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Printer errors are various messages displayed on the LED display of printers. Whether it's a number or a term displayed, printer errors inform the user of what is not functioning properly. There may be many reasons why, for example, you have a paper jam at tray 2. However, the number displayed will point you in the right direction.
When you have an error, reference the PrinterSupplies.com web site and look on this printer errors page for your number. Under the various codes will be a list of the possible reasons for this occurrence. It will list the most common reason to fix first, and then proceed with a process of elimination until your problem is corrected.
Hewlett Packard has become the leader in HP printer errors and the numbering system due to the dominant printer installation base they have throughout the world.
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Click on any of the printer errors below for a further description and resolution to the problem. And remember PrinterSupplies.com for all your copier, fax and printer supply needs.
A common problem with this printer is feeding multiple sheets of paper. The solution is the replacement of the pickup roller assembly and paper separation pad. Cleaning may work for the short term but will not solve this problem. You may find inexpensive fixes but the answer is replace these parts.
Legend for front panel error LED indicators
Paper out, door open or no EP cartridge.
Memory error, too much data or data to complex. Add memory - up to 9 MB or reduce page complexity.
Manual Feed - waiting for you to add sheet of paper for manual feed from single sheet slot. Load paper and then press and release front panel button. Manual feed controlled by software
Printer is in sleep mode or unplugged. Press front panel button to wake up printer. Try printing an engine test (sheet of vertical lines) by pressing the engine test button located behind the access hole on the lower front of the printer.
Printer service error - no further operation possible until problem resolved. Press front panel button to see secondary indicator pattern. See information on secondary patterns below.
This LED pattern, shown while pressing the front panel button, indicates a fuser error. Measure the resistance between pins one and two of connector J102 - they should read 30 +/- 10 ohms. If open, the fuser ceramic heating element will need to be replaced.
This LED pattern, while pressing the front panel button, indicates a laser scanner error. Power cycle the printer by unplugging from the power source. If error persists, scanner may need replacement. In rare instances a defective DC controller may cause this error.
This LED pattern, while pressing the front panel button, indicates a formatter error. Power cycle the printer by unplugging from the power source. If error persists, remove printer data cable and power cycle again. If error persists you will need to replace the formatter PCA.
Paper tray empty or not seated correctly. A buildup of toner on the edges of the tray which slide into the printer can sometimes cause problems. Take a sharp tool, like a razor blade and scrape the buildup off these edges.
Sensor Arm Stuck or Broken - check for free movement of the sensor arm. On the LJ4/4M/4+/4M+ the sensor flag can get knocked out of place when a paper jam occurs and the tray is pulled out abruptly. Most times this can simply be reinstalled. If it's broken, you will need to replace the sensor flag.
Defective Tray Size Sensing or Configuration - Most trays have tabs which depress a series of switches when installed. Verify that the tabs aren't damaged and that the tray switches located in the printer are not damaged. You can depress these by hand and hear them click. Occasionally the contact for the micro switch will get bent and will have to be replaced. Also verify the configuration through the menus on the printer.
Defective Paper Control Sensor PCB - These do fail and will need to be replaced.
Check the paper, make sure it meets the paper specifications for your printer. Tractor feed paper with the edges ripped off doesn't seem to work very well. Extremely heavy or thick paper is also a problem. Check the HP paper specification guide for more info. Be careful with labels, use only labels designed to take the heat generated by the fuser assembly. Regular labels my "ooze" adhesive as they pass through the fuser assembly and literally gum up the works! Also check for any partially peeled labels, this can be a disaster if they come off inside the printer.
Check the paper path for toner or paper dust buildup. Look for bits of paper lodged in the path particularly around the sensors. 4L/4P printers can have paper stuck in the pickup area which is accessed by removing the screw over the oblique roller cover.
You may have a worn pickup roller. Common on the LJII/III series is a worn input pickup roller. Sometimes you can clean these and get a few more miles out of them but when you start to get jams with a smudge on the top middle of the page, it's time to replace both the input pickup roller assembly and the cork paper separation pad. On the IIP/IIIP you can wipe toner/paper dust buildup off the roller and also remove the separation pad (small cork pad) and clean it as well. If the rollers are glazed or you see cracks, replace the roller or assembly. Replacing the pickup roller and separation pad on the IIP/IIIP will quiet the chatter associated with a worn separation pad.
