asked Apr 15, 2007 at 12:31pm
Hp HP Color LaserJet 5550

HP Printer Check Cartridge Error Troubleshooting

This is a generic guide, it applies to many different HP models

Is the shipping tape removed from the cartridge? (if I didn't ask and that's what it turned out to be we'd both be embarassed)

Some printers may indicate a cartridge error, but you may not be getting a message as to which side is bad, there might be an icon on the printer case that will help. Open the top cover and the carriage will move to the center, check and see if the carriage has lined up with a marking on the plastic case that indicates which cartridge is bad, look over and behind the carriage. (the DeskJet 900 series and the 5550 are examples of printers that use this method)

Inspect the contacts in the carriage, is there any visible damage?

The carriage has one or more flat cables plugged into slot(s) on the back, do the cables look like they are plugged in properly? (sitting square)

Are the flat cables damaged or worn? (kinked, bent)

Some contacts in HP carriages are spring loaded pins, if you have this type of carriage check and see if all the pins are sticking out the same distance, (some, but not all, cartridges that fit in these carriages are #15, 45, 17, 23, 78).

Some contacts in HP carriages are on mylar strips with the wiring to the contacts printed on the mylar, if you have this type of carriage check and see if the mylar has a hole in it. (some, but not all, cartridges that fit in these carriages are #27, 28, 56, 57, 96, 97)

If you have one of the machines made in the last few years the cartridge is pushed to the side by a spring arm, compare the arms between the left and right cartridges, has one popped out of it's mounting flange? (this often causes a hole in the mylar)

Clean the contacts on the cartridge with water, a damp paper towel works well. Water based ink cleans up with water. Before you reinstall the cartridge go to the next step. (You can also use Dull-It on cartridge contacts: if you take care of lots of printers Dull-It is worth ordering.)

Clean the contacts in the carriage with water, a damp paper towel or coffee filter works. Spit on a finger works better, but you'll have a colorful finger. Test the printer before trying the next step.

Clean the contacts on the cartridge again, with water, use the scrubby side of a kitchen sponge, wipe with an up/down motion, two wipes are all I allow, more may remove the plating from the contacts. (up/down is with reference to the top of the cartridge when it's installed, this is parallel to most of the printed wiring on the contact side of the cartridge)

If nothing on the list helped then the carriage board and/or cables are the next items to replace, you may not be able to get a carriage board or cables for your machine, a few part numbers are posted on the Forum.

You can check and see if the people who run the forum have the parts you need using the request an item form:

If they do not have the part you want I *might* have a part for your printer, I have an assortment of HP printers in my basement, click on my name or on the crossed tools by it to email me for more information. (note, that I do not respond to those requests if they are posted in the forums, I'm a volunteer, not an employee)

I can't believe it was that simple - if I'd looked at your post yesterday and just dabbed the new/refilled Dell cartridge with a damp paper towel, I could've met a deadline I thought I had to miss!
Just wanted to say thanks very much. :)
by Anonymous on Aug 14, 2007 at 3:58pm Add comment

HP will replace your defective printer.
by ccpanel on Oct 18, 2007 at 12:00am Add comment
My printer is C5550 My color cartridge is 75 XL Has worked fine for awhile now ;the screen said The cartridge on the left is not for this printer ???? What is wrong
by unknown on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:58am Add comment
Follow the troubleshooting steps as listed for your C5550, this is a generic guide.
by Stephen on Jun 11, 2012 at 7:49pm Add comment