SUMMARY: SPARCprinter intermittenly prints horizontal lines on output

From: Pam Skillman (
Date: Sat Feb 12 1994 - 03:39:26 CST

Thanks to all who responded! I mostly received previous SUMMARIES about
this problem. This appears to be a WELL-KNOWN problem (except to Sun ->
in our area). Printer replacement looks like the only option for us...
as it was for most of those who replied. I included the previous
SUMMARIES below (no sense re-inventing the SUMMARY ;-), followed by my
original posting.

Other people sent mail wanting this information as they have the same
problem...all info was forwarded to : (Bob Bracalente)
 Larry Nelson <>

Thanks again to everyone that responded (apologies if I missed you..I
received duplicate summaries) : (James Coby)
Dan Stromberg - OAC-DCS <>
Dan A. Zambon email: (Dan Jiracek) (Olav Lerbrekk)

Further investigation by me, before receiving all the great info :
Sun dropped off the 'official' Sun Microsystems SPARCprinter
Service Manual that their tech people use. Of the various printing problems,
one was encouraging (So I included the info I found) :

--------------------Sun SPARCprinter Service Manual---------------------------
Extraneous Marks

Definition: Horizontal or Vertical bands, or other marks that are print
defects related to bad print data or electrical noise.

... <stuff deleted>

Procedure: Extraneous marks may be caused by any of the following:

        The SBus Printer Card

        A broken or damaged interface cable.

        An improperly grounded ROS. Ensure that the grounding wire to the
        ROS (Raster Output Scanner) is not disconnected or broken.

        Bad font data.

        An improperly grounded print cartridge. Check that the drum is
        grounded properly by checking for continuity between the outboard
        edge of the drum and the machine frame......

I thought we had a cable and/or ROS problem. The book has a part number for
the ROS assembly which should include the ROS module....however, I
received mail from someone that was getting a U2 message which means that
the ROS module has gone bad and the only option was to replace the printer.
I don't know the cost so maybe it will be cheaper to replace the printer.
Which seems to be the consensus... My recommendation wouldn't be to
buy another SPARCprinter!

                Pamela J. Skillman
                Systems Engineer
                Workstation/LAN Services
                Old Dominion University

> Sender:
> To:
> Subject: SUMMARY: SPARCprinter prints many horizontal lines
> Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 15:13:29 -0800
> From:
> Reply-To:
> Followup-To: junk
> Content-Length: 3639
> Status: RO
> X-Lines: 87
> Apology:
> My most humble apologies to the powers and knowledges that be.
> This must be some kind of record for longest-time-to-summary.
> I have no excuse.
> Original question:
> > My SPARCprinter (the old kind) is printing many evenly-spaced horizontal
> > lines on many pages of print jobs. The lines go all the way across the
> > page, and are spaced about 3/16 inches apart (0.5 cm, for those of you
> > with a REAL system of measurement). If I print many jobs in a row,
> > some of the lines will gradually disappear (each page will have fewer
> > lines, but they will still be on the same quanta) until there are pages
> > with no lines at all. If I let the printer sit for a while, the problem
> > will return in full strength.
> >
> > What part of the printer do I need to clean/fix/replace in order to
> > make this printer usable again?
> Solution:
> Various people suggested that I should clean various different parts
> of the printer. I tried these, to no avail. The printer eventually
> showed "U2" on its display and stopped printing altogether. This was
> a possible symptom mentioned by a few people from the list. They all
> agreed that it was very bad, and that it meant I should call in the
> big guns.
> I called a random printer repairman out of the yellow pages, and he
> couldn't fix it, claiming that he couldn't get the part from Sun
> (they wouldn't sell it to him).
> I called Sun, and they gave me the following pricing scheme:
> $225 30-day turnaround repair
> $340 7-day turnaround repair
> $410 1-day turnaround repair
> I was sick of dealing with it, and was curious about what they could do
> in only 1 day, so I spent $410 on that option. They replaced the whole
> thing (not including the toner cartridge, drum cartridge, and fuser wick).
> BTW: The person I talked to before sending my plea to sun-managers
> gave me a very different pricing scheme. It didn't involve a guaranteed
> fix. I was nonplussed.
> Summary of sun-managers answers:
> 6 People with the same problem, saying "you're hosed. Call a repairman."
> 2 People who had the problem, and wanted to know the solution.
> 1 Person who misidentified the problem
> 8 People suggesting what it might be, with solutions, including:
> 1) Change the drum cartridge
> 2) Change the toner cartridge
> 3) Clean the corotron wire
> 4) Clean/replace the fuser wick
> 5) Check rotating parts for scratches
> 6) Check electrical parts, make sure shielding is intact
> --
> 18 Total answers
> Thanks to:
> Bill Townsley
> Kevin Drysdale
> Shannon Price
> Ike Stoddard
> ...!uunet!!ucssrv!fvander
> Nate Mann AP35-1008 x4774
> Doris Harrington
> Jonathan C. Davis
> Lewis E. Wolfgang
> Dances on keyboards
> Houman Safai
> Svante Lindahl
> Glenn Satchell
> Perry Hutchison
> ted@ssl.Berkeley.EDU Ted Rodriguez-Bell
> Brett Lymn
> -_prt

