HP all-in-one Laserjet 3330 scanner error

January 21st, 2008

This post is here purely to help those who are Googling for a solution to this problem. Everyone else please ignore!

aio.pngIf you have an HP all-in-one 3300-series printer/copier/scanner, and it starts saying “Scanner error power off->power on”, but powering off and on doesn’t help, then you really need this page. Many thanks to all who posted there!

Basically, you power off the printer and unscrew the screw which allows you to remove the small piece of glass to the left of the main scanning glass.

Using some needle-nosed pliers through the opening, grasp the drive belt and use it to move the scanning head across from the right hand side of the scanning area to the left, until it’s right under the opening. At the bottom of the wide slot, there’s a mirror, and it gets fogged up with something.

Shine a good light in there and use dry Q-tips to give the mirror a good clean. Then reassemble everything and turn the printer back on. After a little warm-up, you should get the ‘Ready’ prompt again, and your heart will be filled with joy.

The whole process should only take about 5 mins. There may be other things which cause a ‘scanner error’, but this fixed it for me and, it would appear, for many others.

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2008 at 12:56 am and filed under General.

83 Responses to “HP all-in-one Laserjet 3330 scanner error”

  1. J. Miller Says:

    To the person who put this article up, thank you so very much. You saved me from having to buy a new printer. I was so close to throwing this one out but now it works like day one.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. Esther Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…….

  3. Sean Vitelli Says:

    wow it worked thank you. I have never fixed anythign in my life with Q-tip. I was ready to try a hammer and then my check book to buy a new unit.

  4. Sylvia Says:

    You’re awesome! LOVE the ‘Using some needle-nosed pliers through the opening, grasp the drive belt and use it to move the scanning head across from the right hand side of the scanning area to the left, until it’s right under the opening.’



    Many many thanks.

  5. J Says:

    This solution worked great, hardest problem was finding a Q-Tip and it does require one to get into the small opening down to the mirror.

    Many Thanks!

  6. Tom Says:

    I get this very annoying error very often!! I’ve gone though the cleaning routine, but cleaning did not fix the problem for me.

    Some people say you have to power off and on multiple times until the error goes away.

    I have had success powering the machine off and leaving it unplugged for an extended period of time (a few hours) before powering up again.

    There’s nothing scientific about my solution, but through trial and error, the extended power off method works better than anything else for me. Sometimes, I power it off before I go to bed, then power up in the morning and it works! Go figure.

    Good luck!

  7. Bob Says:

    Less than a year ago this happened to me, and similar instructions I found on the web were unclear – I thought you cleaned the bulb part, which did no good. I spent 10 or 12 hours messing with HP support – on hold, downloading firmware upgrades, etc., etc. After a set of bizarre mis-communications I thought they were going to swap my printer for a refurb for $300 – but the bill was actually over $900. More time spent getting the bill knocked down to $300. Now, nine months later the same problem!

    Luckily, before I tossed the printer out to the curb I Googled the model and error. The 1st hit was this page and twenty minutes later my printer is working. Thank-you, big-time.


    Oh – I used isopropyl alcohol (which leaved zero-residue) on the 1st q-tip and dried/polished the mirror with a dry one.

  8. Bruce Ludlow Says:

    Grateful for your tip on wiping the mirror of the scanner! I had been experiencing longer and longer warm-up periods for the scanner bulb and intermittent failure requiring multiple “power off-power on” operations. (When this is done my parallel-connected PC loses ability to print until rebooting the PC while the USB-connected PC maintained print ability.) Wiping the “fog” off the mirror has drastically reduced the warm-up time and so far (after 1 week) no scanner bulb failures or loss of print ability from the PC. My 3330 is 5 years old and doing well again! Thanks so much!

  9. Troy Nordahl Says:

    Thank you soooooooo much for this tip. Like others have said, you saved me from buying a new printer. We should all call ouselves the 3330 refugees.

  10. Andrew Hutton Says:

    You are wonderful. I was getting so frustrated with the printer which was only working 10% of the time. And the solution was so quick and simple! Thank you.

  11. Charles Daglow Says:

    Thank you very much worked like a charm:)

  12. Alastair Craig Says:

    Wow.. It works…. My 3330mfp came up withthe scanner bulb error and tried to reset / power off and on but did’nt work.
    Like others I typed in the error with Yahoo and up came your site. Had nothing to loose as the 3330 is out of warranty and 10 minutes later happy days!! Error gone…
    A BIG Thank You….


