Random HP Printer Problems and How to do Repairs

Today, let’s talk about some common problems with HP printers and how to fix those problems at minimal cost.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I think HP machines are some of the best built printers out there.  And, I think it’s a shame that companies replace their HP printers with other products that may not last as long.  I recommend taking the time to find out what is wrong with your printer and what it would take to repair it, before deciding to replace it.

That said, here are some of the service issues I’ve come across in the last several months with some of my customers and their HP printers.

Printer will not feed from Tray 2 Cassette
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve run into this problem on new machines. For some reason, HP decided the machine should ask the end-user what type of paper they installed in the tray every time they load paper into it. In the majority of cases people just ignore the display and the machine continues to print the way it should. However, occasionally some one pays attention and starts pressing buttons to get the message off the display only to find out the printer now no longer prints from tray 2.

The Fix:  Open the cassette tray and then close it again to see what the display reads. In most cases it should read ‘plain letter’ or any type letter.  The paper type is controlled within the machine and the size is controlled by the paper stop in the back of the tray.

  • If your paper type is wrong follow the control panel instructions and change the paper type.
  • If the size is wrong remove all the paper from the tray and make sure the mark on the paper stop lines up to the proper mark on the bottom of the tray.

Usually the paper type is set wrong but on a few occasions I’ve seen the paper stop either back too far or forward too far. It doesn’t take much movement to recognize the wrong paper size so make sure the paper stop is lined up exactly with the marks.

Ghost Image and 50.x Fuser Errors on the HP Color LaserJet 3600, 3800, and CP3505 Series
For some reason I’ve seen a lot of this problem lately. I believe this problem is primarily related to the fact that HP did not put fuser and transfer belt counters on these machines. They do on most of the large printers so I don’t know if they didn’t think they would last or it was just not thought of.  Anyway, about the only time you know when its time to replace the fuser is when it starts throwing fuser error codes or not properly fusing the toner to the paper.

When I go out to repair these machines I print off the error log to see what’s going on. The error logs are filled with 50 service errors. When I ask the customer about the errors and they typically tell me the machine has been throwning these errors for a while but turning the machine off and on again fixes the problem, at least for a while.

If you are servicing one of these machines I suggest printing off the error log to check for recent fuser errors. If you see them, I recommend replacing the fuser [part number RM1-2763] before the error becomes permanent and the machine goes down and is then out-of-service until the fuser is replaced.

CM2320 Constant Cleaning and Misprints
Let’s discuss the constant cleaning issue first. This seems to be a problem with the calibration sensors on the image transfer belt (ITB) unit. I’ve tried cleaning them, but without positive results. So, what I’ve been doing is just going into the print quality menu and turning the calibration setting up as far as it will go or telling it ‘never’. This seems to stop the machine from constantly running the cleaning procedure.

Note: Calibration Timing can also be changed in the secondary service menu by following the instructions below and instead of scrolling to pick up roller, scroll to color Cal. and then to timing.

Moving on to the misprint issue….this problem tends to happen when the feed roller gets worn out at or around 50,000 prints or copies and will need to be replaced [CC436-67904]. Below is the removal procedure.

1. Make sure the printer is in the ready state.
2. Press Setup to enter the main menus.
3. Simultaneously press the left arrow button and Cancel.
4. Press Setup to return to the main menus.
5. Use the arrow buttons to highlight 2ndry Service, and then press OK.
6. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the menu.
7. Scroll to Pick up Roller Press OK then OK to Rotate

Note: The display will say to power off. If you use the power on/off button on the front of the machine the roller will rotate back into the home position. In order to remove the pick up roller unplug the machine from the back. Once you turn the machine back on after replacing the roller, it will return to its home position. You might want to leave the tray out when you first power it on to prevent paper from feeding into the machine.

Caution:  you have to lay the machine on its back to remove the pick up roller. Do this gently so you don’t scratch the surface underneath the machine. Also, support the ADF assembly so it doesn’t fly backwards when tilting.

In my experience, both of these issues show up around the same time, at approximately 50,000 prints. Whenever I run into either of these problems, I go in and change the feed roller and the print quality settings at the same time, which tends to fix both issues in one service call.

13.01.xx and 13.03.xx Paper Jam Errors
I know I’ve talked about these error numbers before but I’ve seen at least ten of these paper jam problems in the last few months so I’ll revisit this topic and share with you what I’ve found to be the root of the problem.

Lately, the reported paper jam calls I’ve been on, the customer complains that the paper isn’t even making it out of the tray. From all appearances when opening the tray, everything appears to be OK; there is paper loaded in the tray and the paper feed rollers look good. The problem has been with the paper and the paper tray stop.

On 500 sheet trays you have to pay close attention when loading a full ream of paper. If you have the paper stop pushed forward a few clicks too far, with the new design of the stops, the bottom few sheets tend to curl in the front of the tray, causing it not to lift properly. When the paper is loaded in the tray and it lifts the paper, the pick up roller goes to pull the paper but the force of the paper being stuck in the tray is greater than the force of the pick up roller so the machine reports a jam.

I’ve been printing error reports on all these machines to see how often the problem is happening and almost all show it happens about every 400 to 500 sheets; about the same time the customer loads paper. Some, when asked, have been reporting that they stopped filling the tray up all the way to avoid the jam issues. I’ve been removing the paper, adjusting the stops, removing the paper that had curled in the front of the tray, and then show the customer how to avoid the problem in the future.

The nice thing about HP laser printers is that most the problems are easy fixes. Rarely do I run into a repair bill that results in the customer deciding to buy a new machine. Before you decide to throw in the towel and go out and buy a new machine, if you can’t fix the problem yourself, call in a professional service provider. I think you’ll be happy you did.

Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. 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.

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