>From a former posting:
>From Thu Oct 7 17:58:55 1993
Subject: SUMMARY: SparcPrinter prints horizantal lines

Sun Managers,

Original Question
I have a SparcPrinter that started intermitantly printing horizantal parallel

lines on the pages. The lines are different thicknesses but are all ways

horizantaly parallel and equally spaced (I should say each individual instance
is equally spaced but different instances have different spacing). The spaceing

and the fact that it's intermitant rules out a scratched or smudged drum.

I remember a question similar to this a while back for which there was no

summary. Any help would be appreciated.

Other Info:
SS2 Running SunOS 4.1.3
Newsprint v 2.0

Three out of Four Sun Managers agree that a SparcPrinter needs to be replaced when
the above stated symtom occurs. One said that It could be a mirror out of

alignment, but no corrective action was suggested.

Thanks To:
---------- (Houman Safai ) (Joe Young) (Brett Lymn) (Celeste Stokely)

Replies (abreviated)
>From: (Houman Safai )

I had a similar problem with my Sparcprinter. The Sun SE recommended replacing
one of the following:

        1. Drum
        2. Toner
        3. Sbus card
        4. Cable

His last recommendation was to replace the printer. Guess what? None of the above
fixed my problem. Replacing the printer took care of the problem. Apparently,

the internals of the printer called RO was malfunctioning.

I hope this helps.
>From: (Joe Young)

When we had this problem, we ended up replacing the SPARCprinter to
get this problem to go away.
>From: (Brett Lymn)

I have not seen that summary either... The answer I gave the other
guy was that although I have not seen this on a sparcprinter we did
experience the same sort of problem on another laser printer. The
technician diagnosed the problem as being a mirror out of alignment,
maybe your printer has the same.
>From: (Celeste Stokely)

This is a hardware problem. Your sparcprinter needs replacing. I don't
know which part is involved, since when this happens to my printers I
call Sun HW support, and they replace the whole unit.

Thanks to All
Michael D. Reynolds /\ | \

Allen-Bradley Co. Milwaukee, WI USA / \ | |

Dept 818 CAM Operations Office /____\ _____ |----\

Voice: (414)382-3615 Fax: (414)382-2742 / \ | |

Internet: / \ |____/
uunet: uunet!tinman2!camg2.icgmfg!reynolds A Rockwell International Company


>From: (Sanjiv Khurana)

Is it a very thin one pixel line across the page ? This usually indicate a
memory error -- i.e. when the print engine is rasterizing the image in the
buffer, one bin in the memory gets stuck at 1 (or 0) and so appears as a black
line across the page....

You could try reseating the memory -- if they are simms, or powering it off
and leaving it overnight...

-------------------snip snip------------------------------
>From Thu Oct 14 08:35:16 1993
From: henrik@PICARD.TAMU.EDU (Henrik Schmiediche)
Subject: SUMMARY: SparcPrinter streaking
Date: 13 Oct 1993 21:53:20 GMT
Organization: Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University

This summary concerns a badly streaking SparcPrinter. It seems that
the fuser of my SparcPrinter is bad and I will need to replace it. It
is not clear to me if Sun sells the fuser seperately and if so how
expensive it is. I called Sun and say send me to Sun Express and Sun
Express sent me back to Sun. Any suggestions where I can find a fuser
unit would be welcome.