  13. Ed York Says:

    I have had this printer for more than 5 years. About 3 months ago I too began receiving the “scan error.” Leaving the power off for long periods of time (2 hours to over night) seemed to work. I noticed using the document feed while copying or faxing was more problematic than printing. I just tried cleaning the mirror under the scan bulb, using alcohol on a Q-tip followed by a buffing with a dry Q-tip (yes, it’s a two-Q-Tip process), as Bob suggested and it seemed to work perfectly.

    I also read on a different website, that you should move the scanning unit back to the extreme right side of the unit, using the needle-nose pliers and belt activity. Not sure if this final step is necessary, but it was easy enough to do. Entire process took about 10 minutes, but I bet I could do it in 5 minutes or less now that I know what I’m doing. I REALLY hope this fix works for a while. Shame on HP . . . SHAME, SHAME!


  14. Rob Says:

    5 year old 3330mfp. Just started scanner problem. No need for needle nose pliers. Ran the scanner and when mirror all the way to left, pull the plug! Acess is easy. Used Q-tip with rubbing achohol. Perfect!

  15. lee Says:


    this procedure works great! problem resolved, DID SEE THE HAZE”FOG” ON MIRROR.
    the scanner does need to be returned to right side.


  16. CD Says:

    I could not pull the belt over with needle nose pliers. I was afraid to break it if i pulled to hard. What am I doing wrong?


  17. CD Says:

    Correction, I could not pull the scanning heads over by pulling the belt. The belt is very hard to pull.

  18. Kelly Cochran Says:

    I’ve had 3 of these units and each one of them has gotten the same error message within two months of use. I like the unit for it’s usefulness and just found workaround solutions for printing and faxing until I couldn’t anymore. But I still have two of them and have never given up hope that maybe I can make them work. I’ve always suspected it’s a small issue, whatever it is that makes the scanner crap out, but have given too much time in tech support phone calls to be willing to try that route again, and periodically, google the error to see if there’s been a fix.
    And voila; I found this, so I will try it and see.

  19. Dean Says:

    Thanks for the info! It seems to have worked.

  20. Paul Says:

    Much thanks. Did what you suggested and its working fine again. It took me a while to figure out how to move the belt to get scanner into position to clean it. For others that are having this problem: grab the belt with the pliers and move the belt left to rigth (toward the scanner unit) and the scanner will begin to move. You can only move it a few inches each time but it goes quickly. This saved me from buying a new one.

    To those who may be doubtful, this really works and it is easy to do.

  21. Doc Says:

    Thank you!! I had been leaving the printer off when I didn’t need. This procedure worked great. Now I don’t have to go out and get another printer. Awesome!!

    Thanks again.

  22. Art Says:

    Just wanted to add a thank you and a vote of confidence to whomever else is having this problem. It’s really a five minute job!

    Don’t pull the belt, but instead push it. Once you’ve got it close enough, grab the head assembly and pull it into place. Quick clean up with a q tip and put it back together.

  23. David Musgrave Says:

    Awesome post. I have fixed my printer after months of frustration.

    While it saved money… it will postpone the colour laser for a bit longer. Oh well.

  24. Colin Says:

    Where do I send my firstborn?

  25. Huseyin Says:

    Thank you very much for your advice…
    I have fixed the problem. But the device I have need approximetley 1 minute to warm up now. I think I have to clean more.
    I have also one problem with the device. Whenever I turned of the device it looses the time and date settings. Are there any battery in the device to save some information? if so I think the battery weakened.

    Thanks again.

  26. Marco Says:

    Thanks!!! This procedure worked great!

  27. aug27am Says:

    I just encountered this problem after all these years of use. I almost ruined the data belt by mistakenly pulling on it since it is the first visible wide belt i could see. Luckyly it wouldn’t budge and I was smart enough to look around and found the driving belt which is kind of hiding on the top side. It is easy to pull. And I also cleaned the small glass.

    what a great way to contribute to the humanity by simply provide the sound advice~! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH~!

  28. Pat Knwod Says:

    I’ve owned my 330 for probably over 10 years.
    I’ve used this tip twice now and it’s saved me.

    Thank you.

  29. BnR Says:

    FYI We had the same problem in the past and this advice fixed it but this last time it didn’t. I noticed the ribbon cable attaching the top unit to the bottom unit was worn. Some of the little contacts had flaked off. Sharp pair of sizzors later and no problem!

  30. B. Branson Says:

    Wow…such a simple fix to a seemingly impossible problem. I have had this problem wth increasing frequency over the past couple months, did the power off for extended time thing which worked until today. Before putting the unit out to the curb, I did a search for ‘HP 3330 Scanner problems’ today not really expecting to find anything useful but felt it was worth a ‘deperation try’. This was the first thing that came up in the search…now, there is no need to look any further…the scanner came up OK first shot after cleaning the mirror as instructed. I couldn’t see any visible ‘haze’ on the mirror…but, it must have been there. Many thanks for figuring this out and for posting the ‘fix’ here. I am totally blown away to have found this post…that the ‘fix’ was easy to do…and, most of all…that it worked! Tyvm!!!

