Fix fading red (magenta) toner on HP Color LaserJet 2600

My HP Color LaserJet 2600N printer recently experienced the infamous faded red tones, this is due to the magenta toner being positioned at the bottom of the unit and the optics being the most susceptible to dust and debris.

Here is the details of repairing the unit based on Don Thompson’s Service Seminars whitepaper found at the end of this post.fix-fading-red-magenta-toner-on-hp-color-laserjet-2600-the-unit

The HP LaserJet 2600N printer, first remove all the toner, the paper trays and the output trays. Then remove the screw on the left hand side of the unit near the paper tray.

fix-fading-red-magenta-toner-on-hp-color-laserjet-2600-unscrew-the-screw-at-footerUnclip the plastic hook and remove the left hand side plastic cover.

Unclip plastic clip

Unclip plastic clip

Do the same for the screw on the right hand side of the unit near the paper tray.

Remove right hand screw near paper tray

There is a second screw to remove near the network ports. Then remove the right hand plastic cover.

Remove screw near network ports

Remove the nine screws from the back of the unit.

Remove nine screws from back

Remove all connectors as circled, all the plugs are different sizes making it easy to reassemble. Care should be taken removing the ribbon cables as they are similar sized. Also remove the black cable trays by sliding them to the left to release the catches.

Remove all connectors as circled

Remove total eleven screens, those in the photo and those under removed cable trays and ribbon cables.

Remove the circled screws and those under cable tray

Lift the PCB plate away revealing the black box of optics. Unscrew the screws holding the black box.

The scanner optics box

Remove the single screw at the bottom of the printer holding the optics box in place. Remove the optics box.

Screw at bottom of optics

Once the optics box is removed, unclip the spring to allow access inside.

Optics box

Using an air blowing brush similar to those used on DSLR cameras, clean all the lens and mirrors.

Opened optics box

Reassemble everything in reverse order. Care should be taken making sure the ribbon cables are seated in both ends.

Further details can been found in Don Thompson’s Service Seminars whitepaper.


Asus Slate EP121/B121 disassemble and BIOS replacement

Recently, I upgraded my Asus Slate EP121 to the latest 704 BIOS version, through the inbuilt BIOS flash utility and unfortunately I bricked it (failed to power on or boot).

It was out of warranty, and even if it was in warranty, a failed BIOS upgrade is not covered. A bit of googling revealed that it was a fairly common occurrence, which then led me to Joe Kabalan from Advanced Quality Systems LLC who was able to provide a replacement BIOS for $20 plus $6 postage to Australia.

To replace the BIOS chip of the EP121 or any surface mount device (SMD) I recommend the following tools;

  • rework station or heat gun ($50 from eBay)
  • tweezers (few dollars from eBay)
  • solder paste
  • solder flux
  • thermal compound is needed specifically for the Asus Slate

Solder, flux, tweezers and thermal paste

Start by removing the back cover of the unit, start at the USB ports and slowly unclip the clips by sliding a credit card between the back cover and unit.There is a ribbon cable connecting the thermal sensor to the back cover, carefully dislodge the cable from the socket.

Remove the back cover starting at USB ports

Near the HDMI port you will notice the BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame. Convenient.

The BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame

Remove the battery by removing the four screws and disconnecting the cable.

Remove the battery

Remove the fans and heat pipe. Remove all screws surrounding the metal frame to detach it from the main unit.

Remove the fans and heat pipe

Turn the removed frame and motherboard over and remove all screws holding the motherboard to it.

The removed motherboard metal frame
Remove the screws holding the motherboard to metal frame

Once the frame is removed you can access the BIOS chip.

The free motherboard
Close-up of BIOS chip with frame removed

HP MicroServer N40L and Gigabit HD 6450 horizontal flickering line

I recently purchased a HP MicroServer N40L and half-height Gigabit Radeon HD 6450, after installing Windows 8 I noticed that a third from the screen was a flickering white horizontal line, noticeable when playing movies in full screen or moving the mouse around the right start bar.

The problem doesn’t lie with the MicroServer of Windows 8 (or even your monitor), it is the Gigabit Radeon HD 6450 at fault here. Luckily, there is a relatively easy fix, a BIOS update.

