This list gives a general overview of common error messages, and possible causes.
HP have been fairly consistent in their use of laser printer error messages over time so that message "13" is "paper jam" and "50" is "fuser problem". There are hundreds of models of course and naturally there are differences in the feature set so there have to be differences in the precise messages. Where the descriptions given here are too vague then the user and service manuals for the specific printer are needed.
Business quality printers now have multi-line and graphical displays as well as internal web servers. Numerical messages might become less necessary in future. However numbers have the ability to sum up a complicated issue in one phrase so they are likely to remain in use. Internet servers tend to return a numeric error together with a descriptive phrase and printers should probably go on doing the same thing.
The printer keeps a count of pages and possibly of page cover. The printer firmware prompts for "maintenance" when it is programmed to do so.
Maintenance Kits are available here.
Maintenance Kit reset information is here.
If you are maintaining your own printer and very familiar with its working you could just ignore and reset the prompt and make your own judgement about when parts need replacing. However if you are maintaining a printer on contract and the journey to site takes a couple of hours you will almost certainly want to give the printer a thorough cleaning and use a maintenance kit - a fuser and a set of rollers. With a fleet of printers installing the maintenance kits will minimise user downtime and IT support calls.
Fusers and rollers can fail before the printer asks for a maintenance kit. Rollers and the fuser have their lives partly determined by the number of pages they have handled and partly by the types of stationery used. If the printer usually handles 120gsm letterhead that will create more wear than ordinary 80gsm office paper would because there is more drag on the rollers and more edge-wear on the fuser.
Recycled cartridges generally cut the cost of printing but inappropriate grades of toner used with foil sleeve fusers will cause a build up of material on the foil giving dirty print and possibly premature failure of the fuser.
The printer is waiting for the fuser to warm up. This message lasts some time on older printers where the fuser could take two minutes to warm through. Recent HP printers use an "instant on" fuser that takes less than 10 seconds to heat up.
On older printers a persistent warming up message usually indicates a fuser with a failed heater. It is possible for the fault to be in the low voltage power supply, the DC controller or due to incorrect wiring.
The exact format of this message depends on the printer model. The printer is unable to read the electronic information (e-label) on the print cartridge.
For instance the CLJ 4700 uses 10.92.YY for "cartridge not engaged":
Cartridge seating issues could be careless installation which is easily corrected. The problem could be a broken cartridge guide.
The CLJ 4700 uses 10.00.YY for "can't read or write memory tag":
Supplies used in newer printer models contain a memory chip. This information contained on this chip is dependent on the printer model and the supply. Error 10.00 indicates a problem with the printer obtaining the information from this chip. The chip may be missing or defective or contain incorrect information. Turn the printer off/on to attempt to clear or reset the message. Remove and reinstall the cartridge or replace it.
It is possible to buy chips that the printer will identify and continue to work. These are normally used by cartridge refurbishers.
If the message persists with a known good HP supply then replace the memory chip cable/connector or the DC controller.
The CLJ 4700 has another message group 58.XX PRINTER ERROR which is "A memory tag error was detected." The distinction seems to be that 58.XX means the memory tag reader has failed.
At least one shipping lock is installed. Take the cartridge out and remove the orange shipping tabs and tape and the plastic insert foam if it is still present. The area is indicated by digits <yy>.
To continue press OK. Recent printers contain a real time clock so that they know the date, which might be helpful in job management for instance. The service manual for the P4510 suggests the cure for this problem is to power off and on again and if that doesn't work to do a cold reset and clear the NVRAM. Otherwise replace the formatter. That service manual doesn't say so but technicians might like to check whether the formatter has a flat battery.
The CLJ 4700 manual says 11.01 is dead clock battery and 11.02 is dead real time clock.
Older printers used "11" for "paper out". On recent printers that message is usually given in English (Or whichever other language is selected).
If the printer is not actually out of paper and the message persists the most likely cause is that the paper cassette is not properly inserted. Avoid treating the trays roughly, look for an obstruction, clean any waste toner off the slides. Is the printer on a firm surface that supports its weight? Modern printers have a largely plastic chassis and if they are standing on an uneven surface the plastic parts will distort slightly. Trays often get broken because of rough handling.
The paper sensor may be missing or improperly seated or the opto-sensor that detects it needs cleaning.
