Fixing HP Printer Printhead Not Working – a simple guide

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HP is a prominent printer manufacturer in the world. That is to say; you cannot step into an office space without catching a glimpse of one of their products.

Therefore, it is fair to say that people will have an issue regarding the function of said products. Thus, today we will talk about one such error that is much more common in printers than one might think. Also Read:- HP printer error access denied: how to fix it

Hp printer printhead not working

However, just as easy to fix as possible.

Today, we will talk about:

  1. Error Messages
  2. Methods of Solving
  3. Step-by-Step Guide

Let us start.

Error Messages Shown for HP Printer Printhead Not Working

Users may receive different error messages based on their system’s & printer’s firmware and model. Therefore, we’ve given all the error messages you may see regarding a printhead dysfunction below.

  • Incompatible Printhead
  • Missing or Failed Printhead
  • Printhead Appears to be Missing or Damaged
  • Printhead Failure
  • Printhead is Missing, Not Detected, or Not Properly Installed
  • Printhead Missing
  • Printhead Missing or Damaged
  • Printhead Problem

Methods of Solving an HP Printer Printhead Not Working

  • Resetting the Printer
  • Servicing the Printhead
  • Update the Printer Firmware
  • Reseating the Printhead
  • Replacing the Printhead
  • Service the Printer

Below are the steps to perform these troubleshoots depending upon the cartridge models. That is to say; we can cartridge models can be subdivided into three classes.

Class IHP – 178, 364, 564, 655, 862, 902, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 908, 909, 910, 912, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919, 920, 934, 935
Class IIHP – 932, 933, 950, 951, 952, 953, 954, 955, 956, 957, 958, 959, 962, 963, 964, 965, 966, 967, 968, 969
Class IIIHP – 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 38, 39, 70, 72, 73, 82, 84, 85, 88, 89, 727, 728, 777, 940

Firstly, look up the cartridge your printer uses and check that model number in the above table. Once you do that, check the class where it falls. So, you only need to read the solution that works for your HP Printer.

Subsequently, below are the solutions & the different steps for different cartridge classes.

Resetting the Printer

An error or bug in the printer may result in a printhead dysfunction. Thus, the first solution is to reset your printer. Therefore, below are the steps to reset a printer.

(Class I/II/III)

  • Firstly, remove the battery from your printer (if it has one).
  • Then turn on the printer.
  • Secondly, remove the power cord from the back of the printer.
  • Thirdly, remove the other end of the cord from the power socket.
  • Then leave it like that for two minutes.
  • After that, connect the ends of the power cord to the printer & the power socket.
  • Lastly, turn the printer back on.
  • Your reset is now complete.

Servicing the Printhead

Printheads direct ink through the nozzle onto the paper. Thus, there’s a good chance of them getting debris & ink on the electrical connectors. Therefore, below are the steps to service the printhead.

(Class I)

  • Firstly, power off the printer.
  • Then open the cartridge access lid.

*Wait for the cartridge to stop moving.

  • Lift the latch on the carriage where the cartridge is seated.

*If there is no latch on the carriage, it means that the printhead isn’t removable. Thus, you should contact HP Customer Support for repair & replacement.

  • Then grab the printhead and pull it upwards.

*Now, you’ll clean the electrical connectors. Most importantly, do not touch the copper contact points.

  • Then clean the connectors on the printhead and carriage using a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Then attach the printhead back into the carriage.
  • Lastly, check if the printer is working correctly.

(Class III)

  • Firstly, open the printhead access cover.

*Most importantly, check the error message to see which printhead you should clean.

  • Then, move the carriage to the left to access the buttons.
  • Button & actions vary from model to model. Therefore, Check your manual.

*Consequently, the printhead carriage will move to the access area.

  • After that, remove the power cord from the printer.
  • Then lift the latch on the printhead.
  • Use the handle on the printhead and lift it out of the carriage.
  • Then, using a dry microfibre cloth, clean the electrical contacts on the printhead and carriage.
  • After that, put the printhead back into its slot.
  • Then put the latch down, close the carriage and close the access cover.
  • Lastly, reconnect the power & initialize the printer.

Update the Printer Firmware

A bug or outdated software may result in the printer not working correctly. Therefore, you should keep the firmware of all your devices up to date.

(Class II)

Smart Printers – In this case, make sure that your printer is connected to an active internet network. Subsequently,

  • Open the settings on the printer.
  • Then go to Printer Maintenance.
  • After that, select, Printer Update.

Standard Printer – In the case of printers not connected to a network, the user will have to update the device themselves.

