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Author Topic: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?  (Read 906 times)

jrp55262

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Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« on: July 15, 2018, 11:22:02 AM »

I started having a problem yesterday with banding on my Z3200 when doing wide prints.  If I do a small print it's fine, but if I do a wide print I start to see banding maybe 9-12" from the right edge of the print.  I'm 99% sure I know what's causing this as I found a similar problem on my old Z3100.  I suspect that its a crack in the trailing cable, which is why the issue only occurs at certain parts of the head travel.

I have an HP CarePak, but I dread calling them to get service because I just KNOW that they're going to run me through hours and hours of "Try doing a printhead clean cycle" (I already did).  "Try replacing the printheads" (at $90 each? when that might not be the problem?  And I just replaced one recently...).  "Try wiping out the inside of the printer",  "Try lubricating the carriage rail",  "Maybe try a different type of paper?".

Is there a magic phrase one can use that translates into "Just get someone out here to diagnose and fix this already"?  I paid for this CarePak so I *wouldn't* have to spend hours and hours servicing this thing myself.

(The other problem with HP's approach is that their phone phixes *may* improve things for a while without addressing the actual problem... at which point it's back to playing Twenty Questions on the phone for hours more).
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deanwork

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2018, 05:31:20 PM »


I sort of have the same experience that you do. I started with the Z3100 12 years ago and bought a 3200 last year. I restored the old one and itís still a great printer.

Anyway in all this time Iíve probably been on the phone to Costa Rica 5 or 6 times, and every time they have been totally thorough and excellent. A few times they fixed the problem without having to call anyone out and a couple of times I wasnít even under warranty and they charged me nothing.

If I were advising you on this matter I would certainly be asking you these same questions. It can very often be something simple that you havenít thought of like a firmware issue or something.

Actually if I were you I first look for a bad head. I would do that right after doing a head alignment, printing out the nozzle pattern to look for any strangeness there and then do the paper advance calibration. I would take out all the heads and clean the bottom of them with a lint free cloth and distilled water. The blow out the area with canned air.

In situations like this I do everything I can think of and take careful notes. In my experience they may ask you to do a couple of things but if you sound like someone who is experienced they will shorten the list of things to check. But they do have a checklist of things to confirm. They are going to do that whether they are onsite or not.

John



I started having a problem yesterday with banding on my Z3200 when doing wide prints.  If I do a small print it's fine, but if I do a wide print I start to see banding maybe 9-12" from the right edge of the print.  I'm 99% sure I know what's causing this as I found a similar problem on my old Z3100.  I suspect that its a crack in the trailing cable, which is why the issue only occurs at certain parts of the head travel.

I have an HP CarePak, but I dread calling them to get service because I just KNOW that they're going to run me through hours and hours of "Try doing a printhead clean cycle" (I already did).  "Try replacing the printheads" (at $90 each? when that might not be the problem?  And I just replaced one recently...).  "Try wiping out the inside of the printer",  "Try lubricating the carriage rail",  "Maybe try a different type of paper?".

Is there a magic phrase one can use that translates into "Just get someone out here to diagnose and fix this already"?  I paid for this CarePak so I *wouldn't* have to spend hours and hours servicing this thing myself.

(The other problem with HP's approach is that their phone phixes *may* improve things for a while without addressing the actual problem... at which point it's back to playing Twenty Questions on the phone for hours more).
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2018, 09:04:35 PM »

HP recommends paper advance calibration for a lot of things:
HP recommendations for fixing banding etc.

If you have the care pack and call in and they insist on having do testing you've already done, tell them you have already done it and insist they move on and complain, and for the most part, unless they know they are on to something, they will.  Mostly they drill down to the issue so they can know what parts to send out.  If they don't know the issues, it can cost them a lot have a technician come out and have to return to fix issues they could have spotted on the phone.

It's a necessary evil I guess.  When they get it, it is certainly worth it.

