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17 Responses

  1. TomsWell says:

    Has anyone found a Designjet Utility that works with OSX10.6 ?

  2. Chris says:

    yes, there is a new utility. I just installed it today as I was having the same issues. It’s available on the HP site. If you go to their drivers, DJ 90, and then software, it’s right there.

    Thomas, thanks for in the information on the Light Cyan print head. I have the identical issue and couldn’t find a cure. New print head is on order so hopefully I’ll see similar results.


  3. Stuart says:

    Thanks for putting this online… my dj90 is being colourblind also… think my yellow print head is at fault. meh

  4. Silvia Soonets says:

    Thank you!

    Your information is much better than what HP publish. I’ve been having troubles all day.


  5. Reto says:


    i am having the same problems.
    The Utilty does not work on imac with 10.7 nor on Win7, both connected with USB.
    I do have to try your solution to delete everything on my imac befor reinstalling.

    The HP Webpages do not have the information you linked anymore and its not clear to me which tool i really have to install so that it will work.

    i replaced the black ink and the black head but its not better.
    I am glad you posted the pictures here, so i will try to clean heads on the printer itself. hope this will work.

    Yes HP is a poor company on support but the printers are really great.


  6. soapy smith says:

    I’ve made the trip to my wit’s end and back with this identical problem. At this point, I am still unable to get the System Maintenance Utility to run on my 2010 iMac running Snow Leopard. Yes, I’ve spent time on the phone with HP tech support. No luck so far. What I cannot understand is why they just can’t be honest and admit that they haven’t fulfilled their end of the consumer/supplier bargain. When I began this nightmare I had not, yet, surfed the web to find information about a fix, and other unhappy HP customers in the same predicament. I’ve done Epson and I’ve done HP. Over the years, I’ve had similar experiences with both companies, although to be fair, Epson was ultimately able to solve my problem. Thus far, HP has not.

    At this point in time, I have a fix: I use an old G4 PowerMac running OS 10.4 connected to the HP 90 via network card to run the HP Utility. Yes, I had to purchase and install a network card on the 90 rather than switch around USB cables, so both old and new Macs are connected to the 90 all the time. This provides a quick software-based solution to my needs (I am a full time, freelance graphic designer). I currently have 2 HP printers and one Epson large format Photo Printer. Might be my last HP printer purchase however.

    This is one man’s story.

    Author’s comment: I adopt a similar approach, using a G4 iMac. Life’s too short to mess with HP’s inappropriately named ‘Support’. What would you expect from the worst run company in America, which is on its fourth CEO in five years?

  7. kiwi designer says:

    Thanks for the very useful info. I have a 100Plus and while I am having different issues to what you describe I was still able to use a lot of this information.

  8. Gianni says:

    Thank you. After two evenings of surfing HP’s diagnostic services and customer support (accurately and evocatively described above) I still did not know I could clean my own printhead.

  9. SadHeBoughtAnHPNextTimeEPSON says:

    You are a GENIUS! HP Should PAY you for your work. This printer has been driving me crazy for the longest time. And you are correct. When you call HP they agree to HELP for Credit Card Payment. While they 100% DO take the Payment THEY DON’T 100% HELP! One time I was told by a tech, “If I need the prints so badly I should have bought one of their better printers.” I was fuming. At least you told us how to use the confounded control panel.

  10. joel sibick says:

    I would never buy another HP printer again, I’ve had this same problem only after a month of use. I purchased my printer new while in school and did not have the luxury of time to get my projects printed, but spent many hours troubleshooting and on the phone with the morons at HP. They are the worst for tech support and after the warranty is over, you might as well go out and buy another printer (I would suggest Espon) becasue buy the time you would spend on the phone for the paid support you could have bought a new printer.

  11. After an exhausting search on the web , I finally found a fix for the system maintenance issue (I have a DJ130nr). I read a forum that suggested to do a search for the system maintenance for the Designjet 111. That person also had a 130, but the utility worked for him. I tried the same and it worked for me too, and yes, I’m a mac user, OSX 10.6.8 snow leapard. Here’s the link.

