How to repair a DesignJet 5500 with Check print-head path (2) error

How to repair a DesignJet 5500 with Check print-head path (2) error

My Background

OK, so anyone who knows me, knows I am pretty handy at repairing printers. I spent the first 20 years of my career working for Canon & Konika Minolta as a Service Technician. This comes in very handy when repairing our own machines in the print shop,  as this post demonstrates. It’s also very good for keeping costs down and our print prices low.

Our HP Wide-format Machines

So We have four HP large format machines. A super High-quality photo/Giclee Z3200, A signage Latex ink 315, and two older Designjets (5500 & 1055) that we use for plan printing and poster printing. The Designjet 5500PS is a workhorse of a machine, but it’s getting long in the tooth, it was launched in August 2002. Saying that a few years ago we managed to get an almost new machine (still on its first set of inks). This machine is a peach and has covered a lot of printing while it’s been with us. The quality is still superb and the UV inks last 30 or 40 years and do not fade. BUT, in the previous few months, it had a few issues with Check Printhead path (2) and printhead faults popping up very randomly. Ive been very good on the maintenance side of things and fitted a new drive belt, cleaned and lubed the rails etc. but we have sill (particularly on a cold day) been getting the printhead path error.

For the age of the machine, it might seem obvious to go down the upgrade path. Technically this would not really improve output or quality as we have the various newer machines for specific jobs and this HP 5500 machine excels at poster printing, plus we have a stack of HP ink and printheads for the machine. So I thought I would look into the cause of the problems.

DesignJet 5500 – Check printhead path (2)

Some internet research pointed to the PSU and in particular, capacitors starting to lose efficiency just enough to cause the weird and very intermittent faults, there are a few posts on the HP website but they don’t really hit the nail on the head. I was about to get down to component level repair, but then I found a brand new PSU on eBay. I installed the new board (not a hard job – he says) and the machine fired up and has been stable as a rock. After checking over the old board, it turns out there is are five capacitors (see pic) that were basically just dried up and my guess would be causing mayhem when being called upon to supply charge. So if you have an HP Designjet 5000 and 5500 Series Printers – with Switch Power off, Check Printhead Path and all else has failed, give the PSU a once over.

HP Power Supply Board - clear paper path fault

Power Supply Board

Dried up Capacitors

The arrows point to the Capacitors affected

I still get a kick from repairing our machines – not to mention the cost savings and no downtime

So, there you have it. If you have a Designjet with weird and wonderful faults, try repacing the capacitors at board level repair or get a new PSU. Thank for reading a bit more of a techy post than usual – I hope it gives insight into my business and helps anyone with the same problems.