     - Henrik

>From Fri Oct 8 01:51:52 1993

there are sensors that rest/rub over the heat rollers of which
eventually wear away the roller coating. i have been advised to raise
a time and materials call for a replacement fuser unit...

the sparcprinter 20's sell this as a spare, sun obviously took this in
consideration as they must be aware of this problem... Yours

Allen Talbot

>From Fri Oct 8 06:43:00 1993

I had this problem last week--the fuser unit was bad (the teflon
coated roller was damaged) and the entire printer was replaced.
Apparently, the fuser unit is not available as a part. For me, this
was no problem because it was under warranty. My understanding is
that this is not unusual and the typical life of a SPARCprinter is
only 40-50k pages. It looks like these printers are not so cheap if
you consider total life cycle costs!!

Jeff Mittelman

>From Fri Oct 8 08:06:55 1993

Our SPARCprinter developed the same sort of problem. I decided that
the hot (pink) roller at the end of the paper path was called the
fuser roller. Cleaning it helped a bit, but the streaks came
back. Since we are on hardware maintenance, I called Sun and they just
replaced the whole printer (I believe we got a reconditioned one, and
they will repair/recondition our old one for someone else).

   Stuart Mackay.--

>From Tue Nov 30 15:01:34 1993
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 93 18:39:50 PST
From: (Michael Baumann)
Subject: SUMMARY:Streaking SPARCPrinter (SPRN-400) Solution

This is going out in the hopes that it will be archived.

For those of you with SPARCPrinters (SPRN-400) that have started
streaking - there is a solution. But it is only for the mechanically
inclined as it involves a not insignificant disassembly of the beast.

As has been noted before, the streaking comes from the failure of the
Heat Roll, the upper roller visable from the paper exit, the one wiped
by the felt. The problem was Sun would only sell you a reconditioned
printer, not just the heat roll.

The good news is that SunExpress is now selling parts, including the
heat roll < Huzzah! > (1-800-USE-SUNX)
For those interested - I will list the part number(s) and steps I needed
take to install the replacement Roller. Note that there are 2 Heat Rods
that go thru the Heat Roll - If you are not REAL CAREFUL, you will get
to buy these too. They are ~13 inch long quarz/halogen lamps. Note that
these steps are from memory - I went thru this today. Also note that you
do this on your own, at your own risk. Who knows? I may have really screwed
something up! ( But we have printed ~200 pages since without a problem so....)

This took me around 4 hours, but I got to figure out what to disconnect,
and so forth. ( And no, I didn't break the heat rod.)

Part Numbers:

 #811-1318 - 22K97044 Heat Roll $109.00
        if you screw up:
 #811-1416 - 126K95851 Heat Rod without Spade $47.00
 #811-1417 - 126K95861 Heat Rod with Spade $47.00

Tools Required:
Needle nose pliers,
Small blade standard Screwdriver
12" Slip Joint Pliers (AKA Channel-locks)
Latex gloves

Convention: Front is the side with the LED status display and paper tray.

1) Remove toner and drum cartridges - store the drum in a DARK place.

2) Remove the plastic cover on the swing arm that contains the drum and
   toner - there are 2 screws - one in front, and one on the left side.
   This can be tricky as you must work around the release lever.

3) Remove the case - 4 screws this time. Two in the back, two in front
   behind the flip down door.

4) Remove the upper fuser assembly cover - 2 screws. there is another
   plate under this one, we deal with it later.

5) Disconnect the Single wire spade lug, fan and exit sensors.

6) Remove the exit roller assembly, one screw in front, then CAREFULLY
   pry one of the lugs out of the pivot.

7) Remove 2 springs in front that hold up pressure roller.

8) Remove fan.

9) Disconnect heat rod molex connectors ( under fan)

---------- for the next few steps don your gloves, body oils can wreak major havok on quartz lamps! Also, use extreme caution if,you break a heat rod, you have a down printer till the replacement comes in! ---------- 10) Gently flip the lower fuser assembly cover ( the one exposed in step 4) to the right onto a box or something to support it at the level of the wires going into the Heat Roll.

