HP P3005 Noise in Rear of Machine

In this article, we’ll look at a common complaint found in the HP P3005 printer; noises in the rear of the machine. On several occasions I’ve gone onsite to fix other issues with this printer model only to be confronted with a very loud machine. The noise tends to gradually get louder so people sitting right next to the machine don’t fully realize how noisy their printer has become. Several things can cause this so let’s get started on what is happening, what to look for and how to resolve this.

Once you verify that the printer is noisier than usual, you’ll have to find out exactly what is causing the situation. So, you’ll need to first pull the fuser out and inspect it and the surrounding gears. To remove the fuser, follow these steps:

Back Cover
1. Open the rear output bin all the way by pressing the door down, disengaging the door stops. All the way down the door should be at a 90 degree angle. Remove the two screws.
2. At the bottom of the back cover behind the dust cover door are two alignment tabs. Disengage those by pulling from the bottom and lifting the cover away from the machine.

I/O Cover
1. Pull right and lift away from the printer.

1. Remove the duplex inlet guide by releasing the two tabs and pull it out towards you.
2. Disconnect the two cables on the right side and unclip the wire holder on the side of the frame securing the top cable.
3. Disconnect the power cable on the left and remove the four screws near the corners on the fuser.
4. Gently remove the fuser from the back of the machine.

Note: The pressure roller is on the bottom and is made out of a rubber like material. The fuser film is on the top and wraps around the heating element.

Now that you have the fuser out turn it around so the front is facing you. Check around the pressure roller bushings for a pile of bushing dust (dark brown powder) on the metal fuser frame. Usually bushing debris is more noticeable around the pressure roller gear. Also pull the pressure roller gear off and look for cracks on the inside where it fits around the roller shaft. Check the pressure roller for waves or wrinkles (the roller should be smooth). And, check the pressure roller’s gear teeth for any abnormal wear, although this is less likely. Finally, while, not usually related to the noise, check for decolonization or tears in the fuser film while you have the fuser out of the printer.

By this point you probably have at least seen the bushing dust. However, any of the above symptoms would advise replacement of the fusing unit. You can buy most of these parts individually but it’s generally best to replace the whole unit as one because of general wear of the rest of the parts. The fuser life is rated at 150,000 but I usually see them show good signs of wear around 75,000 to 90,000.

Most of the time you’re likely to only find the bushing dust. If you try and manually rotate the fuser gears you will probably find they are hard to move.

Most of the fusers sold today have bushings made of a stronger material. People believe that the old bushings material was too soft, causing it to wear prematurely because of the intense pressure applied to it. When it wore it pushed the pressure roller back causing the gear to improperly align with the rest of the gears in that area, resulting in more noise and abnormal wear of the surrounding gears.

Once you know if you need an updated fuser or not, also look at the inside of the printer, where the fuser sat, where you will see five white gears on the top left side (two gears on each side of a middle gear that swings between the two sets). The four stationary gears should be replaced anytime the fuser is replaced. Most that I’ve removed don’t show obvious signs of wear except in some extreme cases. But, trust me, they are worn and need to be replaced. You can buy them individually with part numbers:
RU5-0956  – 20/20 tooth gear
RU5-0957  – 20 tooth gear
RU5-0958  – 17 tooth gear
RU5-0959  – 19 tooth gear

I’ve personally never had to do this but, in some cases, the drive gear on the main drive assembly might need to be replaced. In cases where the fuser seems OK, I update the four gears, reinstall the fuser, and check the noise level. If it goes away, great! But if not, the fuser will have to be replaced also.

Alright, so there you have it….the problem, the cause, and the fix. I keep a few gear kits in my car stock and make it a routine maintenance item, like feed rollers. Most machines I touch at least get new gear kits if the copy count is low and the fuser looks in relatively good condition. Typically machines seem to start to develop the noise around 50,000 copies and by 100,000 are in desperate need of repair; although I’ve seen a few make it to 150,000 prints. In really extreme cases the bushing will deteriorate to the point that the fuser gear doesn’t even mesh with the drive gear. In others I’ve seen the worn bushing eat away at the metal shaft of the pressure roller causing jam problems.

I hope this information helps you evaluate your printer’s noise condition and decide on what items need to be replaced. I don’t always have a fuser with me, but with the gears, well, I can just pop those in and in a few minutes decide if more is needed. Anyway, this fix should be relatively easy to isolate and fix. And the people who have been living beside this noise ordinance violator? They will be happy you stepped up and finally put a stop to it. So now they can listen to their music station again, talk on the phone, or listen to the birds chirp outside.

Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. Market Point is a HP PartsOne Partner selling HP printer parts. If you have a question regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics for which you would like more information, please send an email to maryp@marketpoint.com.

HP P3005 Formatter Board Issues

The HP P3005, like the P2015, is known to have formatter board issues. The typical signs of formatter board issues on this printer are:  (1) a blank screen, (2) the printer freezes during memory check, (3) the HP logo is stuck on display, (4) an RFU load message, and (5) 49 errors. These are just the most common errors. You could experience other issues or messages due to the fact that the problem is with a chip on the formatter board.

Like the HP P2015, a design flaw causes the chip temperature to melt the solder used on the board, which breaks and causes a poor connection. HP could have used a stronger solder material to withstand the thermal stress or could have added a heat sink or fan to cool the chip. And, like the P2015, most board repair companies have figured out a way to resolve the issue for the long run.

HP, on the other hand, is still trying different chips to solve the issue. I recently learned that HP just released yet another version of the board but the verdict is still out as to whether this will finally solve the issue. The web is flooded with unhappy customers who have had boards replaced by HP just to have the same problem again, six months later.

Troubleshooting this Formatter Board Problem

The first thing we need to do is verify what is causing the issue. To do that, first unplug and remove any accessories, such as optional trays, or memory or jet direct cards, and then reboot. If the error goes away, reinstall the accessories one at a time unplugging each time before the next component is installed until you find the component causing the issue. On some machines the error isn’t always present so reboot a few times if the machine starts working to verify if you actually resolved the issue.

If, after removing the accessories, the error is still present then we need to perform an engine test. The engine test bypasses the formatter and tests the basic engine functions to verify the machine’s print engine is physically working. To perform this test you need to remove the right side cover and find the engine test button located a few inches down from the fan cover.

HP P3005 Engine Test

The engine test bypasses the formatter and tests the basic engine functions. To perform this test remove the right side cover and find the engine test button located a few inches down from the fan cover.

You might need something small, like a paper clip or canned air straw, to depress the button. In some cases the formatter might prevent you from performing the test so the formatter might need to be removed before the test will work. On one machine I worked on recently, by pressing on the chip above the memory card slot, the chip known to cause these errors, the machine booted up to a ready state but failed when chip was not pressed on.

Confirmed Printer Formatter Issue

If you’ve gotten an engine test out of the machine, we verified a formatter issue. We have a few options of how to proceed. You can

  • replace the whole machine with a new or refurbished unit,
  • have the board professionally repaired,
  • replace the board with a new or refurbished board
  • try the homemade fix (not recommended)

Replacing the printer with a new or refurbished printer

I personally frown upon this unless, after inspecting the whole printer, you find other problems like a worn printer fuser, noisy scanner motor or a large copy count. In other words, big ticket items that will lead to a costly repair bill.

I like knowing the history of printers that I service and with past experience with refurbished printers you never know what you’re getting. It’s like buying a reconditioned cartridge. Two out of ten will probably give you issues. New printers, unless justified with the overall condition of the unit or repair bill, just makes people believe they are throw away units leading to less service calls. And if you have a large repair bill just for a formatter board replacement you need to shop around because someone is taking advantage of you.

Buying a new or repaired formatter board

This is the first choice I always make. Get yourself a reconditioned formatter board with a warranty from a professional, reliable company like Market Point. HP just added a new version of the board so I wouldn’t trust new since they haven’t figured it out before now.

Sending the formatter board in for repair takes time, which you usually don’t have and if you repair for a living, like me, it makes you look bad because one of the keys to service is quick and reliable turnaround. So rebuilt and warranty, even though you might pay a little more than sending it in, gives you the quickest and best results. And in the eyes of your fellow employees or customers makes you look like the hero because in today’s world quick response is key to success.

The homemade fix

You can find this repair on several places on the web. Due to the nature of the procedures, if not performed correctly, further damage to the machine or to yourself can result. So I believe Market Point does not want to be held responsible due to injury resulting from information posted on their website. I personally have performed these procedures and fixed machines but the results will vary and while it might get your machine running again, it’s not the same as having it professionally done. In the long run I would recommend purchasing a reconditioned board that has been professionally reworked and has a warranty.

Hopefully, this article has helped you resolve your P3005 formatter issue. I expanded more on your repair options in this article to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your options. As I stated with the HP P2015, the P3005 machines are great machines and when working properly do an excellent job. Given the history over the last ten years, more and more problems are happening with the newer models. If spending around $200 to fix this machine does the job and the machine is in good condition then it’s probably in your best interest to fix rather than replace and spend $600 to $800.

Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. If you have a question for Kevin regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics you would like more information on, please send an email to maryp@marketpoint.com.