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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

  • Steve Kemp

    I’ve done this four times (I think it’s four!) over the life of the printer and it always brings the red back to perfection. Did it again yesterday with good results. I’ve bought you another beer!

  • Ken Hecker

    I’ve had one problem that I just can’t figure out. For a while I had constant problems where the printer would not print in color. I tested different things, but it seemed several different things would correct the problem for a while. I could pull out the cyan toner cartridge, and slam it back in. That sometimes corrected the problem. No other cartridge – just the cyan. Or I could turn the printer off and on again. That worked on occasion. Or I might disconnect the Ethernet cable, and plug it back in. I wasted a lot of paper trying to use these techniques. Then suddenly, a few months ago, the problem suddenly went away on its own, and has not returned. Any ideas?

  • Ken Hecker

    Just a note: Do not be afraid to use the dry QTip on the mirrors. These have a quartz (SiO2) optical coating (I did this for years on mirrors in scientific instruments), and can take a lot of abuse. A QTip will NOT harm them, no matter how hard you try. Even a little bit of dust can cause problems with the printing. As noted by members here, the upward-facing mirrors get a lot dirtier than the ones pointing down. Some of this is toner that has slipped into the Optical Box, and the rest is environmental dust. I personally use my HP 2605 in a filthy environment, and it is still printing well two years after my last overhaul. Do clean all the mirrors, and change the QTips often.

  • Thanks for this great write-up!
    When I removed the optical box, the spring sprang off. I tried to replace the “paddle” and spring properly.
    But after reassembly, it prints only blank pages. No error messages nor unexpected behaviors, but no printout.
    I assume the “paddle” is blocking the lasers but I cannot figure out how to install it and the spring correctly.

  • David

    Thanks for the step by step instructions. I used them on a 10+-year-old HP2600. The mirrors that were facing up were pretty dirty and those facing down much cleaner. A little time with the Qtips and a bright flashlight cleaned them right up. I also utilized the improvised air filter suggestion. The subsequent printing looked fantastic. Thanks again –

  • Bob

    Hi. I have the same problem, although not too serious yet. My printer is a Canon LPB 5000, which uses the same scanner unit. I managed to download the Canon service manual this morning, & that describes how to get to, & remove the scanner unit. It also says that this unit should not be taken apart ! Combining the Canon instructions, & your instructions should allow me to clean my mirrors etc, & I will do so when the Magenta gets to be too feint. For the moment I will live with it.


  • Ken Hecker


    All it takes is a tiny bit of dust. I usually lose my magenta, since that is the bottom, up-facing mirror, and catches the most dust. Fortunately the mirrors are SiO2 (quartz) overcoated, and can take a beating. Another factor is calibration. Sometimes things will still be off, and doing more than one calibration will often bring things into alignment. That secret little button, behind the door on the back of the machine, allows you to test the printer, and if the page that comes out has all lines complete across the page, you should be good to go. If you only have one screw holding the optical box in at the bottom, see if putting that screw (still accessible when assembled) in the other hole. I’ve found that adjusting that screw just right can make a difference in the calibration.

    I mean to keep this HP Color LaserJet 2605dn going as long as possible. My last pain with it was when I went through a period where it would lose all color, unless I did drastic things to it (turning it off and on, pulling out the cyan cartridge and slamming it back in). Then suddenly it has cured itself, and is printing perfectly again. This is my third of this model. The first came back to life following Andrew’s instructions. Then I made the mistake a couple years later of following someone else’s technique, and had to send it to Wisconsin for repair. On the way UPS destroyed the printer, and refused to pay on the insurance claim. So I bought a used one, and when that had problems, I bought another one just a few miles away. Just got new cartridges from Staples. I’ll do anything to keep this model going. It’s networked across the house so my wife can use it as well. The duplex printing and the 3rd tray (250 sheet) module (just set the printer on top of it, and it’s ready) make it the perfect machine.

    Ken in Fullerton, CA USA

  • Bruce Smith

    My reds were almost nonexistent, and I found this page with google. I disassembled as shown (except I skipped labeling the cables since most have unique sized connectors). My mirrors did not look dirty, and Q-Tips didn’t show hardly any dust after swabbing them. I blew out the inside with my 120psi air compressor, and a tiny amount of dust flew out. I was worried my problem was caused by something else. But after reassembly and calibration, the colors are now perfect!!! Thank you very much!!!