Is the paper size correct? Is the software set for the size you're using? Is the menu set for the size you're using? Check these items. If the software tells the printer to expect a different size (legal, A4, COM10) than the tray available, you will get an error. This can happen when printing a FAX document formatted for A4 size paper.
You could also have a defective or dirty exit sensor. Replace or clean as needed.
Make sure the paper cassettes are installed correctly. A buildup of toner on the edges of the tray which slide into the printer can sometimes cause problems. Take a sharp tool, like a razor blade and scrape the buildup off these edges.
Bad paper pickup solenoid. On the LJII/III series the rubber damper on the clutch release solenoid can degrade and become sticky and gummy. You can remove it and replace it with a piece of adhesive backed felt. Note: A sticky solenoid can also be the cause of text appearing lower on each successive page.
Bad drive gears. Again on the LJII/III we are starting to see more and more failures of the gear drive assembly. A broken tooth on one gear is all it takes. Replace this as an assembly.
Listen for the motor operation, make sure it's operational. If not replace the motor or drive circuit as required.
HP IIP/IIIP and Apple Personal LaserWriter's that pickup the paper and then crunch it up at the toner cartridge usually have a bad drive gear assembly. If the paper crinkles right at the toner cartridge it is most likely the drive gear located on the right side of the printer. If you fold down the right side cover, you will see a white gear/clutch assembly. Replacing this should solve your problem. You need RG1-1777, Drive Gear Assembly. Take a look at the white gear - if it looks as if it has twisted on the shaft that is the problem. You can remove it and rotate the inner white gear - it should exhibit a one way clutch action and rotate smoothly. The outer gear should rotate in one direction only with a spring action which limits it rotation.
No toner cartridge or cartridge not fully seated - pull it out and install it again. On the IIP/IIIP the connections for the high voltage are made on the left side of the printer so you may want to favor that side as you install the cartridge.
On the HP LaserJet/LaserJet Plus (2686A/D) this can be caused by a defective cassette micro switch in which case you will have to repair or replace it.
On the II and III Series printers, this error message can be caused by a faulty paper control PCA. This is the board mounted to the DC power supply which is in the right front corner of the printer. Press the spring contacts and listen for the micro switches. You should hear a definite clicking.
On the II and III Series and the IIISi/4Si, make sure at least one of the two drum sensitivity tabs are present. These are small rectangular blocks of plastic which contact the switches in the printer.
On the 4V/4MV check the toner cartridge micro switch on the High Voltage PCB - SW501.
Also on the 4V/4MV check the door open sensor (PS402) on the terminal board located under the transfer roller.
Can also be caused by a defective DC controller. Pretty rare though.
Toner cartridge is empty or toner in cartridge is not distributed evenly. Gently shake the toner cartridge both from side to side and from front to back. This can generally get you 100 or so more pages.
Bad or dirty cartridge contacts. Look for the conductive contacts on the cartridge and the corresponding contacts in the printer and make sure they are clean and free of contaminants.
Defective High Voltage power supply or on the LJ II/III the DC controller to High Voltage power supply can be defective. Check for opens on the cable.
IIISi/4Si check the door open sensor flag, PS1. Also check the toner level sensor and the toner cartridge itself for damage. It can also be caused by a defective DC controller. You can verify this by substituting a known good DC controller if possible.
The printer is not connected to a LAN when it's expecting to see a LAN. Terminate the port on the printer with a BNC T and two 50 ohm termination's.
The MIO card is defective or maybe just not seated correctly. Remove the card and reseat it, try swapping with a know good card from another printer. Replace if necessary
A large print job has exceeded the memory capacity of the printer. Verify that the SIMMS or memory cards are seated. Add more memory or simplify the print job. Remember the original HP Laserjet has only 128K of memory available, the LJ+ has only 512K and neither one is really upgradeable.
On the 5P turn the image adapt and page protect to ON or AUTO. These can be set within the Remote Control Panel. Press GO to resume printing.
On the 5L, set the Enhanced I/O to AUTO (PCL mode) and resend the print job.
The print job is to complex. Simplify the job by removing font changes etc. On the III, IIID, IIIP, enable page protect if you have and additional 1 MB of memory installed.
On the 4/4M/4+ and 5: The print job is to complex, enable page protect from the control panel and from the software. You may need additional memory.
