HP P4014n Printer Error 57.01

In an HP P4014 printer, the 57 .01 ERROR is a fan error…..”FN103 has experienced an error”.  For printer troubleshooting, follow these instructions:  Continue Reading

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.

Laser Printer Firmware Updates

More and more, service technicians are getting questions about firmware from customers. What is firmware? What is the difference between print drivers and firmware? Why is it so important that I update my printer’s firmware? Why haven’t I heard of firmware before now?  Sound familiar?

Printer manufactures have made firmware available and if users call in for support, they will ask if they’ve updated the firmware. On some recent models the software installed with the printer periodically updates the firmware. So why haven’t the manufacturers done a better job explaining the importance for firmware to the end-user? In this article I’ll shed some light on the subject.

What is Firmware?
Firmware, in my opinion, is best described as your printer’s internal operating system. Without it the equipment can’t do anything but turn on. [Side note: engine tests are run by firmware stored on the DC controller — for all you tech’s thinking I’m a liar.] Everything from your $20 TV remote to your 50k sports car has firmware. Fifteen years ago a printer went through an intense testing period and the majority, if not all bugs were worked out before it was presented to the end-user. Going back to the operating system example, a very basic command system like DOS was used. Pretty much if you had an error it could usually be traced back to the user.

However, in today’s market our printers are much more complex and the demand on development is forcing us to create newer cutting edge equipment with less attention to perfection. There are different speeds, scanning, fuser modes, usage profiles, etc., much like the Windows O/S, where everything is more user-friendly and with many options, but prone to more problems. So, like Windows updates that appear every time you turn on your computer, you have printer firmware updates that also need to be installed to fix operating glitches so your equipment can run at peak performance and you can reduce service calls and expensive repair bills.

Drivers vs. Firmware
Now that we’ve established that firmware controls the function of the printer, let’s explore the difference between drivers and firmware. Drivers take the information from your computer and convert it to a language that your printer can understand. Firmware, along with the formatter, takes that information and sends it to the rest of the machine to perform the actions necessary to put the digital data on paper.

Why are firmware updates so important?
This is the confusing part. When you call your manufacturer for tech support you’ll be asked for the make and model number of your printer, its serial number, and now for your firmware version. If you’re not running the latest and greatest firmware version, you’ll need to update it before you can proceed. However, you’re thinking ‘my printer worked fine for years with the old version, why not now?’ Once again, firmware is like your computer software, it has glitches. One day you’re using Word with no problems and the next day you go to open it up and you get a missing file error or a corrupt data message. After uninstalling and reinstalling, you’re back in business. Same with firmware, it too has glitches. The main thing is to fix the glitches before they become an issue.

Firmware fixes a wide range of problems. It can fix printing issues with certain software, fax and scanning issues, error codes that will not clear, and its even been known to fix certain issues where parts of the printer overheat and get destroyed.  Those are just a few of the possible fixes.

Most firmware updates work only if the printer is at a ready state. If you wait until the printer is in an error state and then realize that a firmware fix will keep the issue from happening, you’re too late. You can no longer perform the update and you have to replace the board that has the firmware on it.

If your fax LIU overheats and needs to be replaced and you find out there was a firmware fix for that issue, unfortunately, you’re too late, again. That’s why it’s best to keep firmware up-to-date and understand what fixes are being addressed in the current version. Most manufactures provide this information with the firmware download or in a readme file with the download.

The downside of updating the firmware
If a printer fails during an update you can permanently corrupt the firmware, the printer will not go into a ready state and you can’t try again. So, if an update fails, then you’re most likely stuck replacing the board. Right now there are very few printers that can work around this issue. That’s why it’s so important to read and follow the instructions when performing this action.

Things to remember when updating firmware
Be patient; update when you know no one else is going to be printing; don’t ever unplug power while updating; and, most importantly, the computer almost always finishes before the printer so once the computer says it’s done go over to the printer and wait until it’s complete.

Just remember [for the paranoid individuals like me], for every firmware update you read about going bad – thousands are going right. So be cautious, but do it when it needs to be done. Otherwise you could be buying a new printer or looking at an expensive fix.

Why are users just now hearing about firmware?
Firmware has been around for quite some time; basically since the beginning of electronics. As I mentioned earlier, when laser printers first came out they were very basic and there wasn’t much input the printer needed. Firmware used to be integrated on the logic board and if it ever failed you were stuck replacing the board.

Printer manufactures did a lot of research and spent a lot of time to make sure this didn’t happen. About ten years ago manufactures started making firmware DIMM’s, which looked very similar to memory DIMM’s. They were installed in a slot on the main board. If the DIMM went out or needed to be updated you just swapped it out, bringing down the cost of repair.

As time wore on, more fixes were being made and firmware was being updated more often, leaving manufactures throwing old firmware away or not having it available because they couldn’t predict the demand.

Now, almost all manufacturers use a flash ROM chip located on one or more of the logic boards. This way the firmware can be updated whenever needed.  Like I said before, the modern printers are much more complex. Thus, the possibility of more problems.

Allowing the end-user to fix their own issues through firmware helps keep a printer working for a longer period of time. Printer manufactures hope this will extend the life of the printer and reduce the costs associated with maintaining it.

Links to firmware for four of today’s leading printer manufacturers
For most manufactures you can find firmware updates in the same locations you would the print drivers. Typically if firmware is available for download you will find it there. If you do not see a download listed by your machine then one is most likely not available yet or your machine doesn’t have a flash chip or DIMM in it.

The Lexmark firmware requires a special code. From what I briefly read it’s related to your printer’s model number, which can be confusing if you not familiar with their system.  Basically they don’t want you loading the wrong firmware and permanently damaging your printer. So, if you call Lexmark support they will guide you through getting the right firmware for your machine.





About the Author:  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.

For additional technical support information, to find printer parts &  supplies or to learn more about Market Point, go to www.marketpoint.com or call us, toll free at 877-365-1903.