Ink Cartridge Refill Help Center

Printhead Failure, Problem with Printhead, or 0xc19a0020 Error Message

For HP 934, 934XL, 935, 935XL ink-series printer error messages “Printhead Failure, “Problem with printhead“, “Ink System Failure” or “0xc19a0020” this typically indicates there is an electrical problem with the internal PRINTHEAD or with PRINTHEAD connectivity (i.e. there is an alignment problem with the internal PRINTHEAD, it may have ingested air from one of the ink cartridges or it has electrically failed) but it could also be caused by a simple mis-alignment (skew) of a cartridge’s smart chip.

0_Problem with Printhead error

An “Incompatible Printhead” or “Alignment Failed” error message is NOT an ink cartridge error, but instead a possible failure of the PRINTHEAD assembly used for firing all four colors onto the paper.



For refilled HP 934/935 ink cartridge series printer models which display printer/cartridge error messages such as “cartridge missing or damaged”, “cartridge problem“, “cartridge depleted“, etc., and printing is not permitted, there is a new printer firmware update available for your printer model which will enable refilled ink cartridges to function normally (as of Sept. 2017).  Click on the link below; this will explain the issue & offer a printer firmware download to fix the issue and allow you to continue using refilled ink cartridges: click here




If the printer error condition persists then the error may be caused by cartridge to printer connectivity. It is suggested to perform the following checks


1) Ensure cartridge is fully locking into position and cartridge’s plastic tabs are properly aligned. Be careful not to bend the tab out more than 1.27 cm (0.5 inches). Moving the tab too far might damage the cartridge or cause the tab to break off.


2) The error condition may be caused by a slipped or skewed chip issue. Remove the refilled cartridges and inspect cartridge’s smart chip for proper placement and alignment. If chip position looks incorrect, return ink cartridge to your refiller for evaluation and/or chip replacement.

3) The issue could be caused by a scratched chip (see photo below of a scratched chip which resulted in a cartridge error condition). Ensure no DEEP scratches are visible on chip surfaces. Return cartridge to refill lab if this condition is present.


4) Reset the Printer:

From the printer’s main menu, select (Note: printer buttons will NOT be illuminated):





Inside the Service Menu, locate the Resets Menu, select Semi-Full Reset to reset the printer.


5) Install brand new HP original 934/935 cartridges to completely rule out the refilled cartridge/chip detection issue.

6) If the error condition continues, return to ink refill lab and request to have the cartridge’s chip evaluated and request to have the ink cartridge weighed to ensure it has an adequate amount of ink inside (i.e. if air is ingested into the internal PRINTHEAD this will usually cause a ‘Printhead Failure’ error condition, or similar).



7) If possible, perform the following steps to see if the error state can be cleared:

a. Select PRINTER MAINTENANCE and chose CLEAN PRINTHEAD. Check to see if the print quality test print is generated / successful.

b. If an available printer menu option, select ALIGN PRINTHEAD to calibrate the printhead.  If successful, then perform a print test with a different document (via computer).




It is suggested to perform the following steps before you decide on replacing the printhead or obtaining a new/replacement printer.

1) Plain paper should be used for testing to ensure this is not a paper sensing issue. However, depending on how much you have printed to date, there could be ‘ink mist’ interfering with the media sensor/sensing optics (a very common problem in the large format printer models). Run thru our quick checklist to evaluate all variables that may be causing the issue:

2) PRINTER DIAGNOSTICS. Perform Tap 41 (43) PRINTHEAD Health Diagnostics Test, along with supporting service level/diagnostic tests (NOTE: service menu access procedures do vary by HP printer model, refer to HP printer diagnostics document to view normal display messages,  )


Tap 41 PRINTHEAD Health Diagnostics:

  1. At the printer’s touch display screen, select the following buttons in the order shown until the ‘Service’ or ‘Support’ menu is displayed:
    1. Back
    2. Cancel
    3. Back
    4. CancelReturn-Icon_sm
  2. At ‘Service’ or ‘Support’ Menu, using the arrow key, navigate to the ‘Service Menu’, press Ok. NOTE: Procedure varies by printer model.
  3. Use arrow keys to advance to the ‘Special Reports’ Menu. Select OK.
  4. Use arrow keys to advance to the ‘print mech button tap’ menu. Select Ok.HP-OJPRO-8600_Print-Mech-Button-Tap-menu_small
  5. ‘code = 0’ will be displayed. Use arrows keys to change value to ‘41’ (i.e. press and hold right arrow key).
  6. When ‘Code = 41’, select ‘OK’. The diagnostic test pattern will print.
  7. Check the 4th line at the top of the printed report; an electrically good/stable PRINTHEAD will state “Pen Status: Pen OK”………if any other message is displayed then the PRINTHEAD may have failed and may need to be replaced. Re-seat PRINTHEAD and/or clean rear electrical contacts and repeat ‘Tap 41’ test to verify connectivity is not the issue.*



3) Perform a Semi full reset. 