11) Remove the left gear cover (box like - 1 screw, slide forward to release hook on other side.) carefully manuver the slot in the case around the heat rod wires. This one stumped me for a while, the cover has a T cut-out to allow you to remove around the wires.

12) Remove the right heat rod cover, this is round, and swings away.

13) GENTLY pull the heat rods out the right side of the printer, pulling the molex connector and cables thru the heat roll. Place them in a safe place.

--- You can lose the gloves for a while now ----

14) Remove retaining clips on both ends of heat rod.

15) Remove E-clip holding small white idler gear on left.

16) Remove brown drive gear from heat roll.

17) Gorilla time. If you examine the Heat Rod closely you will find plastic(?) inserts into the bearing assembly. Using the channel-locks to turn the insert carefully work the right insert off, kind of a turn and pull method. Do the same for the left. This suckers were tight to remove, but easy to put back on.

Reverse these steps to re-assemble. As a hint, you may want to put some kind of pull string in the heat roll to assist you in re-installing the heat rods. Remember - any time you handle the heat rods, use gloves!

Good Luck.

Michael Baumann Electus Technology Inc. / Loma Linda University Medical Center San Bernardino, California. (909)799-8308 |Internet: ------------------snip snip--------------------------------

Original post :

>From pam Wed Feb 9 14:50:49 1994 X-VM-Attributes: [nil nil nil nil nil] Status: RO Received: by (4.1/server2.4) id AA21556; Wed, 9 Feb 94 14:50:44 EST Message-Id: <> From: Pam Skillman <pam> To: Cc: pam Subject: SPARCprinter intermittenly prints horizontal lines on output Date: Wed, 9 Feb 94 14:50:44 EST

We have been having problems for sometime now with our SPARCprinter printing (horizontal lines across the page).

Here's the scenario : Out of the blue, the printer started producing *crisp* horizontal lines across every page of output. We replaced the toner cartridge, the drum, the SPARCprinter SBus card. The printer is NOT under maintenance so to further diagnose the problem (software/hardware), I brought a *working* cable and SPARCprinter over from another department and hooked *just* the printer up....same problem! So I connected the *working* cable with the *working* printer and....same problem!! This led me to believe it was a software problem although NOTHING has changed with the Newsprint software in quite some time on that system.... I basically re-installed the software, reloaded the module (lpvi0), redefined the printer.....and same problem...

Here's where it REALLY gets good: I took the borrowed *working* printer and cable back to where it belongs and AH MA GAWD!! IT NOW HAS THE SAME PROBLEM!! I get horizontal lines across the page.... But that printer is now also getting an error in the 'status' file of the spool directory "Optical Subsystem Malfunction" and it won't print at all after that error appears...(ie. it either prints with horizontal lines or doesn't print with the error). That message is no where to be found in the SPARCprinter manuals I have.

That kind of says to me that the other system/cable infected the good printer?? I asked Sun about resetting the SPARCprinter (non-volatile memory) and they couldn't find anything in the manual... I'm not talking about the reset button, but resetting everything that may be saved even when it is powered that doesn't clear it out either. They said that it may be possible that the cable is bad and wires were crossed such that it corrupted the printer hardware. As you see above...I first replaced the *bad* printer with the *good* printer and THEN changed the cable... what do you think about that??

Now I have 2 printers with that problem....

Sun said to try the 'test switches' located below the LED's (black mylar panel) and hold the left one, cycle power, release, and then press the right one and release and it is supposed to do a hardware check in which it prints a grid if all goes well. I got the grid.

I really really appreciate any information ANYONE can provide on this problem!


Thanks!! pam

P.S. I just learned that the SPARCprinter across the water at NASA/Langely has the same symptoms and they don't know what it is either (at least they have maintenance with HP) it a virus or old-age?? ;-) ==================================================================== * (( ((*)) )) Pamela J. Skillman (( (*) )) Systems Engineer ========= Workstation/LAN Services / // || ||__ || ~~~~_| || Office of Computing and Communications Services // / / // Hughes Hall /// / /// //////// Old Dominion University ///// Norfolk, VA 23529-0027 /// ====================================================================

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