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HP Colour LaserJet Fading Fix

HP 2605dn: Washed-out colours before cleaned mirrorsHP 2605dn: Beautiful colours after cleaning the mirrors inside the printerThe Problem Illustrated (and incentive to fix it):

Here is a “before” and an “after” set of photos. Notice how the “before” image appears washed out and with a distinctive green tint. What magenta (red) there is in the photo is concentrated in the middle; the edges are even more green. The “after” image looks, well, wonderful.

Some Background and The Usual Warnings

My HP Color LaserJet 2605dnMy HP Color LaserJet 2605dn printer is about 16 months old. A few months ago, I noticed that the pictures it printed started looking washed out. I tried changing the magenta cartridge, for all photos seemed to have a green cast. That did absolutely nothing. I figured as much, as the “HP Easy Printer Care” program, and the printer’s internal web pages, said there were several hundred pages left to go on all my cartridges. Updating the firmware also failed to fix the problem. Resetting the printer to its default settings also accomplished little. I tried recalibrating the printer (see step 24, below) to no avail. NOTE: try this first yourself just in case it is the problem with your printer – will save you all the trouble in steps 1 to 23! Thankfully, an Internet search turned up an article on FixYa that described the problem exactly. A Google search on “2605 faded colors” also shows articles about it at HP’s website (you’ll have to look at the cached versions of the pages as it seems you need to log in to HP in order to see the actual articles). Don Thompson wrote a wonderful article on fixing this issue which he put on the HP support forum; I have obtained his permission to include it here in this article – its what I followed all those years ago to fix my printer for the first time.

>> Fading Red Tones on Color LaserJet 2600s by Don Thompson 2007

An example of how an image is "written" onto the photoreceptive drum in a laser printer. In real life, the electrons are far smaller than the beam and lose their charge in clusters, but have been enlarged here to one electron per pixel for clarity of operation.

An example of how an image is "written" onto the photoreceptive drum in a laser printer.

The problem is this: dust on the ‘beam alignment lenses (mirrors)‘ which are buried deep within the printer – the dust prevents the laser light reflecting off of them properly and thus toner is not collected up and put onto your printout. If you attempt this repair feat, then:

  1. Make sure your warranty is up;
  2. Try cleaning the plastic reflectors behind each toner cartridge first (see Kevin’s comment below)
  3. Try recalibrating the printer (see step 24, below)
  4. Consider calling HP and asking them about any service notes on this problem
    • rumour has it there is one which may get you a free replacement printer
    • update on 4 Mar 2008: confirmed with HP support in UK that they will pickup, fix and return your printer (or a refurbished one) free
    • update on 10 Nov 2008: be sure to tell HP you are calling for the “fading” fix
    • call 0870-8422339, choose option 2 and then 3, and state your printer serial number
    • or, call cheaper on 01344-36000 then ask for technical support for printers
    • (thanks to Say No To 0870 for the cheaper phone number!)
  5. Set aside several hours without screaming kids around;
  6. Be confident in your technical abilities;
  7. Don’t rush; and,
  8. Be very observant of where things are before taking them out.

I took photos at each step of this process for two reasons:

  1. to put them on this page to aid you; and,
  2. to refer to them when putting the printer back together to make sure everything was as it should be.

Be Warned:

  1. You may screw something up and be left with a non-functioning printer. e.g. you might pull a bit too much on a wire and it breaks;
  2. There are high-voltages inside the printer – You must unplug the printer from the mains before starting any work on the printer; and,
  3. You undertake all this at your own risk.
  4. I did this on my 2605dn (twice!) and I only hazard a wild guess that it will work on similar models (like 2600, 2605n, 2605dtn, …)

(Gosh, you think I grew up in North America or something – over here in Europe we just get stuck into things and damn the consequences!)

Elapsed Time:

I started at 15h30 and got to the optical box at 17h16 — just under two hours; but I was taking photos along the way. Reassembly started right after cleaning at 17h30 and finished about an hour later (I took a break for dinner and putting my kids in the bath and to bed), so this is approximate.


  1. Clear space on a desk and give yourself some room to work;
  2. Send your young kids to grandma’s (older ones can stay but only if they promise to help);
  3. Ask your wife/husband/partner to make you a lovely cup of tea.

Tools needed:

A Phillips screwdriver (the one with the cross-shaped end) Philips screwdrivers
A pair of pincers to grab screws that are a bit too tucked away to grab with your fingers Pincers
A label maker; I have a Brother PT-65 P-touch “Home & Hobby” Brother PT-65 P-touch label maker
Scissors (to cut your labels to a tiny size, to fit on the cable connectors) Scissors
Cotton swabs (“Q-tips”) Cotton swabs

Before You Start:

Please ensure you have tried the other things listed above first! Perhaps a quick clean of the plastic reflectorsbehind each toner cartridge is all you need.

