Fuser Replacement: LJ P2015, 1160, 1320
As a regular maintenance item in any laser printer, the fuser should ideally be easy to replace, and in most printers, this is indeed the case. This article deals with a family of printers that definitely does not follow this rule! In these printers, replacing the fuser requires the removal of many other parts. Also, there are some inaccuracies in the official service manual removal and replacement procedures. We will guide you through the correct procedure step by step.
- Remove the toner cartridge (cover it or put it in a dark place) and tray 2, and lift the printer off of any optional feeder(s).
- Remove left-side cover: Open the print-cartridge door, then use a flat-blade screwdriver or pick to release two tabs at the back of the printer (Fig. A), and slide the cover forward to remove it. Note that the release tabs are in slightly different positions on the different printer models. On the 1160 and 1320, the tab positions are marked with indents. The photo shows the P2015 cover.
- Remove right-side cover: On the 1160/1320, tip the printer up onto its front face and use a flat-blade screwdriver or pick to pry the lower rear corner of the cover away from the plastic retaining tab on the rear cover (Fig. B). This can be difficult, and it may help to use two tools to simultaneously press in on the rear cover and pry out on the right-side cover. Then tip the printer back to its normal position, open the print-cartridge door, and use the screwdriver or pick to release two tabs at the back of the printer (Fig. C), then slide the cover forward to remove it. On the P2015, the retaining tabs are at the front of the cover, and can usually be released by finger pressure alone (Fig. D). Once these tabs are released, the cover comes off easily.
- Remove back cover: Remove four screws, two on each side, then tip the printer up on its front face and release the retaining tab at the lower left corner (Fig. E). If the printer is a duplex model, flex the plastic cover to release the tab on the duplexer tray from the pivot pin on the cover (Fig. E). On the P2015 only, the duplexer tray also attaches to the cover on the other side, but this will come apart easily with no flexing required. Then lift the cover off of the printer. When re-installing this cover, make sure that the green fuser levers (and, on the 1160/1320, the black fuser sensor lever) fit into their respective holes (Fig. G), and remember to re-attach the duplexer tray if the printer is a duplex model.
- Remove duplexer tray (duplex models only): With the printer still tipped up onto its front face, pull the green release tab at the front of the printer (Fig. F) to release the duplexer tray magnets, then pull the tray out the back. When re-installing, this tray must go in (from the back) before the back cover goes on. Note correct orientation (white plastic toward you, Fig. F.
- Remove top cover: Remove two screws at the back of the printer, and two more near the front. Note that the position of the front screws differs on the different printer models: the 1160/1320 printers have a chrome self-tapping screw on the left side and a smaller black machine screw on the front right corner; the P2015 has black machine screws in symmetrical locations on the sides. Then release the control-panel cable and lift the cover off the printer. Note: on the 1160/1320, the cable unplugs at the control panel (on the right side) Fig. H; on the P2015, the cable unplugs at the formatter board (on the left side), Fig. I. When re-installing the P2015 top cover, make sure to route the control panel cable through the plastic-protected hole in the printer sidewall, not the hole with sharp metal edges.
- Remove fan: Disconnect the fan cable at the ECU (at the back of the printer) Fig. J. Unthread this cable from the cable guides, all the way back to the fan. Now remove two screws, unhook the fan clip at the upper right corner of the fan (Fig. K.), and lift the fan off the printer. When re-installing, re-hook the fan clip first to hold the fan in position before putting the screws in.
- Remove duplex-drive gears (duplex models) or face-down gears (simplex models): Simplex and duplex printers have different gear assemblies, but the removal procedure is the same for both. Remove three screws (Fig. L) and very carefully lift the gear assembly away from the printer. Note that the gears are loose in the assembly and can fall out. We recommend tilting the printer toward you while removing or re-installing this gear assembly (Fig. M) so that gravity helps keep the gears from falling out. In case the gears do fall out of the assembly, we include a photo (Fig.M, superimposed) showing how they should look when re-installed (this is the duplex version).
- Remove duplex solenoid (duplex models only): Disconnect one cable, remove one screw (Fig. N), and lift the solenoid off the printer chassis. Note the position of the white plastic arm below the solenoid, and how the metal armature of the solenoid fits into the notch in the arm. This arm will probably fall off when you remove the solenoid, but it is easy to re-install both if you use the photo as a guide. Note that there are guide holes in the sidewall for both the solenoid and the arm.
- Remove formatter: Make sure to observe ESD precautions when handling the formatter: ground yourself, and place the board on a conductive surface while it is out of the printer. In all printer models, the formatter is on the left side, toward the rear, but the details of removing it vary. In the 1160/1320, disconnect five cables (one flat flexible cable at the bottom; one flat flexible cable and three other cables at the top) and remove eight screws (including two in the plastic I/O cover at the rear end) before lifting the board away from the printer (Fig. O). In the P2015, disconnect four cables (two at the top, and two at the bottom, with one flat flexible cable in each pair) and remove four screws before removal. Take care with the flat flexible cables, which are easily damaged.