4L Same thing with to much data or the page is to complex. Simplify the print job. Turn the image adapt and page protect to ON or AUTO either from the control panel or from within HP Explorers Remote Control Panel.
5P/5Si Same as above, Press GO to resume printing.
I/O configuration for the computer or printer is incorrect. Configure is properly.
Check I/O Cable, it could be the wrong cable or damaged.
Is the computer on?!
How about the I/O port - damaged, seated properly, pins not bent?
4+/5P/5 The computer and printer aren't talking because of improper signal protocols. Could be a bad cable or loose connection or just a poor quality cable. Reseat the cable and use only high quality IEEE 1284 compliant cables.
5Si Are you using a non-HP MIO device?
ALL PRINTERS The I/O card is not accepting data. May not be connected - check cabling - or it may be defective. Reseat the card and if available, swap with a known working card. Watch the termination's on the network cabling.
The print job is too complex to be processed. Laser printers are page printers and require the entire page to be processed before beginning to print. Simplify the print job by removing font changes and/or graphics. Add more memory.
Error 30 PS Error 16 - ALL PRINTERS An I/O time-out or a prompt for user interaction like a manual feed has been exceeded. Check the I/O connections and make sure the proper media is being used.
Error 30 PS Error 16 - ALL PRINTERS This is an unexpected PostScript firmware error. Reseat the PostScript SIMM and/or replace it.
Error 30 PS Error XX - ALL PRINTERS PCL file was sent to the printer while in PostScript mode or the PostScript file contains bad data, or you have experienced and application error (crash). You need to check the configuration of your printer and drivers, reset the printer, try issuing an initialization command from within the application. May need to reload your PostScript print driver file.
Momentary error, press "Continue" or "GO" to reset the printer
5L/6L Power Cycle the printer if error continues reseat the DC controller to Formatter
5P/6P Occurs if printer picks up two sheets of paper at once. Check pickup rollers and separation pad clean as needed. Replace if problem persists
IIIP/IIP/IIP+ Paper feed problem - check feed/pickup rollers for movement and wear. Replace as needed
IIP S/N between 2925J00000 and 3047J99999 replace fuser assembly
X= 1,2,4,5 A temporary error occurred - Press "CONTINUE" to clear.
41.3 Error - Unexpected paper size - more than one sheet of paper picked up. May be feed problem.
This indicates a communication problem between the formatter PCA and an optional interface installed (such as a network card). Remove and reseat the optional interface card. If the problem continues, remove the optional interface card and set the printer for standard parallel interface by taking off-line and holding down "Menu" key for 5-10 seconds. Scroll through items until "I/O =" appears and use the +/- key to display parallel and the enter key to select. Then put the printer back online and send a test job from the host computer via the parallel cable. If this is successful, you have a problem with the optional I/O card and should replace it or reset it
A 50 service error can be either a temporary error or a permanent problem requiring service.
Temporary Error: Power off for 20 minutes to allow the capacitor on the DC controller to fully discharge. If you don't allow this capacitor to discharge, you will still get a Error 50 even if you have fixed the problem. This may clear the error - either temporarily or permanently. If it clears the error it was most likely caused by a low power problem i.e. low line voltage causing the power supply circuits to drop out of regulation. Low/unstable power (low line voltage, brownout condition). If it doesn't clear the error you may have one of the problems listed below
The HP LaserJet II/IID/III/IIID, Apple LaserWriter II and many other Canon SX engine based printers have two common causes of the Service Error 50, a failure of the Triac in the AC power block assembly which requires rebuilding or replacement of the assembly, and a failure of the 14 tooth gear on the fuser assembly causing the roller to either become jammed or not turn at all due to a broken tooth on the gear. Other possible causes are the halogen heater lamp, the thermal fuse or the thermistor. The halogen heater lamp may be burned out, it should have less than 5 ohms of resistance between the two pins of the connector on the right end of the fuser assembly (you will need to remove the fuser assembly from the printer to access this connector). If it measures as an open circuit the lamp or thermal fuse is burned out (these parts are connected in series). If the error can be reset by turning the machine off for 20 minutes, it is most likely the AC power block. This condition will only worsen until the error 50 is constant. If the lamp begins to heat (you can feel the roller, but be very careful it's HOT ) its not the lamp or the thermal fuse and is most likely the triac (can replace with NTE 5608 or an NTE 5645) failing when current is drawn by the halogen heater lamp. Simply replacing the Triac is not recommended, there are two resistors, R102 & R103, and a solid state switch (SSR101) which should also be replaced. We have also seen the capacitor designated as C153 on the upper board cause problems. This 22 uf 25VDC electrolytic capacitor can leak and cause shorts. You can often verify the AC power block as the problem by opening the rear door of the printer and observing the heater lamp glow when turning the printer on - a dark room is best for this test. Another clue can be a "clicking" sound just prior to the error 50 appearing.