    Even finally managing to get the system maintenance software to work did not fix my problem. Everything I have tried to print for the last few days has come out with a reddish/pink hue. As with Thomas’ image, it suddenly started to show up at the bottom of one of my images. I followed all of the instructions for cleaning the printheads, and did all of the diagnostics and everything came out as working properly. I swear, I think I ran the diagnostic 12 times. So 3 days later, I have replaced 5 of the 6 printheads (all but the light magenta), and 4 of the 6 ink cartridges – those that were flashing low. I still get the reddish hue. I’ve tried to print from Photoshop CS3, Silhouette, and Illustrator CS4, as well as in RGB and CMYK. The results are the same.

    Am I missing something here? Does anyone know anything about the ink tubes? Is that something that could be causing this problem? Again, the image diagnostics showed no issues. Does anyone have any suggestions (Thomas, are you still there)? or am I hosed? I can’t find anyone in my area who will repair this printer. It’s out of warranty, and is about 8 or nine years old. If someone can give me some guidance, I’d like to try to fix it myself. I run a small art business and have orders pending!! PLEASE HELP ASAP!!

    The ink tubes are inexpensive and easy to replace. I illustrate that here. Given what you have done already, that would be a logical place to try. You can find the tubes for the 130 series here. – Thomas

  12. I wanted to let everyone know how my saga is progressing.

    I finally received the ink tube assembly from China and installed it successfully. I also replaced the final print head that had not been changed. That completed the new set. After everything I did (change all printheads, 4 of the 6 ink cartridges, and ink tube assembly), there was absolutely no change in the prints. Everything still had a red/pink hue.

    Due to pending orders, I decided to bite the bullet and buy another used DJ130nr. Luckily for me, there was one available in my area, so I was able to check it out before I purchased it. Everything looked good, so I bought it. So I got it home, set it up and held my breath. Same problem. Red prints. Despite the fact that it printed fine at the sellers place. Then I started thinking it might be a color profile or calibration issue. With the new printer set up, I went through the system maintenance utility and it found the computer. When I went to calibrate, I realized that when I chose the paper I use (prem. plus photo gloss) it showed up as obsolete and wouldn’t calibrate. After hours of trying to work around that, my husband and I brainstormed to try to figure out what was different between how I printed at the sellers house and our house. It came down to the paper. I put some prem plus semi gloss in and chose that as an option and the print came out perfectly. So my work around right now is to use the glossy paper, but choose the semi-gloss as the paper option.

    Also see here on how to use the DJ90/130’s colrimeter to generate your own profiles and look here to learn how to use any profile with any paper – simply experiment a bit and use the one which gives the best resulots. – Ed.

  13. Dear Mr Pindelski –

    Thank you – years after you prepared this article it remains a godsend (any chance you could do the same for all HP’s other products?) Merry Christmas

  14. Kathy S says:

    Yes, I agree. Bless you for writing this article. Gabrielle, interesting about the paper causing the problem. I’m glad you found the problem.
    Another thing I can add to this article is this: if the printer is acting very strangely – multiple printheads failing, or the carriage freezes, for no apparent reason – suspect the OOPS (out of paper sensor). It’s a simple fix to clean it, but this little sensor caused me many hours of confusion and grief!! The diagnostic codes did not indicate a sensor problem at all. Another important tip: if a printhead is not recognized by the printer, you can remove the 4 contacts on the back of the printhead (they are just glued on – peel them off carefully.) Use the contacts from an old printhead that is recognized by the printer, but is otherwise kaput. You don’t need to add more glue, there should be enough on the back. Stick it on carefully in the correct position, and the printer will now recognize it. These printers are great, if you can figure out how to fix them. Good luck to all! – Kathy

  15. For instructions on how to replace the out-of-paper sensor, refer to page 7-68 of the Maintenance Manual which you can download here:

    Click to download the HP DesignJet Service Manual brochure.


  16. Kathy S says:

    Thank you for the service manual link! So helpful – thank you again. I love your sense of humor. We were laughing about the comment that “real men don’t need instructions.” We have 6 of these wonderful printers (well, it’s a love/hate relationship). You’ve helped us immensely.

    Nor do ‘real women’ …..! Thomas