Recently, my large-format HP Z3100 printer has started to display strange error messages. As these messages were not documented in the admin documentation delivered with the printer, I have searched on internet the printer service manual, this is the manual that HP tech guys are using to fix the printer. I have found the documentation on this site.

Helped with the service manual, I have discovered the meaning of the two error messages displayed by the printer:

  • a power supply deficiency (problem with the fan)
  • a front panel error

Regarding the power supply deficiency, OK, I heard the fan making strange noises.

But for the second problem reported by the printer, it did not make any sens as the front panel was working fine and all the connectors of the front panel were tightly connected (I have checked several time). Searching again on Google, it seemed that this error was related to the “formater”. This is the piece of hardware that contains the hard drive. And the hard drive is a weak point of the printer.

So, I have tried to buy a new “formater”. I have called the company that is delivering printer parts to HP customers in Switzerland. And I had another surprise: the formater was end of life!

Thanks to HP to not support a printer that is 4 years old!

I did not gave up and I have found a new hard drive on a China web site. Hard drive ordered, installed and the printer is starting again. After the setup procedure described in the service manual, the printer seemed to work fine. I did not do a print check as I had to replace the power supply and I did not want to have too much heat on the hard drive… It was a mistake.

I have ordered a new power supply on Amazon and I started to disassemble the printer:

Z3100 disassembled

It is not really sexy… The only goal was to remove the power supply.

Z3100 disassembled

To remove the power supply, you have to disconnect all the internal cables, to get that:

Z3100 power supply

After having assembled the printer, I had a printer that was starting and did not display any error message! At least!

I cleaned the print heads, synchronized paper profiles, and did my first print…

And I saw a new error: 79.04!

At this point, I started to be fed up. Doing new internet searches, I found it was a generic error used by all HP printers. It is an error that is not managed in the firmware and so, it could be created by a lot of hardware parts.

As I did not want to try to change a lot of parts to clear this error, I decided to stop trying fixing the printer. As all my friends told me that my printer looked like a piano, I have decided to replaced it with… a piano. At least, the sound will be nicer.

Don’t think that only HP wide format printers have this kind of problems. Looking on internet forum, I discovered that all brands have a lot of problems with their wide format printers. It is much simpler to not buy a new printer and to work with a partner for all my wide prints.

If you would like to buy my printer and want to fix it, contact me to talk about a (small) price for it. I have several paper rolls to offer with it, ink cartridges almost full and a full black ink cartridge. But I will not send the printer, you will have to come to get it!

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