HP Photo Ink cartridges - how to exercise them?

DaveReading

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While I normally use my Canon printer for photo printing, I'm still hanging on to my trusty old HP Photosmart 2575 for everyday document printing (not least because I still have a set of 6 half-full bulk ink bottles that work well for refilling the tri-colour and photo cartridges).

I've found from experience that nozzle blockages are best avoided by printing little and often (who knew?), so I have a batch job that runs daily and sends a test image (solid C/M/Y/K blocks) to the printer. That prints the same regardless of whether I have a black or photo cartridge in the second stall, so it's clearly only using the tri-colour cart.

Not surprisingly, since it's not being used in the daily test print, the photo cartridge is very prone to drying up so that when I do print the occasional photo image, it looks even worse than a usual HP photo print :).

I can see the state of the photo cartridge ink and nozzles if I do a cartridge alignment print or a Tap 10 test - but what I'm looking for is a way to do a daily test print that will definitely use the 3 photo inks. Is there some obvious solution that I'm overlooking?

MTIA
Dave
 

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Do you store your photo cartridges in a air tight box (type tupperware or similar) to prevent drying ? There are special sealing clips available at aliexpress.com that can be used to seal the nozzles of your photo cartridges. You mean with photo cartridge the special photo cartridge with photo black, light cyan and light magenta ?
 

DaveReading

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Thanks for the response.

Yes to all of the above. Spare cartridges are clipped and are in a sealed container - except obviously for the one that's in the printer's right stall, which is the one that tends to dry out (PB/LC/LM photo cart).

I'm coming round to the idea of either printing an actual photo (carefully chosen to hopefully use all 6 inks) every day, or to construct a grid of colour swatches (say 6 distinct levels each of R/G/B in a 12x18 grid), in the hope that at least some of the 216 colours fire the photo inks.

I'll report on progress.
 

PeterBJ

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To help maintain an HP two cartridge all-in-one I made a print to be copied in colour and B/W. Using the printer as a copier is quicker than printing a document as you do not need to wait for a computer to boot.

Here is a folder with some versions the maintenance document
 

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DaveReading

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Thanks, I'll give that a try.

My PC stays on 24/7 doing other stuff, so I don't have any reboot delay, so rather than using the copy facility I'll set up a scheduled task to print your image, which should work just as well.
 

DaveReading

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Here’s my latest (and probably last) attempt at producing a test image to exercise both carts.

It’s based on creating a swatch of 216 (6 x 6 x 6) colours using 6 discrete, evenly-spaced values of R, G and B (recognising that the spacing probably won’t be quite so linear when the printer translates them to CMYK). The theory is that at least some of those combinations will require the printer to use the photo (PB, LM, LC) inks.

Needless to say the image was produced programmatically, rather than filling each cell manually :)

Results are interesting, and slightly surprising. Firstly, the contrast between printing the same image on my HP and Canon printers, albeit not entirely unexpected. And then the difference (only just detectable) between printing on the HP with both Tri-colour and Photo cartridges compared to printing without the latter. But there's enough difference to confirm that the Photo inks are being used to print at least some of the cells.

Here’s the swatch file, in case it’s of use to others. Comments welcomed.
 

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