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HP Laserjet P2015 Error Lights (LED’s) Stuck On by Brett

Last week, I had an HP Laserjet P2015 with a serious attitude problem. The top two LED’s (Paper Jam and Toner) were stuck on. It is normal for the lights to illuminate after you first turn the printer on, but after a few seconds they should be replaced by just the ready light after the printer has finished its boot process. This one never finished booting. A few times the paper light would be the only one on. I know you don’t need pictures, but hey, I have them. The situation looked like this:

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I kept trying to find the jam, opening covers and powering it on and off. Once I was done with the physical and verbal abuse, I noticed that the motor was running briefly after powering on, as it normally does during the startup process. The motor will NOT run if a jam is detected by the sensors (go ahead, stick a sheet of paper in a sensor and see!) This must mean the problem isn’t a jam right?

So what’s the deal?

Short answer: The formatter board.

Long answer: There is an IC on the board that uses a BGA form factor. As with many similar chips, especially early designs it seems, the failure is likely an open circuit due to a break in one of the solder balls from repeated thermal stress.

If it’s bad enough, the computer will not even recognize that there is a printer plugged in, though I’ve seen different combinations of the above symptoms.

So, you’re wondering how you can fix yours? Well, once you’ve determined that this is indeed your problem, the next step is pretty straight forward: you have to get to the formatter board. To do this, pull out the paper tray and toner cartridge. Then, firmly grasp the printers’ bottom left corner and pull back and outward to release it, repeating for the top left corner. It may help if you place the printer right side down on the desk and do it like this:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, that video should at least be worth a $1.50.

Once the side panel is off, you can see the formatter board. If you look down at it from the top side, you can even see the little balls of solder under the IC.

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You’ll need to separate the board from the printer chassis. Start by unplugging the cables, carefully. Pull the ribbon cables with your fingers, griping them as close to the blue part as possible. Try not to bend them too much, as they are solid conductor. For the rest of the cables, just gently pull on the CONNECTOR to remove it from the socket, not the wires. If you pull on the wires, you risk pulling a wire out of the connector and complicating the project. You’ll want to remove the memory module too if you have one installed. Then, remove the four screws that hold the board in place.

You’re going to think this is a late April fool’s joke, but it’s actually not. The next step is to preheat your oven to about 350º Fahrenheit and remember, your printer doesn’t work now- so what do you have to lose?

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To prep the board for baking, remove the white barcoded sticker from the middle of the board and the black sticker from the memory module slot. Those two stickers should be the only thing not capable of ‘taking the heat’.

Next, you’ll want to get out a flat pan, like a cookie sheet. You’ll need to elevate the board above the pan so it doesn’t end up soldering itself to it. To do this, you could either carefully make four small tin foil balls to fit over the screw holes (make sure the foil does not touch anything soldered) or use my preferred method and find some larger diameter screws and jam ‘em into the mounting holes. You’ll want to position the board with the heavy components facing up, that is, the side with the memory slot, USB connector, and IC up.

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Once the oven reaches the target temperature, place the whole thing in and monitor it. You’ll want to leave it in for about eight minutes.

What’s happening in the hot box? Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the heat is going to make all the solder on the board liquid, including (hopefully) the solder under that darn BGA chip. Once liquid, the open circuit should close and stay closed after it cools; the board will function normally again.

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Once your eight minutes is up, turn off the oven and open the door to let it cool in place. It’s best not to move the board right now, since all the solder is in a liquid state. It only takes a small shift of one component and the whole board will be scrap. So, just let it sit there and cool in the oven until it reaches room temperature again.

After it has cooled, remove the temporary standoffs, replace the stickers, reinstall the board into the chassis, and carefully plug in the cables. Next, replace the toner and paper. Finally, plug in the printer, turn it on, and cross your fingers. This should happen:

If you get the above results, congratulations! Do a little happy dance. If yours still doesn’t work- you might have a bigger problem on your hands.

There is a alternate way of heating the board if you have the tools. I typically use a heat gun and a infrared thermometer to reflow my boards. This takes a little practice to hold the board at the target temperature and you have to get a feel for when you think it has reflowed. The end result is the same though.

