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
HOW TO KEEP YOUR Z SERIES PRINTER
RUNNING in TOP SHAPE
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
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
When problems occur, begin with a diagnostic image printout, and go from
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 .
REMEDIAL STEPS FOR MANY SITUATIONS WHEN
PRINTER IS NOT WORKING WELL
TURN OFF PRINTER ON/OFF SWITCH WHEN
CARRIAGE MOVES INTO MIDDLE WHEN YOU OPEN LID. UNPLUG PRINTER
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
Don't just so-so clean the cleaning station - really get it brand new
Put everything back, Inks first, making sure all sockets are clean, then
put in the printheads themselves.
NEXT: TURN ON THE PRINTER
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
4. Compare this new chart with any previous charts.
5. If there are any suspect print heads, either re-clean and do it again,
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.
LETTING YOUR Z3200 (Z Series) PRINTER SIT FOR MONTHS AT A TIME UNUSED
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
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.
(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.)