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HP LaserJet Pro 200 Color M251n and M251nw - Troubleshooting Print Quality Issues

Check the paper type setting (Windows)

Check the paper type setting if you are having any of the following problems:

  • Toner is smearing on the printed pages.

  • Repeated marks occur on the printed pages.

  • Printed pages are curled.

  • Toner flakes off the printed pages.

  • Printed pages have small unprinted areas.

  1. From the software program, select the Print option.

  2. Select the product, and then click the Properties or Preferences button.

  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.

  4. From the Paper type drop-down list, click the More... option.

  5. Expand the list of Type is: options.

  6. Expand each category of paper types until you find the paper type that you are using.

  7. Select the option for the type of paper you are using, and then click the OK button.

Check the paper type setting (Mac OS X)

Check the paper type setting if you are having any of the following problems:

  • Toner is smearing on the printed pages.

  • Repeated marks occur on the printed pages.

  • Printed pages are curled.

  • Toner flakes off the printed pages.

  • Printed pages have small unprinted areas.

  1. On the File menu, click the Print option.

  2. In the Printer menu, select this product.

  3. In the Copies & Pages menu, click the Page Setup button.

  4. Select a size from the Paper Size drop-down list, and then click the OK button.

  5. Open the Finishing menu.

  6. Select a type from the Media-type drop-down list.

  7. Click the Print button.

Check toner cartridge status

Print the supplies status page (LCD control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251n Printer model only.

Information pages reside within the product memory. These pages help diagnose and solve problems with the product.

If the product language was not correctly set during installation, you can set the language manually so the information pages print in one of the supported languages. Change the language by using the System Setup menu on the control panel or the embedded Web server.
  1. At the control panel, press the OK button to open the menus.

  2. Open the Reports menu.

  3. Select the Supplies Status item, and then press the OK button to print the report.

Print the supplies status page (touchscreen control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251nw Printer model only.

Information pages reside within the product memory. These pages help diagnose and solve problems with the product.

If the product language was not correctly set during installation, you can set the language manually so the information pages print in one of the supported languages. Change the language by using the System Setup menu on the control panel or the embedded Web server.
  1. From the Home screen on the product control panel, touch the Setup button.

  2. Touch the Reports button.

  3. Touch the Supplies Status button to print the report.

Check the supplies status

Check the supplies status page for the following information:

  • Estimated percentage of cartridge life remaining

  • Approximate pages remaining

  • Part numbers for HP toner cartridges

  • Number of pages printed

Print a cleaning page

Print a cleaning page to remove dust and excess toner from the paper path if you are having any of the following problems:

  • Specks of toner are on the printed pages.

  • Toner is smearing on the printed pages.

  • Repeated marks occur on the printed pages.

Print a cleaning page (LCD control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251n Printer model only.
  1. At the control panel, press the OK button to open the menus.

  2. Open the following menus:

    • Service

    • Cleaning Page

  3. Load plain paper in Tray 1, and then press the OK button to start the cleaning process.

  4. The product prints the first side and then prompts you to remove the page from the output bin and reload it in Tray 1, keeping the same orientation (the side with the black stripe should be face-down with the arrow toward the back of the product).

  5. Press the OK button to continue the cleaning process. Wait until the process is complete. Discard the page that prints.

Print a cleaning page (touchscreen control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251nw Printer model only.
  1. From the Home screen on the product control panel, touch the Setup button.

  2. Touch the Service menu.

  3. Touch the Cleaning Page button.

  4. Load plain letter or A4 paper when you are prompted.

  5. Touch the OK button to begin the cleaning process.

  6. The product prints the first side and then prompts you to remove the page from the output bin and reload it in Tray 1, keeping the same orientation (the side with the black stripe should be face-down with the arrow toward the back of the product).

  7. Press the OK button to continue the cleaning process. Wait until the process is complete. Discard the page that prints.

Perform additional print quality troubleshooting

Print the print quality page (LCD control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251n Printer model only.
  1. From the Home screen on the product control panel, touch the Setup button.

  2. Touch the Reports button.

  3. Touch the Print Quality Page button.

Print the print quality page (touchscreen control panel)

This section applies to the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251nw Printer model only.
  1. From the Home screen on the product control panel, touch the Setup button.

  2. Touch the Reports button.

  3. Touch the Print Quality Page button.

Interpret the print quality page

This page contains five bands of color, which are divided into four groups as indicated in the following illustration. By examining each group, you can isolate the problem to a particular toner cartridge.

1: Print-quality troubleshooting page bands

1 - Yellow
2 - Cyan
3 - Black
4 - Magenta
  • If dots or streaks appear in only one of the groups, replace the toner cartridge that correlates with that group.

  • If dots appear in more than one group, print a cleaning page. If this does not solve the problem, determine if the dots are always the same color; for example, if magenta dots appear in all five color bands. If the dots are all the same color, replace that toner cartridge.

  • If a streak continues through multiple color bands, contact HP. A component other than the toner cartridge is probably causing the problem.