When replacing the triac, you often need to replace the solid state relay and possibly two resistors. It can be a labor intensive task requiring soldering skills (you don't want to peel those pads!).
Many times, although not resulting in an error 50, the upper fuser roller simply becomes worn, the teflon coating begins peeling and a vertical line(s) can result on the printed page. You can check for improper fusing in the area around the line by running your fingernail across the print. It should not rub off! If the coating on the roller is damaged, the entire assembly should be replaced. It is not cost effective to replace only the defective part - upper roller, single gear, etc. It's like tearing your engine apart to replace a single piston ring.
When you purchase a remanufactured fuser assembly, be sure you know what parts have been replaced and if OEM or after market parts have been used. Like anything else, there are both acceptable and exceptional parts available. We also recommend you replace the Ozone filter at this time. Check to see if you have the green access door just in front of the upper cooling fan in the right rear corner of the printer. If not, you have the older style filter which requires removal of the top cover to replace the filter.
On HP laserjet IIP/IIIP/Apple Personal LaserWriter printers, a Service Error 50 is most likely due to defective heater lamp. The halogen lamp burns out and can be replaced quickly. You can check this by observing the coloring of the lamp, it should be clear with the filament visible. To observe the lamp, you must first remove the fuser assembly from the printer. The assembly is located on the door of the printer and is the black felt/fuzz covered assembly with the "Warning High Temperature" imprint. To remove this assembly, remove the five brass colored screws. Slightly flex the housing and lift straight up and out of the printer. On the left end of the assembly you will see the ceramic lamp end with a white wire connected to a terminal. Remove the screw securing the lug to the terminal. Next remove the clip securing the lamp. On the right side of the fuser is a set screw - look in the area of the cover latch. Loosen this screw. You may now slide the lamp out of the fuser assembly. Do not touch the glass portion with your fingers as finger oils will create hot spots and cause premature failures. If the lamp is discolored it's developed a leak at the glass to ceramic seal and the filament has oxidized and is burned out. Occasionally, the power supply is at fault, usually on older machines that were manufactured early in the product life cycle. A manufacturing problem causes premature failure of the power supplies. To identify if you have one of the suspected power supplies in you HP LJ IIP, first check the S/N. This problem applies to S/N's below 2951JXXXXX. If your S/N falls in the range, then look for a RED dot on the power supply in one of two locations. You will have to remove the covers to do this. The first location is just above the AC inlet either on the P/N label RG1-1782 or to the left of the label. The other location is on the side of the power supply on the P/N label. If you do not have the red dot, then this is probably a defective power supply causing the 50 Service error.
On the HP Laserjet 4/4M/4+/4M+, our experience so far has shown the halogen lamp to be responsible for most error 50 problems. The thermal fuse and thermistor are also possible causes of a 50 Service error. You can remove the fuser assembly from the printer and measure the resistance of the lamp/thermal fuse circuit - it should be less than five ohms. Measure between the two heavy gauge pins on the fuser assembly connector. If you measure an open circuit, the problem is most probably the lamp. Removal of the lamp, although not difficult, requires knowing where the snaps are located to remove the plastic covers.
On the HP LaserJet 4L/4ML, errors are indicated by a series of indicator lights. This printer has four lights, Paper Jam, Paper Out, Data, and Online.
If all four lights are on, press and hold the blue panel button to display a secondary light pattern.
An error 50 is indicated by the ready and error lights with the blue panel button pressed. Turn the printer off for 15 minutes to see if the error clears. If not, you will need to remove the fuser assembly to perform further checks. This requires removal of the cover, an unpleasant task, and measurement of the fuser terminals.
