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A 'Missing or Failed Printhead' Displays for HP Officejet Pro 251dw, 276dw, and 8600 Printer

This document is for HP Officejet Pro 251dw, 276dw, and 8600 printers.

After installing a new printhead, a 'Missing or Failed Printhead' error message displays on the printer control panel and the printer does not print. An unlatched or improperly seated printhead can cause this error.

Example message on the printer control panel

Missing or failed printhead

The printhead appears to be missing, not detected, or incorrectly installed.

Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 1: Use genuine HP cartridges

If ink cartridges are loaded in your printer that are not compatible with you printer, it might cause an error message. To get the best print quality, use genuine HP cartridges.

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink cartridges or refilled HP ink cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP ink cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.

Video of replacing a cartridge

The following video demonstrates how to replace cartridges.

If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube Non-HP site .

Visit HP SureSupply to check ink cartridge compatibility or purchase replacement ink cartridges.

  1. Go to the HP SureSupply website.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then make sure the country/region location is correct.

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order new ink cartridges or check ink cartridge compatibility with your printer.

Genuine HP ink cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Step 2: Reset the printer

Follow these steps to reset the printing mechanism.

  1. If the printer is turned off, press the Power button to turn on the printer.

  2. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.

  3. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the rear of the printer.

  4. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  5. Wait at least 60 seconds.

  6. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.

    NOTE: HP recommends connecting the printer power cord directly to the wall outlet.
  7. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the printer.

  8. If the printer does not turn on by itself, press the Power button to turn it on.

    NOTE: The printer might go through a warm-up period. The printer lights might flash, and the carriage might move.
  9. Wait until the warm-up period finishes and your printer is idle and silent before you proceed.

If the error persists, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Unseat the printhead

Follow these steps to reseat the printhead.

  1. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before proceeding.

    Figure 1: Open the cartridge access door

    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
    1 - Slot on the left side of the printer
  2. Unplug the power cord from the rear of the printer. Unplugging the printer prevents the carriage from moving.

    WARNING: You must disconnect the power cord before reaching inside the printer to avoid risk of injuries or electric shock.
  3. Lift the carriage latch.

    Figure 2: Lift the carriage latch

    Image: Lift the carriage latch.
  4. Grasp the sides of the printhead, and then slightly lift the printhead without fully removing it from the carriage.

    Figure 3: Slightly lift the printhead

    Image: Slightly lift the printhead.

Step 4: Reseat the printhead, and then lower the carriage latch

  1. Reinsert the printhead into the carriage to reseat it. As you guide the printhead into the carriage, it settles into the carriage as it seats.

    Figure 4: Reseat the printhead

    Image: Reseat the printhead.
  2. Gently rock the printhead to the left and right to make sure that the printhead fully seats in the carriage.

  3. Lower the carriage latch.

    Figure 5: Lower the carriage latch

    Image: Lower the carriage latch.
  4. Make sure that the carriage latch is down.

    Figure 6: Carriage latch positions

    Image: Carriage latch positions.
    1 - Carriage latch is up
    2 - Carriage latch is down
  5. Close the ink cartridge access door.

  6. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the printer.

  7. If the printer does not turn on by itself, press the Power button to turn it on.

  8. Wait until the warm-up period finishes and your printer is idle and silent before you proceed.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step 5: Reseat the printhead up to three times

Sometimes error messages persist after inserting the printhead. To clear any error messages, reseat the printhead by repeating all steps in this solution up to three times.

Examples of error messages on the printer control panel:

Problem with Ink System

Missing or failed printhead

Ink System Failure

Printer Failure

Carriage Jam

Step 6: Remove the ink cartridges, and then check the error message

Removing the ink cartridges and checking for an error message can help diagnose the printer issue. Remove the ink cartridges, and then check for the error message.

  1. Slip your fingers into the slot on the left side of the printer, and then pull forward to open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the left side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent you proceed.

    Figure 7: Open the ink cartridge access door

    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  2. Make sure that the colored dot on the cartridge label matches the colored dot on the carriage slot.

    Figure 8: Colored dot on the cartridge label should match the colored dot on the carriage slot

    Image: Colored dot on cartridge label should match the colored dot on the carriage slot
  3. Push in on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge toward you to remove it from its slot.

    Figure 9: Remove the cartridge from its slot

    Image: Remove a cartridge from its slot
  4. Repeat these steps for the other cartridges.

  5. Close the ink cartridge access door.

    Figure 10: Close the ink cartridge access door

    Image: Close the ink cartridge access door
  6. Look at the control panel.

    • If the printer displays a 'Missing or Failed Printhead' message on the control panel, then skip to Update the printer firmware .

    • If the message has changed to 'Replace [K/C/M/Y] Ink Cartridge' then proceed to the next solution.

