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An 'Alignment failed' Error Message Displays on the Printer Control Panel

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Issue

After you install a new printhead, the error message 'Alignment failed ' displays on the printer control panel, and an alignment page and calibration page might print after the installation.
Figure 1: Example of an 'Alignment failed' error message
Image: Example of an 'Alignment failed' error message

Solution one: Reset the printer

  1. Press the Power button ( ) to turn on the product.
  2. With the product turned on , disconnect the power cord from the rear of the product.
  3. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  4. Wait at least 15 seconds.
  5. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.
  6. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the product.
  7. If the product does not turn on by itself, press the Power button ( ) to turn it on.

Video of how to resolve an 'Alignment failed' error message that displays on the printer control panel

If resetting the printer did not resolve the issue, you can watch a video to help troubleshoot the alignment failure. The steps in the video are similar to but might not match exactly the following solutions.
The following video demonstrates the troubleshooting steps for an 'Alignment Failed' message that displays on your printer.
NOTE:This video shows the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Premier All-in-One printer, but the steps are the same for your printer.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube .

Solution two: Evaluate the alignment page

Follow these steps to check the alignment page that printed after the printhead installation, or try to align the printer again, and then evaluate the alignment page.
NOTE:Newly installed printheads must be aligned to the printer for best print quality. For successful alignment, a sharp, clear alignment page must print, and that requires unused, plain white paper. Colored paper, or paper that has already been printed on, even on the other side, can cause the alignment to fail.
Figure 2: Example of a correct alignment page
Image: Example of a correct alignment page.
  • If no paper was loaded, or the paper was previously printed on or colored, or if no alignment page printed , follow these steps to retry the alignment.
    1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
    2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button ( ).
    3. Select Tools .
    4. Select Align Printer , and then press OK . The alignment process begins.
    5. Wait for the printer to complete the alignment, and then press OK .
    6. Check the alignment page. For successful alignment, the patterns on the alignment page must be sharply printed.
    • If the alignment page prints and there is no error message , the issue is resolved, and you can stop troubleshooting.
    • If the page is obviously faded or streaked , continue to the next solution to clean the printheads .
    • If you are not sure whether the alignment page printed correctly, continue to the next solution to print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostics page to see if the printheads are working correctly.
  • If unused, plain white paper was loaded, and an alignment page printed , check the alignment page. For successful alignment, the patterns on the alignment page must be sharply printed.

Solution three: Clean the printheads, and then print a Print Quality Diagnostics page

Follow these steps to clean the printheads, and then print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostics page for defects.

Step one: Clean the printheads

If the alignment page was streaked or missing colors, clean the printheads.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button ( ).
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Clean Printhead . The printer automatically cleans the printheads.

Step two: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostics page

  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the control panel, press the Setup button.
  3. Select Print Report .
  4. Select Print Quality Page , and then press OK . A Print Quality Diagnostics page prints.
    Figure 3: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostics page
    Image: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostics page
  5. Examine the page for the following defects.
    • If all the test patterns on the Print Quality Diagnostics page show no defects , the printheads are operating correctly and do not need to be replaced. Skip to the solution in this document to retry the alignment .
    • Figure 4: White lines in Test Pattern 2
      • If there are white lines through any of the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 , follow these steps to clean the printheads again.
        1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
        2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button.
        3. Select Tools .
        4. Select Clean Printhead . The printer automatically cleans the printheads.
        Repeated cleanings might eventually fix the printheads. However, if after repeated cleanings there are still white lines through the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 (but no lines in the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3) on a new Print Quality Diagnostics page, skip to the solution in this document to replace the problem printhead .
      • If there are white lines through ALL the color blocks, and also white lines through the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3 , do not clean the printheads. Instead, continue to the next solution to calibrate linefeed .
    • Figure 5: White gaps or dark lines in Test Pattern 3
      Image: White gaps or dark lines in Test Pattern 3
      • If there are dark lines or white gaps in any of the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3 , continue to the next solution to calibrate linefeed .

Solution four: Calibrate linefeed, and then print a Print Quality Diagnostics page

Follow these steps to calibrate linefeed, and then print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostics page.

Step one: Calibrate linefeed

  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button.
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Calibrate Linefeed , and then press OK . The linefeed calibrates.