  1. Download Easy Boost (about half way down the page)
  2. Download the Easy Boost manual
  3. Install Easy Boost
  4. Follow the “VBIOS backup” procedure, you will also find your BIOS type either F1# or F2#, mine was F21
  5. Download the correct BIOS (F11 if you have F1# or F22 if you have F2#), you can also see the BIOS offers “Fixed screen flicker problem”
  6. Follow the “Flash VBIOS” procedure.
  7. Reboot

Thanks to this RedFlagDeals post for the procedure.

Tool to remove VGA/DVI mounting screws – 5mm Hex socket

I was salvaging a number of motherboards from a server and noticed that the VGA mounting screws were connected to the chassis. Done with time-consuming pliers I decided to investigate if there was a special tool to remove these screws.
There isn’t, but a standard 5mm hex socket driver works perfectly.

Find it on eBay for a few dollars (including shipping).

Tool to remove VGA/DVI mounting screws - 5mm Hex socket
Tool to remove VGA/DVI mounting screws - 5mm Hex socket

MSI X79-GD65 (8D) and Intel i7 3820 Nightmare and SOIC BIOS replacement

After many countless hours and out-of-pocked expenses I thought I would share the experience of MSI’s X79-GD65 (8D) motherboard and the Intel i7 3820 CPU.

The MSI X7-GD65 (8D) was purchased from PC Case Gear for $299, the Intel i7 3820 for the same price.

Once it was all hooked up I got the following symptoms on power-up;

  • No video
  • CPU phase LED showing constant 3 bars
  • CPU fan spinning
  • No digits on the debug LCD
  • Unable the switch the computer without a hard shutdown on the PSU

After Googling it turns out that old BIOS’ that were shipped with the early boards are not compatible with the late model Intel i7 3820. This is not uncommon, as how can manufactures be expected to design for hardware that isn’t even released yet.

What annoyed me was the lack of options going forward to resolve this situation;

  • MSI have no means of claiming Warranty Internationally, they cop-out and chime to take it back to the store. What kind of company does that?
  • The BIOS chips are soldered on to the board, yes, you read that right, this saves them money. It now it isn’t a straight forward procedure to replace the chips, I will show you have you can do it further on.
  • The firmware updater requires a working CPU, even ASUS realise the need to be able to flash your BIOS with minimal hardware.
  • MSI recommend to purchase an Intel i7 3930k and then flash the BIOS, if I could afford a $550+ chip in the first place I wouldn’t have purchased the 3820.
  • Borrow a 3930, the problem is the Sandy Bridge hardware isn’t cost effective; it is rare for people to own these system.

So where did this leave me, with a $300 paper weight, I wasn’t going to give up so soon.

I spotted updated MSI X79-GD65 (8D) BIOS chips on eBay for $20 including shipping so decided to give it ago.

Have a look on YouTube for SOIC (the surface mount chip packaging) desoldering or SOIC removal with a hot-air gun.

I tried the first attempt desoldering, by running a piece of wire under the legs pulling on it once heated to lift it off the pad, unfortunately I removed one of the solder pads.

Fortunately, this board has two BIOS chips.

The second attempted was the hot-air gun approach, this was a lot easier, sprayed with hot air the chip can simply be removed.

The board now booted up which was a relief except only sometimes and I could never work out what was the reason. Searching the forums and there are others with the same problem, a Clear CMOS basically sometimes allows the board to boot.

I ended up getting rid of the board on eBay for $40, yes, I lost money, but I was happy to have it out of my life. And purchased an ASRock Extreme 4.

While I’m ranting, why do MSI place that giant Military Class III sticker on the socket protector, have you ever tried replacing the protector, you are bound to damage some pins in the process.

The faulty MSI X79-GD65 (8D) with old firmware
A red dot on the BIOS chip indicates an older firmware model
Remove the southerbridge heatsink to expose both the BIOS chips
The BIOS chip B removed from the PCB

Replace the hinges and LCD screen on an ASUS F3J laptop

Today I will be walking you through a laptop hinge replacement on an ASUS F3J laptop. As usual I purchased the replacement hinges from eBay for $11 including shipping to Australia. You can only buy a pair of left and right hinges, so you can choose to replace both.

The standard ASUS F3J replacement hinges

I also purchased a pair of plastic hinge covers from eBay for a relatively expensive $14 including shipping to Australia, I could have probably saved some money and used my existing ones with a bit of glue since the clips had broken.

