Clearing Paper Jams in InkJet and DesignJet Printers

Field techs have used this old trick and it is time to share.

When your inkjet type printer displays a Paper Jam error and you cannot see any paper in the path, anywhere. You may have a small torn away scrap of paper somewhere in the path. This usually occurs after you have experienced a feed problem and had to manually pull the paper out of the printer.
Use caution whenever you must manually (and forcefully) yank out a piece of jammed paper.
Pull the paper from both sides using both hands and use a slow, even steady motion. Don’t do what I do and put on foot in the printer and yank as hard as you can.
A small scrap may tear off the paper and remain lodged in the paper path, usually where you cannot see it and with my luck, about an inch away from where your fingers can reach.

Follow up:

Here is what you do:

  • Turn off or unplug the printer.
  • Remove the paper (if any is there) from the feed tray.
  • Get yourself a manila folder.
  • Open your manila folder.
  • Gently, but forcefully push the folder through the paper path of the printer.
    (as if you were trying to mimic the normal movement of paper through the printer as it is printing)

For DesignJet plotters, you will find this easier to do with a legal size folder if you have one, if not a letter size will do just fine.
Open the folder and turn it on its side (long wise).
Start at the manual feed paper alignment marks, usually on the right side of the plotter.

Raise the Pinch Arm Lift Lever (the blue handle thingy).
insert the folder

Push the folder through until it starts to come out and look for debris.
push through until it comes out

Pull the folder out, move over (to the left) about half the distance of the length of the folder and do it again. Repeat until you have made it all the way to the other end of the plotter.
move over, rinse and repeat

This wont be the same for every DesignJet, some feed from the back, so use your imagination.
The idea is to push the folder through the entire paper path to push out anything stuck in there you might not see.
If there is any debris in the path, this should dislodge it and push it out of the printer.

Canned air can be great to annoy dogs, scare cats, pay that oh-so-needed revenge to a co-worker, but; it can be fatal to printers and plotters.
Canned air can push loose (otherwise harmless) dust and debris into sensors.
So don’t use it.

Computer Care has been providing parts, repair service and technical support since 2001.
This information is provided AS-IS, and we make no warranty as to your success.

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Do it yourself repair information for your HP DesignJet Plotter.



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