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HP Photosmart Pro B9180

Content

Introduction
Photo papers
Tips and tricks
Printer Driver Problems
Links

Update

As of January 2012 my HP 9180 is no longer working, I could not get it to do a proper head alignment, so all prints came out with ugly stripes. The print heads was in good shape, but something else was not working properly. The printer is now on the scrap heap, and I have decided on buying an Epson 3880 as a replacement.

I will probably not make any more updates to this page, but I will leave it in place to help all those that still have this printer so they can keep it alive a little longer.

Introduction

This is an overview of my experience with this printer and some profiles for the papers I use, and a placeholder for useful things to remember for myself.

When the printer work and get it right it produces outstanding prints with archival capabilities second to none. It also contains some cutting edge technology such as routine head/nozzle maintenance without using much ink, and user-replaceable heads.

I have also had several issues with the printer driver and settings when printing. And I'm now on my 3rd printer in under 2 years as the other printers developed different problems. Get the extended warranty!

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the printer but it leans 60/40 to the love side, but I don't think my next printer is going to be a HP.

Discontinued

As of April 2010, HP has discontinued the B9180 and it's sibling the B8850. This means that as times goes by it will become harder to get support, repairs and ink to this line of printers. Time to start checking out what printer to buy to replace this one when it dies.

Quiet winter light

Quiet winter light

Flesberg, Norway / January 2009

Photo papers

This is an overview of papers I use in my HP Photosmart Pro B9180 printer and ICC profiles I have made for my printer.

As they are for my printer they will not be perfect for your printer, but they should give you a chance to try a paper in your printer to see how it performs.

The star rating is my subjective impression of how well the paper works in the printer. You may have a different opinion. The gamut number is the size of the gamut calculated by Gamutvision. Larger number is better, and the size of of the sRGB color space is 840 064. Dmax is also calculated with Gamutvision. Gamutvision is a really useful program to have around if you want to analyze your profiles and see what your printer and paper combination is capable of.

The profiles is made with GMB Eye-One Match 3 and the TC9.18 i1 target with 918 patches.

Paper type Profile and driver settings Rating
Company Name g/m² Profile Quality Paper type ××××× Gamut Dmax
Matte papers
HP Hahnemuhle Watercolor Paper 210 ICC Best Watercolor ××××× 327 547 1.28
HP Hahnemuhle Smooth Fine Art Paper 265 ICC Best Photo rag ××××× 378 658 1.61
Olmec Ultra Heavyweight Fine Art Matt 310 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 238 896 1.44
Hahnemuhle Natural Art Duo 216 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 378 519 1.62
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 379 109 1.61
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Duo 316 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 383 464 1.64
Moab Entrada Fine Art Natural 190 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 351 306 1.35
Moab Entrada Fine Art Bright White 190 See the 300 g/m² profile below
Moab Entrada Fine Art Bright White 300 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 377 211 1.57
Semigloss papers
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 451 160 1.66
HP Advanced Satin Mat Photo Paper 250 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 563 396 2.12
Epson Premium Semigloss 251 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 491 594 1.76
Glossy papers
HP Advanced Glossy Photo Paper 250 ICC Best Photo ××××× 521 226 1.78
Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper 255 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 494 041 1.77
Baryta papers
Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 473 832 1.69
Harman Baryta HI Gloss FB AL 320 ICC Maximum dpi Photo ××××× 546 818 2.14
Harman Baryta HI Matt FB MP 320 ICC Maximum dpi Photo rag ××××× 336 482 1.52

Comments on the papers and profiles

The profiles that come with the printer for the HP papers are good, and will probably be better than my profiles here in your printer. My only consern is that the gamut of the HP profiles is larger than what I'm able to measure with GMB Eye-One, so they might block up in the saturated colors.

When it comes to paper weight I find that 250 g/m² or heavier paper works best. Thinner paper prints just as good, but they have a tendency to buckle in the printer when it's wet from ink and the printhead strikes the paper making marks in the print. Heavy papers don't have this problem.

Matte Papers

My favorite is the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Duo 316 g/m², but this is expensive, so a good substitute for me is the Moab Entrada Fine Art Bright White 300 g/m² paper. I also very much like the Hahnemuhle Natural Art Duo 216 g/m² paper and HP Hahnemuhle Smooth Fine Art Paper 265 g/m². I dont't like the other papers as good, but that's my taste.

Semigloss Papers

HP Advanced Satin Mat Photo Paper 250 g/m² is the paper in this printer that gives the greatest gamut and best Dmax of the papers I have profiled. This paper gives a very god result.

Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285 g/m² is a disapointment. While I like the surface of Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl, it does not work well whit the inks in the B9180 printer in my experience, as there is a lot of bronzing.

Glossy Papers

HP Advanced Glossy Photo Paper 250 g/m² is best, but the Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper 255 g/m² is also very good.

Baryta Papers

IlfordGalerie Gold Fibre Silk, gives good results. But the paper have some bronzing when viewed from the side, but this is not visible from normal viewing angles.

Harman Baryta HI Gloss FB AL 320 is a glossy paper, but it gives very good prints in the B9180 printer.


Tips and tricks

Got this from the hp9100Series-mailinglist on Yahoo on how to fix white lines on the prints. Written by Michael S.

Print Quality Diagnostics Page

The Print Quality Diagnostics Page is used to see if there are any white stripes or banding in any of the colored squares that would signify problems.

To do that test:

  1. Hold the on/off button down and
  2. press the "X" key one time and then
  3. hit "OK" four times and then
  4. let up on the on/off key.

The printer will print out a sheet containing info about the number of printheads used, the date that eachprinthead was installed, etc. and color test print patterns.

NEDD (New Electrostatic Drop Detector)

The New Electrostatic Drop Detector (NEDD) is one of the remarkable technological advances with this printer -- it is an electronic sensor that somehow reads the condition of all of the zillion nozzles of the B9180's printheads (perhaps about 25,000 nozzles if my sieve-like aging memory correctly remembers)

Then that information is passed on to the firmware to digest and then, any nozzles that are not working, the function of which, is then replaced by nearby nozzles which are programmed to make up for those that are not working--prety kewl!! Thus it is possible to have a few dozen nozzles not working (as long as they are not adjacent to each other) and still produce perfect prints.

Since the NEDD determines how many and which nozzles are not functioning, it serves as a basis for the firmware to also make a determination the printhead health and whether it is good, fair or bad.

NEDD test

The NEDD should be cleaned after every few hundred prints and it would not hurt to periodically do a NEDD test:

  1. Hold on/off button down and
  2. press the "X" 9 times and then
  3. press the OK four times and
  4. let go of the on/off button.

The resulting page will show how many nozzles are clogged, and if it gets higher than 300-400, the NEDD should be cleaned.

NEDD cleaning

To clean the NEDD, lift the lid and locate the felt strip along the very bottom located between the pizza wheels in front and the light-gray colored rollers behind. Look for a 1 inch slit oriented front to back, that is located about 1 inch (2.5 cm) to the right end of the piece of felt. When clean, the metal around the slit is shinny bright -- stainless steel or chrome, but after overspray has drifted onto everything inside the printer, it may be BLACK, be gooey and even have lint stuck to it! When the carriage is still parked at the right end, the slit (NEDD) is visible beneath the left side of the carriage.

To find the NEDD, open the lid and leave it open and hold down the OK button until the carriage starts to move over to the left side where it will stay until the lid is closed. With the carriage on the left side, it is possible to locate (and if necessasry) clean the NEDD. It is a silver plate about an inch by a half inch with a thin slot in the center with the slot perpendicular to the front of the printer. The NEDD sits just to the left of the waste ink sponges.

The NEDD (the thing withe the slot in it) and ink dumps before cleaning.
The placement of the NEDD and ink dumps in the printer.
The NEDD (the thing withe the slot in it) and ink dumps after cleaning.

Maintenance Cycle

The maintenance cycle comes 24 hours after last use. If that falls at an inconvenient time, and you know you're not going to be using the printer, open the Special Media Tray, wait for the prompt, and close it again. That will reset the next maintenance cycle to 24 hours from the time you opened and closed the SMT.

Cleaning The Printheads


Printer Driver Problems Windows

Printer Driver Resetting Values

On thing to keep in mind with the B9180 (at least with the Windows version of the driver. I don't know about the mac.) is that it likes to reset settings when you change other settings.

So you can set print quality only to have it change back to "best" when you change something else, like the paper type.

Very frustrating, and even worse: you can never trust that what you set in the driver is what you get! This makes it impossible to use the printer unattended by sending several images to the printer and letting go at it.

My solution is to pause the printer spooler and check the settings on every document in the queue before letting the spooler send it to the printer. Very frustrating and the waste of ink and paper this has cost me makes the ink swapping of the Epsons look like a free ticket to the amusement park in comparison.

