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HP® Envy® 4500 Printer Troubleshooting Tips

HP® Envy® 4500 Printer Troubleshooting Tips

3-in-1 printers, or inkjet printers that offer print, scan and fax features, are a popular printer choice for business and everyday use.  The HP® Envy® 4500 series is one of the most well regarded 3-in-1 inkjet printer options on the market today, appreciated for its low initial price point and consistently high print quality.  Currently, there are two main Envy 4500 series printers of note, the HP Envy 4500 e- All-in-One, released in 2013, and the HP Envy 4520 All-in-One, released in 2015.  In this article, we will review the similarities of both machines, and some handy troubleshooting tips you can use for each model too.


Comparing Printer Specs

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After researching and comparing the specs of both models, we discovered a lot of overlap when you breakdown their features.  From our perspective, it seems like the newer model HP Envy 4520 is basically an upgraded version of the Envy 4500.  The main differences we could see are the cartridges (HP 61 vs. HP 63), the print speed, and the fact that the 4520 is instant ink ready. The newer of the two, the 4520, holds the number 1 spot on Amazon right now based on reviews and sales.

HP Envy 4500 e-All-in-One HP Envy 4520 All-in-One
Print, scan, and fax capabilities Print, scan, and fax capabilities
Automatic two-sided printing option Automatic two-sided printing option
1,000-page monthly duty cycle 1,000-page monthly duty cycle
Wi-fi capabilities Wi-fi capabilities
Prints media sizes ranging from 3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14 in Prints media sizes ranging from 3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14 in
Print speed: 8.8 ppm for black and white and 5.2 ppm for color documents Print speed: 6.8 ppm for black and white and 9.5 ppm for color documents
HP 61 and 61XL black and tri-color ink cartridges HP 63 and 63XL black and tri-color ink cartridges
Not compatible with Instant Ink Instant ink ready

 


Comparing HP 4500 and HP 4520 Cartridges

The HP Envy 4500 printer cartridges are different from the HP Envy 4520’s cartridges in that the 4500 runs on HP 61 cartridges and the 4520 runs on HP 63.  If you place the two cartridge series next to each other, you’ll probably have trouble telling the difference between the two.  In terms of design, fit, and function, they are practically identical.  Both printer series offer a standard yield and high yield version of their respective cartridges and the print quality is similar across machines too.  The main differences are the part number, the page yield and the chip compatibility.  Chip compatibility is an important distinction here.  

Important: Do not assume that if two cartridges look the same, they are interchangeable.  Unfortunately, since the HP 61 and HP 63 cartridges operate with different chips, they are limited to working with a very specific list of printers.  If you insert an HP 63 cartridge into an HP Envy 4520 printer, your printer will not be able to read the cartridge, and the same goes with an HP 61 in an HP Envy 4520.  This why it is important to make sure you have selected the correct cartridge for your machine before you buy!

Cartridge price is worth keeping in mind.  If you print a lot, we suggest spending a little bit more for a high yield, or XL cartridge. High yield cartridges offer almost double the amount of ink for just a few more dollars.  If you print occasionally, you will be fine sticking with slightly cheaper standard yield cartridges.  Aftermarket cartridges, like remanufactured cartridges, are an even better way to cut down on costs. Thanks to improved technologies and more stringent testing processes in the aftermarket ink industry, an aftermarket cartridge can now give you comparable print results to an original HP cartridge Not only are remanufactured cartridges better for the environment, they are a far more affordable option too.  Case in point, HP is currently selling their 63XL high yield black cartridge for $33.99.  If you buy a non-brand alternative to the HP 63 from a reputable supplier, you can get comparable results for $17.99, almost half the cost!