Disassembly and Cleaning:

Step 1:

Rear of HP Color LaserJet 2605dnUnplug printer from the mains and detach your USB or Ethernet cable; take out the paper tray and all the cartridges (this makes the printer lighter and easier to handle).

Step 2:

HP 2605dn: paper tray coverHP 2605dn: paper holder trayTurn the printer around to look at its back. Remove the paper tray cover at the bottom and the paper holder tray at the top. Both just pull off.

Step 3:

HP 2605dn: screws to undo to remove back panel and circuit boardUndo the screws on the back panel, including the one just below the USB and Ethernet ports. Put these screws into their own pile (later you will have another pile for all the screws you take out of the inner panel. Its a handy trick to help you ensure you put back all the screws you take out.

Step 4:

HP 2605dn: tilting back panel to removePull the back panel off gently by holding it at the bottom and tilting it out and up.

Step 5:

HP 2605dn: photo of circuit board in back of printerTake a photo of the circuit board and wiring — you’ll want to refer to it when putting things back together, just to be sure you have done it all correctly!

Step 6:

HP 2605dn: pull right-hand side panel offHP 2605dn: right-hand side under the coverPull the right-hand side (as looking at printer from front) panel off, again it tilts upwards – note the way it slots and clips in (the middle plastic guide at the top of the panel). Remember that for when it comes time to slide it back on later. Gawk at the wonders of the printer. The reason for taking this panel off was to make it easier to pull out the wires from the back later; and because if you’re dismantling the printer, you might as well see how the whole thing looks naked. 🙂

Step 7:

HP 2605dn: undo screw on left-hand sideHP 2605dn: pull left-hand side beige panel piece offStart taking off the cover of the left-hand side by first undoing the screw that is recessed in the handle/indentation at the bottom of the left-hand side’s panel. Then, pull the beige panel piece off, leaving the larger, grey panel piece for now.

Step 8:

HP 2605dn: pull left-hand side grey panel piece offHP 2605dn: photo of circuit board on left side of printerOkay, now take off that grey panel piece by tilting it up and sliding it off (it has the same mechanism as the other side). Gawk again at the wonders of your printer. This is the high-voltage side. If you didn’t unplug your printer as I told you to, then you will be now convulsing on the floor and sporting a new hairdo.

Step 9:

HP 2605dn: make labels for all the cables to identify their connectorSquint when really close to the circuit board on the back of your printer and you will see that each cable goes into a connector that is labelled something like “J106”. You will soon be taking these cables out and later you will want to put them back in – at the same place! So, print out labels which you can attach to the cables. My label maker let me print out super-small letters and on two lines. You want small labels because the connectors are not that big. Here’s what I printed out (the ? or Enter or Return key is used to tell the label maker to go to the next line): J106 J104 J103 J102 J101? J108 J107 J105 J110 (My label maker wouldn’t let me print out any more than that in one go; so, being lazy, I didn’t bother labeling the very last cable connector). Then, use scissors to cut each connector name out.

Step 10:

HP 2605dn: label each cable connectorNow, pull each cable connector out, one at at time, and put the correct label onto it. Note that the purple cables are attached to a plastic block (some black, some white) which is pushed into a plastic holder, like a small box – think of a baseball with purple strings sitting snugly in a glove. Pull firmly on the purple cables (perhaps wiggling slightly side to side) near to where they go into the plastic block, this should remove the block from its plastic holder. Do not use tools, for fear of pulling out individual cables, or worse, pulling off the outter plastic box, instead of the block in which the purple cables are (as Piper, in the comments below, did).

Step 11:

HP 2605dn: close-up of data cable at top-left of back panel’s circuit boardHP 2605dn: pull off data cables and unscrew the hidden screwCarefully detach the data cables, too, and unthread them from the plastic holder (you will soon be taking off the plastic holders). The data cables to the circuit board on the right side of the back panel also pull out quite easily and reveal a hidden screw! I didn’t bother labelling these as the data cables all stayed in the right order when disconnected.

Step 12:

HP 2605dn: cable tray at top of back panelGently pull out all the cables from the two black cable trays. You’ll see that there are three layers of cables: thicker power cables in their own clips, and two bunches of thinner purple cables with some zip fasteners around them every so often. Its a bit of a (un-)weaving exercise…

Step 13:

HP 2605dn: pull out the cable trays at top of back panelPull the empty trays to the side to unfasten them and then take them out completely – be sure no stray wire gets snagged by them!

Step 14:

HP 2605dn: unscrew at left side of back panelHP 2605dn: unscrew at bottom of back panelUnscrew the back panel – no need to undo the two circuit boards themselves – they are both attached to a larger metal panel. Note that there is one screw that is in horizontally on the top-left (this is why you took off the side panel!). Note that your printer may not have the extra memory card inserted as I have in mine (see picture).

Step 15:

HP 2605dn: pull out the back panel with the circuit boardsPull out the back panel with the two circuit boards on it. Be sure that no cable is snagged, or left attached.