NOTE: This will return printer to the factory default condition; regional setup will be required following this action.

  1. At the printer’s display screen select the following buttons in the order shown until the ‘Service’ or ‘Support’ menu is displayed:
    1. Back
    2. Cancel
    3. Back
    4. CancelReturn-Icon_sm
  2. At ‘Support’ menu navigate to the ‘Semi Full reset’ menu and select Ok to activate.


* An internal electrical failure of the PRINTHEAD generally has nothing to do with properly refilled ink cartridges as a PRINTHEAD failure will normally occur over time and with average print usage. The PRINTHEAD assembly is a separate electronic unit in which the cartridges plug into and feed ink into.**


4) CLEAN PRINTHEAD assembly. To rule out printer/cartridge connectivity remove all 4 ink cartridges, inspect smart chip surfaces (clean as necessary) and reinstall into the printer. If your printer is equipped with a removable PRINTHEAD assembly, lower or lift the release lever at side of printhead. Refer to User Guide for specific removal instruction for your printer model.

NOTE: Not all printer models (i.e. select Officejet models) have a customer removable printhead assembly.

1. Lift printhead release latch (lever) to remove printhead assembly – procedures vary by printer model (if removable – refer to User Guide).

Carriage Release latch (B210)

2. Remove printhead and clean printhead contacts. Use the damp cloth (de-ionized water or isopropyl alcohol) to wipe the electrical contacts from the bottom to the top. Coffee filters and glass-cleaning cloths work well.Do not go past the edge between the electrical contacts and the ink nozzles. Repeat this motion until no ink remains on the electrical contacts.

Printhead Removal(B210)


3. Re-install printhead assembly; lower the latch handle to securely lock the printhead assembly into place.
4. Print a test pattern to determine if the problem has been fixed. If not, refer to Step 7.


5) If after thorough PRINTHEAD inspection and electrical contact cleaning the problem persists, you may need to replace the PRINTHEAD assembly (i.e. available via Amazon or HP)*.  However, as a last ditch effort, you might want to perform a hot water flush on the PRINTHEAD (i.e. this procedure is normally used for missing colors or severe streaking or microbanding in printed output):

  1. Remove all ink cartridges from the printer.
  2. Remove the PRINTHEAD – for most printer models you will need to pull up on the lever adjacent to carriage assembly to unlock the printhead (NOTE: printhead cannot be easily removed on Officejet series printer models as partial printer dis-assembly is required). Lift printhead straight up to remove.
  3. Over a sink, run warm tap water directly into the 4 ink ports for approximately 2 minutes – this will effectively saturate the foam ports and blow ink out/thru the nozzle plate bottom.
  4. Using a lint-free towel, remove water from rear/bottom electrical contacts. Ensure printhead electrical contacts and exposed surfaces are fully dry.
  5. Install the printhead into the printer. You may observe a “Replace Printhead message” so you will need to cycle printer power by turning printer off and then on to clear the error.
  6. Install ink cartridges and retest printer. You should observe a New PRINTHEAD alert message followed by an approx. 4-minute preparation countdown prompt.
  7. If permissible, activate the ‘Clean Printhead’. This can be done from the printer’s control panel or software printer driver (for example, by selecting ‘Tools’ – ‘Clean Printhead’, or similar).
  8. If you have reached this point of the troubleshooting and all the previous troubleshooting steps did not work, then the printhead is likely damaged or at end of life* and may need to be replaced.

*If you are unable to remove the PRINTHEAD assembly (via release lever) then consult your User’s Guide for specific instructions or refer to


6) If this does not remedy the problem, then you may have a defective PRINTHEAD in the printer (worst case scenario), unrelated to the refilled cartridges.**




Minor Print Quality Issue (i.e. streaking, banding)

If you observe missing colors or poor image quality then air may have been accidentally ingested into the ink lines between the cartridge(s) and PRINTHEAD. To recover from this problem, you will have to run the “Clean Printhead” procedure 2-3 times to recover the ink system. This type of problem is common and completely recoverable, click here for instructions.