HP 61 Standard Black HP 63 Standard Black
– Page yield: approx. 190 pages – Page yield: approx. 190 pages
– Capacity: 3.5 ml – Capacity: 3.5 ml
– Color: Black – Color: Black
– OEM ink type: pigmented – OEM ink type: pigmented
HP 61 Standard Tri-Color HP 63 Standard Tri-Color
– Page yield: approx. 165 pages – Page yield: approx. 165 pages
– Capacity: 4 ml – Capacity: 4 ml
– Color: Tri-color C,M,Y – Color: Tri-color C,M,Y
– OEM ink type: dye based – OEM ink type: dye based
HP 61XL High Yield Black HP 63XL High Yield Black
– Page yield: up to 480 pages – Page yield: up to 480 pages
– Capacity: 8.5 ml – Capacity: 8.5 ml
– Color: Black – Color: Black
– OEM ink type: pigmented – OEM ink type: pigmented
HP 61XL High Yield Tri-Color HP 63XL High Yield Tri-Color
– Page yield: up to 330 pages – Page yield: up to 330 pages
– Capacity: 7.5 ml – Capacity: 7.5 ml
– Color: Tri-color C,M,Y – Color: Tri-color C,M,Y
– OEM ink type: dye based – OEM ink type: dye based

 


Troubleshooting HP Envy 4500/4520 Cartridge Issues

A big plus about these printers is the fact that many of the same troubleshooting techniques work for both machines.  We will review a few common troubleshooting steps here that should keep your machine running for a long time, no matter which generation Envy machine you are using.

Compatibility Error Message

If you recently installed a new cartridge and your printer’s display reads “Compatibility Error” or “Ink Cartridge Error” there are some simple troubleshooting steps you can take to get your cartridge working.  Sometimes dried ink, fingerprint oil or tape reside can get on the gold and copper contacts of the cartridge during the manufacturing process, preventing it from being read in the machine.  To remove any dirt or residue, gently clean the contacts with a lint free cloth or coffee filter.  Before reinstalling the cartridge, power down the printer, unplug it from the wall and let it sit for a couple of minutes.  Then, power it back up and reinstall the cartridge.  Cleaning the cartridge contacts and a simple printer reset will usually get you printing again.  If you follow these steps and still have trouble, you may be dealing with a faulty cartridge.  Faulty cartridges are rare, but they do happen from time to time.  Test a second cartridge and see if you get the same result.  If the second cartridge works, it is fair to assume that the first one was defective.  Check your supplier’s warranty on the cartridge; you might just qualify for a replacement! For a step-by-step tutorial on how to clean the gold contacts, check out our video:

Missing Cartridge Message

A “missing cartridge” error usually means the cartridge was not installed properly.  To fix this, first confirm that you have the correct cartridge for your machine.  As we mentioned previously, the HP 61 and HP 63 cartridges only work with a specific list of printers.  You will also want make sure you are installing the correct cartridge in its corresponding color slot. A black cartridge will not work if it is in the tri-color cartridge slot, and vice versa.  The cartridge should click in smoothly into the printer.  If it’s at an angle, the gold contact will not read properly, prompting the missing cartridge message.  If everything clicks in as expected and you are still getting an error, remove the cartridge and clean the gold contacts, it might just need a quick cleaning!  Watch the video above for our instructions on the cleaning process.

Empty Cartridge Message

If you are using a remanufactured ink cartridge, you will probably come across an “empty cartridge” message the first time you install a new cartridge.  Remanufacturers cannot reset the gold contact chip when they refurbish and refill the cartridge, so your printer will read the cartridge as if it was still the original cartridge that has already been depleted.  This of course is not the case since the cartridge was refurbished, but it will be up to you to convince your printer!  To circumvent the empty cartridge message, clean the contacts, reset the printer and reinsert the cartridge.  When the empty cartridge message pops up, acknowledge it by pressing “OK” on the printer’s display.  This should prompt the cartridge to be accepted in your machine and you can begin printing!  Keep in mind that you will not be able to track the exact number of pages you print with a remanufactured cartridge, but you should get the same number of prints that you would expect from an original cartridge since it is filled to the exact same ink capacity.