Step two: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostics page

  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the control panel, press the Setup button.
  3. Select Print Report .
  4. Select Print Quality Page , and then press OK . A Print Quality Diagnostics page prints.
    Figure 6: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostics page
    Image: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostics page
  5. Examine Test Pattern 3 for defects.
    • If the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3 show no defects , continue to the next solution to retry the alignment .
    • If there are still dark lines or white gaps in the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3, skip to the solution at the end of this document to service the printer .
      Figure 7: Examples of white gaps or dark lines in Test Pattern 3
      Image: Examples of white gaps or dark lines in Test Pattern 3

Solution five: Retry the alignment

If there were defects on the Print Quality Diagnostics page that you corrected, follow these steps to retry the alignment.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup button.
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Align Printer , and then press OK . The alignment process begins.
  5. Wait for the printer to complete the alignment, and then press OK .
  6. Check the alignment page. For successful alignment, the patterns on the alignment page must be sharply printed.
  • If the alignment page prints and no error message displays , try another print job. If the print job is successful and no alignment page prints, the issue is resolved . You do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the alignment page prints, and there are white lines in the color blocks in Test Pattern 2, but no defects in Test Pattern 3 , continue to the next solution to replace the problem printhead .
  • If the alignment page fails to print, or if a page prints and the error message displays after the Print Quality Diagnostics page showed no white lines in the color blocks in Test Pattern 2, skip to the solution at the end of this document to service the printer .

Solution six: Replace the problem printhead

If, after repeated printhead cleaning, the Print Quality Diagnostic page shows white lines across the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 (but no white lines in the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3), one or both of the printheads will have to be replaced. The Print Quality Diagnostic page shows which printhead should be replaced.
Look at the color blocks labeled Test Pattern 2. Some of them should show white horizontal streaks (if none of the blocks are streaked, the printheads are okay).
  • Black block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
  • Red block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
  • Green block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
Figure 8: Streaked black, red, or green color blocks - replace Black/Yellow Printhead
Illustration of streaked black, red or green color blocks in test pattern 2
  • Cyan block has lines – replace the Magenta/Cyan printhead.
  • Magenta block has lines – replace the Magenta/Cyan printhead.
Figure 9: Streaked cyan or magenta color blocks - replace Cyan/Magenta Printhead
Illustration of streaked cyan or magenta color blocks in test pattern 2
  1. Lift the carriage-access lid. The top cover rests in an open position.
    Figure 10: Lift the carriage-access lid
  2. Press and hold the OK button until the carriage moves to the left side of the product. Wait for the carriage to stop moving.
    CAUTION:Do not proceed until the carriage is on the left. If the carriage does not move to the left automatically, turn the printer off and back on and then try holding down the OK button again.
  3. Inside the product, lift the blue printhead latch.
    Figure 11: Lift the printhead latch
  4. Grasp the handle of the old printhead, and then lift upward to remove the printhead from its slot.
    Figure 12: Remove the printhead from its slot
  5. Without removing the replacement printhead from its packaging, rapidly shake it back and forth six times.
    Figure 13: Shake the printhead six times
  6. Remove the printhead from its packaging, and then remove the orange protective caps from the nozzles.
    CAUTION:Do not shake the printheads after removing the orange protective caps.
    Figure 14: Remove the printhead and the protective nozzles
    CAUTION:Do not touch the nozzles on the printhead. Touching the nozzles can permanently damage the printhead.
    Figure 15: Do not touch the printhead nozzles
  7. Hold the printhead by its sides with the nozzles toward the product, and then insert the printhead into its color-coded slot.
    • Insert the Black/Yellow printhead into the slot on the left.
    • Insert the Magenta/Cyan printhead into the slot on the right.
    Figure 16: Insert the printhead into its slot
  8. Repeat these steps if necessary to replace the other printhead. Make sure to shake the other printhead back and forth six times before installing it.
  9. Lower the printhead latch, and then press down until the latch snaps into place.
    Figure 17: Lower the printhead latch
  10. Close the carriage-access lid.
    Figure 18: Close the carriage-access lid
  11. Wait for the product to align the printheads and print an alignment page.
    Figure 19: The product prints an alignment page

Solution seven: Service the printer

If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, service the product.
Determine if your product is in warranty or out of warranty. If you need help determining your product’s warranty status, go to HP’s Warranty Check Tool .
  • If your product is in warranty , contact HP.
  • If your product is out of warranty , fees might apply for contacting HP.

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