Here are a few things you can look at - there might be something that can help:

http://z3200.com/Cleaning_HP-Z3200_Print_Heads_Manually.htm

http://z3200.com/Maintaining_HP-Z3200_Printers-Part-2-Mark_Lindquist.htm

If they tell you that you need to replace a specific printhead that you have already replaced recently, tell them you have done it already and that they need to send you another new one because the old one must be faulty. If after they have sent you a new one, and still the same problem, you can go back to them and they will likely send out a tech guy.

I definitely know what you mean though - it can be frustrating to be on the phone hours while they look things up in their manuals.  Part of the process.

Best -

Mark
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Mark Lindquist
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 11:03:11 PM »

Now that I think of it, I'd probably be a lot less annoyed if I had a list in advance of the things I should try and we could just run through the results over the phone.  I just hate it when the HP guy runs through these things one at a time, sometimes catching me off-guard ("No, I don't have that in front of me, I'll have to get back to you").

Is there a list somewhere of "things to try before calling for service"?

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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2018, 12:58:47 AM »

Now that I think of it, I'd probably be a lot less annoyed if I had a list in advance of the things I should try and we could just run through the results over the phone.  I just hate it when the HP guy runs through these things one at a time, sometimes catching me off-guard ("No, I don't have that in front of me, I'll have to get back to you").

Is there a list somewhere of "things to try before calling for service"?

Not to my knowledge, not that I know of.  Itís not really quite as simple as that anyway.  The questions they ask are designed to suss out issues so the can run diagnostics to get to the bottom of the problem.  Once I had to do a complete bongo test requiring a full new set of inks. Because the printer wasnít initializing.  They had to determine if the issue was internal (lines, carriage, etc.) or simply a bad cartridge.  The test is not sophisticated enough to say exactly which cartridge was bad, just that it was in fact a cartridge and not the tubes. The answer ended up costing them an entire set of startup carts, and it cost me about 3 hrs in total.  This is the process, itís what they have to work with.  Rather than waiting for a technician to show up in one or two days, tech support and I solved the issue in 3 hours and I was back up and running. I will take that over a two day turning into a 4-5 day wait anytime. Itís best to work with them, play your part in the team and solve the problem to most quickly and efficiently get back to work.  It may seem like an imposition, but it is by far the most efficient way of getting the problem solved.  It becomes an opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of your printer sometimes as well.

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Mark Lindquist
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 05:05:20 PM »

Well, as it turns out the situation is resolved for now.  A firmware update seemed to fix the problem, though I'm rather dubious.  We'll keep a close eye on it and get back to them if the problem reoccurs.

I thought I had lined up my ducks in a row; I spent several hours before calling HP pulling test prints, then pulling diagnostic images after each, cleaning the printheads (both through the front panel *and* blotting them on paper towels), cleaning the contacts, cleaning the carriage rail, and pulling test prints after each iteration.  While I'm sure that helped, I still spent 2.5 hours on the phone with them.  First they asked me to print one of the stored "demo prints" in the printer (no banding).  Reprint my file: banding.  "Maybe it's the driver?"  Submit job through the EWS to bypass the print driver: banding.  "Try printing a different image": still banding.  "Print it at best quality": no banding.

That's when they said I'd need to update to a supported version of the firmware if they were to assist me any further.  While it *did* eliminate the banding on the image that I'd had problems with I'm still dubious: a workflow that was working fine for over a year suddenly stopped working, and it's hard to imagine that a software change would make a difference.  I'm thinking that, like printing at best quality, the firmware update might mask the underlying hardware problem, which will once again show up when we have to do a rush job on a weekend...
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2018, 03:56:56 PM »

...and the problems are back.  Not the *same* problems, mind you, but something consistent with my theory of a cracked trailing cable.  We were doing a print job with three images ganged up on a 44-inch roll.  The furthest image to the left (i.e. the furthest from the head's home position) had a sudden color shift partway through; it was a night scene on the water, and the deep blue water suddenly turned purple partway through the print.  Pulled a diagnostic image, no issues.

