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Author Topic: HP wants $1,000 for trivial fix of Z3100. Advice?  (Read 3328 times)
zhupanov
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« on: May 12, 2008, 11:42:03 AM »
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Folks,

I have an HP Z3100, which I bought shortly after it came out (more than a year ago).  I have been using it quite sparingly.  Recently, it suddenly stopped accepting paper.  (It continues to say "Load Paper in Real Slot" regardless of any attempt on my part to put paper there, whether roll or sheet).  I did some research, and it appears other have had this problem, and that it involves a quite fragile paper sensor.

I called HP support today, and they want $1K to come out and fix it.  I find this outrageous, given that the printer sells for around $3K minus available rebates.  Oh, and HP support told me I can't even purchase their extended warranty any longer, now that my printer is broken.

I am looking for advice, because, neither the option of trashing the printer, nor that of throwing good money after bad is appealing to me.  I also hope that this case and its resolution may prove to be a useful lesson to others.  Perhaps that lesson is that $1,500 extended warranty must be automatically added to the price of any DesignJet...

Thanks very much in advance!
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rdonson
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008, 01:56:13 PM »
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Have you contacted the dealer you bought the printer from to get their take on it?
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[span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'][span style='font-family:Arial'][span style='font-family:Geneva'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Regards,
Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
zhupanov
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 03:08:21 PM »
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Have you contacted the dealer you bought the printer from to get their take on it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=195254\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I bought it on-line, over a year ago, from a non-digital-printing specialty store, but rather from a general computer/electronics web site, so I doubt very much they'd be of any help.  Still, probably worth a try.  Thanks for the idea!
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Roscolo
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 04:48:16 PM »
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Wonder if they would have fixed it if you had purchased the extended warranty before you reported a problem. Might be a strategy here for others whose original warranty has expired. If you hit a serious problem, buy the extended warranty first.
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Tim Anderson
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008, 05:14:18 PM »
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If you are the least bit mechanically inclined you can replace the paper sensor in about five minutes.  It is located above the spindle on the right hand side of the printer.  It is connectorized, and the wires on my machine are color coded red, black and blue.  Gently pull the connector apart and trace the wire back to the sensor.  Work slowly and don't force anything; you should be able to figure out how to get the sensor out of the printer without damaging anything.

Part # is Q5669-60676

Chances are very good that you can restore normal operation to your sensor by clearing the paper dust from between the contacts. that was all that was wrong with mine--it seems like a design issue as many others have had the same failure.

--Tim
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zhupanov
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2008, 06:18:51 PM »
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If you are the least bit mechanically inclined you can replace the paper sensor in about five minutes.  It is located above the spindle on the right hand side of the printer.  It is connectorized, and the wires on my machine are color coded red, black and blue.  Gently pull the connector apart and trace the wire back to the sensor.  Work slowly and don't force anything; you should be able to figure out how to get the sensor out of the printer without damaging anything.

Part # is Q5669-60676

Chances are very good that you can restore normal operation to your sensor by clearing the paper dust from between the contacts. that was all that was wrong with mine--it seems like a design issue as many others have had the same failure.

--Tim
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=195297\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Many thanks, Tim, I will definitely try that!  Should I try to get to it from below (the bottom) of the printer,
or from the top, by opening the top lid?  Thanks!
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Dward
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2008, 07:04:58 PM »
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Many thanks, Tim, I will definitely try that!  Should I try to get to it from below (the bottom) of the printer,
or from the top, by opening the top lid?  Thanks!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=195312\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The HP repair tech replaced mine by taking off the back of the printer---the plastic that runs the length of the printer, curved to make room for paper rolls.   This piece is held by two torx connectors.   If you lie beneath the printer, you'll see two wires (blue and red, with a white plastic connector) emerging from the right side of the printer housing (right as seen from the front).  Those two wires lead to the paper sensor.    The sensor on mine failed--it wasn't just a matter of dust accumulation, as it often is.  Mine failed under warranty, so I got to watch the repair tech do the replacement--I took notes for the next time the damned thing fails. The sensor is fragile and (obviously) prone to failure.  HP should never have suggested 1k to do such a simple replacement---anyone not physically incapacitated should have no problem.


David V. Ward, Ph. D.
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David V. Ward Fine Art Photography
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Roscolo
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2008, 10:40:37 PM »
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Search the forum. I may be mistaken, but it seems like someone posted a link to a download of the HP z3100 service manual here some time ago. I know I got it from somewhere, because it was 6 .rar files and I downloaded them and I think it was here.

I just checked my download of the service manual and it describes in some detail how to remove the Out of Paper Sensor. Let me know and I will send you a file of the manual if the link on the forums is no good.
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zhupanov
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2008, 10:53:27 PM »
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Executive summary: Problem fixed!
=======================
Many thanks to everyone for all the helpful suggestions!  I ended up removing the sensor, and quick experiments with shorting the wires showed that it was indeed the sensor.  I took the sensor apart, and after playing with it by trying to clear the light path  between the 2 photo diodes, I became convinced (rightly or wrongly) that I had to completely remove the plastic obstructing the light path.  10 minutes later, thanks to Dremmel rotary tool, it was all over.  Some more tests showed it was now working like a charm.  Thanks to you guys, that $1K is still in the bank, and I am already happily printing.  Many many thanks again to all!

Cheers,
  sergey

P.S. A suggestion to others who may end up in my situation: read the manual first -- you may be able to fix the sensor by a less destructive method, though the advantage of what I have done is that it is now much less likely for it to be clogged up by paper, etc.
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neil snape
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2008, 01:17:25 AM »
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It has become clear that the paper sensor is not robust enough for a LFP. Too many reports of failure and disabled printers for a pat that costs next to nothing.
Now I agree that all devices have a warranty for a specific duration, which after the period runs out necessitate a service call. I just don't agree that this common fault should be ignored in such a way. Tech support should be more than aware of this often faulty piece and suggest how a user can fix it themselves. They should also offer an inexpensive replacement sensor, as over time there will be many more of these to failing.
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