  • Charlie

    I went ahead and gave this a shot on my Old CM1015 MFP (I bought it at a Circuit City if that tells you how old it is). Anyhow, I’ve had that greenish hue for sometime, and the magenta was practically non existent. So I gave this procedure a shot. Other than a few extra screws the procedure was dead on. There was an extra screw under the left circuit board shown in step step 15. I had to remove the right side handle (just like in step 7) which covered and additional screw below the USB/NIC card. Also if you look at the picture of the right side in step 6, a bit above the usb port there is a white ribbon cable. If you look closely it goes over a small hole, in my printer there is another screw in there that’s holding down the panel in step 15. You’ll need use a magnetic screwdriver to get it back in. Anyhow, when I got to the mirrors, I didn’t think they even looked that dirty. Hardly anything on the q-tip. Boy was I wrong. I printed out a few different test pages before and the same pages after. The difference was completely shocking. I didn’t even realize how bad the other colors were printing. Thanks so much for this. I had just bought a new set of toner, hoping it would improve my print quality… nope. So I was getting ready to buy a new/used HP printer that uses the same cartridges, but I thought I’d give this a shot first. So happy it worked. Thanks for this procedure!

  • Mike D

    I was having the exact same issues with my 2605dn printer, notably the faded reds on the sides of the page. However, before I started this operation the printer worked fine otherwise. I followed these wonderfully meticulous instructions, cleaned off the dusty mirror in the bottom of the optical box, and put everything back together. The toner cartridges were all low, so before I ran a test page I replaced each of the 4 toner cartridges with a brand new, HP-brand cartridge. I calibrated the color and printed a demo page, but it, and every test page since, has come out VERY faint and just barely visible. The colors don’t appear to be coming through at all, but the black is there and barely legible. I tried running cleaning mode a few times and calibrating colors, which has actually made the black ink stand out a fraction more, but still barely visible. Everything that I can see seems aligned properly on page; the only issue is the faintness of the print quality and lack of color.

    After a bit of online research, I thought the *new* cartridges I installed may have dried out as they sat in my office for the last 4-5 years. So, I took out the new cartridges and stuck the old and nearly depleted cartridges back in to see if they would print correctly (as they did just before I dismantled the printer). Unfortunately, the output was the same: barely visible black and no discernible colors on all the test pages. This now leads me to believe that I messed something up during the operation (DOH!).

    I’m desperately hoping that someone has a suggestion as to what may have gone wrong while I disassembled the printer that could cause the output to be SO faint?? I have not received a single error message since reassembling the printer, and I’m positive that everything was plugged and tucked back into its original place. A few questions I’m pondering:

    1) Is it possible that a loose connection on the circuit board could be responsible?
    2) Did I accidentally nudge something on one of the exposed side panels that might have messed up the transfer roller or fuser assembly?
    3) Could a misaligned optical box explain the faint printing?
    4) Am I screwed???

    Thank you very much in advance for any input!


    • Trikky T

      Hi, Mike.

      Likely the optical box is misaligned. If you’ve run through the calibration a couple of times, open it up again and loosen the box a tad to see if it can be aligned better. Once you’ve got the box screwed tight-ish, push the test button on the circuit board and see if the lines show up okay.

      If I recall, it took me a couple of attempts, but do the calibration a couple of times (and re-test) before adjusting the box again.

      Good luck.

  • Colin

    Excellent, thank you very much!

    The guide was great so I printed it out but then I realised I couldn’t zoom into the pictures.
    Have you ever tried zooming in on paper? It doesn’t work so I resorted to my iPad and that does.

    Thanks again,

  • I bought a used HP2600n: Worked great, 6 months later Cyan became weak then stopped. Recently Bought a HP2605dn from Salvation Army Magenta never printed. As cartridges are the same I swapped them – problems stayed with printers. Went on internet and found this article: 2600n was dirty. Works GREAT now! Didn’t find any dust in the 2605dn but with bright light – seen Q tip was leaving “particles” Put foam filter in shop vac and blew air on laser diodes / mirrors. It works GREAT now!
    I worked at Verizon installing Fujitsu fiber systems. Dust and finger prints were my enemy. Great care should be taken. We were never to look into a fiber cable or transceiver card.
    Detroit MI

  • Indika


    I have gone through these steps and cleaned the mirrors. Now I am getting “Door Open” error. Few times checked all connections, and door switch and actuators works fine. No broken pieces in front door (or in switching mechanism). Top cover is also OK. Then I have searched HP support forums and according to other people’s thoughts, it could be scanner (board) issue (a burnt board due to toner leakage to circuit). In fact when I opened scanner box for second time to double check I have seen some magenta toner on 2 of small circuit boards inside the scanner box. So it might be burnt. If changing scanner box not solving the issue then according to suggestions it could be a DC controller board issue. If front door and top cover switching mechanism is OK, then it could be either scanner or DC controller issue. I don’t have spare parts to check. But in case if you are facing the same issue, this would be helpful to you. It is very important to remove any leaked toner from scanner box circuit boards before you switch it on.