First a photo of the damaged hinge, you can see the right hinge sheared off completely which is quite dangerous as the associate cables should easily be damaged further. Further, you will notice that there is no plastic hinge cover. The left hinge was fine and still holding the screen in place, but I suspected it may have been weakened by the rotational torque so replaced it as well.

The severed right hinge on the laptop

Replacing the hinges are fairly straight forward, first remove two sets of screws on the back of the back of the laptop as per the photo below.

Remove the two screws from the back rear of the laptop

Turn the laptop upside down and remove a screw holding the left hinge in place from the bottom.

Turn the laptop back to its normal position and open the screen to an obtuse angle exposing the plastic hinge covers. Remove these by slightly compressing them and pulling on the back side first.

Once these are removed the hinges are visible. This was already the case for my broken right hinge.

Remove the two screws holding the hinges to the laptop, once removed you should be able to remove the LCD screen from the laptops base completely, be careful though as the data cables would still be connected. You can easily disconnect these cables, this frees the LCD screen a little more except for a single pair of wires which doesn’t seem to look like it was easy to disconnect.

Disconnect the hinge and the cable plug

Now with the screen removed from the base, remove the eight rubber screw caps exposing the screws. With a Philips screwdriver remove the eight screws.

Remove the eight screw caps and screws around the LCD bezel

With the eight screws remove the surrounding plastic bezel can be removed exposing the LCD screen.

From here remove another set of four screws holding the LCD screen assembly on the plastic backing.

Remove the four screws holding the LCD to the plastic housing

Finally, remove four small screws from either side of the LCD screen.

Remove the four screws on each side of the LCD holding the hinges

You should now have the two hinges removed. This is the same procedure if you want to replace the LCD screen. Install the new hinges by following the above instructions in reverse.

The replaced broken right hinge

To reinstall those rubber screw caps a drop of glue may be required to hold them in place.

Once the hinges are installed, installed the plastic hinge covers and you’re done.

Pop the plastic cover on to cover the hinges

Resolve “Battery cannot be charged. You must use a Sony Ericsson battery.” on Sony Ericsson C903

Here is a quick post on how to resolve the “Battery cannot be charged. You must use a Sony Ericsson battery.” message when connecting a Sony Ericsson to the charger.

First you will need the Sony Ericsson DCU-60 data cable, I purchased this from eBay for $2 including worldwide shipping.

Secondly, download the Sony Ericsson Update Service software.

Once the cable arrives, connect it to your phone and run the Update Service software, most likely you will receive a phone is already updated message, ignore that and continue to update the software, after a large download and install follow the prompts to update the software.

That should be all that is needed to resolve Battery cannot be charged issue.

Battery cannot be charged. You must use a Sony Ericsson battery.

Remove the LCD screen and replace the video cable and on a Dell Inspiron 6400

Here is a quick post on how to replace the video cable on a Dell Inspiron 6400. I had the ‘red tint of death’ on this laptop, thought it was the cable but unfortunately replacing the cable didn’t resolve the issue.

Firstly, the Dell Inspiron 6400 with red screen.

The red tint of death on a Dell laptop

Again, I purchased the replacement part from eBay, where else can you get a replacement LCD video cable for $6 including postage to Australia. For the Dell Inspiron 6400 search for “UF167” which is the Dell part number.

Dell Inspiron 6400 video cable part UF167

Disassembling the laptop to get to the LCD is a fairly straight forward process.

First, with a flat screwdriver pry the top laptop bezel off, you will need to twist the LCD screen flat to remove it completely.

Pry the top bezel above the keyboard

Here is a photo of the bezel removed, already we can observe one end of the cable connected to the video card, reseat (unplug and plug) the cable, this maybe all that is needed to resolve your issue.

Once the bezel is removed

Next we need to remove the bezel surrounding the LCD screen, peel off the rubber domes to reveal the screw heads. Once the screws a revealed, with a small Philips screwdriver remove the screws, this will allow you to remove the bezel.

Remove the six rubber domes covering the screws

Finally, four screws on each of the left and right side of the LCD screen needs to be removed to dislodge the hinges from the LCD assembly.

Once the LCD monitor bezel is removed
Remove four screws on each side of the LCD

Once the LCD is removed you have access to the LCD video cable or can replace the whole LCD if needed.

The removed LCD screen revealing the LCD cable

Assembly is the other way around.