If your HP B210a has a clogged printhead, this guide can be used to try and clear the clog.

IMPORTANT: While there are no guarantees this will fix the problem 100% of the time, this will fix most printers. The printhead must also be recoverable for this to work (Ex: No predisposed issues that render it beyond repair). If this does not work, it's generally better to replace the printer; not the printhead.

Guide Notes

    • If the printhead has failed, it likely had predisposed damage.
  • This guide is primarily made for the HP Photosmart Plus B210a, it is universal among all HP 564 printers.
    • Models with non-removable printheads (Ex: Photosmart 6520) require special attention to preserve the calibration. These models may not work again if this is lost and SETUP cartridges are expected.
    • If I have not tested your specific printer with the bypass, I cannot guarantee calibration preservation. It generally doesn't hurt to try (removable only), but I cannot guarantee it will work without testing.

Printhead bypass validated models

  • Photosmart C6380
  • Photosmart Premium C309g
  • Photosmart Plus B209a
  • Photosmart Plus B210a


No tools required.

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  1. You will need the following supplies:
    • You will need the following supplies:

      • Paper towels (Cleaning/drying and workspace cleanliness)

      • Water (Distilled recommended)

      • Plastic bag (Ink cartridge storage)

      • Recommended: Extra ink cartridges (Just in case any cartridges need to be replaced)

      • Optional: Gloves and 91% alcohol (Stubborn clogs only)

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  2. If possible, distilled water should be used. Most coffee makers are not an ideal source for water.
    • If possible, distilled water should be used. Most coffee makers are not an ideal source for water.

    • If your water is dirty, filter it as much as possible. If a Keurig is used, remove the K-Cup holder and make 2 batches to clean the system.

    • Before working on removing the printhead, warm up some water so it is hot.

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    • Print a test image as a baseline. A good image can be found here: SMPTE color bars.

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    • If you have the ink shipping caps, these can be used in place of a plastic bag.

    • Remove the ink cartridges from the printer and put them in a plastic bag.

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    • If the printer is plugged in while the printhead is removed, the calibration data may be erased. Verify the printer is unplugged BEFORE removing the printhead.

    • With the printer is unplugged, remove the printhead. Lift the locking latch up and the printhead will be loose.

    • With the printhead unlocked, remove it. Lift the printhead up as shown. Leave the scanner lid open as an indication the printhead was removed.

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    • Failure to clean this area may result in Ink System Failure warnings and a lost printhead calibration.

    • Using a alcohol wipe, clean the printhead connector if you see any ink. It's best to do this while the printhead is removed to avoid problems.

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    • Alcohol should only be used as a last resort as it can damage the printhead. Purge the printhead 3 times if alcohol is used.

    • Recommended circulation times: Alcohol: 5-10 minutes. Without alcohol: 15 minutes.

    • The water will get lighter as the ink breaks down. Change the water frequently. An ultrasonic cleaner or paintbrush can be used for stubborn clogs.

    • Pour hot water into a bowl and let the printhead sit. Change the water as it gets dark until it is reasonably clean.

    • Dry the printhead contacts and nozzles by hand to ensure these areas are dry.

    • Before reinstalling the printhead, let it air dry for ~2-3 hours. Tip: Use a fan to reduce the air dry time.

    Do you mean in the last paragraph: Let it sit outside the printer for 2to 3 hours…..? Best, Michael

    contax - Reply

    You need to let the printhead dry before it can go back in the printer or it won’t register in the printer correctly. I edited it so it makes more sense. If I missed anything, feel free to add it and I’ll take a look.

    Nick -

    • Since the calibration will be erased if the printer errors out, wait until you are sure the prinhthead is dry before installation.

    • WARNING: Printhead initialization uses ~1/2 of non-XL ink cartridges. Purchase new ink if your calibration gets erased.

    • While the printer will not treat the printhead as "new", a unavoidable Printhead Preparation process must run.

    • Once the printhead is satisfactorily dry, reinstall the printhed and ink in the reverse order they were removed. Once this is done, plug the printer in.

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    • If any ink cartridge is low, replace it. All ink cartridges MUST have ink.

    • If your printer still has issues, the printhead may be bad. Try cleaning it with the built-in utility. New printheads cost ~$80 new.

    • If you have a 5 color printer (K/PK/C/M/Y), use the Photo mode to test Photo Black.

    • After replacing the printhead, test the printer. Match the settings used before and check for improvement.

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If your printer is working correctly, it was just caused by a clog. Printers with persistent issues have a deeper issue and should be replaced as a complete unit.

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While/when soaking the printhead, I used a small intact artist's paint brush (no hairs falling out of it) to help loosen the globs of ink. I changed the water several times as there was a lot of ink.

Also, the first time I tried printing after soaking/cleaning the printhead (my issue was that the regular black cartridge showed it was NOT empty, but printing black documents wasn't working), I still had a blank page. Next I tried aligning the printhead but got a "failed," or similar, result. Next, I printed a "print quality report" from the printer's Tools menu and that seemed to be fine, so I tried printing the invoice I originally was having issues with, and voila, it worked!


Dave - Reply

Thanks this worked and all is well again

The one things that I had to do: I put the machine back together when it looked dry and the machine would not work. It refused the print head and complained that the ink packets were used. I tired it about 4 times with the same results. So I set it all aside and let it dry out over night. Wha La it worked. I put it all back together, the machine did it's thing and suddenly everything worked perfect.

Thanks again for saving me from having to buy a new machine.

Barbara - Reply

HI, I am glad to find your explanation. I have followed HP's instructions, which didn't include soaking the print head, but will try that, too. What I am having trouble with now is that the printer screen says that "the print head appears to be missing, not detected, or incorrectly installed". I've redone it 3 times with no change. Also, the HP instructions did not say to unplug it and leave the cover open, so I left it plugged in and put the cover down. Since the printer is not recognizing the head, I have no way of telling if the alignment settings are messed up or not. Do you have suggestions for getting the printhead to be recognized? Thanks a lot.

carinchapin - Reply

Thanks so much!! It worked! Never would have guessed!!

Helen Liss - Reply

I am using refilled cartridges for the Photo-smart 6520 all in one wireless (mainly) . I am trying to get the printer to not give me problems due to the chips being read by the system and knowing that they are previously used. I took the cartridges out last night and also the print head as described. There was a WHOLE LOT OF INK (mainly black) in several places inside the printer that I did not like. Even with the print head out, I had to continue to move the carriage and clean "leaked" drops of mainly black ink from the path on the metal part. I also had to carefully clean it from the white rollers. I cleaned so much ink from the print heat and it seems that the colors side it pretty much clean. It is the black side that concerns me. From underneath the print head, that nozzle seems to still have some dried ink there. I let it dry overnight, am in the process of a hard reset, and will be plugging it in again and inserting the cartridges during that process. I will try and check back for comments.

iceberg32 - Reply

This method worked quit well. I used refilled cartridges. The printer treated the cleaned print head as new because it essentialy is all the ink chambers are empty. All the activity fills the chambers and gets the ink flowing so it is neccesary. I put an extra .5ml of ink in the cartrides to compensate for this. By the way the 564 and 920 carts are incredibly easy to refill.

jeaniroz - Reply

Only if you avoid the non XL's like the plague. The non XL has a physical wall that renders it useless for refilling.

If you are referring to the initial printhead purge it does out of the box, you didn't unplug the printer or you did not do the bypass correctly, or it's too new for the bypass to work. The printer here never did that. If you are referring to the existing printhead doing printer preparation that's normal.

Nick -

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