Sent this all to my contact at HP, and the twenty questions begin again: "How big was the image, have you done any prints since, what application are you using to print, what's your driver version..."

Guys, I had a workflow that was *working* for a whole year, and now it's *not* working, and you're suspecting the print driver?  The one I've been using for over a year with no incident?

Very frustrated...
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Simon J.A. Simpson

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 01:43:00 AM »

...and the problems are back.  Not the *same* problems, mind you, but something consistent with my theory of a cracked trailing cable.  We were doing a print job with three images ganged up on a 44-inch roll.  The furthest image to the left (i.e. the furthest from the head's home position) had a sudden color shift partway through; it was a night scene on the water, and the deep blue water suddenly turned purple partway through the print.  Pulled a diagnostic image, no issues.

Sent this all to my contact at HP, and the twenty questions begin again: "How big was the image, have you done any prints since, what application are you using to print, what's your driver version..."

Guys, I had a workflow that was *working* for a whole year, and now it's *not* working, and you're suspecting the print driver?  The one I've been using for over a year with no incident?

Very frustrated...

My experience of trying to diagnose these kinds of problems is that it is a question of elimination, trying to narrow down what is causing the problem.  HP are like almost every other technical support I have encountered; they have a standard script to follow, regardless of the issue, in order to try and diagnose the problem.  Often, when you've tried everything in their script, they are our of options and the only way to progress this is to insist they escalate the problem.

However, I have found that trying to eliminate one possibility after another and isolate where the problem might lie is the only way forward.  This often means carrying-out an exhaustive series of tests, of swapping out all parts of the system to see if that eliminates the problem, and then trying to narrow it down.

It seems clear to me that something has changed which is causing the issues you have identified.  The question is, what exactly ?  Your theory about the 'trailing cable' may be correct.  Is there any way you can systematically verify this ?

I'm not sure what you mean by the 'trailing cable' ?  If it is a cable in the printer then the fact that you can print a test image correctly would seem to eliminate that as a potential cause.  If it is external to the printer can you temporarily replace it and see if that fixes the issues ?

I am sorry I don't have an answer for you but perhaps my suggestions might help you get to the bottom of it.  Good luck !
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 09:43:44 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by the 'trailing cable' ?  If it is a cable in the printer then the fact that you can print a test image correctly would seem to eliminate that as a potential cause.  If it is external to the printer can you temporarily replace it and see if that fixes the issues ?

The "trailing cable" is the L-O-N-G flat ribbon cable inside the printer that connects the carriage to the formatter board.  It basically carries the signals from the formatter to the printhead.  It flexes as the head moves back and forth and so is subject to wear over time.  The reason I'm convinced that this is the culprit is that I went through exactly the same sort of thing with my Z3100, though in that case the failure was so dramatic that there was no question that something was up (the printer would suddenly print jagged blocks of grey at the far end of the head travel).  I did the elimination thing there too.  First I tried re-seating the connectors on the carriage circuit board.  Then I actually swapped out the carriage circuit board with that of another Z3100.  In both cases the problem went away for a little while, then came back.  My theory is that re-seating the connectors helped to provide a slightly stronger signal from the deteriorating cable and so masked the underlying problem.

I'm a software engineer.  I know perfectly well the art of differential diagnosis and narrowing a problem down to a root cause.  Thing is, the easy cases are the ones where something is broken and one does things to narrow down the problem.  The hard cases are when the failure is intermittent or is caused by a combination of factors.  If you "try something" and the problem goes away, you may or may not have actually "fixed" it.

If I *didn't* have a Care Pack, I could buy the part and replace it myself.  I've done so before.  I *PAID* for this Care Pack so I wouldn't *have* to do this.  I've gotten to the point where I'll no longer recommend HP printers or HP service for anything but hobby usage, since they can't be counted on to help get a production customer back up and running...
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Garnick

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 02:42:04 PM »

...and the problems are back.  Not the *same* problems, mind you, but something consistent with my theory of a cracked trailing cable.  We were doing a print job with three images ganged up on a 44-inch roll.  The furthest image to the left (i.e. the furthest from the head's home position) had a sudden color shift partway through; it was a night scene on the water, and the deep blue water suddenly turned purple partway through the print.  Pulled a diagnostic image, no issues.

