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Brother MFC-890 and "PLS OPEN COVER"

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Sandy, Dec 1, 2005.

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  1. Sandy

    Sandy Guest

    Dear people,

    I have a Brother MFC-890 multi-function machine (you know - printer,
    copier, scanner, faxer, and digital picture printer).

    It's been absolutely fine for about a year. (Yeah, the warranty
    year.)

    But all of a sudden now, when trying to print out Christmas cards
    (based on a jpeg in Paint Shop Pro) it has gone hooey. It now has a
    problem with printing big images. (It's not only from Paint Shop Pro.)
    It still prints texts without problems.

    Now, if you hold down the "Menu/Set" button as you power up the MFC,
    you get into Maintenance Mode. A whole bunch of (very intriguing)
    features accessed by two digit codes. You can get cryptic print-outs of
    all sorts of data held by the machine's memory. The total number of
    pages printed, the number of (billions!) of dots it's done, the number
    of hours it been on, etc. Entering the digits "82" -- as per the
    instructions of the not so useful UK Brother Helpdesk -- gives you the
    machine error code. In this case it yields: "MACHINE ERROR 00". "99"
    exits maintenance mode.

    One in five times, it might print out the Christmas card without a
    hitch. The rest of the time, it's forever cleaning itself -- all the
    colours -- and rapidly depleting the ink cartridges. Hand in hand with
    this, it randomly asks to "PLS OPEN COVER", beeps, and waits. The only
    thing to do is to open the cover. It then immediately tells you "PLS
    CLOSE COVER" and, well ... in two weeks, I've got 4 out of 30 Christmas
    cards done.

    Now, it being 2005, the first intuition that comes to one's mind is:
    this is a deliberately designed firmware "failure mode", which kicks in
    around the time the years warranty expires, designed to get you to waste
    lots of money on inks for a while, and then to be told (by some poor sap
    reading from a helpdesk script) that a service centre must "fix" it, for
    a whole lot more. In more honest times, this was called a "protection
    racket".

    I'd love to find out that, in this case, this is not the problem.

    Can anyone shed light on the matter, or share a similar experience
    and its outcome?

    With kind regards,

    Sandy

    P.S. For the first time ever, when copying just now, it has done the
    "PLS OPEN COVER" crap. It also started cleaning itself before every run
    of copies. And why am I copying? Yes, it's to complete 30 copies of
    those Christmas cards! O Brother where art thou??!
     
  2. Tony

    Tony Guest


    Hmmm a trifle irritating to say the least.
    What is supposed to happen is when you open the cover and close it again you
    will get a machine error code that indicates what went wrong, or you will get
    no code which means the error was transient and went away. Helpful eh?
    What is probably happening is there has been a transient error.
    If you go to maintenance mode and enter function 80 you should get a display of
    the machine log, that may hopefully give you some machine error messages if it
    does then post them here and I will try to translate for you.
    Tony
     
  3. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    I had a different Brother MFC (cost me $400). Almost exactly a month
    after it went out of warranty--and immediately after spending 0ver $50
    on expendables) it started a routine much like the OP's. In my case, it
    was a paper feed error, which wouldn't allow the machine to
    initialize--rendering ALL of the functions (fax, printer, scanner,
    copier, fax modem)--inoperative. It would tell me one error, I'd clear
    that one, it would crank through part of it's routine and give me another.

    I opened it up against the advice of a few here, and discovered for
    myself what many had told me: it was a nightmare to repair. I never did
    discover the exact cause, although I suspected a sensor problem...junk POS.

    I tossed it and got an HP...lots easier to service.....

    jak
     
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Guest

    Dear Tony,

    This is very kind of you. Function 80 gives me the serial number of
    the machine. Are you sure you meant 80?

    With kind regards,

    Sandy
     
  5. Tony

    Tony Guest

    Ah, sorry Sandy, my instructions were incomplete....
    See here -

    Fisrstly enter maintenance mode, then
    (1) Press the 8 and 0 keys in this order in the initial stage of the
    maintenance mode.
    The USB serial number appears on the LCD.
    (2) Press the Fax Start key. Each time the Fax Start key is pressed, one of the
    following log
    information items appears on the LCD in the order given below.
    1) Ink cartridge drop count, indicating how many droplets have been jetted out
    from each of
    the ink cartridges (Note 1)
    2) Ink drop count after near-empty, indicating how many droplets have been
    jetted out from
    each of the ink cartridges (Note 1) after the ink empty sensor detects
    near-empty
    3) Total ink drop count, indicating how many droplets the equipment has jetted
    out
    from each of the ink cartridges (Note 1) since produced
    4) Jam count, indicating how many times a paper jam has been occurred
    5) Total page count, indicating how many pages have been printed since the
    equipment was
    produced
    6) PC print page count, indicating how many pages the equipment has printed as
    an
    output device of the connected PC
    7) Copy page count, indicating how many copies have been made
    8) FAX page count, indicating how many received FAX pages have been printed
    9) Purge count, indicating how many times the purge operation has been carried
    out
    10) Wiper count, indicating how many times the wiper operation has been carried
    out
    11) Ink cartridge change count, indicating how many times ink cartridge
    replacement has been
    made for each color (Note 1)
    12) Error code of the most recent machine error (Note 2)
    13) Error code of the most recent communications error (Note 3)
    14) ADF jam count, indicating how many times a document jam has occurred
    15) ADF page count, indicating how many documents have been fed
    16) Flat-bed page count, indicating how many documents have been scanned

    To stop this operation and return the equipment to the initial stage of the
    maintenance
    mode, press the Stop key.