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Although this is a very common problem for this model, this printer isn’t alone. The problem exists on a few other similar HP printers and beyond that, many other devices. Just this week, I’ve reflowed two printers, an LCD, and a laptop.

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113 comments:

William said...
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Orders up!!!

Jim Fuller said...
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Tried the "technique" last night. It actually worked! It smelled a little like burning electronics and there was a small puff of smoke but the results are all that count.

Brett said...
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@Jim

Glad to hear it. I'm a little worried about the smoke :-? let's just hope it was a little flux burning off. Can't argue with the results though... Happy printing!

zzzabcde said...
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Wow, works perfectly
very clear, detailed and concise instruction.
Only that I have to pull the wire, I tried to pull just teh connector but it is impossible even with plier and tweezers.

Brett said...
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@zzzabcde

Excellent! Yeah, those connectors are a bit stubborn at times, as I'm sure you know by now.

zzzabcde said...
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Thanks, guess what! now I tried that technique, baking at 350 for 8 minutes on a dryer solenoid and it works too. It is like this: the solenoid won't work, the resistance is high (That is no conductivity) indicates an open circuit, most likely the solder ball (same problem as the IC formatter board), I took it off , make everything will sustain 350 and bake it for 350 / 8 minutes and it workd again, Thanks

Gonçalo said...
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Worked like a charm
350 degrees for 8 minutes is the recipe!!!
Thanks for the superb info.

Patrick said...
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How does this work for a hot air furnace?

William said...
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Could you explain your situation a bit more Patrick?

Patrick said...
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What would the temperature be for a hot air furnace? And should you smell burned plastic? Cause I didn't!

I tried preheating the hot air furnace to 350º F (+/- 180º C) and bake the board for 8 minutes, but it didn't do the trick yet...

I will try 392º F (+/- 200º C) today and let you know

greetz

William said...
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Oh, I see what you were doing. All this stuff actually depends on what you are trying to melt as well. Some solder temperatures don't flow until around 450 degrees, while others flow at much less.

An oven gets everything to a constant temperature. While your direction at it is noble, I don't think it will work easily. It sounds like your using the furnace for a large heat gun. I don't think it will get the board into the temperature that you require to melt the solder efficiently without damaging components.

Some components will fail when exposed to high temperatures.

Patrick said...
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Well A hot air furnace keeps a constant temperature. It has a build in fan that circulates the hot air to keep it warm. These ovens are like combi ovens... They also have a grill, but I think that would be to much to bake the formatter board.

I just preheated the oven to 200º C An left the board for 10 minutes... It is cooling now... I'll get back to ya

Patrick said...
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Well William... It doesn't work with hot air furnaces :( Will need to find someone with an old fashioned oven Or use the grill option of the hot air furnace

I preheated the hot air furnace to 200º C but It didn't solve anything... It doesn't even look as if something happens with the solder

William said...
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Not sure Patrick. I have no experience with the oven method. I generally use a torch, heat gun or soldering iron when I'm soldering. Occasionally I'll arc solder also.

Patrick said...
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I use the furnace method because I saw it on a few forums, and I thought on this forum \ blog most people also used the oven \ furnace

han said...
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I have tried the "technique" last evening.
Wow, works perfectly.
Printer is up and running again.
Thanks for the info.

Kevin said...
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We have a similar problem with the same printer.

In our case, the following lights stay on, not blinking.

Paper Jam / Toner / Attention ! / the upsidedown C / and the power light.

I think we will try this oven trick, it can't hurt.

han said...
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We had a similar problem with the HP Laserjet P2015 printer.
The network connection went down every 3 to 4 minutes.
In this case we also tried the "baking technique"... Printer is up and runnning again.

Anonymous said...
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I just opened up my P2015 and pressed on it (lets see how long that "holds")....

GREAT ADVICE - THANKS!

Alan Jenkins said...
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Threw one of these away last year and was about to do the same again! Baked the board and it is now working fine! ... excellent stuff. Thanks alot! ... Hardest part was getting the cover off - used a coin as a lever. Used a combi microwave and was a bit worried that the board was rotating but seems to have worked ok. :)

Anonymous said...
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Awesome! I threw my last one away too... but so far it has worked on my second one! A million thank you's!!!