  • Manual Download & Install
    • Firstly, make sure that your printer is connected to the system properly.
    • Then go to the official HP website, and hover your cursor over Support.
    • Then click on Software & Drivers.
    • After that, click on Printers.
    • Once you’re on the next page, enter your printer model in the field & click Submit.
    • Then download & install the necessary software.
      • Drivers
      • Diagnostic Tool
      • Firmware update


  • At first, open the HP Smart App (if you have it)
  • Then select your printer.
  • Then click on Printer Home Page (EWS) or Advanced Settings.
  • After that, select Tools/Web Services.
  • Lastly, click on Printer Updates.

Reseating the Printhead

An improperly attached/loose printhead may result in an error in functioning. Therefore, the user can detach and reseat the printhead into its carriage.

(Class II)

  • Firstly, open the printhead access lid and wait for the carriage to stop moving.
  • Secondly, remove the power cord (make sure you have the printer turned on)
  • Thirdly, lift the latch and lift the printhead a little. Then put it back down into the carriage.
  • After that, wiggle it a little side to side and lower the latch back down.
  • Then, close the access cover and reattach the power cord.
  • Lastly, turn on the printer and check if it is working.

Also, you can replace the printheads on this class of printers. To clarify, instead of putting the printhead back in, replace it with a new one.

Replacing the Printhead

(Class III)

  • Firstly, check the error message to find the printhead with the error. Then order a replacement for it from the official HP website.
  • Once you have it, open/remove the carriage access lid.
  • Then, move the carriage to the left.
  • After that, on the printer press:
Officejet Pro 8500AChange PrintheadTap
Officejet Pro 8000
Officejet Pro 8500
Officejet Pro L7300
Officejet Pro L7400
Officejet Pro L7500
Officejet Pro L7600
Officejet Pro L7700
Officejet Pro K8600
Photosmart Pro B9180
    OK    Hold (5 sec)
Officejet Pro K5400ResumeHold (3 sec)
Photosmart Pro B8850ToolboxHold (3-5 sec)

*Consequently, the printhead carriage will relocate to the access area.

  • Then, pull out the power cord from the back of the printer and lift the printhead latch.
  • After that, lift the printhead you have to replace, out of the carriage, with the handle.
  • Clean the carriage electrical connectors.
  • Once you have done that, shake the new printhead 6-10 times while in its packing.
  • Then unpack it and install the new printhead into its slot.
  • After that, put back the printhead latch, close the access lid and reconnect the power cord.
  • Lastly, touch/press the Done/OK/Resume button/option on the printer menu.

Turn on the printer and check if it is working.

Service the Printer

In case none of the above-given solutions works, you need professional help. Therefore, you need to get your printer serviced by an authorized dealer.

(Class I/II/III)

  • Firstly, go to the official website for HP.
  • Secondly, place your cursor over Support and click on Contact Us.
  • Thirdly, click on the Printer icon (under the product type heading).
  • Fourthly, either click on “Let HP detect your product” or put in your printer’s serial number.
  • Follow the instructions to arrange a service for your printer.

Lastly, below is the contact information for HP customer services. In case you have more queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What causes HP printhead failure?

Printheads can stop working from many issues, ranging from faulty firmware to defective hardware. However, the most common reasons for a printhead dysfunction is –

  • Dirty printhead connectors.
  • The printhead nozzles are clogged with dry ink or debris.
  • Improperly attached connectors between printhead & carriage.

Q. How much is a HP printhead?

The printheads for HP printers differ from model to model. That is to say; they have a wide variety of printheads. Therefore, below we have given the prices of HP printheads.

NameTypes of PrintheadPrice
HP 11YellowBlackCyanMagenta  $70.00
HP 746DesignJet$118.00
 HP 744Black/CyanMagenta/YellowMatte Black/Chromatic Red $114.00
HP 73Matte Black and Chromatic Red$89.00
HP 773Matte Black/Cyan$241.00
HP 774Magenta/YellowPhoto Black/Light GrayMatte Black/Chromatic RedLight Magenta/Cyan  $230.00
HP 940Black and Yellow$80.99
HP 731DesignJet$110.00
HP 771Matte Black/ChromaticMatte Black/Chromatic RedMagenta/YellowPhoto Black/Light Gray  $241.00
HP 727
HP 729
HP 713
HP 711
HP 88Black and YellowMagenta & Cyan $103.99
HP 80MagentaCyanYellowBlack  $274.00
 HP 72Gray & Photo Black  Matte Black & Yellow  Magenta & Cyan $91.00
    Magenta and YellowMatte Black and CyanMatte Black and RedPhoto Black and Light GrayGloss Enhancer and GrayBlue and GreenLight Magenta and Light Cyan   $89.00

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