HP Printer Manuals

HP Printer Setup

HP Printer Troubleshooting

HP Printer Error Code list

HP Printer Ink Cartridges

Remanufactured HP Ink Cartridges

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So, your HP printer is not printing black ink and you need that print job on that piece of paper ASAP? Let us skip the intro text and jump right in to the solution. There are several ways of solving this, but before we jump in to the HP Troubleshooting steps, let’s check if you got everything right with the installation process.

Quick note before we jump right in to the action, this text is tied specifically to the problem “HP printer not printing black ink“, if you’re having different issues, you can go over to our general troubleshooting guide under this link: HP Printer Not Printing

Did you install the black ink cartridge properly?

We sometimes forget the basic steps when installing HP Ink Cartridges, and that’s to remove the plastic protective tape that is located on the new ink cartridge.If you didn’t remove it, your black ink will not print.

So, to repeat the process, open up your printer, access the ink cartridges, pull out the black ink cartridge and check if the plastic protective tape is still on the cartridge. If yes, remove it and reinstall it. Once that’s out of the way, let’s go to calibration.

Did you calibrate your HP printer after installing the ink cartridge?

People usually think that calibration is not needed after the initial setup, but that’s not right. You should calibrate your printer every time you put a fresh pack of ink in it. The reason behind it is that although you put a fresh black ink cartridge in to the device, it doesn’t read it and, thus, the HP Printer won’t print black.

To calibrate your device, find the HP Photosmart Toolbox or the Service this devicetools on your machine, within the printer’s software. Once you’re there, you should see one out of these three options:  Calibrate the device or Clean The Print Cartridges or Align the printer. Click one of them, doesn’t matter which one, and the printer will calibrate itself.

Once it’s done, you should see the results immediately. If it worked, ta-da, you can now print black ink. If not, maybe we would need to clean up the printheads.

Are you owning an older printer? When was the last time you cleaned the printheads?

In case both options are now crossed, there is no protective plastic on your ink cartridge and the device is calibrated, but the HP Printer is still not printing black ink, then we need to get some tools and clean up the printheads of the device. Don’t be scared though, it’s nothing complicated. If you don’t know what print heads are, check it out under this article: What are printer printheads.

But if you’re familiar with the term, go and grab some lint-free cloth or cotton swab. Take out all the cartridges and start cleaning the contacts on both of them. You can either use a professional cleaning solution like this one, or you can use some isopropyl alcohol. Dip the lint-free cloth or cotton swab and clean up the contacts on the ink cartridge and on the printer, leave it to dry out and then reinstall everything. Here are some photos to explain the process a bit better:


If the above solutions didn’t fix it, you have one last option

Exchange the ink cartridge with a different one of the same color and try the process again. If the same thing is happening with the new cartridge and your HP printer still won’t print black ink, although your printheads are clean, your device is calibrated and the protective plastic tape is off, then it’s obvious that something’s not right with the device itself.

At this point you can’t do anything from your side since there is a huge chance that something within the printer is broken, so you can either bring it over to the closest printer repair shop, or try your luck with HP Customer Support.


About The Author

Anya's experience with printers goes back to her early childhood years. Her father was a businessman, so he owned one of those big paper-churning devices that most of the neighbors would have found strange. Anya wasn't weirded out by it, though, she was fascinated! So fascinated that she ended up wasting a couple of thousand of extra pages printing all sorts of weird stuff, which probably didn't make her father all too happy. Flash forward, and Anya is in college studying IT. She's noticing that all her friends are having trouble with printing. They can't make sense of whether ink or laser is better, they can't find the correct manual for their device, and most of the time, the papers coming out are all blurry-looking. Given Anya's wealth of previous experience, she naturally feels the urge to help her fellow students and, in turn, ends up getting even more experience with all things involving printing (although there was a lot of trial and error in the process). These days, Anya is working in the IT industry and still deals with printers. A lot of them. Since most of the ones she deals with are from the HP brand, it only made sense for us for us to hand her over the entire HP printer user manuals section of the site. We love sense around here.