Declan said...
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Worked perfectly! Had a few nervous minutes as it baked but all ended well. Thanks!!

VanAlex said...
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After six months of having this printer down, and losing my sanity to the 'paper jam and toner' lights, I gave up. This printer is new, and I even bought the extra-paper tray.
But, last night I came across the 'baking' solution, and I gave it a shot, it worked just fine!
So, a BIG Thanks for your help and guidance!!!

rockclimbky said...
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Printer was dead for a year. This works proof here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRBTrYutFbc

William said...
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Thanks for the fun Video!

I am glad we were able to help out! Did you be sure to make some cookies as well?

Daniela said...
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It worked!! I am sooooooo happy :D

Anonymous said...
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At 175 degrees Celsius: Circuit board baked, Worked at first try! :-)
/Peter@ljungdahl.net, Sweden

Venkatakrishnan said...
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Very clear and crisp instructions, worked like a charm!
The only difficult part for me was to get the @#! cover off - never done that ever before. Would never have done the whole operation without the videos.

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...
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Netherlands here...

One crispy baked formatter board coming up!

Worked in our hot air furnace at 190 degrees C. Be sure to preheat for at least 20 minutes.

Thanks a million!

Anonymous said...
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At first I was skeptical, but when it worked I was amazed! Thanks for saving us some $.

Anonymous said...
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this tutorial it is genial.....it worked again for me :D thanks and greetings from Romania

K said...
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Worked perfectly for me as well! I too had the most trouble with getting the cover off. Thank you for posting this and saving us all lots of time, money and headaches!

Frank said...
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Great tip! I baked my printer board about 3 weeks ago (at 180° C during 9 mins) and the printer seems to function normally again since then. Pitty that this solution wasn't discovered earlier: another Laserjet P2015 is completely non-functional after a firmware upgrade (which was the solution HP originally suggested) failed. And it was out of warranty of course.

Rory B said...
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Whoa, this was one 'hot' tip! I was a bit skeptical, since I know my Weller soldering station uses much higher temperatures, but I tried baking at 400 deg. F for 5 minutes, and though some of the PCB conformal coating was a bit caramelized around the edges, the printer is back to its old self again.

Before this fix, the problem had been continuously-illuminated jam, toner, and paper lights (all three at once). Hopefully this printer will stay good for years to come. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...
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Rock On... Shake off the cover, Back the board... keep on trucking... AND NEVER BY ANY HP Printer again! Not that I know who to trust in, but on my other "color" printer/scanner you cannot do anything if ANY of the colors are low OR are "beyond a usage date"..

Anonymous said...
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Holy Crap. I have 12 of these printers for my business. I get the refurb toners for $25 each. This is amazing!

Marshall Hanks said...
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Wow! I was skeptical but it worked like a charm. This was the only HP printer to ever give me a problem and I loved the printer. We have six of them. Now I am ready in case the problem pops up again.

Anonymous said...
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If your baking other formatters I suggest removing the battery if installed, these can't take the temperature.

Anonymous said...
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I did it with a P3005 formatter but it killed the battery, not a problem though once I installed a new battery. UP and RUNNING!
This really does work, but remove any battery that may be installed.

Anonymous said...
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Very same problem with same printer. The oven method worked at 177 C for 10 min even with a convection oven (set temperature is often very different from the actual temperature depending on the position of the board in the convection oven). Excellent - printing again - thanks.

Frank said...
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Pity, a printer which I baked about two months ago is acting up again (after a certain time, the printer seems to loose network connection and print jobs are only printed after powering the printer off and back on). I'm going to cook that board a second time ...

Anonymous said...
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I must say, this is f'ing unbelievable! Same symptoms as shown in the video and same result after baking on 350 for 8 minutes. Can't thank you enough...bud light solutes you, a real man of genius!