Step 16:

HP 2605dn: optical box behind the back panel circuit boardsAh-ha! There it is! That is the optical box we’ve been working so hard to find! Three more screws and we’ll have it…

Step 17:

HP 2605dn: shinny metal screw covers on bottom of printerHP 2605dn: screw reveal beneath shinny metal cover on bottomOkay, you found the two screws holding the optical box at the top; but where is the third screw that I mentioned? Tip: tip the printer so you look at the bottom of it, where the paper tray usually goes. See them? Two shinny plates. They bend when you pinch them with your fingers. Now, on my printer there was a screw beneath just one of them. Feel lucky? Which one will you take off? Were you lucky? Or maybe your printer has a screw underneath both… The screw holds the bottom part of the optical box. Take out the third (and maybe forth) screw.

Step 18:

HP 2605dn: remove data cables from optical boxGently lift up the optical box and remove the pair of data cables that go to it. Again, I didn’t bother labeling these as they stayed in the same position/order and wouldn’t get muddled up when I reassembled everything.

Step 19:

HP 2605dn: unscrew optical box coverPull out the optical box and undo the screw that is in the middle of it. Be careful – there’s a spring in the box. Take off the cover and…

Step 20:

HP 2605dn: inside the optical boxHP 2605dn: close-up of one of the mirrors inside the optical boxHP 2605dn: clean the mirrorsAt last! There are the filthy mirrors that are the cause of this nightmare. If only HP has seen fit to seal this optical box then none of this would have been necessary… Okay, that wasn’t really a step, it was just some soap-boxing. Here is the real step 20: Clean the mirrors using dry cotton swabs!

Step 21:

HP 2605dn: optical box showing circuit boards (back of lasers)HP 2605dn: lasers inside optical boxHP 2605dn: look, clean mirrorsGawk at the wizardry of the optical box, its lasers and your nice shiny mirrors. Play with the flaps that cover the laser openings — don’t loose that spring which is between the flap mechanism that covers the laser diodes and the optical box.

Step 22:

HP 2605dn: close-up of reassembled cable trays with cablesReverse everything and put it all back together again. Simple. Ha! Be sure that you seat the optical box back exactly right – ie. don’t leave it loose! HP 2605dn: reassembled back panel and cablesPutting those cables back in the plastic trays is the most challenging. Just remember to put the two bundles of purple wires in first (the largest bunch, which splits at the right side to go up and down, should be at the very back of the tray; the other bunch on top of it; and finally the power cables should fit into their special holders at the very edge of the trays). HP 2605dn: close-up of reassembled data cable at top-left of back panel’s circuit boardNote carefully how to feed the data cable around the tray at the left side. Double check that you haven’t pinched any cables around corners, etc. Did you use up all the screws? I sure hope so, otherwise you’ll have to undo everything to find out where you missed them…

Step 23:

Underside of the printer; note the black grill on top left - that's the air intake for the fan.

Underside of the printer; note the black grill on top left - that's the air intake for the fan.

(optional) On the first anniversary of this page, and my second go at cleaning the mirrors (yup, they got dirty enough in the one year to warrant going through this lot all again), I decided to slap on a homemade air filter to the fan intake. Make sure you don’t have the paper tray installed; and then tip the machine onto its front, so that you are looking at the underside of it. You’ll see a black grill or grate.

Vaccuum cleaner bag cut to fit over the grill, so it acts as an air filter.

Vaccuum cleaner bag cut to fit over the grill, so it acts as an air filter.

Get yourself a vacuum cleaner bag and cut it to fit over that grate. Use some cellotape to stick it in place. You may very well have to do as I did and cut little slits in the bag so it fits over the silly extruding bits of plastic. If I haven’t already said it, I’ll say it now: this printer is over engineered! Now tip the printer back to its normal position and install the paper tray.

Step 24:

HP 2605dn: force a recalibration via printer’s web serverRe-load the ink cartridges; paper and plug everything back in. You must now recalibrate the printer (this aligns all the lasers so the colours match up and don’t give you a blurry photo print). You can navigate your way through the printer’s front panel menu to force a calibration:

  • Press the check mark key (screen shows “Main Menu – Reports”)
  • Press right arrow key (“Main Menu – System Setup” shown)
  • Press the check mark key (“System Setup – Language” is now shown)
  • Press the right arrow key twice (“System Setup – Print Quality” is shown)
  • Press the check mark key twice (“Calibrate Color – Calibrate Now”)
  • Press the check mark key (“Press [v] to calibrate now”)
  • Press the check mark key (calibration begins)

Alternatively, you can use the printer’s built-in web server over the Ethernet port to force an immediate recalibration (sorry, don’t know what you do via USB).

Step 25:

p1680281-large.JPG(optional) Unconnected Connectors and An Interesting Button… HP 2605dn: Output when press Test buttonWhile you had the covers off and the circuit boards exposed, did you notice that there are a few unconnected connectors and a “test” button? One connector is “IOT” and the other is “MCPU Writer”. After I reassembled and plugged everything in, I pressed the “test” button. I got a boring printout of colour lines.