To activate, at the printer’s control panel, select the small GEAR icon, select ‘Printer Maintenance’, select ‘Clean Printhead‘. You may need to perform this action several times; this will draw some ink from the cartridges and into the PRINTHEAD to help reestablish ink flow and return print quality to normal.

If the problem continues then it is suggested to return your ink cartridges to your ink refiller and request to have them weighed to ensure an adequate amount of ink is present inside.




Partially Jetting Nozzles

Severe Print Quality Issues or Missing Colors

If any streaks or missing colors appear on prints, initiate a ‘Clean Printhead’ via the printer control panel ‘Setup’/’Tools’ menu. On some printer models, the ‘Clean Printhead’ procedure will yield a test pattern – inspect pattern to ensure all colors are firing and solid bands of color appear. With other printer models you will need to select a test/diagnostic print under the ‘Tools’ menu. You may need to perform the ‘Clean Printhead’ procedure several times if the printer has been idle or rarely used.

Improve PRINTHEAD Ink Flow: 

a. Turn on the printer; open the printer to access the ink cartridges.

b. Remove all 4 ink cartridge(s) from the carriage.

c. Using an eye-dropper filled with distilled water, gently squeeze 10-15 drops of water into the respective ink port that you believe is causing the issue (cyan, magenta, yellow and/or black).


d. Re-install ink cartridges.

e. Initiate a ‘Clean Printhead‘. To activate, at the printer’s control panel, selec the small GEAR icon, select ‘Printer Maintenance’, select ‘Clean Printhead’. You may need to perform this action several times; this will draw some ink from the cartridges and into the PRINTHEAD to help reestablish ink flow and return print quality to normal.

e. Print a PRINT QUALITY TEST page to determine if the problem has been fixed.





NOTE: The HP 934/935 ink-series printer models have an electronic PRINTHEAD within the base of the carriage assembly (responsible for pulling ink from the 4 ink cartridges and then firing the ink droplets onto the paper) – these will eventually fail depending on print usage type and printer duty cycle (i.e. generally rated for an estimated 15,000+ printed pages over printer life, but the consumer average may typically be closer ~7,000+ pages over printer life). The printhead may be replaceable and genuine parts can be ordered from Amazon, or similar.

Printhead**Typically the printhead should not reach it’s end-of-life until after a minimum of 8 or more complete sets of cartridge changes. While some printheads may last up to 15,000+ pages others may only last 3,000-4000 pages, actual results will vary. The printhead will eventually fail in time due to an internal micro-electronics failure, due to the following leading factors: general customer print usage and printer care, printer duty cycle (i.e. # pages printed per month), printing frequency (i.e. time between each print job), print mode (i.e. draft vs. normal) and content printed (i.e. photos vs plain pages), media/substrate thickness, curled paper (i.e. caused printhead plate strikes which can lead to damage) and color mode (black and white only vs. color/greyscale printing). Premature printhead failure (i.e. less than 2000 pages) is abnormal. For information on Printhead Diagnostics & Failure click here.

Paper types used (i.e. plain paper, photo papers & matte/heavy bond papers) and paper edge curl (i.e. duration in printer and/or exposure to low relative humidity) can also quickly lead to premature printhead failures due to physical ‘head strikes’ of the paper edges making repeated contact with the printhead nozzle plate surfaces.



Printhead Life

The built-in PRINTHEAD will eventually fail over time with usage and age (may or may not be replaceable depending on printer model – see User Manual)

Possible Printhead Failure? 



Advanced Printer Diagnostics

To view advanced diagnostics tests for your HP printer, click here:

HP Printer Diagnostics



HP 934/935 Ink Series Printers:

HP OfficeJet Pro 6230 Printer, HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 Printer, HP OfficeJet Pro 6835 Printer, HP OfficeJet  6812 eAIO Printer, HP OfficeJet 6815 eAIO Printer, HP OfficeJet 6820 e-All-in-One Printer, HP OfficeJet 6810 e-All-in-One Printer  



For questions regarding refilled cartridge usage, printer questions/problems, new cartridge support offerings or ink refill locations please Contact Us. 

Contact Us



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