Anonymous said...
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Yess! For the benefit of Aga owners, that's the bottom of the Baking oven for 5 minutes…

HP said...
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How do you want your PCB ? Raw, Medium or Working ? Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge. Had the same symptons on HP 2015n - baked the PCB and me ;) - Working ! (Btw - 180 Celsius - 8 Minutes - done)

Toby said...
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AWESOME!! Thanks Bro!! YOU DA MAN! I followed your "recipe" to Success! Thank you so much I was about to drop $200+ on a new printer. This printer works perfectly again. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...
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Cheers mate

worked first time. 220 degrees 10 min in an electric oven fan off. I'm still in shock can't believe it worked. I have another in the attic so i'll give that a go tommorow

Norts

Anonymous said...
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Goooooooooooooood !!!! thanks !!!!!!

Anonymous said...
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Worked for me. Thank you, saved me from buying a new printer.

Anonymous said...
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WOW what a trip, it actually worked. Not that I didn't trust you,I was skeptical. It actually fixed it like you said. I'm dancing, well in my head I am. Mega Thanks

uly said...
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Hi I do the formart card old i dont have the two leds in orange, pass correctly,but dont print any page the botton GO the led blink when i want print and do nothing, all the pages in blank i check the toner is new and paper.

Patricia said...
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You saved my printer from certain destruction! Thank you!

Chris said...
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The oven method worked like a charm! The printer was a little reluctant to get started at first...the jam light turned off, the toner light came on, they both came on, then both off with the exclamation light on. I opened up the toner door and paper tray, closed them, and then a page sitting in the queue for a week came out looking great. Thanks a million!

William said...
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Thanks for all the great comments on these success stories. I really enjoy getting the email seeing how well this has worked for everyone.

Richard said...
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It is entirely counterintuitive for an English lawyer to remove the guts of a printer and willngly put them into a hot oven, but that is exactly what I did tonight with totally satisfactory results. The printer now works a treat. $15 on its way to you to pay for a few cups of coffee.
Hint: I used a microwave with conventional oven setting. To stop the thing going round and round I took out the glass plate and put the board on an upside down oven dish. That way I could watch as the board cooked. It also meant that I could time it precisely for 8 minutes.

Mihai said...
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Great, worked fine for me, the printer is up and running.
The orange network indicator is not working anymore. Thanks alot.

Anonymous said...
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Thanks amazingly detail instrustions, worked perfectly

Just Another Jenny said...
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Bless your sweet, sweet, nerdy soul! Thank you! You just saved me a whole load of money!

I'm so proud of myself that I didn't fuck it up! :-)

Does it make sense to keep the printer turned off when not printing? Will this prevent the overheating of the board? Or does the heat mostly generate during printing?

Anonymous said...
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This worked for me. Fixed the printer at the school and we have 5.

Anonymous said...
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Works like a charm thanks a million

Anonymous said...
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All lights were on solid (except for the paper light), and the printer wouldn't respond to anything (no test page, nor recognize the usb nor reply to pings). After baking the board last night, it works like a charm!
Many thanx!!!
Rob McKennon
Unix Admin.

Brett said...
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@Just Another Jenny, @Richard

Awesome! Love to hear it. You made my day :-)

jasjot singh said...
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Hi Bret,

Thankyou so much for this tutorial. I have got this same printer and stuck up with paper jam light. I tried your method and worked in perfect order. God Bless you..Thanks Jimmy

Anonymous said...
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We just got rid of a second P2015 due to this same problem. Just tried it in the toaster oven here at work ... this unit is up and printing again!

Anonymous said...
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Holly Molly!!! I had a bad printer from around 2 years back. It just jumped back to life after baking. God damn!!!! Awesome! Thanks a lot!

Liz said...
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This just totally saved my ass! THANK YOU!!

Dustin said...
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I can't believe this just fucking worked! Nice job!

Kris Gaylord Rich said...
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Thx for helping fix my printer, you saved me a good amount of money!
I hope you can now go and buy some coffee and write more help mods!

Brett said...
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@Kris:

You rule! Time to get twitchy. Thanks!

Brian Homer said...
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Thanks so much. Got given a 2015 that was not working. Already had one at the office which has been great. Stuck the non-working one in the garage for over a year. Pulled it out a few days ago and baked the board. Hey presto its working. Fitted a new cartridge and its working well. Spot on.