This error has been common on the LJ4 series - the sensor flag hangs down on the underside of the printer and is sometimes knocked out of place when the paper tray is inserted, particularly if it is overfilled or given rough handling. The paper flag can can usually be reinstalled quite easily. If it is broken it will have to be replaced.
Defective tray size sensors. Tray have tabs which engage with a series of three or more switches. The tray switches can be damaged, they can be depressed manually and there should be an audible click. The paper control sensor PCB can fail and will then need replacing.
If there definitely is a cartridge then check the cover doors and switches and any cartridge detection flag or opto-sensor.
Recent printers tend to use a human language description for this user-oriented issue rather than giving an error code number.
The "13 Jam" error is a notorious source of annoyance. Media starts on its path through the printer with the pickup and separation rollers.
The page passes a series of sensors, usually little spring loaded flags that protrude into the paper path and are pushed down as the page moves across them. At the other side of the flag is an opto-sensor. The mechanism is sometimes called a "paper dog".
If a sensor doesn't trigger within a certain time the printer firmware takes this as an indication that some paper is jammed. The printer tracks pages through the tray / pickup rollers/ feed assembly / registration assembly / transfer station / fuser entrance / fuser exit and delivery assembly. How many detectors are used and the accuracy of the message rises with the price and complexity of the printer.
There may be sub-codes 13.1, 13.2, 13.3 etc which indicate the tray involved or the sensor that didn't trip in time. For instance the P4010 and P4510 have messages like "13.20.00 JAM INSIDE <LOCATION> where LOCATION is one of TRAY 2, TOP COVER, REAR DOOR and DUPLEXER
For instance the CLJ 4700 service manual has nearly four pages of jams including things like code 13.12.17 is "JAM IN STAPLER".
The pickup and separation rollers are particularly prone to worn tyres after tens of thousands of pages use. Most rollers on recent HP printers have a soft grey tyre with a "flesh" textured surface when they are new. The texture wears away and the roller's ability to propel the paper is then less positive. UK and US office paper has a kaolin coat and this mixes with the plasticisers in the roller and produces a hard shell.
The optical part of the sensor may be dirty with dust, swarf or toner. Unfortunately they are infra-red so you cant see them working, but they can be cleaned with a brush.
Check the media specifications against those given in the HP user manual. All printers should work with 80gsm office copier paper. However excessively damp paper may stick to the paper stack in the tray. Paper with badly cut edges may also give misfeeds.
Check the paper guides in trays. There should be perhaps 1mm of play between the paper stack and the guides but no more.
Some printers will give a paper-jam message if the paper size is not correct. The printer knows the paper size in three ways: from what it was told by the computer, from the size set at it's own front-panel as a default and (on better printers) from paper size switches set on the trays. If the paper size expected is not the size found the timing for paper flow through the machine will be wrong and give a "13" error.
The rear door being open on 4L, 4P, 4, 4+ 5, 5P and 6P will give the same message.
Recent printers have easily changed rollers. If new rollers have just been installed check that they were pressed home correctly.
The pickup mechanism sticking will also cause this. On most printers there is an audible click just as the printer is about to pick up a page. A bad solenoid will also cause the image to be misplaced on successive pages.
The most common repair for frequent paper jams is a new roller kit, they are available here.
Check cartridge/ cartridge detection. Similar to error 12. Not clear why they repeated it.
Check or replace the cartridge(s). Some cartridges will give some extra life if they are shaken gently from side to side to redistribute the toner powder within. (This is true even of cartridges which say they should not need shaking)
This fault can also be caused by dirty or broken cartridge contacts.
This is another code being phased out in favour of English (or Regional) expressions on the control panel.
New cartridges are available here.
Network card not detecting network. If the printer has an MIO card the coax network termination is incorrect, there should be a T piece and 2 50 ohm terminators.
MIO network cards are an old design, replaced by the EIO card and by embedded networking on recent printers. The error code has moved to code "80".
Codes in the "20s" generally indicate some sort of memory or setup issue.
Press "GO" to resume printing on some machines
Either simplify the print job by removing graphics or font specifications. If the printer driver is asking for 1200 dpi print reduce that to 600 or 300 dpi - the print quality will suffer but the job should complete. Printing at 600 dpi needs four times as much memory as at 300 dpi, and at 1200dpi the memory footprint potentially quadruples again. If the printer driver is configured to use PostScript try using PCL instead. Alternatively, if possible add more memory or verify that the printer is seeing installed memory devices.