Sent this all to my contact at HP, and the twenty questions begin again: "How big was the image, have you done any prints since, what application are you using to print, what's your driver version..."

Guys, I had a workflow that was *working* for a whole year, and now it's *not* working, and you're suspecting the print driver?  The one I've been using for over a year with no incident?

Very frustrated...

What you have described here concerning the "deep blue" water printing more purple than blue is not necessarily a new issue.  I've seen it myself and it has also been discussed on this forum on various occasions.  Simply put, it is a matter of a colour that is, or might be out of gamut.  A condition that seems to be more noticeable in dark/deep blues, such as you mentioned.  This is easy to determine in Photoshop and Lightroom, so I would advise you to check that before calling HP again.  One question - have you printed this image before, when you know your workflow was flowing as expected?  If the answer is "NO", I think it would probably be a good idea to do so.  Print a cropped area that is showing the purple tone along with what you feel is the proper blue tone.  If the issue is still there, it is likely an out of gamut situation.  There are ways of overcoming somewhat, by doing selective adjustments to that specific are of the image.  However, if it is indeed a gamut issue I don't believe there is a simple and easy way to overcome it . 

Just a thought.

Gary

Gary 

 
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 11:35:23 PM »

We have successfully printed this image in the past.  This is NOT a color gamut issue.  I've attached two images; the first is the image file that we tried to print, the second is a scan of the actual output.  Note that the water is of a more or less uniform color from top to bottom.  Note too that the first fraction of an inch of water printed successfully before the colors suddenly shifted.  (Yes, the colors are slightly shifted between the two images; the first is the actual image file we're trying to print, the second is an uncorrected scan of the actual printout)

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Simon J.A. Simpson

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 03:47:53 AM »

The "trailing cable" is the L-O-N-G flat ribbon cable inside the printer that connects the carriage to the formatter board.  It basically carries the signals from the formatter to the printhead.  It flexes as the head moves back and forth and so is subject to wear over time.  The reason I'm convinced that this is the culprit is that I went through exactly the same sort of thing with my Z3100, though in that case the failure was so dramatic that there was no question that something was up (the printer would suddenly print jagged blocks of grey at the far end of the head travel).  I did the elimination thing there too.  First I tried re-seating the connectors on the carriage circuit board.  Then I actually swapped out the carriage circuit board with that of another Z3100.  In both cases the problem went away for a little while, then came back.  My theory is that re-seating the connectors helped to provide a slightly stronger signal from the deteriorating cable and so masked the underlying problem.

I'm a software engineer.  I know perfectly well the art of differential diagnosis and narrowing a problem down to a root cause.  Thing is, the easy cases are the ones where something is broken and one does things to narrow down the problem.  The hard cases are when the failure is intermittent or is caused by a combination of factors.  If you "try something" and the problem goes away, you may or may not have actually "fixed" it.

If I *didn't* have a Care Pack, I could buy the part and replace it myself.  I've done so before.  I *PAID* for this Care Pack so I wouldn't *have* to do this.  I've gotten to the point where I'll no longer recommend HP printers or HP service for anything but hobby usage, since they can't be counted on to help get a production customer back up and running...

JRP, I sorry I didn't mean to insult your diagnostic abilities.  My apologies.

It does sound from what you say that the trailing cable could well be the culprit.  Your latest printing seems to confirm that.

Is not replacing any faulty parts included in the HP 'care package' or do you have to pay for that yourself ?
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Garnick

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 06:16:08 AM »

I agree, this does not look like a colour gamut issue, although your initial description of the problem seemed to point in that direction.  However, I still maintain that if you don't have any "reference" images that you can print and compare with prints from a time when the printer was working properly, you cannot necessarily rule out the possibility of a glitch somewhere else in your workflow.  If you do have such images, do they seem to print well as far as you can ascertain, whether or not you have previous prints to compare with?