Step 26:

Please leave a comment below to say if this page helped you; or, if any steps were unclear. Happy colour printing!

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1,249 comments to HP Colour LaserJet Fading Fix

  • Jason Smith

    Dear Andrew,

    Many thanks for this, the old dear is now printing as new. Am a big fan of this printer if it weren’t for the design flaw, but I guess if they tested them in a hermetically sealed lab for the duration of the warranty period they would probably pass… Such is the modern world that warranty periods rarely reflect real ownership I suppose.

    I now have a spare Magenta toner as that was my first guess before I found this site.

    Does anyone know if the toners “keep” if left out having been used for a bit (mine still 80% full)? I can’t see why not as it isn’t like the new ones are sealed in inert gas or anything silly.

    I only had one problem… flicking the spring across the room which took 45 minutes to find (only point where I started sweating).

    If you are a religious man I suspect your place in heaven may be secure already!


  • Thanks a lot for this great work. I love your pictured documentation.

    Nice Regards from germany

  • Wally

    I cleaned the mirrors and put everything back together again and I’m getting “Door Open” message. I’ve taken the printer back apart over 7 times trying to figure out what is causing the problem with no luck. I checked all cables and ribbon cables and they are all in the correct spots. I’ve seen other people on here with the same problem. No one seems to respond to them. If anyone has any idea why I’m getting the “Door Open ” message I would really appreciate any input.

    • Wally: I am haveing the same door open issues. What did you do to fix them. (I have 2 of the same 2605 printers. After reassembling them they both say door open and o of them also says jam in output bin. Stupid me cleaned both printers at the same time and now I have no printers working. thanks Carol

      • David

        I too am getting the “door open” message (and I, as far as I know, didn’t do anything to the machine, i.e. didn’t take it apart to clean it or anything like that).

        Any helpful very gratefully received!

  • Kevin


    I just took apart my 2605dn printer and cleaned everything and it now works perfectly again. This is the second 2600 series I have had that has had the same problem with faded or no magenta. The first printer was donated to an elementary school, after which it began working correctly again with the help of a technician. This lead me to think that there must be an easier solution to try first since a technician fixed the first one in about 2 minutes. However, I did not know what that solution was at the time. After disassembling my 2605dn today and seeing exactly how the lasers and optical box work, I discovered that none of my mirrors were dirty. However, the plastic reflectors (or whatever the technical term is) were dirty and most likely preventing the correct amount of light from passing through them, especially the one that sits behind the magenta cartridge. When I put my printer back together and put the toner cartridges back inside, I noticed that the 4 plastic reflectors from the optical box sit directly behind each toner cartridge and are accessible without having to remove the optical box to get to them.


    It is very likely that wiping the four thin plastic reflectors behind the toner cartridges with some dry Q-Tips or cotton balls will correct the color issues and save you a lot of time and potential money incase you break something or do not reassemble your printer correctly. But if wiping the reflectors off does not fix your problem, these instructions are good and easy to follow. The pictures also are very helpful. Just be patient while attempting to disassemble your printer. You will find that most things come apart very easy. The hardest part is figuring out which parts slide, swing, or snap off in order to be removed from the printer. And I would like to say thank you very much to the author of this site for taking the time to post excellent instructions with pictures. You just saved me a bunch of money since the people at HP were not willing to offer any help unless I was willing to bring it in to a shop and pay them a minimum of $85 to look at it.

    • Thank you so much, Kevin, and Andrew for setting up this site! I had a bad registration problem with my magenta on my HP2605 and was in despair as I needed to make up some sample chocolate wrappers for my business. I had got part of the way there by cleaning the sensors just under the roller – see Steve Bywater’s comment on But print quality still wasn’t good enough. So then I did some more searching and came to this site, which I had actually looked at before some months ago. I read Kevin’s suggestion and cleaned the reflector at the back of the magenta slot and now my calibration test page looks perfect!

      The reason I came to this site before still is bugging me, though. When I duplex, the second side comes out with a grey sheen. It even happens a little on white gloss paper printed single-sided. I think I will tackle this a bit later in the month – I’ve read you can adjust the toner fixing current…

      Anyway, Thank you! Merci beaucoup!

    • Dale Sherbourne

      This worked for me after many cleaning cycles used qtips a couple of times and then dampened with alcohol and then a hard reset a cleaning cycle color calibration and a calibration page and it change the blurred images not the faint images must be a way to get the images to be more vibrant

    • Dale Sherbourne

      This worked for my 2605dn plus I had misalignment issues that it also curedjust by cleaning the front of the reflector surfaces took 2 times and then a couple of cleaning cycles and alignment and calibration pages but everything went back to normal without having to do the tear down surely worth a try before tearing into the machine. Thanks

  • Tim Bennett

    You are my hero. I can’t afford a new printer right now and the images from my HP2600N had been getting more faded by the day, and I use it for my business. You solved my problem in a little over 30 minutes.