The print job is too complex to be handled with the memory installed. Large raster graphics such as full page photographs and very dense text with lots of rulings may cause this message. There is a choice between:
Press "OK" to resume printing or reset the machine.
Press go to resume printing or reset the machine. Job may be too complex, or may require more memory
Turn image adapt and page protect to AUTO or ON
Message from some older printers?
Other messages are
Press OK to clear the message. Some data will be lost.
Presumably this fault is similar to print overrun except that the data sent overwhelms the space the printer has available before it has a chance to try and render the page. If it happens with a network it may also indicate that an incorrect protocol is in use.
If the fault happens frequently with a parallel cable try a different cable certified to be IEEE 1284 compliant. For many years there was no strict standard covering "Centronics" cables so there are cables that don't implement all the signals correctly.
The I/O configuration of the printer or of the computer driving it is incorrect. Is the computer on? If you are using a parallel cable check that the cable is properly seated at both ends. Try an IEEE1284 compliant cable - it should be marked as such.
EIO Cards (Jetdirects) may give this error if the I/O buffer overflows. If the problem is persistent replace the card.
The I/O card (MIO etc) is not accepting data. Reseat the card, check the cables.
The printer has been asked for a print job that exceeds its memory capacity. As suggested above either simplify the print job or increase the memory.
Another message for a print job that exceeds its memory capacity.
The problem with all the memory errors is that printers tend not to actually give them in practice. In many cases the printer will simply sit there with the busy light flashing and nothing happening for some time. Laser printers need a lot of memory to
rasterise the page before printing begins. However most page images are highly compressible, so the printer's internal software can attempt to make space. Printers therefore slow down and appear to
think before printing a page. Only when the rasterisation process actually fails does the printer give a straight-forward message and with recent printers that is some time after the user's patience is exhausted.
Memory issues tend to happen with older printers. A megabyte of memory cost several thousand dollars in 1984, and still cost a couple of hundred dollars in 1994. By 2004 a gigabyte was affordable in a PC, but a printer was likely to ship with 16 megabytes because manufacturers were competing mainly on purchase price. New laser printers now quite commonly have 256 megabytes of RAM - (it's difficult to buy smaller chips).
If memory problems are frequent the first thing to check is what memory is in the printer - it is usually given on the configuration page. Next check that the configuration given in the PC's driver matches what the printer actually has.
Pages like scanned PDFs, photos and some web pages like Google maps can contain a great deal of detail, which pushes the limited memory in older printers to exhaustion. One way around the problem is to reduce the memory footprint by reducing the print resolution requested by the computers print driver. For instance reducing the resolution from <default> or <1200 dpi> to <600dpi> quarters the memory. Reducing it again to <300 dpi > quarters it again. There is a problem, of course, that the picture or map now won't look very good.
Many print drivers give a choice of print languages, PCL or PostScript. People tend to choose PostScript but that can have twice the memory demand of the PCL driver. Try PCL.
The alternative answer is to increase printer memory. The problem is that older printers tended to use older memory types. Unfortunately they also tend to use memory types that aren't the same as those used for PCs so the memory may no longer be obtainable.
Postscript firmware error.
Unexpected PostScript Error. Reseat the PostScript SIMM or replace it.
Recent printers usually have PostScript or an emulation built in so this code is presumably obsolescent. It may have been replaced with:
An I/O timeout has been exceeded
Or EIO X Bad Transmission. The network connection has been broken.
The printer has sensed a broken connection. TCP will often recover from a broken connection but presumably at some point the printer will time out. Other protocols might not recover from a break. If the message occurs once it might be disregarded, press "OK" and try again. If problems persist get a configuration page and verify the IP address, then ping the printer's network address. Then check the network cable, the switch, PC etc.
The page containing the error is reprinted automatically.
Communication between the computer and printer stopped abnormally. If the connection is a network ping the printer to check that the configuration is correct and there still is a connection. Check network settings. Reseat the network card.
We also have a note saying "A temporary error occurred while printing. This error most commonly occurs when the printer picks two sheets of paper at once. Remove the page from the output tray and press Continue." But surely that's always been error 41?