  • Nick Cee

    Hi. Thanks for this guide. have the exact same washed out print problem that you started with. Your guide may be required but for some there may be a much easier solution. Here is what I did to bring my CP1525nw back up to factory specs and printing like day one (actually even better than day one):

    1) I turned off printer then unplugged. Leave it unplugged for minute then plug back in. (This is HP tech recommendation to fix issues, by the way).

    2) I then reset printer to factory specs. Go OK > then right arrow to “Service” then OK > right arrow to “Restore Defaults” then OK. After resetting, you will have to reinstall software and set your computer back up as on day one.

    3) Turn off printer.

    4) With printer off and before reinstalling drivers, take out each toner drum and hold by handle on back. In vertical position, gently shake the toner one way 5 times then flip around (still vertical) and shake the other way five times. Do this with all four toner drums and reinsert into printer. Close it up. Make sure and not touch the drum itself or you will ruin it.

    My printer actually prints BETTER than on day one. This redistributing the toner is a great first step to see if it will fix your washed out prints!

  • mthunt

    I found this off of a google search. I should post the before. I can’t believe it worked. Amazing. Thanks for posting this. I also had a hard time getting the black wire guides out but so what. IT WORKS GREAT AGAIN.



    Step 13 needs more instruction as to HOW to remove the black cable trays! I tried gently for about 20 minutes until my “man-handling” side came out & I broke all 4 tabs that held it in! The smaller one on the right I was able to get to come out. Only after you successfully remove a “stubborn” part can you then see where their might be a “toggle” to press on to get it to easily come out. Perhaps you could add some photos (IF you ever have to do this again!) that directly show how to remove them.

    I also must admit to not have the joyous reaction to finally opening the “heart” box, because I wasn’t exactly sure what components were the mirrors requiring to be cleaned versus all of the other “doo-dads” inside. I tried my best to use q-tips to gently clean everything I could!

    So I put it all back together, carefully making sure not to pinch any of the now “un-cable trayed” wires, no screws left over and everything seemingly ready to go! I powered it up and went to print a test page. It started okay, then made a slightly unusual sound, then stopped. Screen instructed me clear a paper jam, which was done easily. I closed the front door and then it gave me an error message – 57 Fan Error, Turn off then on – all while the little orange light continued to blink. I turned off then on MANY times! I reopened the side, blew on the fan, spun the fan blade, disconnected the fan, all to no avail.

    So, here I sit feeling slightly successful following your directions as far as getting to the mirrors to clean them AND putting it all back together, to now have a very faint night light….. I’ll search the net to see what that error message means. I’ll follow up with this post if I figure this out! Thanks for all of your outstanding instructions!

    • mthunt

      Something isn’t plugged in properly for the fan. That’s the risk of a DIY on an old printer. I also broke the black tabs but I was going to throw the printer out and buy a new one so I’m ahead. I’m pretty sure the poster is just a guy posting a fix on the internet.

  • Greg

    I had a HP 2605dn that would not print magenta even with a good toner cartridge. I came across this article and decided to try your fix. After opening the opti-box I was disappointed that the mirrors didn’t appear all that dirty. I cleaned the mirrors and all anyway, put it back together thinking I had probably wasted my time and had another issue. Low and behold, printer is printing all colors great once again! The only problem I had with the disassembly was removing the black wire holders. I broke some of the clips on mine because I didn’t understand what you meant by pulling to the side to unfasten them. I ended up using a small flat screw driver to help release the clips. Thanks for a great fix!

  • Ana

    I hope someone’s still monitoring this feed. After I put the printer back together, it only prints blanks. 🙁 I googled high and low and can’t seem to figure out what I must have screwed up? Any ideas? All the cables were labeled and put back in.

  • Boris

    Thank you for the manual! Very essential in my case was the information after minute 20.15 in this video:

    In my case I moved this two squares and the printer couldn’t calibrate at all. Before reassembling it is important to check if they look same way! I recommend putting this information at the step 20!

