asked Feb 7, 2004 at 3:03pm
Hp HP Photosmart PhotoSmart

HP PhotoSmart won't print yellow

My reliable HP PhotoSmart suddenly won't print yellow. The cartridge was not empty, but I replaced it. With the new cartridge, it printed yellow very briefly (two test pages), then quit printing yellow again.
A coffee filter pressed to the new cartridge yields healthy magenta and cyan stains, but no yellow. Unfortunately, I did not perform this "swab" test before the two successful yellow prints. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
There is no date code or chip on those cartridges, just a cartridge ID so the printer can tell when you change it.

When you install a cartridge with an ID the printer does not recognize it assumes it's a new full cartridge. That explains the levels you saw reported.

The HP printers I'm familiar with remember the last two cartridges installed, so if you have had two in there since you removed the original you can reinstall it and it will show as full.

Low cartridges sometimes work for a while after sitting.

The ink resevoir in the cartridge is not just an empty chamber, it has a pad inside, ink drips out of the pad and into an area near the nozzles, and then feeds into the nozzles during printing.

When a cartridge is low and you let it sit ink can slowly ooze out of the pad and refill the area near the nozzles.

Cartridges are vented, when the ink goes out, air goes in. If air could not go in a vacuum would develop in the cartridge and ink would stop feeding to the nozzles. Peel the label off the top and you can see the vent maze, the cartridges will work fine with the label removed, but they will dry out faster.

Since a cartridge is vented it will eventually dry up from just sitting around, in that case the printer will think it has ink.

If a cartridge has just dried up from age, then you can get more life out of it by adding a couple of ml of distilled water to each chamber. I've used boiling distilled water to recover a HP #78 cartridge that had been laying loose in my basement for over a year.
by Stephen on Apr 26, 2007 at 5:29am Add comment
Thanks for your info on HP 56/58 and 57 cartridges.
Recently, I saw some info saying that HP cartridges "told" the printer when they were low on ink but that this person had found a way to "fool" the printer's sensor into thinking the cartridge was still full. This test showed that after about 40 +/- prints the sensor said replace cartridge. This person said that he had placed a piece of black tape over the sensor and the printer continue to print another 80 copies before exhaustion.
Do you know anything about this procedure?
Is it really a valid way to extend cartridge life?
Here's the big question: Where exactly is the sensor located?
Interested in your take on this idea.
Thanks. - Anonymous
Clean the carriage and cartridge electrical contacts with a cotton swab moistend with water.

It's not beyond possibility that the new cartridge has failed. Test it in a compatable printer. If it is a 78 cartridge, all of the Deskjet 900 series printers use the same one.
by Bert on Feb 7, 2004 at 9:35pm Add comment
My Hp Photosmart will not print yellow also. The expiration date on my new brand name cartridge is not until November of 2007. I have cleaned the contacts, gave the cartridge the blot test and all three colors appear. I'm stumped. I've read other posts that said to vacuum the cartridge and apparently it worked. I haven't tried that yet. Any other suggestions?
by OfNobility1982 on Aug 18, 2006 at 9:31pm Add comment
Summary: to fix the "No Yellow" problem (if cleaning contacts doesn't work) replace the HP 28 cartridge with a new HP 57 cartridge (if your printer can use this cartridge). YMMV

My HP PSC 1310 (model 1315 actually) all-in-one printer - or perhaps the HP PhotoSmart Windows PC software that drives it - stopped printing yellow too.

After a year of good running and only very light use, 6 months after the expiry date of the HP 28 color cartridge, a few pages suddenly only had yellow in the top quarter of the page, and THEN all subsequent prints had No Yellow. An electromechanical problem? Or a simulated problem from programmed obsolescence?

I transferred the HP 28 cartridge to my HP Deskjet 3320 (actually 3325 - same thing) and to my surprised it WORKED FINE - including yellow. So the cartridge was fine after all.

Next I installed a brand new (but expired) HP 28 cartridge in the PSC 1310, and it printed red and blue, but again No Yellow. PhotoSmart (HP Director application, click on Settings / roll over Print Settings / click on Printer Toolbox) confirmed that all ink levels were full in its estimation.

So the No Yellow problem is with the Printer (or a bug or sabotage from its software), and not with the cartridge.
I cleaned cartridge and carriage contacts with alcohol swab - no change.

Next I installed a brand new (and unexpired) HP 57 color cartridge (17 ml of ink - double the HP 28's capacity) and it worked for all colors AOK.

My advice: after trying the "clean all contacts" trick, try a brand new cartridge, especially an HP 57 instead of an HP 28.

My suspicions: my testing unfortunately varied multiple factors, so I am not certain as to the cause. When I installed the first seemingly failing HP 28 on another printer, and it worked, that other printer was connected to a Macintosh (Mac OS 9) whose date was accidentally set to 1901. It is quite possible on my limited testing that HP have programmed in a "cut out yellow 6 months after expiry" bomb. It is a documented fact that the proprietary cartridge manufacturers had their software pretend a cartridge was empty when it wasn't, so conspiracy theories can't be ruled out.

On the other hand, perhaps the PSC 1310 just developed a weird mechanic fault for which an HP 57 is a workaround.

If someone knows WHY, or is in a position to do better testing, then perhaps they can post the answer here. I'm just glad that Yellow is now working again for me.
by dap04 on Apr 25, 2007 at 9:36pm Add comment
Try clearing the print head with ink by using compressed air through the fill holes.
by unknown on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:00pm Add comment
I used an ink cartridge refill syringe and one of the rubber grommets it came with to force the ink through the print head at the bottom of the cartridge.
by unknown on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:02pm Add comment
Note to self, do not blow compressed air in the hole of a cartridge with out first putting gloves on, a towel around the hole, and a shirt you don't care about ;-) Messy but worked!

by Anonymous on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:38am Add comment
Mine quit printing yellow too. I installed a new cartridge, no yellow. Threw that one away, bought another new cartridge, still no yellow. Do I need to just buy a new printer? It seems to me the fault is with the printer, not all three cartridges. And yes I tried all of the cleaning, etc.
by kaycstamper on Sep 4, 2014 at 10:46am Add comment

I have done all of the suggested things except the larger cartridge. If I need to pay for the larger cartridge, I feel I need a new printer.

by jandonn on Dec 13, 2018 at 4:41pm Add comment