    Note 1 - To check each of the four ink cartridges, press the Menu key. Pressing
    the key cycles through
    black, yellow, cyan, and magenta.
    Note 2 - When a machine error code is displayed, pressing the Menu key cycles
    through recent nine
    errors that have occurred.
    Note 3 - When a communications error code is displayed, pressing the Menu key
    cycles through the
    latest 3 errors.

    Item 12 (see note 2) may give us some clues. It will probably only give error
    code numbers but I can tell you what they mean (there are dozens of different
    error codes).
    Good luck
    Tony
     
  6. Sandy

    Sandy Guest

    Dear Tony,

    I got a list of machine errors as follows:
    1 - A1
    2 - 33
    3 - A1
    4 - 33
    5 - A1
    6 - 33
    7 - A1
    8 - 33
    9 - A1

    The comms error list was:
    1 - 17070000
    2 - 0000FF00
    3 - 17070000

    The machine errors look like they come as related pairs. And so are
    the comms errors. (I have a week old previous printout somewhere that
    lists the comms errors as 0000ff00, 17070000, 0000ff00.)

    I am really, really intrigued as to what are "A1" and "33". I look
    forward to your answer.

    Thanks again for your kindness.

    With kind regards,

    Sandy

    P.S. In the meanwhile I have photocopied out my Christmas cards and now
    I'm guillotining them down to size -- before that long haul of writing
    to everyone we haven't spoken to all year.
     
  7. Tony

    Tony Guest

    OK Sandy they don't appear to be related but I bet they are somehow.

    Error code A1 is
    Scanner unit opened. (surprise, surprise)
    likely failure is Scanner open sensor actuator
    or Main PCB or Scanner unit.

    Error code 3* (where * = any number) is
    likely failure is Carriage travel error or Carriage ASSY
    or Encoder strip (Any stains or scratches? Hooked correctly?)
    or Carriage motor
    or Main PCB
    or Power supply PCB
    or Purge unit
    or Head flat cable N
    or Driver PCB
    or Main chassis

    For the moment I would ignore the error 33 because of the strong relationship
    between error A1 and your symptoms.

    If you want to try the following it may help

    Sensor Operational Check
    This function allows you to check the following:
    - Document front sensor
    - Document rear sensor
    - Document cover open sensor
    - CCD HP sensor
    - Scanner open sensor
    - Registration sensor
    - Paper width sensor
    - Purge cam HP switch
    - Pump switching cam HP switch
    - (Print head detector)
    - Black ink cartridge sensor
    - Yellow ink cartridge sensor
    - Cyan ink cartridge sensor
    - Magenta ink cartridge sensor
    - Manual feed slot cover sensor

    Operating Procedure
    (1) Press the 3 and 2 keys in this order in the initial stage of the
    maintenance mode. The
    equipment sounds 1100 Hz and 400 Hz tones cyclically for testing the speaker:
    NOTE: To stop beeping, press the Menu key.
    If the sensing status are as listed below, the LCD will show "DFDRDCFHCSCVRSPW"
    and
    "P1P2HDIKIYICIMMP," which can be switched by pressing the Fax Start key.
    Given below is the relationship between the LCD indication, sensor name and
    sensor status.
    LCD Sensors Sensing status
    DF Document front sensor No document detected.
    DR Document rear sensor No document detected.
    DC Document cover open sensor Document cover closed.
    FH CCD HP sensor CCD unit placed in the home position.
    CS Cassette sensor Not applicable to the MFC5200C/MFC890
    CV Scanner open sensor Scanner unit closed.
    RS Registration sensor No recording paper detected.
    PW Paper width sensor No paper detected.
    P1 Purge cam HP switch Purge cam placed in the home position.
    P2 Pump switching cam HP switch Pump switching cam placed in the home position.
    HD (Print head detector) (Not used.)
    IK Black ink cartridge sensor Black ink cartridge loaded.
    IY Yellow ink cartridge sensor Yellow ink cartridge loaded.
    IC Cyan ink cartridge sensor Cyan ink cartridge loaded.
    IM Magenta ink cartridge sensor Magenta ink cartridge loaded.
    MP Manual feed slot cover sensor Manual feed slot cover closed.
    (2) Change the detecting conditions (e.g., insert paper through the document
    sensors, registration
    sensor or paper width sensor, open the document cover/scanner unit/manual feed
    slot cover, or
    remove the print head or ink cartridges) and then check that the indication on
    the LCD
    changes according to the sensor states.
    (3) To stop this operation and return the equipment to the initial stage of the
    maintenance mode, press the Stop key.

    What this is saying is that when you press the Fax Start key the display should
    toggle between 2 sets of code lines. The two characters that correspond to the
    "CV" portion of one code line should change in the other code line when you
    open or close the scanner cover. If you are fortunate you may find this happens
    if the scanner cover or the immediate area near the control panel is sensitive
    to vibration or very slight movement, you can test this by wiggling the cover
    without lifting it more than a couple of millimetres or tapping around the
    control panel area (the sensor is actually under the control panel). If so the
    sensor or the actuating lever is at fault. If not then I suspect you have a
    more serious problem. There may be something loose in that area, or some slight
    damage. I have tried to make this less cryptic than it appears <g>.

    How old is the printer, if it is under warranty you should have a valid claim.

    Good luck
    Tony
     
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