    Thank you, now everything great 🙂

  • Rosa

    I have the same problem with the MAGENTA not being the red it suppose to be. I have changed all Cartridge in the printer. I will try to do these but my printer is hp color laser jet 1600. Yes it is old but prints every thing else great. Could buy a new printer when you change the cartridge.

  • Priscilla

    Hi i went through the steps and i still don’t get magenta any suggestions anyone can give me would be a great help thanks.

  • Ahmed Abdelsalam

    i had this solution at several times without any positive results except the colors get more depth … any suggestion ??

  • James Whisler

    I just got a used HP 3500 printer. the main test page is good, but when i print multiple pages, the previous page transfers to the next, so you get a faint impression of the previous page. This printer was transported via trailer about 300 miles, so not sure what i need to clean on it. also, you can see the image/toner still on the image transfer drum in the front cover when you open it up to look at the toner cartridges.

    any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Steve

    I think this is the fourth time I’ve cleaned my mirrors in about 6 years, It’s still a great printer and always pop by these instructions to make sure I don’t forget something! If your looking for a mirror cleaning solution then Baader Wonder Fluid is fantastic for cleaning mirrors. It’s expensive as I use it for cleaning telescope mirrors, but produces a very clean mirror.

  • anon

    For Step 25, you can also get to the “TEST” button by simply opening up the little cover door on the back of the printer. A single screw holds the door closed, then it flips down exposing the connectors and TEST button.

  • Steve Kemp

    Did this last in April 2015 (my comment is on page 21). I pretty much remembered the procedure but forgot about the release tab for the side panel inside the front door (nearly snapped it off before I noticed it was still holding). Credit to you for publishing this, I’ll go and buy you a beer!

  • abu

    thanks.. really works.

  • Paul G

    In Step 25 the boring page of colored lines lets you know if you have put the opical box in correctly and properly alligned – if it is correct these lines will be perfectly horizontal. If it is not correct they will be at an angle. I would advise pressing this test button after reinstalling the circuit boards and getting all electrical connections back together but before reassembling everything else. If the optical box isn’t in right you’ll just have to dismantle everything again.

  • David Elkins

    I am offering an HP Color LaserJet 2605 Printer and original packaging for just the price of shipping from Edmonds, WA, USA.

    I checked a refurb site for weight – 52lbs.

    I have cleaned the mirrors in the past. Needs cleaning again.

    It has nearly full cartridges.

    Ken Hecker, for shipping, would I seal the cartridges in the right place: cling film, tape?

    • Ken Hecker

      David, I bought a nice refurbed unit on Ebay. Seems to be working well. The guy was selling off some 2605 printers from a failed business, and I only had to drive a mile from my house. About 4,000 pages printed. I see some online with like ten times that printed. So far so good.

      As far as sealing the cartridges, once the pull tape is pulled, all you can do is wrap them in cling film to keep any toner from floating around, ship them NOT in the printer, and then dust off anything on the outside before installing. When installing again, do the twisting back and forth to even out the toner in the cartridge.


  • roderik

    my problem is color fade on HP CM 1015 look the photo on
    please help.
    THX for help

  • Ken Hecker

    Now I’m really puzzled. I could see it was time to clean the mirrors in my HP Color LaserJet 2605dn, and so did it. Seems to be working fine, except that the magenta is very faded. But it’s even across the page. So I took it apart again, and adjusted the optical box, and checked for any unplugged cable. I’d run the TEST using the little button on the circuit board, but the lines are complete across the page. I printed out the Demo page, and the monkey is very faded, but the page printed evenly across the page. I did a standard Microsoft test page, and even the logo prints out in the right colors. But when I print any color from a graphics program full page, it comes out sort of Salmon color. Primary blue has a tinge more blue, but is still like there is a background of Salmon behind. The same for Yellow. I printed out a full page ad from an email (using Printable Version), and it prints out fine. I’ve rebooted the computer, thinking that there is something stuck in there, but I’m still getting the same results. And yes, I’ve done many re-calibrations along the way.