    Thanks You,
    Thanks You,
    Thanks You

  • Uwe Heine

    Wonderful clear instructions! My wife found your site and everything was exactly as described and illustrated. The printer now works perfectly! Thanks for putting this out there!

  • Mozes

    I have 3 of these type of printers to maintain, two 2600’s and one 2605. All 3 have suffered the fading red issue. Using your article and the one posted on HP’s site now I have been able to get rid of the fading red on all 3 printers. Thank You.

    Along the way I did run across a couple issues along the way however. The two errors I had were an “Open Door” error and a “Duplexer Error”. There are 4 data ribbon cables on the right when looking from the backside. On my 2605 they are numbered J112 (the bottom ribbon) through J115 (the top ribbon). I did not confirm the numbering on my 2600’s as I did them 1st and they were already closed up.

    On one of the 2600’s, the ribbon 2nd from the top (J114 on my 2605) was disconnected (do to my missing it when putting things back together) and it caused a “Open Door” error.

    On the 2605, J112 caused a “Duplexer Error”. I did notice that ribbon J112 went back to the bottom section of the optical box. This is where my connection was loose. So if not that one, be sure to look at the other ribbon that runs back to the top of the optical box as well.

    • Have cleaned the mirrors my HP2605 again last night (4th time) and this morning would not calibrate – 51.22 error. Took apart again just now and realised I’d put the lower J401 flat ribbon cable back in upside down on the laser optical box. The blue bits go facing down, and I’d just been lucky last few times I didn’t get that wrong! Had thought it looked wrong but couldn’t figure out why. I am so sick of cleaning this printer that I have ordered a new Dell 1320CN from Amazon – hope it arrives soon as I need to print loads before this weekend!

  • Will

    Thanks for the website. I went to step 23 and used air can.. it went better.

    But I agree, if I went thru all those step, things will probably be perfect.

  • Chris

    We had NO red printing from our 2605. My wife googled up this solution. With absolutely no red to speak of I was sure it must be some other problem. Alas, I could find no other alternative than your fix. I was home sick today and couldn’t do much else. After a couple of hours we have a red and yellow monkey on our demo page. Thanks to Andrew (and my wife).

    The USSA
    (The United Socialist States of America)

  • Shaun

    Mr Reeves-Hall I cannot thank you enough! I found this very helpful!

    I thought it would be useful to mention the error 51.22, I got this one myself as well. This came from not plugging the two data cables back into the black optical box. Did it roughly in two hours then realised the error! Only took 45 mins the second time around.


  • Hi – I just spent two hours sorting out a HP2600N and a HP2605DN and the results are great on the 2605DN – not 100% but I guess I can take it apart and have another go 🙂

    The 2600N has a 51.23 error (yellow blah blah) so I think I goofed putting the cables in right. NOthing major as the thing gives very grey backgrounds anyway – but I thought I’d practise on that one before I took my main printer apart. I’ll still the HP fix (ie: come and replace my printer!) but I got my invoices out this month (having a RED ladybird as our company logo is probably a VERY BAD idea with this printer huh).

    I emailed you a beer by PayPal a few minutes ago — ENJOY !


    PS: Lost a screw from the DC formatter plate somewhere inside but everything works OK even though it rattles a little ….

  • Jan

    Dear Andrew,

    thanks for the good imagework. The result after cleaning went beyond my expectations.

    Kind regards from Germany

  • T H A N K Y O U ! IT WORKED – and was as simple as descriped. Even though I made as the safety events – like making photos etc. I made it with out any help.
    It’s really great that you made this illustrated web-side to make it so easy. My Computer-pusher said he had heard about something like this, but he wouldn’t do it because it would be cheaper to buy a new printer.

    Carsten Andersen

  • Thank you so much – it´s great to see again realistic color prints. I used round about 1h45min. Your instructions are great.

    A few years ago we had a 4600dn with the same problem in office – but we found no solution and we bought a new printer – what a pity that we haven´t had an instruction like this.

    For the beer: When you visit next time germany we can take one (ore a few) in the near of Frankfurt/Main.

  • Hi Patrick,

    Perhaps the brightness is due to adjustments you made to programs on your computer to try to boost the printer’s quality before you cleaned it?

    Check your software programs, and the HP printer driver program, to see if you can ‘reset’ them to normal output. If its still an issue, then perhaps you are right – a recalibration of the printer is required (step 24).


  • patrick

    tried cleaning , my colours are no longer faded but now are incredibly bright as though the contrast is radically out .
    Any ideas ?

  • Tom Sellers

    Just an update. Last year, like Eric, I did the above fix after calling HP (Canada) and being told under no cicumstances would they repair the printer in spite of the known fading problem. The fix worked for awhile, and eventually the mirrors got dirty again so I am about to retackel it today because the 3600n I bought to replace it also is faulty now, and I have tons of toner stockpiled for the 2605 that I would like to use up. My problem after I did the above fix was my calibration was out, I found a post that said you need to service the clutch for this problem, so I will try playing with the clutch at the same time.

