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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.