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A laser printer series by HP for home and office use. These printers often have problems with the formatter board.

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Why does my HP Laserjet P2015dn printer not print?

When I go to print via my HP P2015dn I get the message "printer is offline." I've reset the printer preferences several times and my printer then works — but only once! Then it again gives me the "printer is offline." My connection is a USB printer cable.

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The P2015 series is known for chronic formatter board issues. In most cases where the printer does not respond, it's often the formatter on this series. The problem was common on them when they weren't older, but as they age the risk has grown to a point they're not worth buying, and if you own one, plan for failure. If it works, do not stock up on toner. Buy a new printer and run both until it fails. I'd say buy knockoff toner as needed if yours still works.

The USB cable fix is worth a shot at this point since the cables are cheap, but just keep in mind it’s likely a bad formatter board and it may not help. If it still has issues, don’t waste any more time on it - it's dead.

The defect is repairable, but ANY attempts WILL BE TEMPORARY and it WILL KEEP FAILING! Sell off any spare unopened toner stock and empty anything you have opened while it runs, even if it means printing for friends as a favor with a heads up you're finishing off consumables on a failing printer and it won't last forever. Replace it once you’ve run out of consumables. If you aren't down with recycling, give it away to someone who will use cheap aftermarket toner in it until it fully fails as a nice throwaway printer. While the heatsink patch may help working units that have no early signs of trouble, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good on a failed one as the damage is done. However, it may be enough if you will be happy with the increase. Don’t waste money on a repaired formatter board - they die the same way and some data will be lost forever like the page count, formatter number, and serial number UNLESS you can somehow procure the LJ service tools HP uses or use PJL if it's an option.

Reflowing the formatter board does salvage the printer so I will mention it, but this is as far as I'd go if I was going to try to repair one of these and I had a lot of leftover toner in a open cartridge when it died. Please use an oven that will never see food again. Being a RoHS board helps, but PCB chemicals aren’t something you want to eat. Each printer is identical to open up, but with different connections:

  • Base (USB only, no other ports, no auto duplex)
  • n (Network, most common)
  • dn (Duplex+network, very common as well)
  • dtn (Duplex, Tray, Network, 2nd tray, uncommon)
  • x (Duplex+network+factory 3rd paper tray, essentially the same as the dtn, only found in large offices)

If you do opt to try reflowing the board, here's how to do it:

  • Step 1: Remove the formatter board. The board is on the side where the USB and Ethernet ports are. To remove this panel, push it out with a flathead screwdriver.
  • Step 2: Once you have the panel off, take a picture of the wiring and keep it for reference. It shouldn't be possible to mix up, but if it's your first try you might want this image. If in doubt, pair each connector with a "mark".
  • Step 3: Remove the formatter board screws and unplug the cables going to the board. You will see ~4-5 screws holding it in. If you are not sure you can remember where each screw went, lay them how they came out of the printer but they should be the same.
  • Step 4: Find a way to lift the board in the oven. You can do this with anything, but it needs to be 100% flat for this to work correctly. PC standoffs, an aluminum sheet with holes drilled in it for case screws and potentially nuts to keep the board stable will work for this.
  • Step 5: To extend the life of the reflow and improve your odds, put liquid flux under all of the chips on the board. The idea is your reflow will be more consistent this way. Just make sure to use no-clean flux or ultrasonic the formatter board after baking it to clean it.
  • Step 6: Preheat the oven at 450-500 degrees for 5 minutes. Put the board in until the solder is molten, then remove it. This takes around 5-8 minutes. DO NOT BUMP THE BOARD. Let the board cool for 8-12 hours.
  • Step 6a: If you used an oven you cook food in, run a cleaning cycle and thoroughly clean it. This does not apply to an oven dedicated to reflow.
  • Step 7: After letting the board cool, put it back in the printer and try your luck.

Putting a heatsink on the CPU (largest chip on the board) and Ethernet controller (network models) can add more life to your reflowed printer, but it is still temporary. The glue on the back should be sufficient, but if you want to be sure they will not move use thermal Epoxy.

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Have you updated the print drivers? Here's a link to the current drivers HP P2015dn Printer

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Try using a new USB cable. if this doesn't work, the problem is with the formatter board. If this is the case, ask a technician for help on how to fix this issue.

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I have to light on. the two at the top looks like toner and roller indicator

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I thought replacing the USB cable could not solve the problem and then I remembered I had installed all new USB cables to cleanup the big mess of cables I had going to my big USB terminal so I replaced the printer USB and Lan cables and it solved my printer problem. Thanks for the tip. After reading the gloomy description of the p2015's history I ordered a replacement printer so now I have a spare in case the history forecast is correct.

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In our experience the answerer is correct, there is a known issue with the formatter board. I understand that these were produced at a moment when board technology was changing, I think to reduce the amount of heavy metals in the solder or whatever, and there was a period where they were prone to random failures of the solder. We replaced a bunch of 1320's and 1160's (boy those things were reliable!) when they became scarce. Basically we keep a handful or two of inexpensive hp lasers (we look for good deals on lots on ebay, often found them for even 50 or 75 bucks, they are maybe 20 bucks more now) on desktops as convenience printers for our employees, and keep a few spares on the shelf. If they stop working we swap them out, and when we have time, we see if we can easily fix them and put them back in rotation or keep them for parts (like formatter boards!)

We've had the formatter board issue on a couple of the 2015's. One thing to note is that most of our units have been fine, have operated for years without this problem. We have purchased a number of formatter boards on ebay for a few bucks and swapped them out, it just takes a few minutes. I think we received 1 bad replacement. So we're limping them along, I also understand that "reflowing" can work, but for what it costs to get formatter board pulls, we just take our chances.

So I wouldn't panic about nursing them along, but I would recommend keeping a spare handy. For the price and quality, these old HP workgroup printers can't be beat for the price for low page corporate pulls, availability of inexpensive high yield toner, parts, service manuals and you gotta love youtube to see what it takes to service them. We find them pretty easy to repair. I would guess the sweet spot today would be the p2035's or 2055's which seem available for around 125-150

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p2055 or the M401. I bought a spare M401n because I hate the new HP dynamic security crap. I'd sooner buy a Mono Lexmark and replace the drum every 40k pages, or if I had to a CS and the drum/developer!! Lexmark has a key you can press and it prints anyway. You can reuse HP chips to refill but if it's swapped and gets a DS block you're SOL unless you can pull your virgin chip off the old cart intact. I would just get another Lexmark because I already own a color Lexmark and I know I don't need to go to HP and Lexmark for supplies.

I paid $133 for my spare (with a used refilled 80A) but I can get deals like that from my supplier because I'm a regular. Mine has 10k pages on the clock. If it has close to 100k pages I'd be fine with doing a roller swap but I will not pay much if anything for that many pages. I seen it and took the chance to get a low mileage spare. Always be in the market and be ready to go for the kill.

If I had to buy new yeah I'm going with a Lexmark. They still make steel tanks.

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