Mar 25th 2007

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Service your HP Photosmart/OfficeJet/Deskjet Printer

This engine has a few weaknesses, but many benefits over a new cheap printer.

Real construction,not some flimsy creaky thing

Regardless of bogus specifications, a print quality that will rival all but the best modern printers.

Much cheaper consumables. The 1215 we are using here uses the same cartridges as some of the HP large format printers, these are very cheap, will be available for ages yet and are huge in capacity (typically twice the capacity of most modern refills for the low end printers.

The weaknesses are

Rear Paper feed, rollers wear causing missfeeds

Ink Head Spittoon gums up shortening cartridge life and in severe cases completely fails to clean the heads (sometimes this starts as a clunking noise as the gears on the cleaning mechanism jump teeth)

In very severe cases the above will leak or the printer will have been stored on its side and ink will have spilt around the mechanism.

This little service will take only about an hour and a half (two hours max) and requires only the following simple tools

A torx T10 screwdriver, don't be tempted to try with anything else. You may be able to undo the screws outside the unit but I can assure you that you will not shift some of the internal screws later on.

A medium size flat head screwdriver

Some light grease (I prefer lithium grease which you can get from model shops, but in a fix you could use a heavy oil)

A kitchen sink, paper towels and preferably a pair of disposable surgical gloves (the ink pigment is very hard to remove from skin or clothes)

Some Isopropyl Alcohol (or if you can't get that meths or surgical spirit will do)

The actual disassembly instructions here are for a Photosmart 1215. HP printers are notorious for having hidden clips to release the outer shell. If yours is a different model think smart and study everything carefully. If you take it apart right nothing needs to be forced so if you are wrenching at something with a screwdriver you are doing it the wrong way.

Don't be disturbed by my printer looking cleaner than yours. I took some of the photos as I was reassembling the unit after service which is why the printer is fairly clean and my fingers are dirty.

Turn the printer on and open the top cover as if you were about the change the cartridges. If the printer is working well enough the head should move from the home position to a central position. If not then don't worry it just makes taking it apart slightly more difficult. Once the head is in position and before you close the lid remove the power.

Remove the rear cover (or the duplex module if you have that option fitted)

Step 2. Unclip the cover around the ports on the back, it just snaps off using two keyways at the bottom.

Step 3. Behind the cover carefully remove the two white ribbon cables on the left as shown below.

Step 4. Turn the unit around and pull out the paper tray as far as it will go and then press in the release clip (as shown below) to remove it completely.

Step 5. Underneath the unit on each side of the paper tray, release the clip and pull the buttresses (outer side bits each side of the tray) forward to remove them.

Step 6. Lift the lid on the top and remove two torx screws near the hinge.

Step 7 Lift the top of the casing to remove it, often there are some clips near the front (on the 1215 you need to go inside the unit and look in the corners to release them) but generally gently pulling and prising will reveal where the clips are on the casing and there is usually an access hole on the underside to release them. At the rear you will need to release two clips (as shown)

Now you should be left with something that looks a bit like this.

Step 8 On the Right hand side near where the black head cleaner tank is you need to remove the bit of grey plastic on the base. At the back near the connector for the duplex unit use a flat blade screwdriver to release the securing clip.

Do the same on the front

Then lift the plastic bezel clear

On the side of the head cleaning tank there is a single torx securing screw, remove this. At the same time unplug the wiring connection to the motor on the side.

Working around the rear of the printer, unclip the power socket and remove it

Unplug the lead from the PSU board

On the opposite side at the back, unplug the lead to the carriage motor

Next on the main PCB still at the back unplug the main loom connection

Then unplug the ribbon cable going to the parallel and USB connectors

Step 11 Turn the printer around and locate two torx screws behind the carriage drive belt that secure the carriage backplate and remove them.

There are also two screws in the middle of the main carriage rail. Remove these as well

Step 12 Now you should be clear to lift up and remove the carriage backplate, complete with the carriage, motor and heads, it hinges up from the bottom and then should lift off completely. Place this somewhere safe with a piece of paper between the heads and the surface as they are likely to be quite messy.

This should leave you with the base of the Printer and the Head cleaner spittoon should be ready to pull out, now only being held in by a few clips.

Step 13 Undo the single torx screw on the side that secures the motor and remove the motor plus the two white gears behind it.

Remove the two torx screws on the top of the spittoon.

Step 14 Ok at this point stop where you are and carry the spittoon to the kitchen sink, the next bit will get messy. Remove the lid and extract the cleaning carriage and the axle from inside. If the unit is really messy then allowing warm water to fill it and overflow until the water starts going clear will help.

Once the parts are removed then clean them individually. There should be a felt sheet in the bottom of the tub, remove this and clean it up as best you can. Pay particular attention to the rubber wipers at the front of the carriage and the suckers that go over the head when it is in the parked position.

Any stubborn ink can be removed with a bit of your alcohol cleaning fluid. Leave the parts somewhere warm to dry.

Step 15. Whilst we are waiting for those to dry, clean up the rest of the mechanism with a soft paintbrush (make sure there are no lose hairs on the brush first)

Inspect the optical encoder wheel on the left for ink stains and clean very gently with a cotton bud and some of your alcohol solution (gently wipe, don't scrub)

Do the same for the encoder strip that runs alongside the belt on the carriage backplate you removed.

Step 16. Next turn the base of the printer around and remove the rear rollers. These are the large wheels on the shaft right where the duplex unit would go. There are two black plastic retainer clips that hold the axle into the chassis..rotate them both towards you so that the black tab is in the slot that goes from the axle to the back of the chassis and the whole assembly should pull out.

Sorry no pics for this bit..My printer didn't need this doing. Go over the surface of the rollers with some coarse sandpaper, followed by a good scrub with water. Allow them to dry and reinsert (remembering to relocate the securing tabs in their original location.

Step 17 Right you are more or less done. Reassembly is the reverse of removal. Take care not to trap any wires when reassembling the chassis.

When reassembling the head cleaner a thin coat of your grease or oil on the rails the cleaning carriage runs on will really help. Assemble the cleaner with the carriage at roughly the mid point.

You don't need to lubricate any of the gears as they are impregnated with lubricant and operate better "dry"

Also clean the carriage guide rail if it is mucky. Then apply a thin coat of grease or oil. It will seem that the first pass of the carriage wipes all this off but there is a felt wiper inside that picks this up and then constantly lubricates the carriage rail as the printer runs.

Assemble the rest of the printer, check you have reconnected all the wires, following the above instructions in reverse.

Load with paper and run a head cleaning operation (the 1215 can do this from the front panel, others may need to be attached to a computer first) and check for a good print and no funny noises.

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