- Unplug/unthread cables and remove cable guides: In the 1160/1320 only, unplug one cable on the right side of the printer, in the lower rear corner (Fig. P). There is a cable in this location in the P2015, but it does not need to be unplugged. Next, unplug a group of cables at the rear of the ECU board (Fig. J, circled). In the 1160/1320, there are three cables at the edge of the board, and two more behind those. In the P2015, there are four cables at the edge of the board, and two behind (the photo shows the P2015). Next, unthread all these cables from the cable guides and remove the cable guides from the printer. In the 1160/1320, there are separate cable guides on each side (Fig. Q). For each guide, release the retaining tab (shown in the photo) and slide the guide toward the center to remove it. In the P2015, the cable guide is a single piece (Fig. R); remove one screw and slide the plastic guide to the right to remove it. Once the guides are out of the way, you can unplug the fuser cables (Fig. S): a single black cable on your right, and two large cables on the left (each of these has a retaining tab that must be squeezed as you unplug the cable). Finally, in the 1160/1320 only, there is one more cable to unplug, in the lower left corner (as you look at the back of the printer) Fig. AB,
- Remove fuser gears and screws: Remove two gears on the right side of the printer (Fig. N) by spreading the release tabs slightly away from the shafts, and then pulling the gears off. [The new fuser should include the upper gear only, but you will want to remove that before installing the fuser. After the fuser is installed, re-install the new upper gear (that came with the fuser) and the old lower gear.] Next, remove three screws on each side (Fig. U shows the screws on the left side of the printer; Fig. V shows the right-side screws). Note: be careful about location when re-installing the right-side screws. There are “extra” holes in that side, where other things have been removed (the fan and gear assembly), and it is easy to put screws in the wrong holes and find out later that one of the mounting holes for the fan, for example, already has a screw in it. Then you have to remove things to put that screw where it belongs.
- Remove fuser: On the P2015, this is relatively easy: at the left side of the printer (to your right as you face it from the back), pull the printer chassis from the top to spread the frame and release the fuser, simultaneously pulling that end of the fuser toward you (Fig. X). When this end of the fuser is free, remove it by pulling it to your right and feeding the gear shafts through the holes on the other side. This procedure is basically the same on the 1160/1320, except that there are wires routed through the right end of the fuser (to your left as you face it from the back), and these have to be freed before the fuser can come out. We start by removing the cable holder. The service manual says to “pull the cable holder straight back to remove it,” but this only works after releasing the tab on the side (Fig. T). Once the cable holder is out of the way, you can remove the wires from the channel on the side of the fuser. This requires some care and precision, but it is actually easier to remove the cables than it is to re-install them (more on this in a moment). It may help to free the other end of the fuser as described above, and remove the wires (starting at the “front” side of the fuser – the side facing away from you) as you pull the fuser out of the printer. For reference, Fig W shows the wire group after the fuser has been removed.
- Reassemble the printer: For the most part, this is just a matter of reversing the above steps. However, as mentioned in step 13, you may experience difficulty re-routing the wires through the end of the 1160/1320 fuser. Here is a procedure that worked for us. First, it seems to help if the wires are bundled together. This can be done with tape or cable ties, but you have to be careful not to make the bundle too bulky, as there isn’t much room to spare in the channel where it goes. We used a single layer of thin transparent tape. Next, feed the bundle into the channel (starting at the “back” side of the fuser – the side facing you) as you are re-installing the fuser. Note that there are two channels on the side of the fuser, one completely enclosed by black plastic, and another channel between the plastic and the metal frame of the fuser. The entire bundle should go into the black plastic channel, below the tab (Fig. Y). You also have to route the thick black fuser cable through this same area, but it goes above a different tab (Fig. Y).
Once all cables are routed and the fuser is fully seated, slide the cable holder back in. Fig. Z shows the orientation of the cable holder. The retaining tab (released in step 13 while removing the cable holder) should be on your right; the flat surface at the rear of the cable holder should go on top of the bundle of colored wires, but below the thick fuser cable. When you have the cable holder about halfway in, pull the fuser cables down so that they pass behind the front of the cable holder, as in Fig. AA. Now push the cable holder the rest of the way in until the retaining tab locks in. It should look like Fig. AB when you finish. Hint: the notch at the rear end of the cable holder has to mate with a raised portion of the left sidewall of the plastic channel that holds the cables. If it doesn’t want to go all the way in, you may have to move it left or right to line up the notch with the sidewall.
After that, just reverse steps 1-12, paying attention to the various re-installation tips along the way.