On some recent machines "41.X ERROR".
On older machines: "Print Engine Cycle Failure" or "Temporary Print Engine Failure".
The issue is paper size and type either way, basically the print firmware has seen the paper sensors operate for a longer or shorter time than expected.
This is usually:
This fault might be a one-off event cleared by restarting the printer and removing any paper jam. If the problem recurrs frequently as the tray nears the end of it's paper supply it is the separation pad. If the fault goes on it may be necessary to replace a sensor, or the DC controller. It could also be a firmware issue so an update of the printer software might clear it.
Error 41 has been used for somewhat different things on different printers so refer to the service manual.
A USB Accessory has drawn too much power. The ACC port is disabled and printing stops until the problem item is removed.
Or "49 PRINTER ERROR". or just "49.XXXX ERROR". Old printers say "Communication Error" Either way turn the printer off and on.
Modern printers apparently just say "Error" which is less helpful
The P4510 service manual says: "A critical firmware error has occurred that caused the processor on the formatter to cease operation. This error can be caused by invalid print commands, corrupt data, or invalid operations. In some cases, electrical noise in the cable can corrupt data during transmission to the product. Other causes can be poor-quality cables, poor connections, or home-grown programs. On rare occasions, the formatter is at fault."
To continue press "Stop" to clear the print job from memory. Turn the printer off, wait ten seconds then turn it back on.
If the message persists with different programs and print jobs turn the printer off. Disconnect the printer from any USB connection and remove any EIO cards. Turn the printer on and check that the message has gone. Replace devices one at a time until the fault recurs. If the fault will not clear then a firmware upgrade may help. Otherwise the formatter board needs replacing.
The fuser is faulty (or one of it's support circuits is, or the power is bad).
There is more information on 50.x fuser errors here.
A simple cause may be a misseated cartridge that has failed to open the laser shutter on older printers.
Clean the laser beam optics - the mirrors and associated lenses and the detector.
Recent printers like the P4010 and P4510 have a diagnostics menu entry for a laser/scanner motor test. When the motor is on it can be heard.
Ultimately this error suggests replacing the laser scanner assembly (which is usually expensive)
The laser scanner motor can sometimes be heard spinning up just before the machine prints - it tends to have a high pitched whine because it spins rapidly. The motor carries a polygon mirror (usually 5 sided) which reflects the laser beam so that it scans the imaging drum. When the motor bearings become worn the mirror movement becomes erratic and the page tends to have jitters in the horizontal positioning.
The cure for 52.1 might be to to replace the scanner motor PCB and the cure for 52.2 might be to replace the laser assembly.
Printers can usually detect wrong or erratic scan motor speed because the beam momentarily sweeps across a sensor and the logic monitors the regularity of this pulse. If the speed is wrong the printer will raise this error. It is possible that the error can be caused by a bad drive circuit rather than by the motor itself.
Ideally the solution is to swap the scanner motor PCB or replace the laser assembly. The assembly is easier to change because the innards are usually pre-aligned. However you may need to consult the service manual for details of the job.
Recent printers say "53.XY.ZZ CHECK RAM SLOT X" where
The DIMM that caused the error is not used. This means the printer should work but will not have it's full complement of memory which may lead to errors in the "20" series.
On older printers the phrases used with this error are "Memory Error", "Accessory Memory Error".
Expansion of font memory is defective or mis-seated. On some printers the formatter board RAM is included in this message.
Messages that happen very intermittently may be tolerated - just as computers sometimes crash. Messages that interfere with work need to be eliminated.
To identify the faulty device power off, remove them all and then reinsert them one at a time until the fault occurs. That identifies the device to be replaced. If the fault won't go away it looks like the formatter memory is to blame. Consult the service manual for precisely what this error means on this model. (Formatters are expensive items).
54.XX ERROR on recent printers is a problem with a sensor. The diagnostics menu sensor tests on machines like the P4010 and P4510 may help identify the issue.
54 Errors errors vary in meaning with the printer. For instance on the HP LJ 4200 and 4300 it means the sealing tape was left on the cartridge. On the HP CLJ 4600 it could mean replace the colour registration detection assembly amongst other things. The 4500 and 8500 use this error to indicate problems with the carousel mechanism.
