primal1

asked Oct 20, 2006 at 1:18am
Hp HP DeskJet Plus

HP 4M Plus Power Supply Problem?

Yesterday, when trying to print out a document, all that would come out of my HP 4M Plus printer was an essentially blank page, and that would repeat until I turned off the printer or the paper tray ran out of paper. Observing the printer repeat this process, I noticed the unusual behavior of what appeared to be the printer trying to repeatedly start from cold, displaying the "02 Warming Up" message in the printer display after each blank page, then printing another blank page, warming up again, etc., etc. The pages aren't completely blank, but usually have a faint one-inch wide horizontal line printed about one-half-inch down from the top of the page. There are no error messages, and test pages cannot be printed.

After reading every single post that turned up by searching for "HP 4M Plus" on this Forum, and after searching through all the other documentation on the fixyourownprinter.com Web site, as well as the HP Web site, I think the above symptoms indicate a failed power supply unit. I checked the HP support site and see that this part is quite expensive, so I was hoping there might be some less expensive solution.

Do these symptoms sound like a failed power supply? Is there some other test that I can perform to help pinpoint this problem?

If a failed power supply is in fact my problem, does fixyourownprinter.com have one in stock or can you get this part? If so, how much would it cost? Finally, is this a repair I can perform myself after purchasing the part from you (funds are extremely tight at the moment)?

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.
You would try the engine test:

http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/reference/guides/engine/ex

I don't work for FYOP, but I'd lay odds that they have whatever part you need for a LJ 4M+, (heck, I have several in my basement if Moe & Co. ever run out of parts for these).

by Stephen on Oct 20, 2006 at 4:16am Add comment
Given the description, I doubt it would do an engine test. It is also extremely unlikely it is a power supply issue. Power supplies can not give a paper feed command. What I would do is pop the right side cover off. The large metal box under it houses the power supply. Open the metal panel with the screw in the middle and take out the screws holding the box in. There are also 2 screws in the back. Then power it up and see if it stops feeding paper. Then you can try the engine test.
by moe on Oct 20, 2006 at 1:18pm Add comment
Did you perchance mean to say that the large metal box houses the formatter?
by Stephen on Oct 20, 2006 at 6:37pm Add comment
Long week. I stand corrected. Wife is making me go on vacation next week. Hint: Pineapples Only problem with vacations is you have to come back.
by moe on Oct 20, 2006 at 11:13pm Add comment
Okay, so I followed Moe's and Stephen's suggestions and removed the screws, then tried the engine test. I printed two sheets with vertical lines down the entire sheets (an improvement since nothing would print before), but then the printer display started flashing "55 Error" which I assume means a "defective main motor PCA" - which I understand according to the FYOP site info can be fixed with the "HP LaserJet 4+/5 55/57 Service Error Repair Kit." Is this the correct assumption, gentlemen?

If so, I see the kit appears to be in stock, and given that I live just a short distance from the shop, I'll have to pop by and pick one up.

As always, you guys are a breath of fresh air in this world of "if it don't work, just trash it" attitudes.

The "Exit Jam Repair Kit" and "50 Service Error Repair Kit" I easily installed not too long ago plus the three drop offs to the shop for other repairs over the years have kept this puppy cranking it out for the many years since I purchased it new. And all this in spite of serious rust and corrosion issues as a result of its close proximity to the beach!

Can't express enough how much I appreciate your ongoing assistance, the FYOP Forum and Web site, and all the other efforts extended to keep these seemingly indestructible HP 4M Plus printers in the game... Thank You!
by primal1 on Oct 21, 2006 at 2:14am Add comment
Actually you need to remove the screws, and then remove the formatter, then run the engine test with the formatter removed from the machine.

I think the 55 error may be due to running the test with the formatter installed.

Since the engine test ran, the formatter has probably failed. (and it's easy to change)
by Stephen on Oct 21, 2006 at 5:10am Add comment
In retrospect, I guess I should have said to pull the formatter assembly out after removing the screws. Since you got a 55 error on the engine test, I'd agree with Stephen as to it being a bad formatter. That was the object of this exercise to remove the formatter so we could prove the rest of the engine was working. If the motor was bad, it wouldn't have printed the engine test.
by moe on Oct 21, 2006 at 4:31pm Add comment
My mistake, I thought removing the screws and losening the formatter board would somehow break a ground or something - I should have thought that through a bit more but I was concerned about breaking something by removing the board entirely since I didn't know what was behind the formatter (but after removing the formatter it's amazing to see how simple the attachment is).

I did repeat the test by removing the formatter board completely, then performed the engine test. Got the vertical stripe print out in spite of the flashing "55 Error" message. Sometimes the 55 error goes away and "00 Ready" remains, but when trying to print a test page the print job fails and the 55 Error flashes again. While the 55 flashes the printer appears to be trying to "cold start" at regular intervals, though it no longer indicates it's warming up on the display, it only shows the 55 error (plus a very faint single digit to the far right of the display that appears to be cycling quickly through several digits as the 55 flashes).

