Updated: Jun 13, 2019
41.X Error Codes In The HP LaserJet Printer
In the good old days, HP’s laser printer error codes were simpler than they are now. There was basically one error code for all paper feed problems—“13 PAPER JAM”—and three error codes for laser/scanner problems:
41 - temporary loss of beam detect
51 - permanent loss of beam detect
52 - scanner motor speed error
The 13, 51, and 52 error codes haven’t changed much, and still mean what they have always meant. The 41 code, however, has been expanded to include certain kinds of paper feed problems.
The problem with this is that some of the service manuals don’t completely reflect this change—the troubleshooting steps recommend replacing the laser/scanner for any 41 error, even though some of these errors have nothing to do with the laser/scanner.
To further confuse the issue, some types of paper feed problems will result in a blank page being fed, which reinforces the mistaken notion that it’s a laser/scanner problem. We will clear up the confusion by focusing on the three major 41 errors (41.2, 41.3, and 41.5) and what each one means.
41.2 Error Code on HP Laser Printers
The 41.2 is still is a laser/scanner error—the good old “temporary loss of beam detect.” And in most printers, the possible causes are the same as always: bad laser/scanner (by far the most common), bad DC controller board, or bad connections between these two. But there are a few printer models—the 5Si, 8000, 8100/8150—where this error can also be caused by high-voltage arcing that confuses the beam detect circuit.
The arcing occurs in the toner/transfer area, and can be caused by a defective toner cartridge, bad high voltage or ground connections to the toner cartridge or transfer roller, or a defective high voltage power supply.
In our experience, the most common of these is a bad connection to the transfer roller (underneath the roller), so always check that when you have a 41.2 error on one of these printers.
41.3 Error Code on HP Laser Printers
This error has nothing to do with the laser/scanner—it means “unexpected paper size.” The printer measures paper size two ways:
The paper cassette has a set of ridges and/or levers usually found on the right side. The configuration of these ridges and levers activates a set of switches in the printer, letting the printer know the paper size.
Optical sensors in the paper path detect the leading and trailing edges of the paper as it passes through the printer. The printer calculates the length of the paper based on the time lag between leading edge and trailing edge.
When the size calculated by method two does not match the size sensed by
method one, the 41.3 error is displayed. A defective tray or bad switches can
cause improper size detection in method one, while paper feed problems can
cause the leading and trailing edges to get out of sync in method two.
These paper feed problem may be worn rollers, which cause the paper to slip as it
feeds. Or, if the separation pad or separation roller is worn, multiple sheets may
be picked up with an overlap, causing the sensors to detect one long piece of paper. Of these possibilities, faulty size-detection switches are the most common. We will cover this in more detail in a future article.
41.5 Error Code on HP Laser Printers
This error also has nothing to do with the laser/scanner—it is a “media feed error.” Specifically, this error occurs when the leading edge of the paper reaches the input sensor too early or too late. This error is often accompanied by a blank page, since the whole print cycle is timed off of the leading edge of the paper. If the leading edge isn’t right, the printer never even tries to fire up the laser/scanner. That’s why this error is often mistaken for a laser/scanner problem—but it isn’t.
The 41.5 error is most common in the LaserJet 4000, 4050, and 4100 models,
and are covered in detail in past articles. In general, look for feed problems,
like worn rollers, in the initial part of the paper path—before the toner/transfer
area—or problems with the input sensor.
Though the 41 error has changed over time, once you know which ones are
laser/scanner problems and which are paper feed problems, the percentage of
laser/scanners you install “in vain” should drop significantly!