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Garbage Characters Printed on Random Pages (HP LaserJet 4000)

Posted on 2009-05-06
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
Hello,

I have a client with a printer.  Suddenly the printer has begun printing garbage characters on some of the pages.  See the attached image for a part of a page that was printed with garbage characters on it.  It is a HP LaserJet 4000 printer, using the PCL 5 downloaded from HP's website.  I've tried replacing the printer driver with newer / different ones from HP's website, but have had no luck.

I'd appreciate any assistance.  Thank you.
Printer-Garbage.jpg
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Question by:Orcadian
9 Comments
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:SirtenKen
ID: 24321127
Have you already performed a complete power down?
You didn't mention whether this was a local printer, network printer or if it is on a print server.
If network, and you have a spare JetDirect card, you could swap them out.
If local, try replacing the parrallel cable.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:speed_54
ID: 24322500
yeah sounds like a hardware glitch to me too. has anything new been brought into the office when the problem started? the other thing it could be is power spikes upsetting either the printer or the pc a power filter might help.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:DansDadUK
ID: 24324510
The "*b106W" is part of a PCL5 'transfer raster data by row/block' escape sequence which has the syntax

{esc}*b#W[data]

where:
{esc} represents the escape character (0x1b)
[data] is # bytes of binary data

The control sequence is being printed as data (rather than being interpreted) because the printer has 'lost its way' in the print stream, because something in the stream is not in the expected format; i.e. the incoming print stream is corrupt.

If the exact same fault (i.e. same garbage characters at the same place) occurs whern the same document is printed again, with the same driver settings, then this could indicate a driver fault.
However, this is most unlikely.

As SirtenKen and speed_54 have indicated , it is much more likely to be due to random bit corruptions introduced by some sort of hardware glitch.

Check cables, connectors, ports, NICs, routers, switches, etc.
It can sometimes be quite difficult to track down the cause of such random corruptions; use a process of elimination (i.e. replace one component at a time), starting with the easiest and cheapest (cables).
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:walkman48
ID: 24361045
Just a thought..
 I am looking at the sample and I see that the image is scanned that they are attemping to print. it can be an issue with the scanner and the image that is being produced by it and not the printer. If this is the case you "should" get the same error every time that you print the same page.
the print is not crooked that the printer is placing (garbage) yet the scanned image is crooked. can you see if they have the scanner on sight. If they do then reboot that check cables look for resorces being hogged when scanning  try a different file format etc...

It still can be the printer or hardware as DansDadUK, speed 54,and sirtenken have said.
if looks like it is the printer I would replace the following in this order
1.Network card
2 Firmware dimm
3. Formatter
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Author Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 24361268
Hi All,
Thank you for your insightful comments.

Yes, we did try a complete power down.  No luck.

It is a network printer.  Interestingly, all network users suddenly began experiencing the same problem.

The issue is not with the scanner.  The garbage is on the page as it comes out of the printer, before it ever goes through the scanner.

To check for random corruption caused by a hardware glitch, I did the following test.  The client was complaining that a particular document always puts garbage on page two.  So I had them:

1.  Print pages 1 and 2
2.  Print pages 1 and 2 again
3.  Print page 2

I had them scan the five pages, and have attached the results.  It seems that the garbage on page 2 is the same each time, which would seem to me that it is not a hardware glitch, but I'm not sure.

I'd appreciate any additional insight.
PrinterGarbage.pdf
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LVL 16

Accepted Solution

by:
DansDadUK earned 500 total points
ID: 24363735
Are you able to repeat the 'page 1 and 2' test, but this time use the 'print to file' option, in the driver Properties dialogue, to produce 3 captured .PRN files.

Post them here as attachments (you'll have to change the extensions to something like .TXT, or .LOG, in order to attach them to this forum - perhaps encapsulate them in a .ZIP).

Analysis might yield some clues as to what is going on.
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Author Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 24946304
I just recently resolved this issue.  If the printer did not like a certain page, it would print the same garbage characters in the same spot on that page, no matter how many times you printed it.

After much trial and error, I found that the PCL 5 drivers that came with Windows were causing the issue.  I  switched the drivers to the PCL 6 drivers that came with Windows, and everything worked fine.  I'm not sure why the PCL 5 drivers did not work, but I'm glad it has been resolved.

Points to DansDadUK for correctly indicating that it could be a driver issue.

Thank you all for your help!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 31607955
I just recently resolved this issue.  If the printer did not like a certain page, it would print the same garbage characters in the same spot on that page, no matter how many times you printed it.

After much trial and error, I found that the PCL 5 drivers that came with Windows were causing the issue.  I  switched the drivers to the PCL 6 drivers that came with Windows, and everything worked fine.  I'm not sure why the PCL 5 drivers did not work, but I'm glad it has been resolved.

Points to DansDadUK for correctly indicating that it could be a driver issue.

Thank you all for your help!
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