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Printer Scanner Errors

Just when you thought you mastered your printer, along comes a problem with the scanner. Unlike other errors, scanner errors always occur as the result of faulty communication.


There will be no mysteries; you’ll know immediately the source of the communication failure because the printer will display a signal. Let’s take a close look at the role of scanners, some typical error signals, and what you can do to correct them.

Other Helpful Resources

Paper Jam Solutions For Laserjet Printers

Printer Service And Parts Glossary

Printer Service Error Codes


A scanner’s job appears easy at first glance. It is responsible for writing on the photosensitive drum using a laser diode, and a motor. The light emitted from the laser diode is modulated and reflected off a rotating polygon mirror that is reflected through focusing lenses onto the drum. Finally, the image is spread out on the drum in a sweeping motion.


Acting as a control tower, the controller board tells the scanner how often to modulate the light to enable printing. When either of these supporting mechanisms––the diode, drum, or controller board––shuts down or experiences problems, the scanner is unable to do its job and becomes a burden on the end user.


Although you can never predict what kind of error will occur, it’s helpful to get acquainted with some of the most typical errors so you can avoid future hassles. 51, 51.1 51.2, and 52.2 are the most common types of errors, and comprise a good percentage of all scanner errors.


51 and 51.1: These errors signal loss of beam, resulting from a defective laser. First, check the cables that connect from the scanner to the controller board. These may need to be reseated.


Remember to check the fiber optic cable for kinks. If the lens and mirror are dirty, try cleaning them with a lent-free cloth. Years of grime and build-up may cause the laser beam to lose intensity.


I would not suggest opening the scanner to clean the mirrors and lenses before the scanner actually has errors. You might cause more damage. In addition, not all scanners allow access to these parts so check the manual or call the manufacturer if you are not able to locate the information.


If you’ve tried all these measures, it’s likely the scanner contains a defective part that requires service by a qualified service technician.


52 and 52.1: These errors signify incorrect scanner speed or a start-up error. Replacing the scanner is usually the only corrective action that you can take if you encounter a 52.1 error. However, this can be costly. Make sure that you have covered all your bases before purchasing a new scanner.


52.2: This error represents scanner rotation failure. It is displayed when the scanner motor bearings wear out or the scanner mirror motor driver malfunctions. Sometimes, the controller board causes the printer to display a 52 error. In this case, your best bet is still to replace the scanner.


If the printers sporadically display 51 or 52 type errors, it may be a good idea to replace the printer as soon as possible. Fast action on your part will save your customer downtime in the long run. If the scanner sounds louder than normal while printing, it’s time to replace the scanner because it’s only going to get worse.


With all these complications in mind, there is good news. In my experiences, scanners are generally easy to remove and in most printers typically take less than 30 minutes to replace. If you act quickly, your end user may not miss a beat, and you’ll have another repeat customer.


Metrofuser is a leading global innovator, manufacturer of printer parts, equipment, diagnostics, repair information and systems solutions for professional users performing critical tasks. Products and services include hp printer parts, printers and printer repair training. Parts include hp printer parts such as printer fusers, printer maintenance kits and other hp printer replacement parts. The company's, customers include office equipment dealerships, online retailers, repair centers and MPS service providers nationwide. Metrofuser has been named to Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies five consecutive years. 

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