Won’t Print Black Ink / Spotty or Streaky Prints

A common problem with the HP Envy 4500 printer is that the black ink sometimes won’t print. Before you toss out your black cartridge, we suggest you try the following solutions below, usually Solution 2 does the trick. Spotty prints can also be a nuisance, especially if there is a deadline on the horizon.  Luckily, there are a couple of simple ways to tackle them!

Solution One: Poor print quality can usually be traced back to dried ink gumming up a cartridge printhead.  We recommend using the “paper towel method” to deal with it.  First, you will want to familiarize yourself with the location of the printhead on HP 61 or HP 63 cartridge.  On the end of the cartridge you should notice a gold strip where the ink releases from the cartridge.  You’ll want to grab a warm, damp paper towel and a dry paper towel to start.  Fold the damp paper towel into fourths and gently dab the cartridge a few times, with printhead facing down on the paper towel.  You should see ink appear on the paper towel when you do this.  After blotting a couple of times, hold the cartridge down on the paper towel for about a minute to wick out the ink. Then, insert the cartridge back into the machine and try printing again.  This should resolve the issue, but if you still have trouble, continue reading to learn about our second solution, printhead cleaning!

Solution Two: Solution number two involves the cleaning function on your printer, a common feature with HP inkjet machines.  You can find the Envy cleaning function under the “Tools” menu of each respective machine.  Once you are in the “Tools” menu, scroll to select “Clean Printhead” and your printer’s display will prompt you with further instructions.  The entire cleaning process should only take a couple of minutes.  Once it is complete, you will want to run a test print to see if your quality has improved.  If there is no improvement, try running the cleaning a second time.  If you run the cleaning a couple of times and you still get poor results, it might be time to pick up a new cartridge.


Maintaining your Envy machine is easy to do with scheduled upkeep.  If you run a cleaning on occasion and prime your cartridges regularly, you can expect crisp and consistent results.  Now that you are an expert on your HP Envy 4500 series machine, share your knowledge with your co-workers…you might just be the envy of the office.

11 Comments

  • how do i change the print size on my envy 4500
    i prin t something from my email and i need a magnifer to read it
    can you help me

    • We’d need more details to know what the problem is for sure but have you tried looking at the Paper Size and Scale on the Print Menu? If you want to send us more details, send us an email at [email protected].

  • You just have to save it on pdf, magnify & save it & print (fit all on standard or A4 size paper)

  • My 4500 Envy is squeaking when I print? What do I do?

  • My Envy 4500 was low on ink. Changed black cartridge. Printed alignment page. Printed two pages, fine. Third page printed all BLACK. Selected “tools” to clean print head. Prints all BLACK page again. Do you know what I need to do next? Thank you.

  • I just got a new envy 4520 and the rest pages are printing with dual lines and too much header space and cutting off the bottom edge. I have aligned ut and cleaned the printer heads several times. I uninstalled and resinstalled the software and drivers, rebooted both printer and computer. Even printed the music form from the printer and it printer the same way. A few double lines about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down an extra large margin at the top and cut off the bottom. I have tried a variety of paper. Please help! I cannot find an fix for this. Thanks!

  • I keep getting a ‘Out of Papper’ error message. There loads of paper in the machine. I’ve pulled out the tray!
    can anyone help please

  • Got message “ink cartridges(s) problem. The following cartridge(s) must be replaced.”
    Refilled the cartridges at Costco at a cost of $26.86 (incl taxes) and still won’t print.
    Help! Please.

    • Hi AJ,

      Usually a compatibility error message like that means that the ink cartridge is not being recognized by the printer. Try cleaning the gold/copper dots on the side of the cartridge with a lint free cloth or Q-tip and then reinsert the cartridge. You can also try resetting the printer by powering it down, unplugging it from the wall and plugging it back in again. If that doesn’t work, it may be that the ink cartridge is faulty. Test another cartridge from your order and see if there is a difference. Hope this helps!

  • Just wanted you to know that your blog helped me immensely with making my new black ink cartridge print. The machine (HP Envy 4500) auto cleaning did not work, but the paper towels (Item 1) worked perfectly. Thank you so much for your help! It was such a simple solution.

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