Anonymous said...
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I just can't express how thankful I am to this detailed posting. It works! I was asked to change the formatter card for the second time for my HP P2015dn. With broken heart and nothing to loose, i did try this method of baking the formatter card. It worked! No smoking and nothing of that sort (may be because i removed all the labels as per the instructions). I would do it again if the printer ever goes crazy again with the faulty paper jam light on. Thank you so much for educating. You are my hero! -Sam, New Delhi.

Xalo Maira said...
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Really I cant believe it!!!

Works!!!

Thanks a lot from Spain!!!

Of course the most important part is cross the fingers!!!

LOL.

Thanks for your time and your good mood!!!

Rich said...
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Can't believe it, but it worked for me just now! Thanks so much for the tip.

The Malthouse said...
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Brilliant!!!! 100% Thanks for your help.

Owen

Anonymous said...
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Wow!! I didn't really expect this to work, but I figured I had nothing to lose, so I followed the instructions, and the printer is now back in order with no more fake paper jams! Thanks for this great tutorial.

Anonymous said...
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Incredible! It works fine all the time since I baked the board! Thanks for saving me money! And for saving a bit of space in my local landfill!

Steve N. said...
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Tried 8 minutes at 350 in regular oven. Fewer led's lit, but still not working. Tried 10 minutes at 400 in a toaster oven. That did the trick! Working like a champ! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...
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It worked great. thank you.

Anonymous said...
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Hi, just tried the technique as per instructions and had some success. Only problem is my formatter was the network version and it seems to have melted the network port a bit and thus can not use it for network printing. It does work fine by USB though so that is a bonus. Thanks.

Anonymous said...
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Hi, just tried the technique as per instructions and had some success. Only problem is my formatter was the network version and it seems to have melted the network port a bit and thus can not use it for network printing. It does work fine by USB though so that is a bonus. Thanks.

Unknown said...
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This comment has been removed by the author.
Han said...
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@Anonymous March 8, 2012 6:26 PM

If you're interested. I have a good working formatter board (Q7805-60002) including a Hewlett-packard Laserjet P2015 8MB/ 64MB Memory Module

Anonymous said...
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Fantastic !
Worked for me.
Any good computer shop should install an oven!
Thanks a lot.
Eric

Anonymous said...
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Fantastic! Had to add in my thanks as well! Followed the instructions to the letter (preheated 350F oven for 8 mins, then cool to room temp), and we're up and running again!

Anonymous said...
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I usually don't post comments that often, but I followed the directions on this site, and the results were fantastic. Everything is now working perfectly. I had a little smoke coming out of the oven (as I think someone else reported), but I'm pretty sure it was just due to the wax paper I was using to put under the circuit board. Thanks for the help!

WiMan said...
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Just tried 5 mins before 200c 8mins success!!!!

Anonymous said...
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I had two of these printers and one gave the fatal lights of death. You saved the day and my business a couple of hundred dollars to boot. THANK YOU for sharing this easy tip. My second printer cover tab towards the top of the unit was a bugger to release, but otherwise, it was an easy Sunday afternoon project. Again THANK YOU!

Tim said...
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It really does work!!

I'm amazed, and very grateful.

Thanks
Tim

Anonymous said...
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This little trick has worked for us :)

Same situation and followed the procedure precisely - printer is now back up and running.

Anonymous said...
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Thank you so much for these instructions! I know very little about computers in general, however, I was able to follow these instructions and I got my printer back up and running. It was awesome! Thank you, thank you!!!

Anonymous said...
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thanks.. mine is fine again.. hope it keep working!