Inspect the toner cartridge for damage

  1. Remove the toner cartridge from the product, and verify that the sealing tape has been removed.

  2. Check the memory chip for damage.

  3. Examine the surface of the imaging drum on the bottom of the toner cartridge.

    Do not touch the roller (imaging drum) on the bottom of the cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print-quality problems.
  4. If you see any scratches, fingerprints, or other damage on the imaging drum, replace the toner cartridge.

  5. If the imaging drum does not appear to be damaged, rock the toner cartridge gently several times and reinstall it. Print a few pages to see if the problem has resolved.

Check the paper and printing environment

Use paper that meets HP specifications

Use different paper if you are having any of the following problems:

  • The printing is too light or seems faded in areas.

  • Specks of toner are on the printed pages.

  • Toner is smearing on the printed pages.

  • Printed characters seem misformed.

  • Printed pages are curled.

Always use a paper type and weight that this product supports. In addition, follow these guidelines when selecting paper:

  • Use paper that is of good quality and free of cuts, nicks, tears, spots, loose particles, dust, wrinkles, voids, staples, and curled or bent edges.

  • Use paper that has not been previously printed on.

  • Use paper that is designed for use in laser printers. Do not use paper that is designed only for use in Inkjet printers.

  • Use paper that is not too rough. Using smoother paper generally results in better print quality.

Check the product environment

Verify that the product is operating within the environmental specifications listed in the product Warranty and Legal Guide.

Check print job settings

Check the EconoMode setting

This product has an EconoMode option for printing drafts of documents. Using EconoMode can use less toner. However, using EconoMode can also reduce print quality. To improve print quality, verify that the EconoMode setting is deactivated.

  1. From the software program, select the Print option.

  2. Select the product, and then click the Properties or Preferences button.

  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.

  4. Verify that the EconoMode check box is cleared. If there is a checkmark in the check box, click the check box to clear it.

HP does not recommend the full-time use of EconoMode. If EconoMode is used full-time, the toner supply might outlast the mechanical parts in the toner cartridge. If print quality begins to degrade and is no longer acceptable, consider replacing the toner cartridge.

Adjust color settings in the printer driver

Change the color theme for a print job

  1. On the File menu in the software program, click Print .

  2. Click Properties or Preferences .

  3. Click the Color tab.

  4. Select a color theme from the Color Themes drop-down list.

    2: Color tab

    • Default (sRGB) : This theme sets the product to print RGB data in raw device mode. When using this theme, manage color in the software program or in the operating system for correct rendering.

    • Vivid : The product increases the color saturation in the midtones. Use this theme when printing business graphics.

    • Photo : The product interprets RGB color as if it were printed as a photograph using a digital mini lab. The product renders deeper, more saturated colors differently than with the Default (sRBG) theme. Use this theme when printing photos.

    • Photo (Adobe RGB 1998) : Use this theme with printing digital photos that use the AdobeRGB color space rather than sRGB. Turn off color management in the software program when using this theme.

    • None

Change the color options

Change the color options settings for the current print job from the color tab of the printer driver.

  1. On the File menu in the software program, click Print .

  2. Click Properties or Preferences .

  3. Click the Color tab.

  4. Click the Automatic or Manual setting.

    • Automatic setting: Select this setting for most color print jobs

    • Manual setting: Select this setting to adjust the color settings independent from other settings.

      Changing color settings manually can impact output. HP recommends that only color graphics experts change these settings.

    3: Color tab

  5. Click the Print in Grayscale option to print a color document in black and white. Use this option to print color documents for photocopying or faxing.

  6. Click the OK button.

Use the printer driver that best meets your printing needs

You might need to use a different printer driver if the printed page has unexpected lines in graphics, missing text, missing graphics, incorrect formatting, or substituted fonts.

HP PCL 6 driver
  • Provided as the default driver. This driver is automatically installed unless you select a different one.

  • Recommended for all Windows environments

  • Provides the overall best speed, print quality, and product-feature support for most users

  • Developed to align with the Windows Graphic Device Interface (GDI) for the best speed in Windows environments

  • Might not be fully compatible with third-party and custom software programs that are based on PCL 5

HP UPD PS driver
  • Recommended for printing with Adobe® software programs or with other highly graphics-intensive software programs

  • Provides support for printing from postscript emulation needs, or for postscript flash font support

HP UPD PCL 5
  • Recommended for general office printing in Windows environments

  • Compatible with previous PCL versions and older HP LaserJet products

  • The best choice for printing from third-party or custom software programs

  • The best choice when operating with mixed environments, which require the product to be set to PCL 5 (UNIX, Linux, mainframe)

  • Designed for use in corporate Windows environments to provide a single driver for use with multiple printer models

  • Preferred when printing to multiple printer models from a mobile Windows computer

HP UPD PCL 6
  • Recommended for printing in all Windows environments

  • Provides the overall best speed, print quality, and printer feature support for most users

  • Developed to align with Windows Graphic Device Interface (GDI) for best speed in Windows environments

  • May not be fully compatible with third-party and custom solutions based on PCL5

Download additional printer drivers from this Web site: www.hp.com/support/ljcolorm251series .

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