MAINTAINING HP Z3100 and Z3200 Printers PART 2
Notes on Tools, Materials, and Procedures by Mark Lindquist

HP DesignJet  Z3100 - Z3200 Maintenance

Mark Lindquist 12/10/2014 - updated --1-10-2017


There are a few things that are required to make the Z Series printers run well if not perfectly:

Regular basic housekeeping maintenance

Keeping the guide rail lubricated

Print head alignment

Periodic nozzle cleaning

Diagnostic printout checks

Keeping the printer running at all times

Occasional re-starts, unplugging printer

Always calibrating papers  (LINK)

Using advance paper calibration for larger or custom papers

Use of out of warranty inks and printheads is ok if your printer is out of warranty and you're on your own. But if the inks or printheads have expired past two years or more, question it and replace them.

Always shake inks vigorously if printer has sat for a long time.

Keep printing - run test prints at least weekly if possible.

Best to have printer plugged in to a UPS for surge protection and back up power.

When problems occur, begin with a diagnostic image printout, and go from there.

Always start at the wall when trouble shooting. In other words check power and connectivity first.
Always shut down and unplug the printer and restart before attempting any further troubleshooting  .



1. Take out all inks and put them in plastic freezer bags, seal them up and shake them up really good. And I do mean shake them really well for a long time - like 3-5 minutes vigorously. Put the inks in individual bags then all the bags in one big bag, and shake all at the same time.

2. Take out all  printheads and do the same thing to them - seal them in freezer bags and shake them vigorously for a long time.

3. Use a left over pad for cleaning the contacts on the printheads, use that and re-clean the contacts in the print head carriage. (Some say coffee filters are good.  Pec pads work well too).

4. Do exceptional cleaning inside the printer. Cleaning the encoder strip and the cleaning station (use distilled water and lint-free wipes).
Don't just so-so clean the cleaning station - really get it brand new clean.

Put everything back, Inks first, making sure all sockets are clean, then put in the printheads themselves.


1. Allow the printer to re-initialize and go through resetting/aligning all the printheads. This will take some time. If it just comes up without initializing, do a printhead alignment. Then, next:

2. Immediately do a full nozzle clean as soon as possible.

3. Print a diagnostic image and check the chart. Print on Glossy or semi-gloss paper.

4. Compare this new chart with any previous charts.

5. If there are any suspect print heads, either re-clean and do it again, or replace.

6. Make up a square of black or whatever color is giving you problems and print it numerous times.

Try printing again.  If there are problems:

Turn it off from the front panel. Turn off the switch, unplug it and wait a few minutes, then plug back in
and turn it back on.

This often helps.

If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink when replacing the printheads, the printer may think the new printhead is faulty when actually it is that the ink cartridge is too low to fill the new printhead.  Always have cartidges that are mostly (at least 1/2) full when replacing a printhead or you might get the error message to replace the printhead.


If you have to leave your Z Series printer alone for several months at a time it can be a small challenge to get it back running.  I left both of my Z Series printers (24" Z3200, and 44" Z-3200ps) on and running just plugged in to a UPS and took off for a 2 1/2 month photo shoot out in the wilderness.  I was confident that the micro-drip technology would work well, and for the most part it did.  When I got back, the first thing I did was to check the ink levels.  Next I cleaned the printheads. Then I printed out diagnostic images.  Whoops, the magenta rectangle was gone.  I mean not there. Went directly to the printheads and cleaned them and tried another diagnostic image.  Nope.

I keep a stash of printheads and rather than fiddle around trying to get this one running again I just replaced it. After replacing the printhead and examining the alignment chart, for good measure, I cleaned the printheads, all, fully, again.  Printed another diagnostic image and Wallah, bingo, good to go.  Not bad for leaving it unattended for 2 1/2 months.  Always try this method before jumping to conclusions that it might be something more serious.  The charts are your friends.

Recalibrate the paper advance

Accurate paper advance is important to image quality because it is part of controlling the proper placement of dots on the paper. If the paper is not advanced the proper distance between printhead passes, light or dark bands appear in the print and image grain may increase.

The printer is calibrated to advance correctly with all the papers appearing in the front panel. When you select the type of loaded paper, the printer adjusts the rate at which to advance the paper while printing. However, if you are not satisfied with the default calibration of your paper, you may need to recalibrate the rate at which the paper advances. See Troubleshooting print-quality issues for steps to determine if paper advance calibration will solve your issue.

You can check the paper advance calibration status of the currently loaded paper at any time by pressing the View loaded paper key on the front panel. The status may be one of the following:

DEFAULT: This status appears when loading any paper that has not been calibrated. HP papers in the Front Panel have been optimized by default and unless you experience image quality problems in your printed image such as banding or graininess it is not recommended to recalibrate the paper advance.

OK: This status indicates that the loaded paper has been calibrated before. However you may need to repeat the calibration if you experience image quality problems such as banding or graininess in your printed image.

Whenever you update the printerís firmware, the paper advance calibration values are reset to factory default, see Update the firmware.

Transparent papers and films must be calibrated using Image Quality Maintenance menu icon , then Paper advance calibration > Adjust paper advance, from step four in the Recalibrating the paper advance procedure.
Recalibrating the paper advance procedure
Press the Menu key to return to the main menu and select the Image Quality Maintenance menu icon , then Calibrate paper advance. The printer automatically recalibrates the paper advance and prints a paper advance calibration image.
Wait until the front panel displays the status screen and re-print your print.

The recalibration procedure takes approximately three minutes. Do not worry about the paper advance calibration image. The front-panel display shows any errors in the process.

If you are satisfied with your print continue using this calibration for your paper type. If you see improvement in your print, continue with step three. If you are dissatisfied with the recalibration, return to the default calibration, see Return to default calibration.

If you would like to fine-tune the calibration or are using a transparent paper, press the Menu key to return to the main menu and select the Image Quality Maintenance menu icon , then Paper advance calibration > Adjust paper advance.
Select the percentage of change from -100% to 100%. To correct light banding, decrease the percentage. To correct dark banding, increase the percentage.

Press the OK key on the front panel, to save the value.
Wait until the front panel displays the status screen and re-print your print.
Return to default calibration

Returning to the default calibration sets all the corrections made by the paper advance calibration to zero. To return to the default paper advance calibration value, you must reset the calibration.

Press the Menu key to return to the main menu and select the Image Quality Maintenance menu icon , then Paper advance calibration > Reset paper advance
Wait until the front panel displays the operation has completed successfully before pressing the back key to return to the main menu.



(These are my own personal notes from repairs I have made. 
I have made this web page for my own benefit, so I have a record of what I have done. 
If you use this information, do so at your own risk - I assume no responsibility for errors.)

By Mark Lindquist | August-December 2014-2017 © Lindquist Studios All Rights Reserved

All Images Copyright © Mark Lindquist Photography 2000-2017 - All Rights Reserved