One of the most frustrating problems any computer user can have is a printer error. Just think about it. You slave away at that document, report, or spreadsheet for hours on end, and then, finally, you’re ready to print. And just before your work comes to fruition—BAM—there’s an error message. Your printer is sticking its tongue out at you, refusing to cooperate.

Having trouble printing?
Just ask TechRepublic member bsj molena. This computer tech has had ongoing difficulties with a group of HP DeskJet 400 printers and turned to our Technical Q&A for assistance.

Bsj molena wrote, “When a print job is sent to the printer, the cartridge comes to the middle and the change cartridge light blinks.” After replacing the cartridge, the printer cable, and downloading and installing the latest HP drivers, the problem has persisted.

Lizzy was experiencing the same problem and offered the following advice: “I finally deleted the printer from Windows and let all the drivers be removed.” After a reboot, she added the printer to Windows and installed newly downloaded drivers. After another reboot, Lizzy wrote, “…it worked. Go figure!”

Strike one
Unfortunately, after following Lizzy’s advice, the problem remained for bsj molena. Jumping in on the conversation, Anna777 suggested cleaning the ink cartridge’s nozzle/contacts with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. She wrote, “It sounds as if the printer thinks it needs new ink.”

Strike two
Bsj molena “tried cleaning the ink head and contacts…but had no luck.” Ferris bewley experienced similar problems with his HP printer and discovered he had not removed the thin plastic film from the ink cartridges before installation.

Strike three
But bsj molena dismissed this possibility, responding that “The plastic covering has been removed.” TechRepublic member Michelinda was also having HP problems and found out she had gotten an old batch of ink. “The ink cartridge itself was corroded!” Michelinda wrote, even though it was brand new, right out of the box. Michelinda suggested scraping the cartridges’ brass contacts with a dull knife but warned to be careful. “Don’t scrape hard or cut the little brass lines…you will ruin it.”

Keep swinging
Hopefully Michelinda’s advice can be of some assistance to bsj molena. As you well know, resolving hardware problems requires persistence and a little detective work. If your first attempted fix fails, try something else and then keep trying until you find the answer. No one ever said being an IT pro was easy.

Do you know the answer?

Do you have a fix to bsj molena’s dilemma? Have you experienced similar HP printer problems? Post a comment to this article and share your insights or visit TechRepublic’s Technical Q&A section and chime in.