The CLJ 4700 has
55.XX.YY DC Controller Error on recent printers.
55 Internal Communication on older printers.
Probably a misseating of the connection between the DC controller and the formatter. Either or both may have a fault. Try an engine test (most DC controllers have an engine test button). If the engine test passes then the formatter is suspect.
The CLJ 4700 has the following values of XX:
On recent printers this is "56.XX. ERROR" and means "incorrect input or output request". The distinction between this and error 49 seems to be that "56" is syntactically correct but impossible - for instance there is no tray 3; or there is one but it isn't working.
On older printers an input or output device such as a tray or staple/stacker is giving difficulties
Also errors such as sending transparencies through the duplexer, or removing the duplexer with power on.
The 57 Error was originally used for memory, then for gears seized. Most recent printers use it for fan failure.
The sub-code indicates the fan so 57.01, 57.02 etc are various fans in the machine - which can be determined by observation or from the service manual.
On the P4010 and P4510 this message is environmental sensor TH3 has experienced an error.
Meanwhile the CLJ 4700 uses this code for "A memory tag error was detected". The sub-codes clarify this:
The answer seems to be to clean or replace the chip contacts and if that doesn't work check the DC controller connectors - or replace it. Users might be a bit galled at having to spend money on hardware to support cartridge memory chips.
58 Error has varied on older printers. "Memory sensor error" is often given as an explanation. This code seems to have been used for fan, power and DC controller faults. See the service manual for the printer concerned.
Most recent printers use this code for motor faults. The code has a suffix so that 59.3 on the HP 9000 is the fuser motor whilst 59.9 on a CLJ 4600 is the ETB motor.
The P4010 and P4510 have subcodes for the Feed Motor, Drum Motor and Fusing Motor - but unfortunately the service manual doesn't say which is which. However there is a diagnostics menu entry for each motor so that should identify it. Motor faults aren't common.
For the CLJ 4700 the code structure is 59.XY. X codes are:
59.9 might appear if a unit such as the ETB or fuser is incorrectly installed. There is a special mode test for this.
On the 3Si and 4Si error code 59 was used for memory
60 Errors in the paper tray lift mechanism on larger printers which have a motorised lift.
The tray involved is given by the number taking the place of XX. Make sure paper is straight in the paper trays so that the paper lift mechanism can operate properly.
Take the tray out of the printer and the paper out of the tray and look for obstructions such as paper clips or swarf. If this doesn't work try the tray with a few sheets of paper. Listen for the lift motor operating and observe the paper level indicator on the front of the tray.
This error code was for memory on older printers.
Bad formatter memory or bad formatter board on older printers.
Usually indicates a fault in the printer's own formatter firmware. If the firmware is on a SIMM wear static protection and try reseating all the memory devices. If there are expansion RAMs try running without them. If the printer firmware is on a SIMM or DIMM and you have access to an identical machine try moving your suspect bad DIMM into it.
On older printers "62 Memory Error, Formatter Board"
BEWARE! - some printers have a special slot for firmware. Do not put the firmware memory in another slot as it may be destroyed.
The formatter board detects an internal error.
One source suggests this error is "63 - Defecatter Board" - shit! That's mild language compared with what people say when they get a price for a formatter. Once again, wear static protection and try reseating all the memory devices.
The scan buffer is what the formatter exists to make - the raster image waiting to go out of the laser. Depending on the printer design it might be on the formatter or the DC controller.
An output device was removed whilst the power was on. Turn the printer off then on again so that it can pick up the new configuration correctly.
The CLJ 4700 uses 65.12.XX OUTPUT DEVICE CONDITION for the paper jogger etc
Used to be "65 Defective Formatter Board" which was similar to the four entries above.
66 External Paper Handling Device Error
A stapler / Stacker, mailbox or suchlike device is showing an error. Make sure that the external device does not have a paper jam. If there is no visible fault turn the printer (and the stacker) off and check all the connections. If the fault persists try removing the external device and make sure the printer does work on its own. If the printer does not work on it's own then suspect the formatter.
There is usually a sub-code indicating what actually failed. For instance with the HP LJ 9000:
Subcodes aren't given in my edition of the P4510 service manual but :
Input problems might be the envelope feeder, additional 500 sheet or 1500 sheet trays,
Output problems might be the stacker, stapler stacker, or mailbox.
