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Nathan, Systems Manager
Category: Computer Hardware
Satisfied Customers: 24891
Experience:  Own/operate IT/networking company.
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HP C3100 "Cartridge Cannot Move" error. It CAN move,

Customer Question

HP C3100 "Cartridge Cannot Move" error. It CAN move, however, when I open the front door. It simply will not print. Prior to the problem, there was the harsh clicking sound of plastic gears grinding (?) I have tried a hard reset. Also cleaning the clear band that directs the cartridge. Still no luck. When I do a reset, it will draw paper half way thru and stop. Any suggestions?
JA: How long has this been going on?
Customer: A weeK?
JA: What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: See above
JA: The computer expert can solve this for you. Anything else you want him to know before I connect you two?
Customer: NO
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Computer Technician about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Computer Hardware
Expert:  Nathan replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I’m Nathan, and I’ll be assisting you today. My livelihood depends on your positive feedback, so your satisfaction is my highest priority.

Sorry to hear you’re having trouble.

This message indicates a carriage fault. That can be caused by anything from debris/obstruction (paper jam, bent/damaged rails, out of place purge assembly/wiper, or dirty/dislocated encoder strip) to an actual hardware defect (bad sensor or control board, faulty carriage drive motor/gear/belt, bad printhead/carriage pcb).

What we can try here are some cleaning and reset steps.
First, open up the printer, and check for any internal debris such as scraps of paper, paperclip or staple, etc. Check if you’re able to move the carriage manually, or if it moves on its own when lifting the lid. If it does move, you can proceed with cleaning by blowing out the inside compartment with compressed air and checking carefully on both sides for any obstructions. Then wipe down the encoder strip, which is a clear plastic strip running the width of the printer, that sits just slightly above and behind the carriage.

Then reset the machine:
unplug power at the wall outlet
wait 5 minutes
press and hold the power/on button for 60+ seconds
keep holding while plugging back in, and for another 60 seconds after, then release

Let me know the results, and I’ll advise further if needed.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Followed these steps. Then turned it back on . It still pulls a page half way thru and stops.
Expert:  Nathan replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trying.

The persistence of the error indicates an internal fault then, which would not be surprising to see in a printer of this age.

Repeat the steps once more, focusing on the paper path, and take the added step of wiping down all of the visible rubber rollers/wheels inside with qtips and rubbing alcohol.

If still no change, it would confirm a hardware fault.

At that point it is time for a new printer. This is a 2006 model, that was designed for only a 3 year service life. At this point it is at more than 3 times its designed maximum lifespan and has greatly exceeded any value that could be reasonably expected of it. You would be in the $200 range to have it repaired, while you could buy a brand new printer with updated features and a fresh warranty for about $75. I can recommend replacement options for you should it come to that.

Best regards, ***** ***** for the news,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, what replacement options do you recommend?
Expert:  Nathan replied 1 year ago.

There are no current canon inkjets that I would endorse.

If looking for a replacement, I’d recommend any of the Epson workforce series printers. They tend to be very reliable, are easy to set up and use, have good print quality, and reasonably priced ink. Example: or

Note that these, like all consumer grade inkjet printers, are designed to be low cost and are essentially disposable after a few years, subsidized by the high cost of ink cartridges. If you wish to have a better quality and longer lasting printer, that comes with years worth of ink up front, consider the Epson ecotank models instead:

Alternately, for a more business/commercial grade product that will be rated for a 5 year life, consider a laser printer. Lasers cost more up front also, but a toner cartridge can last for thousands of pages. A black only all in one laser is around $125:

while a color model is about twice that:

If you have any other questions, just let me know. Otherwise, please take a moment to rate my service using the stars at the top of the page; hopefully I have earned 5 Stars. I also invite you to contact me directly with any future support needs at and ask for Nathan.

Thank you, ***** ***** a nice day,


Expert:  Nathan replied 1 year ago.

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