Step 7: Clean the ink cartridges, and then check the error message

Cleaning the ink cartridge contacts, and replacing them one at a time can help determine if a specific ink cartridge is causing the error message.

  1. Lightly dampen a clean, lint-free cloth with bottled or distilled water.

  2. Gently wipe the copper-colored contact on the ink cartridge.

    Figure 11: Copper-colored contact on the ink cartridge

    Image: Copper-colored contact on the ink cartridge
  3. Wipe the contact with a dry lint-free cloth before proceeding to the next step.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the three remaining ink cartridges.

  5. Carefully reinsert one of the ink cartridges into its slot, and then push the ink cartridge forward until it clicks into place.

    Figure 12: Push the ink cartridge forward in the slot until it clicks into place

    Image: Push the cartridge forware in the slot until it clicks into place
  6. Close the ink cartridge access door.

    Figure 13: Close the ink cartridge access door

    Image: Close the ink cartridge access door
  7. Check the printer control panel to see if the error message persists.

    • If the 'Missing or Failed Printhead' message displays, replace the ink cartridge that was just reinstalled.

      The test has determined that the reinstalled ink cartridge was causing the problem.

    • If the 'Replace [K/C/M/Y] Ink Cartridge' displays, repeat steps 5-7 for the three remaining ink cartridges.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step 8: Update the printer firmware

Select one of the following methods to update the printer firmware.

Update from the printer control panel

Use the printer control panel to update the printer firmware.

Check for the latest printer updates.

  1. From the home screen on the printer control panel, touch the ePrint icon ().

  2. Wait for the printer to connect to the ePrint server. The ePrint status displays.

  3. Touch Settings on the bottom left corner of the screen.

  4. Touch Printer Update, and then touch Check for Update Now.

    NOTE: Check for updates every week to make sure you are getting the most out of your printer.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Download the firmware from the HP website

Download a firmware update from the HP website, and then install it on your printer.

  1. Turn on the printer.

  2. Disconnect the USB cable from the printer and the computer (if you already connected it). If the printer is connected to your network, leave it connected.

  3. Go to HP Customer Support - Software and Driver Downloads .

  4. Use one of the available methods to identify your printer model.

    The Software and driver results page displays when the printer model is identified.

    Figure 14: Example of the Software and driver results page

    Image: Example of the Software and driver results window
  5. Check to see if your operating system is correctly identified. If your operating system is not correct, click Edit, select your operating system and version from the drop-down menus, and then click Update.

  6. Click Firmware, and then click Download.

  7. If an HP Download and Install Assistant window displays, select Use HP Download and Install Assistant (Recommended) or Download only, and then click Next.

    Figure 15: Example of the HP Download and Install Assistant window

    Image: Example of the HP Download and Install Assistant window
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to save the driver to your computer.

  9. If you used the Download only method, open or run the driver file, and then follow the on-screen instructions to install the software.

  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step 9: Replace the printhead

If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, replace the printhead.

CAUTION: Wait until you have a new printhead assembly available before removing the ink cartridges. HP recommends that you do not leave the ink cartridges outside the printer longer than 30 minutes. This could damage both the printer and the ink cartridges.

If you have a defective ink cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink supplies, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country/region, then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.

If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a kit with a new printhead assembly, instructions, and a full set of cartridges. You must install the SETUP cartridges that comes with the new printhead, or a cartridge error might occur.

If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.

  1. If you are in the United States, go to the HP Parts Store website (in English).

  2. Under Find your part(s), type CR322A in the Search by part number text box.

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.

If you are outside of the United States, go to HP How to Buy website to buy supplies.

If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a kit with a new printhead assembly, instructions, and a full set of cartridges. You must install the SETUP cartridges that comes with the new printhead, or a cartridge error might occur.

If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.

  1. If you are not in the United States, go to the HP How to Buy website , and then click your country-language.

  2. A Buy HP page displays. Look for the HP Parts store on this page. The location of the HP Parts store varies depending on your region. Click HP Parts store.

  3. Under Find your part(s), type CR324A (Europe and the Middle East) or CR326A (Japan and Asia Pacific) in the Search by part number text box. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.

If you are in the United States, go to HP Parts Store website (in English) to buy supplies.

Step 10: Service the printer

Contacting HP for service in Asia Pacific.

If you completed all the preceding steps and your product still has an issue, you might need further assistance from HP.

Go to Contact HP to review available service options.

Contacting HP for service in all countries/regions except Asia Pacific.

If you completed all the preceding steps and your product still has an issue, service the product.

First, go to HP Printer Warranty Check to check your warranty status, and then go to Contact HP to find an authorized service dealer or to schedule a repair. Repair fees might apply for out of warranty printers.

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