I guess this means a formatter board replacement and _not_ the "55/57 Service Error Repair Kit" - should I assume now that this is the best guess final shared diagnosis as the both of you appear to be indicating?

I think I read in one of the posts that the printer's historical data (like number of pages printed) is on the formatter board so all that will be lost - is this also correct, and does the loss of any of the information on that board make configuring a new board something I could not do myself?

Do you have a 4M Plus formatter board in stock? Can you give me an idea of the cost to replace the board?

Again, thank you Moe and Stephen for your help in pinpointing the real problem, and soon enough to prevent me from possibly purchasing the "55/57 Error" kit which it now appears would not have solved this problem.

I really appreciate all the time you two put into helping others on this forum, and will continue to refer others to your site and shop!
by primal1 on Oct 21, 2006 at 11:11pm Add comment
If you got a 55 error message then you did not remove the formatter. The display on the printer is connected to the formatter so with the formatter removed, the display will remain blank. The only thing I can think of is your removed a MIO network card which is seated in the formatter. Even with that said it does look like you need a formatter board.
by dmzcompute on Oct 22, 2006 at 8:22am Add comment
I was wondering about the error myself. Like DMZ says, with the formatter board removed, there won't be a display.
by moe on Oct 22, 2006 at 10:04am Add comment
Yes, on the first test sequence, I removed the screws but did not remove the formatter board completely - my mistake.

After Stephen and Moe pointed out that I should have completely removed the formatter board I repeated the test (the second test sequence). The display was blank and the engine test produced a printed page of vertical stripes, so it appears the printer passed the engine test without the formatter board installed.

After re-installing the formatter board and starting the printer, the flashing "55 Error" message appeared on the display and pages would not print (though I could still print the engine test page) and the printer would start the cycle of repeated "cold starts."

So it appears we have isolated the problem to the formatter board.

Is there any thing else I should check that might contribute this problem?

Am I correct that the "55/57 Service Error Repair Kit" will not fix this problem?

Do you have a HP Laser 4M Plus formatter board in stock?

If so, please let me know how much would it cost.

Is this just a plug in replacement, or does something need to be configured after the formatter board is replaced?

Thanks again Moe, Stephen, and DMZ, you guys really give a lot to the community and it's very much appreciated!
by primal1 on Oct 22, 2006 at 5:56pm Add comment
I am sure Moe has one in stock and you can email him at [email protected] or just click on the link by his name for one of the posts. Just so you understand if you are not using a MAC, then you can get away with just a 4 plus formatter without the "M". All the M does is add a postscript simm and I believe 4 more meg of ram and you can just move those items from you existing formatter to the new one.
by dmzcompute on Oct 22, 2006 at 6:34pm Add comment
Thanks, DMZ, I'll contact Moe. I do use Macs, but I'll swap out the postscript simm and additional memory simm as you suggested. I really do appreciate you guys walking me through all this and your patience as I stumbled through the procedure.

By the way, I'm a Web developer and if there is any way I can return the favor of everyone's help I'm more than happy to contribute that "for the cause." For instance, I maybe could help by creating more procedure-specific pages for FYOP, with both photos and written procedures, sort of "visual FAQs," that you guys could use so you don't have to keep answering the same questions over and over (An example might be like the "HP LaserJet 4/4+/5 Engine Test Location" page at http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/reference/guides/engine/ex only also including a verbal explanation of how to perform the test for those who can't figure that out from just looking at the photo). I'm willing to do the grunt work to create the pages and could email them to the FYOP webmaster if that would help.

Anyway, I'd like to give something back if I can. I'll propose that to Moe when I email him.

I really appreciate the FYOP resources and everyone who volunteers their time to help others!
by primal1 on Oct 23, 2006 at 4:55pm Add comment
The "M" also adds a JetDirect with an ADB port.
by Stephen on Oct 23, 2006 at 5:04pm Add comment
That also can be moved to the new formatter.
by dmzcompute on Oct 23, 2006 at 5:09pm Add comment
I think the JetDirect cards come in different flavors, mine has three ports, a LocalTalk, a 10Base-T (not exactly the GigaBit Ethernet my Mac is equipped with!), and a BNC - thanks Stephen!

So, I'll swap out the postscript simm, the extra memory simm, and obviously the JetDirect card, it's the only way I can connect to the printer now (but I think that 10Base-T slows down my whole Ethernet network if I'm not mistaken) - thanks DMZ!
by primal1 on Oct 23, 2006 at 5:09pm Add comment
Got 100Base-T cards, cheap! Primal lives down the street from us. He's going to stop by the shop and I'll take good care of him.
by moe on Oct 23, 2006 at 9:23pm Add comment