    I hope somebody has some ideas. I love this printer. Still prints black text, but…

  • Ken Hecker

    David, yes, the mirrors may look clean, but if you get a high intensity lamp at just the right angle, you’re bound to see some dust. The mirrors are coated with quartz (SiO2), and can take a LOT of scrubbing with the Q-Tip. I also take a high-end napkin and some rubbing alcohol, and go over the transfer belt to smooth everything out (that can be done at any time). If everything goes well, the slightest misalignment can be fixed by a recalibration or two. I’ll do mine tomorrow, but yesterday I pressed that little TEST button in the back, and the test page (all those boring lines) came out looking great, except for the magenta lines being a little narrow on each end. I have a feeling I won’t be needing a recalibration after I clean the magenta mirror, and my 9 year old HP Color LaserJet 2605dn will be like new (again). The demo page monkey will have a nice red coat, and my reds in the margins will be even again.

    • Ken Hecker

      So, looking at test prints, I’m seeing that I’m not getting cyan or green (so a mix of blue and yellow) Looks like I’m just getting black and magenta (and that very lightly). I don’t want to buy another HP 2605dn, but I may have to, although from what I’ve seen, the guys I bought this replacement from a few years ago don’t have any idea about cleaning the mirrors. They just sell printers that work when they get them.

  • Brian K

    I went through the process and it actually got worse.
    Did anyone print out the config page and see magenta, I did and the color was fine.
    When I go to print a color wheel there is actually no magenta now, any suggestions?

  • danny patel

    Hi … i was having problem with magenta …i have followed all the instruction and cleaned the mirror … I am now having a message “door open” …double checked everything …could not see the problem?

  • Gregg Eshelman

    Just bought a 2605dn for $20 and it looks like it prints OK for now. A while ago I was given a 2600 with a new set of toner installed because it wouldn’t print magenta at all. I looked up the problem and didn’t want to take the thing apart so I gave it to someone else along with the how-to on cleaning the mirrors.

    Has anyone tried taping up the holes that allow the toner into the light box? Perhaps some kapton tape?

  • CuriosiT

    Misaligned colors or printing.

    I found a comment that described how to dismantle the printer and clean out the mirrors and lasers at the back of the printer.

    Good idea but didn’t work well enough for me. it was a minor improvement.

    Part of the fix came when I removed the cartridges for cleaning up the 4 mirrors or lenses that are behind the cartridges on the back inside panel. This also helped.

    The real fix was spotting 4 small led type lights hidden on the panel behind the cartridges and to the left of the rear mirrors or lenses. These seem to communicate with the cartridges via light. The cartridges have a small plastic finger that aligns itself with this led. Cleaning these 4 items and the fingers on the cartriges fixed the printer.

  • Jacko from Belgium

    Thanks a lot for this tutorial. My HP2605dn works like a new one.
    One of the 4 mirrors was really dutty.
    I had to clean it stronger with the cottons swabs.
    I’ve blow the printer and the optical box, slowly, with my compressor.
    It’s to easy to have a bad position when you put in the optical box. Just play with the box till there is no more space between the box and the printer.

  • Ken Hecker

    The reason the magenta mirror gets so dirty is that it is at the bottom, and is facing up. The mirrors facing down stay much cleaner. I can see my 2605dn will need cleaning soon. The magenta toner is collecting at the bottom of the toner rack. Just replaced all the toner cartridges, and am looking forward to at least a year more of great printing. I think I bought my HP in 2006. I added a third tray a couple years ago, and I can print 500 pages without adding paper. I love this printer!

  • Just followed these instructions and I will be damned if it didn’t work. My machine is 2007 and the instructions on this were perfect and now the printer is printing like new again. I almost went out and bought a new printer.

    Thanks for your step by step and I did take photos along the way but yours were sufficient. The only issue I had was removing the cable trays, they just didn’t want to come out…especially the top one. Once I got the back panel out it slid right off with no effort. I tugged on that and was afraid of breaking it.

    Was surprised how much dust covered the bottom (red) mirror. Others had dust but I was not getting red print.

  • Larry

    HP fix worked great. You guys are awesome. I tried to donate $20 bucks but the credit fill out form kept only giving me a county choice in England and I am in the USA. I tried several counties anyway and it just kept denying me. You need to fix that!!!!

    • Did you click the link for donating in $ (dollars)?
      Maybe the link for £ (UK pounds) gives you just England/UK country choice?
      I had a look through my PayPal and there have been some donations recently from the USA in $ (thank you to those lovely people!).

  • Steffen

    Love this. Thank you! Did it finally and the results are well worth the effort!

  • Fernando

    Thanks a lot for the tip! My laser printer is back again.

    Regards from Mexico city.