    As I have large seasonal label printing needs coming up and now HP has ‘ripped me off’ on 2 printers, I’m considering purchasing one of the ones that comes with full sized toner cart’s from Costco, printing all my labels for this year, and then returning it with a note enclosed to HP telling them why. I also own an HP Pavillion Notebook computer that has a known hinge cracking flaw with it that HP also will not acknowledge (there is even an entire website dedicated to the problem), so needless to say what me opinion is of HP’s products and their warranty support.

  • Eric GROSS


    Just completed my “second cleaning run” under 75 minutes… getting pro… 🙂
    I did it the first time roughly one year ago… but it was time to “refresh” the printer again.
    Back to normal again, thanks for this very useful article.
    I am living now in a “dusty” country, I added the optional step 23… we’ll see how it goes. (though I am a bit worried by potential overheating)
    Cairo, Egypt

    • Eric GROSS

      oh oh… second run done in May 2009 and I’ll have to do the third one very soon (Sept 2009, so only 5 months apart?).
      Doubts about the additional steps 23 (additional filter) are growing, is not it forcing the air through unwanted channels getting dust more quickly on the mirrors?

  • Judy Walker

    Thank you for your HP printout fading page – it was exactly what I needed. I was able to speak knowledgeably to the HP tech, and they gave me no argument at all. Immediately offered to send a refurbished unit. Additional information that might be useful to others: the toll free number to call in the US is 800-474-6836. Thanks again from California and have a beer on me! – Judy Walker

  • Steve

    Incredible. ! I had given up on this printer and stumbled across this. Tried it and it looks good as new! If I hadn’t bought new toners, I’d probably have chucked it before getting this far! Thanks.

  • Arturo

    I followed your directions but when i finished the printer send me an error 51.21 what did I do wrong?

  • Nick

    I forgot to mention, I cut out a 3 small rectangle shaped pieces from a dust mask and used electrical tape to adhere them to the vent on the bottom of the printer. Hoping this make-shift filter will prevent the dust from accruing on the mirrors so quickly.

  • Add me to the list of thankful people for whom your instructions proved helpful in reviving a printer that was one day away from the junkpile. The repair took about an hour, and I was surprised at the difference considering how little dust I could see on the mirrors. Thanks again, Ed.

  • Chris

    Great job with instructions. I paid HP tech $39.00 to tell me my problem. Searched the web and your instructions came up. My magenta is looking great, however, I now have no black. So I guess I must of missed a connection. I think I am going to call HP back as welland see if I can get my $39.00 back like Greg.

  • Greg

    Thank you very much for this web page.
    I just finished with mine started at 4:30 pm and was done by 6:05 pm. Amazing how little dust was really there but it made all the difference. Talked with HP on Friday they refunded my $39.00 tech charge after I brought up that some people on this web site had gotten new printers because of this problem. They would not do that for me however. Thanks again. Hope all is well.

  • Nick

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. I performed the “surgery” today and it worked much better than I imagined. When I opened the optical box, the mirrors didn’t look dirty to me. I cleaned them anyway, put it all back together and calibrated the printer. It’s printing like brand new again. So, it doesn’t take much dust to create the washed out prints.

  • Patrick

    Wait, sorry, I see that you had just added that air filter last month, let us know if you have any other tricks for this printer,

  • Patrick

    I have also cleaned my printer, only about 3 months ago, (about 9,000 pages), just wondering if your air filter helped with the problem coming back?

  • Uwe

    Thanks a lot for the great instructions!

    I was able just to follow them step by step and it worked excellent.

    The only two tricky parts were pulling the cable connectors out (they were quite a bit “stubborn”) and putting the two cable trays back in place … but those problems were part of the hard to maintain printer and not part of the instructions.

    Now my family and I have back a printer that just prints fine again … looks way much better than before … 😉

    Thanks a lot again!

  • Panagiotis – This is my second 2600 series printer. The first time I ran out of ink that came w/ the printer I went to buy the ink and found that buying a new 2600 was about $100 cheaper than getting the ink carts. The next time I ran out of ink I was sitting on the fence about buying the printer again with the stock cartridges or just getting the carts. Unfortunately, I bought the carts thinking that I was contributing a little less to my local landfill. After I run out of ink this next time I will most likely buy the whole printer again – this way I won’t have to do the whole clean out thing again. I am also hoping that the next printer will have a few more improvements. ie fix the dust problem -hint hint HP or as I had stated earlier – NOT a HP. The only thing that worries me about buying another brand printer is that I may be buying a whole new flaw that I will have to discover and try to repair. At least with HP I know what to expect.

  • Its been a year…and it was time to clean my own HP printer again!

    I added a new bit – the impromptu air filter (see step 23).

