awesome!! This was SO frustrating me!!! Teresa in AK

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  106. THANKS!!!!!! I was gonna destroy the printer with a hammer, too...

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  107. I followed the advice and the cartridge message went. But when i tried to print I got a message that there was no communication with the printer. When I turned the printer off/on to restore communication, I got the old message about the "cartridge missing or not detected".

    Any suggestions?

    P.S. My grandfather emigrated from Poland to England in the 1880s ...

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    Replies
    1. I haven't encountered such message, I don't know how to help you, sorry.

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  108. Thanks. I have been refilling the cartridge for 3 years without any problem. This time it did not want to know. Your trick works.

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  109. A lot of people in Poland thanks for this tip... NEVER HP AGAIN!! NEVER!! There is no way to reset everything in this printer to avoid doing this operation any time I turn of my printer?

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    Replies
    1. Baroś, unfortunatelly it seems that there is no way to do it... :( - or at least I didn't find any.

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  110. with 3 cartriges i printed 300 pages; they changed firmware.. cant print anything in black after that error msg
    my 2 penny advise.. dont buy hp crapware

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  111. Hi, it worked for me, except I had to use the OK button instead of green for enter. Many thanks.

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  112. Great post ! I so appreciate this site. This is the information I was looking for.

    Printhead recovery kits

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  113. Nice one, thanks a lot

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  114. hello there?
    thanks for your tip you made my day,
    now I got a new problem , I printed few pages then is now quite, I can scan but I cant print?
    any Idea please
    Onesmo

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, have no idea... mind that you might be forced to use the procedure before each print job.

      Delete
  115. You are a genius! This thing has been driving me insane for 2 weeks. It just stopped working!!!! Thank you!

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  116. first thing that worked THANK YOU!!

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  117. Thank you so very much! You saved an annoying printer from a very horrible fate. I really appreciate you taking the time to post this because it is the only thing that has worked for me. I cannot thank you enough!

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  118. I cannot thank you enough for this article. I had been fighting with the printer for a few days, and it was moments away from being smashed onto the floor. Your page is 1000 times more helpful than HP technical support, and your simple and deatailed solution is greatly appreciated!

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  119. I tried your solution and it seemed to work since the printer began printing Test Pages, but after it's through printing, the same message continues to display!

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    1. That is how it works. The printer is stubborn and you need to repeat the operation after each printout. Sorry. I haven't found how to fix it.

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    2. That is how it works. The printer is stubborn and you need to repeat the operation after each printout. Sorry. I haven't found how to fix it.

      Delete
  120. Thank you so much, this really works!!!

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  121. Add me to the kudos. You rock, tech style!!!

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  122. If both type of printer are possible to do this trick then I think this is also possible for HP 364xl cyan color.. tech!

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  123. Whoa! Thanks for sharing a valuable tip. Some HP users may be clueless that they are actually replacing ink cartridges prematurely. You just showed how to save on printing cost and even outsmart the manufacturers! :)

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  124. Thank you SO much! HP wants $20 just to say hello.....

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  125. Holy Hallelujah, Batman! I was in the middle of an important job, changed the cartridges in the Photosmart 4280 and have spent the last 3 hours trying a work around to get the darn printer to recognize the cartridges. THIS worked.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Robin

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  126. Thank you. Your blog was very helpful and efficient For Me,Thanks for Sharing the information.

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  127. I'm so frustrated that this article is helping everyone else, but my printer does not show the promts you discuss. After entering service mode I do see the "Support PlxxFN0724AR". However that is the last thing that is as you describe. After pressing blue once, I do not see "information menu", I get a "boot menu." I figured maybe the language was just different so I continued to follow your instructions and pressed blue 11 times. The boot menu only has 2 options so it just cycled through those over and over, so I went back by pressing cancel once and went through the rest of the different menus. I never once saw an "information menu". Please help. I have the HP Photosmart c4208 all-in-one.

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    Replies
    1. I'd guess that in your case there is a different firmware in the printer. I'm afraid you need to experiment a little bit. Try to go through different submenus, assuming that blue is next, gray is previous, green is enter, and 'red x' is back. While poking around if the power led stops blinking it means that you found the correct one which clears the error message.

      Delete
    2. I had just the same problem... untill i realised that i was pressing BLUE, GRAY, GREEN when i should press BLUE, GREEN and GRAY as Igor told us; I've solved all my workplace's printers with this tip

      Delete
  128. yeah.....its really works....thank for sharing Technic for HP users ......If you need Online HP Tech support so can click on this link and contact with us..Online Hp Technical Support

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  129. Came across this solution within minutes of searching. Followed instructions to the letter. Worked first time.With printer back in operation the first task performed was printing these instruction for future use. Thanks Igor. Can't help wondering how many cartridges have been discarded prematurely.

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  130. i am using this method for 1-2 years now. so glad i found this blog. i am continuously amazed by how long the cartridge is still working fine - spent way too much money before i knew about the secret printer menu. many many thanks from a poor student!

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  131. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  132. Thanks man. Four years later I found this post and it solved my problem. My printer is a few years old, I don´t understand why it waited so long to start playing up, but ... whatever!

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  133. Thanka a zillion, Igor ! My old C4280 was locked in a cabinet for years (just got a new printer when it failed). But the new one is not that capable - no card reader, no display. So, I did your "recipe" which unblocked the printer. Alignement page didn't print from the old cartridges... But it moved to print it. Just got new ink and VOILA ! The little full-featured photography lab is doing its job flawlessly every time I turn it run, without the need to reset... Like new ! Thank you so very much ! Jorge, from Rio - Brazil.

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  134. If you are facing problem about yield of you HP printer not a technical one please try this Ink and Toner Cartridges you can increase your printers productivity about 5% to 7% and also it will increase life of your printer too.

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  135. Muchas gracias, estuve buscando informacion para eliminar mensaje tan fastidioso. Gracias por tu paciencia, investigacion y compartirlo con el mundo. Eres Genial

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  136. Hey Igor: If the cartridge is wired to produce the error message when it is refilled with non HP ink, taping over one
    or a combination of contacts might give a permanent fix or maybe one of us could figure out what properties the HP ink has that distinguishes it from the other inks. Anyway I think the replacement ink sellers have already figured this out but can't use whatever the fix is because of fear of a lawsuit.

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  137. Obrigado meu gente!!!!

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  138. Show de bola. me ajudou muito!!!!

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  139. THANKS this worked when nothing else would

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  140. Hi Igor, I see this message after press Green: 0% full or unknown, if the pen was not new at installation time" . Please, help me!

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  141. @Unknown, unfortunately I can't help you. My printer just died so I don't have any way to fiddle with it any more.

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  142. Great blog! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the information are well written.


    123HPEnvy OfficeJet5745 Setup

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  143. We offer blueprinting services with highest quality results. As a services provider we take pride in the work we deliver and develop relationships with our clients.We use wholesale paper to provide quality prints and ensure that the print products go beyond the expectations.

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  144. Thanks for sharing this list. Very grateful. I work at mobile app testing company where i think it will be definitely useful.

    Setup HP Photosmart

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  145. Great blog! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the information are well written.

    123 hp oj3836

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  146. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  147. Igor, thank you!

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  148. Thank you, can you please provide me details on system issues you foresee while you install a printer, any external software to be downloaded?

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