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#373808 - 08/04/2022 14:46 Printer Problem
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5512
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
My printer is a Hewlett Packard 2025dn color laser printer. This is a workhorse printer, duplexing, networking, rated at 40,000 pages per month duty cycle, 20ppm in color, and up until the most recent 40 pages or so has given outstanding reproduction of color photographs.

Not so much now. Below are two photographs of "Doug's World Famous Spaghetti" recipe. (Yeah, I live in a pretty small world these days...)

The first picture is a photograph directly out of the camera [Panasonic DMC-FZ300], and appears on my monitor very much as it appeared in person. Crisp, good color saturation and contrast, sharp focus.

The second picture is a photograph of the print of the first photograph, that is, I printed the picture, then took a picture of that print lying on a table outdoors in diffused daylight. That print appears on my monitor very much as the paper print itself.

FWIW, the printer will print an Excel document with some colored fill and text absolutely perfectly.

The printer is currently configured with one non-OEM cartridge (black); the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow are all HP OEM at $100+ each. If there is one thing the printer will do properly, it is print black areas. The built-in test print for the printer comes out flawlessly.

What has happened to my printer? How can I fix it?

tanstaafl.


Attachments
Original.JPG (41 downloads)
Print.JPG (40 downloads)

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#373809 - 08/04/2022 23:53 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
jmwking
old hand

Registered: 27/02/2003
Posts: 758
Loc: Washington, DC metro
Printer preferences, set either in the control panel > devices & printers or in the program you're using to print?

Can you try a different photo program?


Edited by jmwking (08/04/2022 23:54)

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#373810 - 09/04/2022 12:02 Re: Printer Problem [Re: jmwking]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5512
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
As near as I can tell, my printer preferences are the same as they have always been.

I have printed the original file using the default Windows spooler as .jpg and as .png with the same results. I have printed the file using Adobe Acrobat v9 Standard. All the prints look the same, i.e., terrible.

However... something I hadn't caught earlier. Zoom in on the print copy, and it appears to be very low resolution compared to the original file.

I think my next step will be to uninstall the printer and reinstall it, on the hope that somehow the default print driver has become corrupted.

tanstaafl.
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#373814 - 12/04/2022 21:29 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
My aging Samsung CLP620, also a workgroup-class color laser printer, was never great at photorealistic color, but it's always been tolerable. As it's gotten older, it's definitely gotten worse. For printing documents that are primarily b&w with color figures, it's fine. If I really, really want to print photos, I have a stash of photo paper and a cheap color inkjet printer/scanner/fax thing on my desk. That gets much better color quality, but of course, everything involving inkjet printing is awful and unreliable.

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#373817 - 14/04/2022 08:47 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
So you're saying that the printer...

- Used to print your color photos well, in the past?
- Suddenly it started printing your photos all pale and washed-out?
- The printer test page contains color photos, and the test page still prints them well?

Is that correct? If true, it's definitely some driver or configuration setting. Outside chance that it's a setting on the printer's front panel, but more likely in the windows printer controls. Since the physical part of the printer is still fine, as proven by the test page.

Many color printers have a "draft mode" or "preview mode" or "economy mode" which prints in lower resolution and saves ink by using less of it. That's what it's looking like to me. Since you said the picture is also printing in low rez, I'm thinking this is the likeliest possibility.

Outside chance that it has a setting to print photos with just CMY and leaving out the K, though not sure. I think that's less likely than draft mode.

Another possibility is that you changed the paper setting in the configuration. Some printers will change the amount of ink or toner that they deposit, based on the type of paper you told them you were inserting. For instance, if you tell them you are using photo paper, but insert plain paper, the prints will come out lighter.

Another possibility is that the printer has a gamma setting for printing photos, and that got tweaked.

And of course if you are using photo paper, make sure you're printing on the correct side, a mistake I once made and posted about here on the BBS. Though my failure mode looked completely different.
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#373818 - 14/04/2022 16:11 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
Another test you can do: Print from a different computer.
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Tony Fabris

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#373819 - 19/04/2022 03:09 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5512
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: tfabris
make sure you're printing on the correct side

For years that has been one of my all-time favorite posts on this bbs! "...Just shoot me now!" I remember it well.

I tried most of the things you suggested, no change. I even uninstalled the printer and reinstalled it again from scratch, went through all the settings I could find, nothing seemed to apply to the problem.


I think I have solved the problem, going at it from a different direction. I mentioned that I had HP OEM cartridges ($100+ each) in the printer, except for the black cartridge which was aftermarket. As an experiment I figured I'd give them a try, they came bundled in a two-pack for about a quarter the price of a single HP cartridge. There was a slight problem with a bad seal on one end of the first cartridge that would occasionally leave a black smudge on the left hand margin of the page, but nothing I couldn't live with. The seller (on eBay) offered to replace it, I told him not to worry about it, it was usable and the logistics of exchanging it from Mexico made it not worth the trouble.

On a whim (or desperation, take your pick) I pulled that cartridge out and put in its twin, the second aftermarket cartridge. The printer now prints proper color pictures again.

Looking back, the built-in test page from the printer that I thought was OK originally... actually it wasn't. The nature of the test page (color balance, sharpness) didn't lend itself to looking really bad until I compared it with the test page printed with the second aftermarket cartridge. I then ran a few test prints of photos from my computer and they look as good as ever.

What could explain this?

tanstaafl.
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#373822 - 19/04/2022 21:17 Re: Printer Problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
What could explain this?

You already figured it out: Bad cartridge. Clearly the third party cartridges are not very reliable. Sometimes you get what you pay for, or, more succinctly, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. wink

Quote:
the built-in test page from the printer that I thought was OK originally... actually it wasn't.

"Oh, yeah, the Check Engine light has been on for a month."

The only reason I didn't immediately jump to "bad K cartridge" was that you said the test page looked OK. smile To be fair, I did say that it looked like it wasn't printing the K layer, but again, I would have thought the test page would have had features on it that make it clear whether it's printing all four inks or not.
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