Duplexers counts as well. They are input and output.
66.XY.ZZ SERVICE ERROR means the external device has a problem. Check its cables first.
Just for entertainment on the CLJ 4700 66.12.XX is "OUTPUT DEVICE FAILURE" - either the stapler of the tray detect features.
67 SERVICE PRINTER ERROR
Old code. On the 4Si:
Other messages are "PERMANENT STORAGE WRITE FAIL" and "STORAGE ERROR SETTINGS CHANGED".
Was "68 Error in NVRAM. Service Error NVRAM Full."
The non-volatile RAM has is full to the point where some action cannot proceed until it is empty. Presumably due to storing too much temporary information or to "memory leaks". The only option is to clear it down.
Print a configuration page from which to check the printer settings once the NVRAM has been cleared - any special setting will be lost.
Resetting the NVRAM will also reset the network settings on a JetDirect EIO card and on a hard disk unless they are removed first.
On most older printers NVRAM initialisation is done by holding down "Reset" for at least 20 seconds whilst turning the power on.
For the HP LJ 1100,1200, 2100, 2200, 3100, 3150, 3200, 4000, 4050, 4100, 5000, 5100, 8000, 8100, and 8150 its hold down "Cancel Job" whilst powering on.
Any information on the configuration pages that differs from the defaults now needs to be re-entered
If the cold reset doesn't work then the only option seems to be a new formatter
68.1 on the CLJ 4700 is a full hard disk or flash card. Delete files using the Jetadmin software or re-initialise the device.
HP LJ 1200, 2200, 3100, 3200, 4100, 4200, 4300, 4500, 4700, 9000
Reseat or replace the duplexer.
On the P4510 it just says "A printing error occurred" - well there wouldn't be much point in an error message if something hadn't happened.
The SIMM or Cartridge installed is incompatible with the printer
In printers error 70 is rare. In people it is common; try a wig or dressing up.
For the HP 5SI - Faulty MIO card
Defective font cartridge. (or font cartridge removed during access)
Defective accessory of some kind. Memory, I/O cards
The LJ 4+ uses this code for defective toner cartridge
Remove all the accessories and then try one at a time until the error re-appears
Other phrases are things like "Critical Hardware Error".
Some printers have series-specific sub-codes for this in the form 79.XX.YY
Several service manuals suggest that this isn't always as dramatic as it sounds and might sometimes be a software communications error. Try printing a different job or from different software. Press the stop button to clear the print job and turn the printer off, wait ten seconds then on again. The fault might clear with a power cycle.
If the message always appears with a particular piece of software or print file then the problem lies in that implementation of the print language.
Unfortunately it can be a "Critical Hardware Error". Remove all the accessories and I/O cards and see if the fault persists. If the fault does persist its worth performing a cold reset (hold "Cancel Job" at power on). If that doesn't work try a firmware upgrade if there is one because the next step is to buy another formatter board.
Defective MIO Card (This is the old network card used in the HP 4SI etc)
On some printers the error is "80 Defective Network Cards, or Formatter Board". That's a really helpful message, we might prefer to know which? If you happen to have a spare JetDirect handy its time to try it.
First try reseating the network card. If the printer has more than one MIO or EIO slot try moving the network card into another slot
If the fault is stubborn then the fault is more likely to be the JetDirect than the formatter (because network cards are more exposed to the big bad world of static jolts and lightning strikes). Buy another JetDirect here.
Recent printer service manuals tend to group all "8x" errors.
For the LJ 1200, 2200, 3100, 3200, 4100 this is a defective formatter (main logic)
For the LJ 9000 it is a "temporary error"
For the HP 4500 it was an EIO Error
If reseating and checking for damaged pins doesn't clear the fault then it means it. Most of the generation of printers that had PostScript in a separate ROM are old so the ROMs wont be available new anymore. Brokers may have one or two stashed away.
Firmware flash failure
Curiously, there don't seem to be any messages directly relating to power supply. Older computers didn't usually have a way to report a PSU rail down either. Modern motherboards usually do monitor their own power rails so it's a curious omission from the HP error list.
Sources: HP Service Manuals, Various Internet and pdf compilations of HP error codes. Copyright Graham Huskinson 2010.