The HP LaserJet 5P/6P indicates service errors in a similar manner to the 4L/4ML except there are 5 indicator lights. If the first four lights, top to bottom, are lit, press and hold the GO and RESET buttons. If the paper jam light is lit, you have a Service Error 50. Again, power down for 10-15 minutes or more to see if the error resets. If not, you may have blown fuses on the DC controller board or a DC controller failure, but in most cases you will need to replace the fuser assembly.
A service error 52 (Apple Personal LW series indicate this error with the two lower lights flashing, QMS PS410 printers with the error light being lit) indicates incorrect scanner speed and is generally the same as an error 51. This is a very common failure on the laserjet IIP/IIIP, Apple Personal Laserwriter, QMS PS410 and other Canon LX engine printers. This error can begin as an intermittent error which can be corrected by pressing Alt- continue (on HP printers) but it's only a matter of time until you can no longer correct it this way.
Early models of these machines had a scanner assembly which contained a manufacturing problem causing the scanner speed control IC to overheat and burn out. This is sometimes indicated by the very distinct and pungent smell of a printed circuit board burning. When the defective part is removed, the board material under the speed control IC is usually burned. The scanner motor assembly on this machine is buried deep in the center of the printer, and takes about three quarters of an hour to change.
We have seen this failure on machines with either very low page counts - 2-3K pages or between 8-12K pages. Of course it can happen at any page count. On the HP IIP you can get the page count by holding down the "ONLINE, MENU, and ENTER" keys while turning the printer on. Then press the "FORM FEED" key and then the "ENTER" key. You will see "00 SMODE" in the display, then "05 WARM UP" and finally the page count will be displayed. On the HP IIIP the page count is given on the test page and on the Apple Personal Laserwriter it's on the start up page (except the LS).
Heat and moisture are likely to aggravate the problem and induce failure. The replacement parts which are made for Canon by Toshiba, do not have the manufacturing problem. In very rare instances, the laser diode itself will be the cause of failure, usually resulting in an error 51. Listen to the scanner motor, it should have a distinct "whirring" sound as the printer prepares to print. Once the proper speed is reached, it should stabilize and the printer should print. If you don't hear the motor at all, usually accompanied by an error 52 indication, the scanner motor is defective. If you hear the motor spin but not stabilize and you get an error 52 the scanner motor is most likely defective. If you do hear the motor reach speed and then you receive and error 51 you may have a defective laser diode although this is fairly rare.
On the LJII/III and the Apple Laserwriter II series, this error is generally caused by loose connectors and may be indicated by an error 51 message. Many times the scanner motor will rev up and fail to stabilize - indicated by a whining motor sound.
A common solution is to tighten the connectors at both the scanner assembly and the DC controller. This is accomplished by removing the connector from it's mate and tweaking or bending in slightly on the connector tabs. When reseating the connector, use a small flat blade screwdriver to fully seat the female connector ends. You may also find the tie wraps on the wire harness are to tight, pinching the wires and causing an open or short. Simply cut these off. Occasionally, the scanner motor will fail in which case it must be replaced. Replacement is fairly straight forward requiring removal of the cover assembly, fiber optic cable, two connectors and four screws. We have found it is highly beneficial to replace the wire harness assembly and fiber optic cable when replacing the scanner since by this time you have probably already tried tweaking the connectors. While this involves more disassembly, our experience has shown it to be a worthwhile effort. These parts are also available on our parts page.
On the LaserJet 4 Series, an ERROR 51/52 is usually an indication of a defective scanner assembly. You should check for loose connections first of course.
On the HP Laserjet 4L/4ML/5L this error is indicated by the data light on and all others off.
On the HP Laserjet 4/4+/4Si/4V/5/4P/4MP the 53.XY.ZZ error code is decoded as follows:
53 (XY-ZZ) where
X- Hardware Type:
Y - Hardware Device:
ZZ Error number:
*A 53.1y08 error is generated in LJ4+ memory is installed in a LJ4 The 53.03.01 error code is decoded as follows:
"53 Error Memory Unit 1" - This indicates a problem with the optional memory card installed in either slot one or slot two. Can be defective or simply need to be reseated.
Error 54 LaserJet IID, IIID Only: Duplex Feed Error
2686 A/D Only: Main Motor Stall
On IIISi/4Si Printers this is due to the DC controller not receiving the proper information upon startup. Check the connectors on the DC controller and power supply. If you don't hear the motor immediately and you don't have a paper jam, change the power supply.