    Nice to have pretty printouts again…


  • Worked! Two of us with varying degrees of experience with these kinds of things (his better than mine) were able to take apart, clean, button up and test in about two hours. Had to run a color calibration routine, but that was a small aside. We’ve always said between ourselves that this is a poorly designed machine to begin with. But this beats going out and getting a new printer!

    By the way, I’m about 95% positive that it was my posting on that you found. The bums. They left a half-assed answer to the problem and then charged me $10 for the non-help. They’re refunding the charge, but still.

    Congratulations and thanks again.

  • Anthony

    Thanks for the detailed info. Did the steps as laid out and magenta is now OK. Only problem was colours were out of alignment (like Paul in #8). Ran the aligment tool to no avail. Disassembled and reassembled printer and noted laser/scanner unit was not sitting correctly. Fixed it, reassembled printer and now prints like new (printer is almost 3 y.o). Black and cyan quantities went from 47% to 11% though (wtf??!!).

  • adam

    Hi, I am having the same problem. Mine is with red and yellow. All are new HP toners. I live in the US. Does anyone know if they will replace the printer? Other than the Hawaii fellow getting his replaced. I dont mind doing the work myself, just would like to see if I could get it replaced before I mess it up.


  • Hi Panagiotis,
    If it makes you feel any better, I must now consider following my own instructions to clean my printer AGAIN. I have not looked into other colour laserjets…perhaps someone else who is reading this can offer advice?


  • Panagiotis

    I had the same problem with my 2600n printer. (even worse because I lost magenta and yellow coulours)
    Thanks for your instructions they helped repair my printer. There may be some minor differences in the way the side covers are mounted in the 2605 and 2600n. I just had to handle with care.
    Unfortunately 2 months after cleanning I start having the same problem (loosing magenta color).
    I dont believe that getting the same printer, even a new one, is a satisfactory solution, although I asked for replacement at HP (Greece). I also doubt that getting another (unfiable) HP color laserjet (made in China) has any sense.
    Have you any suggestion for a trustworthly network color laserjet at this price range (260,00 € new with 4 cardridges) working for more that 18 months;

  • Hi Loren – glad this helped. BTW, I’m from Toronto! The extra memory helps when you have bigger files (complicated graphics, photos) so that more can be sent down to the printer – meaning faster printing, and fewer “out of memory” pages printed out. I found this website (seems an ad site, but did have some info on it about HP memory:

  • Thanks for the great guide! Being in Canada I figured that rather than spending countless hours on hold with HP and probably getting nowhere, I decided to instead try the fix first. It took me about 45 minutes start to end so that should say something for your guide! It fixed it somewhat but not all the way – until I reread the last part concerning the recalibration. All is good now. I was ready to go postal on the HP headquarters because I just spent more money on the new cartridges than what I spent on the entire printer. Now I can get back to printing up the brochures for our company. My next printer will most likely not be a HP.

    On one area of the guide you talk about the extra dimm card. What exactly does this do? I am using my printer on a network – will this speed it up?

  • […] I cleaned our HP Color LaserJet 2605dn printer. By the way, it is spelled “Color” and not “Colour”, even though it was […]

    • Ken Browne

      The author is not from the U.S. As you may or may not know, color in the U.S. is colour in the U.K. Ah, Britain and America…two great nations divided by a common language.

      All spelling and grammar errors are intentional. Grammar Nazis’ need entertainment
      * TagZilla 0.066 *

  • Philip

    Just received printer this evening, One day after speaking with Complaint Department at HP. I have never received a parcel from the Mainland to Hawaii that fast before. Another thing, I opened the package, unpacked the printer, opened it up and what did I see?????…Brand new toner cartridges as well.
    I am beside myself…Thank you HP.

    I hope this printer does not repeat in 18 months from now. But even if does, I will know how to fix it.

  • Philip

    My 2605dn is out of warranty by about 8 months. My printouts were unusable because of fading. There seemed to be some success on this blog getting HP to replace the printer so before I tried to fix it myself, I thought I would try my luck. Called HP customer service, told them I had the 265dn with a fading problem. The rep told me that my printer was out of warranty and when I mentioned a service bulletin on the fading issue, he referred me to the Tech representative but told me that there might be a charge for his help. When I got the Tech rep on the line, he did proceeded to run me through the checks and printouts to evaluate the problem, no charge. After he concluded that the problem was indeed a dirty internal optic mirror he told me that because I was out of warranty, he could send me a replacement for 270.00 US (without toner cartridges) or give me the name and numbers of service techs in my area that could possibly fix the machine.

    I asked him if he could replace my printer for me and after checking he told me that the service bulletin on this printer had expired and that he could do nothing for me other than what he had already mentioned. I asked him if he had the power to make an exception and replace my printer for me, he told me again that he could not. Then I asked him if there was anything he could do to help me get the printer replaced because we are a small business here in Hawaii and we rely on our HP printer. He told me that I should escalate the case to the complaint department and that they had other remedies available to them that he did not have. He gave me the case number and said he would type a report and sent the case to the Complaint Department and that they would contact me within 2 days.