"If I *didn't* have a Care Pack, I could buy the part and replace it myself.  I've done so before.  I *PAID* for this Care Pack so I wouldn't *have* to do this.  I've gotten to the point where I'll no longer recommend HP printers or HP service for anything but hobby usage, since they can't be counted on to help get a production customer back up and running".  I have and use several printers, including Epson wide format, but the only HP I have is a desktop for docs, so I cannot opine on the pros or cons of the printer you refer to.  However, if you are indeed capable of installing the part you have referred to, why not try that approach, regardless of the Care Pack?  It seems that you are getting nowhere fast with HP service, so if you're bent on using this printer it might be worthwhile to DIY.  In the end it's about being able to service your customers, is it not?

Gary     
« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 08:50:26 AM by Garnick »
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 09:45:04 AM »

Is not replacing any faulty parts included in the HP 'care package' or do you have to pay for that yourself ?

No, parts and labor are part of the care pack.  My guess is that since it *does* cost money to send parts and a technician out, they want to make absolutely sure that they *have* to do this before they dispatch someone.

I just wish they'd be honest about it, and that they'd offer tiered levels of service: "A Care Pack that ties you up for days diagnosing a problem before sending someone out will cost $XXX, a Care Pack that sends someone out to diagnose and fix the problem for you is $YYY"

I had a similar problem with a little-ole multifunction printer that lost its mind and was still under warranty.  In that case the technician time that was spent on the phone running through the scripts probably cost HP *more* than the cost of the replacement printer they eventually sent me.  It certainly was worth more than the value of *my* time that was spent on the problem...

I'm definitely tired of HP service.
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2018, 09:50:32 AM »

However, I still maintain that if you don't have any "reference" images that you can print and compare with prints from a time when the printer was working properly, you cannot necessarily rule out the possibility of a glitch somewhere else in your workflow.

We literally have reference images hanging up all over the shop.  We're having an exhibit of works for an artist whose pictures we printed and framed.  Customer came in requesting duplicate prints of some of the images, which we were producing by arrangement with the artist.

Quote
However, if you are indeed capable of installing the part you have referred to, why not try that approach, regardless of the Care Pack?  It seems that you are getting nowhere fast with HP service, so if you're bent on using this printer it might be worthwhile to DIY.  In the end it's about being able to service your customers, is it not?

I spent good money on that Care Pack; why should I spend *more* money on parts *and* spend my time replacing them (it's about a two hour operation for me to disassemble the printer to the point that I could replace the trailing cable)?  If I were to do this I seriously doubt that HP would refund the portion of the Care Pack that I didn't get to use...
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 01:04:32 PM »

....aand, my problems are back.  My staff did a wide-format print yesterday, and about 6" in we started getting banding and progressive color loss for the rest of the print.  This was after the "paper advance adjustment" that the onsite diagnostic tech swore up and down would fix it.

I'm about to set this damned thing on fire.  How are other wide-format printer vendors when it comes to service?  Are they all equally bad, or is HP especially so?
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mfrohman

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 07:48:07 PM »

I wasn't exactly sure if or which printheads you replaced from reading the thread but I've seen that happen on my z3200 when one of the printheads is clogged or goes bad, from your image likely a blue or cyan. Sometimes I try all different things and then eventually just put in a brand new printhead and its fine. Just a thought.
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jrp55262

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Re: Suggestions for getting good service from HP?
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2018, 01:27:34 AM »

I wasn't exactly sure if or which printheads you replaced from reading the thread but I've seen that happen on my z3200 when one of the printheads is clogged or goes bad, from your image likely a blue or cyan. Sometimes I try all different things and then eventually just put in a brand new printhead and its fine. Just a thought.

I pulled a diagnostic image after the bad print and it came out nearly perfect, so I seriously doubt it's a printhead issue.
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