The kindness of a stranger

My wife’s HP C5180 Photosmart printer broke and she asked me to fix it. The printer was stuck in a permanent power-on reset cycle. I looked to all of the obvious “check this first” kind of stuff. There were no observable external problems.

Before digging in to the problem, I scoured the internet for a repair manual. No luck. There was no combination of keywords and advanced Google search features would lead me to a useful document. It was looking more and more like we’d be taking that dreaded trip to Best Buy so we could once again have color printing at my house.

And then I found I clicked on an article with this title: My HP c6150 printer keeps turning on and off all.  Bull’s-eye! Someone named a1224imac had a detailed and knowledgeable response. It seems that the printer suffers from a reliability problem, caused by early life failures in some electrolytic capacitors. There was even a picture showing how to identify the failed capacitors.


At this point I was still uncertain about how to take apart the printer. However with a little guesswork, it came apart easily. The printer’s control board was held in by six torx head screws. I removed the control board so I could get a look at the component side. Sure enough, two of the electrolytic capacitors had plumped up, like in the picture on fixya. I ordered replacement parts from All Electronics and waited a week.

The parts arrived and I replaced the two defective capacitors. It was a little bit difficult clearing the solder from each capacitor’s mounting holes. I had to use a solder sucker, a tool I use only as a last resort. The replacement caps were considerably bigger than the original caps that I intended to replace. I had to get somewhat creative to install these in the space provided. See picture below.  But otherwise, there was nothing special about the repair. I installed the control board back into the printer.

Big caps in HP printer

Big caps in HP printer

The printer went through a dreadfully long power up sequence, but eventually, the machine indicated that it was ready to print. I sent a print job to the printer. Amazingly, the printer works. Thanks a1224imac.







~ by ratdad on December 26, 2010.

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