Anonymous said...
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I was skeptical when read this well instruction, as the author mentioned “printer doesn’t work now- so what do you have to lose?” Therefore, I tried and I am glad I did. In our case, IP address keep dropping and paper tray “light on” even though we have papers in tray and it installed properly. I followed instructions, took 2 formatter boards, put it oven for about 9 minutes yesterday. I just installed them back to printers this morning and they worked again.
Thank you very much. Save our time, money and environment.

santi said...
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absoluttlllyyyy greeaaattt do exactly 5 min and cool for 10 and your fine thanks for the helpppp :)

Anonymous said...
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This solution totally worked for me as well tonight! Eight minute bake at 350 degrees, twenty minute cool-off period, and my HP p2015dn was good as new. My symptoms when the printer stopped working were: Normal motor sounds when powering on, but paper jam light was constantly on, and the printer was not recognized by the computer at all via the USB connection (as if the printer was turned off but connected).

Anonymous said...
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Worked! Followed the instructions and printer is up an running again. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...
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Two for two this evening. Forgot to take the stickers off the second one, and moved the cookie sheet to on top of the stove before letting it cool. Still worked.

Two more P2015s to do tomorrow. Thanks so very much.

Anonymous said...
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Hi, trying this now on a cm1312nfi laserjet. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kai Gillmann said...
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I had the same problem but only the jam led was lighted.

I was a little afraid it could permanently damage the board but some reading and research helped. I used my furnace in the kitchen, cleaned expecially for this use and after so foot and board will not have trouble with each other.

I prepared the board as i read in several articles. It WAS important to remove the sticker (big black memory protection and serial) because i have seen ugly results at youtube. And i used screws to lift it up a little bit so nothing gets moved or touched while baking.

I preheated to 185°C (365°F (google)) after i read that the solder will be fluid then and baked it for 8 minutes.
After that, i turned the furnace off and opened the door, leaving the board where it is so it won't be moved until the solder is solid again.

30 minutes later, i reassembled the printer and it worked as good as new.

If you really think what you are doing and read everything and several sources carefully to get some knowledge of what you are doing, then my opinion is, this is not dangerous at all. Care is everything and the result is perfect!

Thank you so much for your article, this saved me >100€ repair costs. Thanks

Chris said...
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Worked again on the same P2015. I've baked the board 3 times now. Seems to make it work for about 3 months at a time. Upped the time an extra minute this time. Thanks again again again!

Dante Sparda said...
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actually I wasn't going to try this until I read : "your printer doesn’t work now- so what do you have to lose?"
I tried it and it works perfectly , I do really appreciate your help , big thanks man ^_^

Anonymous said...
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Thank you so much, it worked!

Anonymous said...
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Thanks! Ran the oven at your specs. Voila! Working P2015.

Anonymous said...
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This method still works flawlessly. Found a P2015DN abandoned at a downtown Atlanta university loading dock. Paper jam, toner AND paper light were lit. Baked the board in a Breville toaster oven at 350 for 8 min and let cool for a good 30 min. Good as new - free laser printer! Thanks!

R said...
on

use a Hakko Heat Gun set to 370C

http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-Heat-1300-Watts-Temperature/dp/B000BN2ZZY

Lesser risk of damaging the coil, battery or whatever discrete components in the board.

Toes said...
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Thanks for your detailed description. It worked a treat on a Network model and did not melt the ethernet port.

My plan B was a couple of Brother printers to replace this multi tray printer at NZ$320 so i'm happy.

Todd Westfall said...
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Honestly, this worked! I would have bet money against it, glad I didn't.

Anonymous said...
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Cooked my board yesterday. Reinstalled this morning at work. Printer fired up and printed a cached document. Couldn't believe that it was so simple and worked like a charm. Thanks for the resolution!

Tom said...
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baked two this morning and it works fine now

didn't know baking has some use.

Anonymous said...
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Had a P2015 on my desk at work which developed this problem. It was written off by IT. Brought it home, followed the instructions, now working perfectly... Who'd have thunk this would work so well.

William said...
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Glad that worked for you.

Free work handouts are the best!

Anonymous said...
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Thank you very much!

I tried the same on a P2015dn where the paper light was stuck (with orange light), now it works again!

Bruce said...
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I admit I was a little skeptic, but now I can freely say that you're THE KING!!! Thank you!!!

Mike Sannuto said...
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This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
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I was not really convinced this would work. But as you said it was not working anyway so what do I have to lose. Boom. Worked first time. Well done. Good work for this.

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