Again: it's worth noting that what you see in the driver dialog can not be trusted! You have to set everything every time to be sure. Just because a field shows the right value does not mean that that will be used!

Workaround for Printer Driver Resetting Values

The only workaround I have found to be reliable in getting the printerdriver settings correct is to set the driver defaults for the printer in the windows printer settings. These values seem to stick, and as long as you are using only one papertype (matte or glossy) you will probably be fine.

Print Spooler Error

If you get into problems with the printer spooling system i in windows and is uable to delete a job from the printque, the soloution is to do the following 3 steps:

  1. Stop the Print Spooler service (from Control Panel—>Administrative Tools—>Services->Print Spooler)
  2. Delete all files in C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS
  3. Start the Print Spooler service again.

Exorcizing HP drivers

If you get into real trouble and you have to deinstall the driver and the new install fails (but only if the new install fails), you have only two painful options left to solve your situation:

  1. Reinstall windows on your machine, or
  2. Clean out your computer by hand

For most people a complete reinstallation of Windows is probably the safest way to get back in business, as cleaning out the computer by hand involves editing the registry and is best done by those that know what they are doing, or you will be back at option 1 any way.

Here is the method to clean out the gunk from your Windows computer that I got from Mark Raymond (nick chilehead on the LL forums):

Cleanout by hand

Instructions for "exorcizing" HP drivers from your system: (Think of removing bubble gum from the bottom of your shoe on a hot summer’s day and you will be somewhat mentally prepared for this. )

(Usual disclaimers apply: This involves editing your registry, and you can screw your system up big time if you don’t know what you are doing.)

If you have any other HP printers installed (I had two others) this process will be more complicated, because you will have to try removing the B9180-related goo without removing the other drivers.

  1. Most important: Set a system restore point in Windows. (Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore.) and export the registry and save it on a flash drive (or some form of external storage). Doing this means that you have the original registry should something go wrong. One should do this first before making any edits to the registry.
  2. Remove your printer from the “Printers and Faxes” list. (Control Panel/Printers and Faxes.) You might not find it here if your earlier uninstall process removed it.
  3. Open the registry editor and click on “My Computer” at the top of the left column. (You may need to scroll up to see it.)
  4. Hit Ctrl/F to open the “find” box. Place checkmarks in the “Keys” and “Values” boxes. (You may need to do “Data” later, but leave it unchecked for now.)
  5. Now, here is where your life starts to ebb away... In the “Find What” box, you will start searching for the following phrases: (Don’t include the quotes.)
    • “HP ” Be sure to include a space after HP.
    • “hp\” (Backslash.)
    • “hewlett”

Type these one at a time into the “Find What” box, and then hit the “Find Next” button (F3). Hit your Delete key to remove the highlighted values (but read below first!)

You will need some good common sense to make decisions about removing the items found. The “Keys” (like categories) are on the left side of the window. Look at the categories closely to decide if you should remove the entire key. Does it seem only related to HP/B9180? Delete it. Or, does it seem to be part of another program? Other programs, like MS Word might have references to printers in their keys–don’t remove these.

The same holds true for the right side, the “Values.” Only select and remove items related to your specific HP printer.

Search for each phrase, and remove all the HP related entries. Removing a “Key” (left side) will remove an entire category, so make sure it is related to HP.

After you have removed every scrap of HP-related gunk, try re-installing your drivers. If it still won’t work, do a system restore to the point you set earlier, then repeat the above process, this time checking off the “Data” box in step 4.

Just for fun, send HP a bill for your time.

I hope this will help you and others with similar afflictions.

Printer Driver Problems MacOS

i1 instrument with iMatch and iProfiler

There is a conflict with the HP printer driver and i1. This means that in some cases iMatch and iProfiler will not be able to see the i1 instrument. The solution is to remove all the HP software and driver with the uninstall program. That will let you profile your screen and printers again, but you will not be able to print to HP printers. I have no idea if this is a MacOS, HP or Xrite problem.


Links

Some links that is very useful for HP B9180 owners.

HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer
HP drivers, software and support.
HP 3rd-party media
HP ICC profiles for 3rd-party media.
NEDD sensor
HP NEDD sensor page.
HP B9180 /9100 Series printers
Yahoo mailing list about HP B9180 /9100 Series printers.
James Duncan Davidson blog
James Duncan Davidson blog about his problems with the HP B9180.

Tsegi Overlook at dawn

Tsegi Overlook at dawn

Canyon De Chelly, Arizona, USA / November 2013

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