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Dell laser printers continuous power spike Amps every 20 seconds

Posted on 2010-01-11
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The location has 3 identical Dell 1710n laser printers.  All of which every 15 to 20 seconds spike from .2A to between 6A and 8A for about 2 seconds.  The printers are idle and do not make any noise indicating a warm up cycle.  During print jobs they will draw the same range of power for the duration of the print job.  Another location is a Dell 1720n laser, which does NOT exhibit this behavior over any time intervals while idle.  All tests were conducted with a Seasonic Power Angel (similar to KillaWatt meters).  I am trying to find out of this is normal, and if so why the 1720n doesn't follow suit?  If this is a problem, what might be causing it?  The reason I found this problem is all 3 printers are connected to one 15A breaker and trip the breaker 2 to 3 times per day.  The printers are over 3 years old, but the problem only started last week.  The printers all print properly.  All printers are connected via Cat 5 ethernet.
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Question by:Jason Johanknecht
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7 Comments
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26291550
it looks like the poor printers have capacitor problems in their PS - check for swollen, or leaking ones...
could be a shorting motor or fan too -  but in 3 of them ?
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Ravi Agrawal
ID: 26292219
Agree with nobus,

For a test, disconnect one of them from the circuit (and power it from some other spike) and see if the issue persists. If not probably the disconnected one is faulty. If issue persists, swap one of those connected with the one you have disconnected and see again.

Or power all of them from a different source & see if they have the same issue.

Try replacing the Circuit Breaker and see if it helps.

Ravi.


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Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 26294769
When I tested I only tested one printer plugged in at a time to isolate them.  2 of them are the same circuit but the 3rd printer is on a seperate circuit.  Also have a Dell Color laser (I forget the model) that I tested and it does the same thing on yet another circuit only it takes 40 seconds for it to spike.  I have yet to find a printer not located at that site that exhibits the same behavior and will continue to test as they are available.
The power is internal to the printer and not end user serviceable.  I don't feel safe tearing the printer apart to confirm buldging capacitors.  The part that puzzles me the most is you can set your watch to the intervals between amperage spikes.  I have spoken to the electrician about breaker replacements.  I will know more later today from him.  I like the idea of testing the printer off-site and will try asap.  I did however already test all electronics on the same circuit as the first 2 printers, and no spikes of any kind.
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Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 26295303
>>  The power is internal to the printer and not end user serviceable   <<  yes , , but often the Power section can be replaced

>>   The part that puzzles me the most is you can set your watch to the intervals between amperage spikes  <<   right, it looks like it's wanting to start something (to show that xxxx technician)
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 26295423
Dell doesn't have any parts available for this printer.  I am not going to use pulled parts from eBay as a solution.  Can anyone confirm this as normal activity for a 1710n?
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 26295594
I just found this article after searching Dell forums and finding similar user complaints on the 1710n that lead me here: http://ask.metafilter.com/15923/Printing-stuff-causes-lights-to-flicker

They explain how this is normal in order to keep heat to the fuser, until the printer goes into a sleep power mode.  Thanks to all that contributed to this solution.
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LVL 4

Author Closing Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 31675955
It was not directly the answer but it did lead in a direction that lead me to the answer, and for that I have given credit for the solution.
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