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This is a dot matrix printer. The way they work is there is a print head that has a heap of little needles with flat tops on them, and they push out at high speed against the ink ribbon, and the ink ribbon is pushed against the paper to make a dot. Then the pin is retracted, spring loaded.
Pretty amazing that it can work that fast, eh!
So the only thing that can influence the ink colour on your paper is the ribbon.
Are you using original Lexmark ribbons? If so, my recommendation would be to take a sample print to where you got the printer from and get them to demonstrate the print quality of one of these printers, then compare it with yours.
Dot Matrix printers will not produce print as black or as high a quality as a laser printer, for example.
Perhaps the ink ribbons you are using have a less than top quality ink in them, and there is a bit of "bleeding" going on - it can only be the ribbon.
Another thing you can experiment with to get the best print quality is the print head gap - there will (should) be an adjustment, and getting that right will make a difference to print quality.
Hope this helps you.
Check to make sure you're not buying trial cartridges. Often times when the manufacturer says to buy number XX it's another trial that's only half filled, I found this out about my Lexmark printer when I went to a local printer shop.
Both cartridges have to have ink them. I know that it sounds stupid, but that is the case. It's also a very bad practice to let your cartridge run completely out. By letting that happen you reduce the chance of it being successfully refilled. It can burn out the cartridges chip, as well. I wish that I had better news for you. Good luck.
This is the only information I could find. Didn't your printer come
with a black and color ink cartridge? If it did, all you need to do is
take the ink cartridge out and write down the numbers written on the
cartridge. The only ink cartridge I could positively confirm was the
#24 color ink cartridge. The Lexmark website does not list any black
ink cartridges for this model. This information was obtained from
Lexmark - 24 Ink Cartridge - Color
Compatible with Lexmark Z1400 series, X3500 series and X4500 series printers;
Lexmark - 23 Ink Cartridge - Black
Compatible with Z1400 series, X3500 series and X4500 series printers;