    The next morning, I got an email from the complaint department in broken english with poor grammar, telling me that the printer was out of warranty so there was nothing they could do other than what the Tech rep had offered me. There was also a number to call if I had any questions.

    I called the number and spoke to the Complaint department rep who told me again that the printer was out of warranty and we was very sad to tell me that they could do nothing for me. I explained to him that I understood the options that were explained to me…270.00 US for a new printer without cartridges (add in the cartridges 250.00 US and that is 200.00 US more that what I paid for the complete unit at Costco. I told him that did not make any sense. I asked him if he or anyone in his department could make an exception to the situation and replace the printer for me to satisfy an HP customer. After all, they had been replacing the printer for people who asked up until the expired the service bulletin. I told him if I had known about the service bulletin, I would have exchanged the printer but I was not notified. He told me he would check to see if there was anything that they could do for me to help me out, but he told me that he wasn’t going to promise me anything. After one hour he called me back and reminded me that they no longer replace the defective printer that are out of warranty but that he had check with a few other departments and they agreed to send me a refurbished unit at their expense. I am to keep my toner cartridges and cord and return the defective unit to them in the box that the new printer arrives in. He said I should have it the next day.

    I was told no and about 10 times during my conversation with the three various reps and then I was told yes.

    Don’t give up, be polite and ask them to be reasonable and make an exception. It could happen to you too.

  • Whew, Ralph! I’m so very pleased that you sorted out the problem. Happy printing!


  • Ralph

    Final update (1-24-09), I repeated the process three times, looking for lose connections and researched via Google for the “open door” error. Upon testing the third reassembly, the process worked! After calibration, she prints like new. As for the cause of the “open door” message and lack of black printing, I suspect repeating the process secured the lose connection causing each problem. Thanks again Andrew!

  • Ralph

    I replaced the black cartridge and it shows 99% via the web interface. I checked the purple wire harnesses to confirm they weren’t the problem. Still checking…..

  • Andrew,
    very nice tutorial. I followed the instructions and the assembly process went well.

    However, even several calibrations the black is absent. The other colors appear much more crisp than before the “operation.” Any suggestions?

  • Simon

    Hi, just following up on the fading issue with a 2600n. I took your advice and despite it being out of warrantee, HP responded without any arguments -I have a new printer that works perfectly, thank you for your advice

    • Fantastic news, Simon. Glad to hear that HP sorted it out for you in less than a month. And now you just have enough time to print out all your holiday cards and New Year’s invitations! 🙂


  • Ken

    I too am getting the “Door open” error. Anyone been able to resolve that issue??

  • James

    From Canada!
    Ditto to all of the thanks and praise — this is better support than HP provides! 1.5 hours or less to do this if you have some experience. Very clear instructions. I have three of these printers because it was cheaper to buy the printer than a set of cartridges. I have done fairly high volumes — 3000 pages in a day at times — printing newsletters. My total page count was over 12,000 when the fading started. I initially thought it was a corona wire problem. I took extra time to swab out the interior of the optic box and blow it out with canned air in hopes it will not recurr as soon. It would be nice to come up with a way to seal the box! It will probably help to keep the area vacuumed regularly and to use good quality paper that has less dust and cleaner cut edges.
    HP site states max duty cycle at 35000 (yes 35K) pages per month!!!???, but a recommended volume of 500 to 1500 per month.
    Regarding the light gray background this happens with a near empty toner/drum unit.
    And I trust everyone knows about the toner override so you don’t have to throw expensive toner cartridges away that are at least half full 🙂 I routinely get 4000 pages from most cartridges.
    You can google this at several sites:
    1. press the “check” button (the LCD will read “Main Menu Reports”)
    2. press the right arrow (the LCD will read “Main Menu System Setup”)
    3. press the “check” button (the LCD will read “System Setup Language”)
    4. press the right button twice (the LCD will read “System Setup Print Quality”)
    5. press the “check” button (the LCD will read “Print Quality calibrate color”)
    6. press the right arrow 3 times (the LCD will read “Print Quality Replace Supplies”)
    7. press the “check” button (the LCD will read “Replace Supplies Override Out” or “Replace Supplies Stop at Out”)
    8. press the right until you see the LCD screen say “override Out”
    9. press the “check” button to accept whichever option you want. The default is that the printer will stop when IT detects that the cartridge is empty, not when the cartridge is actually empty. If you accept the “Override Out” option, the printer will NOT shut down when IT thinks the toner is out, and you can decide for yourself by looking at the printed page when the toner has run out.
    Cheers to you Andrew!

  • Thanks for the great documented solution!
    We had a fading Magenta problem which would cost us 450 euro to solve. Now it took me just 2 hours. Printer prints all colors correct! First time I had no screws left 😉

  • Pete

    This worked awesome! Thanks for posting it. It took about two hours, but now the photos in my holiday letters don’t make us all look pukey green.

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