  • Cam

    Just worked through this on an old 2600n. I printed a word document with five color boxes as a before and after. Awesome. The magenta mirror was dusty. Obviously so. I cleaned all the mirrors and everything else I could. Not sure how old the printer is, but I’ve had it quite a while. 58,000 pages. Thanks. I’ll buy you a beer!

  • Ken Hecker

    Oh, and my HP Color Laserjet 2605dn is probably 8 years old. While looking at things for this latest discussion, I printed out the test sheet (with the monkey). That thing still jumps off the page. A year ago I picked up a slightly used 3rd tray unit. Just pops in, and the printer knows it is there. Suddenly I had 250 more pages without adding paper. The printer came with the duplex feature (the “d” in 2605dn). I love this printer.

  • Ken Hecker

    Dave, all I can think of is just go back and forth between the alignment of the optical box and tweaking the screws. Remember there should be a forth screw position, which might not have been used originally. I think Andrew mentions it. I think I have a fourth screw in that hole, and adding it, and doing another calibration cleaned things up the last time. Did you clean the long window behind each cartridge? A Q-Tip would be good for that. I think it takes a lot of dust to cause the poor images. When I cleaned the mirrors in the optical box, I realized I couldn’t hurt the mirrors by rubbing off the dust, as they are vacuum coated with something like SiO2 (silicon dioxide – quartz). I used to coat optical lenses with that in my optical days. With enough heat, the coating will last forever.

  • Ken Hecker


    So is your laser printer using re-manufactured cartridges right now? The only thing I can think of is to take out each cartridge, and rotate it, as shown on the cartridge itself (at least on the OEM cartridge), several times. Possibly the sub-standard toner is caking up inside.

  • Carol

    Great post! I’m searching for a tip to fix an HP LaserJet 2840. It doesn’t seem to be a calibration or fading issue. Sometimes it prints fine, sometimes it prints in only one or two colors. So it is an intermittent problem, but persistant. Also, there is no noticable pattern to which colors don’t print at any given time, so probably not just a bad cartridge or two. However, our service contract provides remanufactured toners, so I’m wondering if genuine HP toners might fix this, or if it’s more likely to be a deeper problem and we should lobby mgmt for a new printer. I assume the tech (who has come several times) has tried all the normal ‘fixes’ short of taking the machine apart. Does this problem sound familiar to anyone? Any suggestions?

  • Ken Hecker

    Dave, yes you seem to have covered everything. One thing that is tricky is adjusting the optical box. Some printers have three screws, some four holding the optical box in place. But there are four holes. I made the mistake of putting one screw in the fourth hole, and had to tweak them all to get the image even and the colors bright. Just tightening one screw a bit too much, or not enough I believe can be cause for misalignment and poor color. I suspect those screws are for the techs to make final alignment, and the probably add the fourth screw if they need some more fine adjustment. If you adjust that, then you’ll have to do another recalibration. As I remember it, if you press the TEST button on the inside of the little cover, it will generate a test page where if the lines are all even across the page, you should get an even print.

    • Dave Elkins

      Thanks Ken,

      W/o taking ckt bd frame off, I loosened the three screws and checked web site that they are in the correct positions. I moved optical box to possibly realign such for better quality. I secured the screw round robin until just firm. Test button output indicated full-width printing of color lines. Performed several calibration and clean operations. The output was noticeably better, but still slightly faded.

      Did you find the settled alignment or the tightness of the screws made the difference? I plan to reset the box, as necessary, to gain further improvement. As an sys engr, I deal with matters such as in this thread, with careful attention.


  • Ken Hecker

    Dave, if you haven’t done the built-in re-calibration, do it! I had problems after my last cleaning, and it took two re-calibrations, but it fixed it!

  • Dave

    I have the same issue of issue all colors are faded after reassemble, as previously reported by Pat
    29 September 2013 at 15:44 “I have cleaned twice before without any problems. This time, all colors are faded after reassemble. I have taken apart 3 times now making sure all fit together ok. Have blown out with my air compressor and have realigned numerous times. All colors still faded. Other suggestions PLEASE… TIA”

    I could not find an answer to Pat’s inquiry.

    I have all colors faded, after two optical-box cleanings. 1st clean – just mirrors with bud; 2nd clean – bud with iso alcohol on mirrors, dry bud on the rest, air clean.

    I just realigned again the optical box, without removing the circuit board assembly, but problem continues. Test button results in straight lines (perhaps faded), full width, printout. I have calibrated and cleaned several times.


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