Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fixing my HP Officejet printer

I can't remember how long ago I bought my Officejet 6500 wireless printer, but it must be quite a few years now. Alongside my Samsung laser printer, this printer has been used to primarily to scan stuff or copy it. When the network works well, it's great to be able to print to it wirelessly and, since it lives downstairs, not to have to run upstairs to get the print!

Recently it's begun to misbehave and not pick up the paper. At first it was reluctant, but with a little encouragement it would work. Now it just doesn't want to know. A long time ago, when I got my first monochrome HP inkjet I had a similar problem for HP supplied a fix in the shape of a piece of glass/sand paper on a block and a bit of software to get the rubber roller running through a cleaning cycle.

Perhaps, I wondered, could it be that the pick up roller on the 6500 was suffering a similar fate and had become smooth or dirty to the point where it could no longer grip the paper? This called for a little experiment!

Staring into the paper tray I watched as the pick roller vainly tried to grab a sheet of paper. I could see the small rollers spinning around on the surface of the paper like slick tyres on a Formula One car on a wet track!

The MK1 Roller Cleaner!
So I went into the garage and got a piece of 320 grit aluminium oxide paper and double-sided taped it to a sheet of paper where the roller picks up. I then inserted the paper into the tray and held it gently in place while I set the printer copying some piece of paper.

You may be able to see the marks made by the roller as I did this several times. The printer simply reports "out of paper" and I just kept hitting the button to set it going again. Eventually I reloaded the paper tray and let it go. Hey presto, it picked up and printed!

I don't know how long it will last. Perhaps tomorrow it won't pick up again, but I'm guessing that dirty pinch rollers were the source of the problem and now they are clean the printer should be good for a while longer. Saves sticking it in the bin!

If you try it, remember not to let go of the paper while you're cleaning the roller. Otherwise you'll get a print copy at best and maybe it will get jammed at worst or even worse the sandpaper will damage the printer somehow.

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