  31. Micke Says:

    Hi! I have an LaserJet 3330 and my Scanner wont work..=/ What do i have to do? I have Windows XP. My printer, kopy and fax work but not my scanner.. how do i install it?

  32. Aslam Says:

    u r a genius, huge thanks man..

  33. Ward Says:

    That was an excellent solution. Use the small glass and a paper towel if a q-tip is not available… just be careful not to scratch the mirror.

  34. Francisco Says:

    Hey Thank you so much for the person who post this, Great solution..

  35. Ted Says:

    We have been performing this routine off and on. However, it keeps getting worse. I did a factory reset last evening and tried to reinstall the firmware which did not take. ARRGGHHH

    HP is useless for assistance, let alone understanding the dialect via Sat Phone connections to offshore script reading tech support.

    Worse, is that new versions of the scanning hardware are child-like imiatations of older HP scanning hardware.
    The new software interfaces are also child-like not giving anything like the older HP Software bundle.

    Worse yet, the interface with Paperport does not work with new HP Software.

    Any similar experiences please let me know.

  36. Jeff Kane Says:

    At first I did not believe that the power on power off error could be fixed by doing this but I did exactly what the instructions said and now my 3330 is working again.

    I too had tried waiting overnight several times in the past and found that this did work but maybe this worked because both the computer and the printer were turned off and when I plugged the 3330 in before starting the computer, a fresh handshake between the two might have been the reason the error disappeared. This is only my theory but there may be some merit here?

  37. David Says:

    Thank you. These clear instructions worked for me.

    I wore nitrile gloves for this job, to avoid greasing things up with my fingers. With those gloves on, I could use my fingers to manipulate the belt to do the initial moving of the sled over to the left. For the final inch of sled movement required, I powered on the device and let it move the sled itself (powering it off as soon as the sled stopped moving left).

    One thing that confused me was finding the slot in question. It’s the wide slot immediately to the right of the bulb.

    Looking down at the fogged mirror (shining a flashlight into the slot) I wasn’t sure at first whether I was seeing a mirror, or looking through some glass into the innards of the device. The fog on the mirror actually made patterns that looked like distant grey hoses. But the q-tip quickly unfogged it, and the phantom hoses disappeared.

    After I put things back together, it seemed the sled was stuck in the far left position. I removed the small glass srip again, nudged the sled to the right an inch or so with my fingers, and then powered on again. This time, upon powerup (and after a delay of maybe 15 seconds) the sled returned to the home position at the right of the device.

  38. yoshi Says:

    i can only say, thank you. amazing what a qtip can do.

  39. Baley Bond Says:

    I am having similar error with my HP Printer Copier Scanner. I hope this tip can solve it.

  40. jennifer s Says:


  41. Nick Says:

    Thank you this worked for me as well!!!

  42. Nick Says:

    This worked for me thank you thank you and happy holidays!

  43. Bernie Says:

    Thank you so much. That’s brilliant. However, it’s worth being really clear about which belt is the drive belt – I initially tried to pull the wide white belt that runs across the middle of the scanning glass and couldn’t work out why the pliers wouldn’t reach! Then I found the post that explained that the drive belt is at the top – and found it’s really easy. Once again – thank you very, very much.

  44. Max Says:

    Worked perfectly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Glad I read this before using the HAMMER & CHECKBOOK method; which was rapidly approaching.
    Thank you.

  45. David Musgrave Says:

    I have previously used this method, but it eventually stopped working.

    The method on this post is more thorough as it explains how to access and open the optics chamber to clean all the mirrors.



  46. Red Says:

    My 3300 is at least seven years old, and has worked beautifully and perfectly until two days ago when we started receiving this error. Thanks so much for this page and all the links to other options for solving this issue. Much appreciated!

  47. Phil Says:

    Big time thanks. I was bumming and almost out the door to buy new. My wife got on me about taking it somewhere to get fixed…I knew that was going to be expensive…so at a last ditch effort, I googled “HP Laser Jet 3330 scanner stuck” and there was your post. I can’t thank you enough….worked like a charm.

  48. powerboy Says:

    The link is broken. I have the same problem with this stupid printer and google led me here. Anyone has the archive of that article? Please email me at powerboy01#live.com

  49. Wade Says:

    You are amazing. I used a q-tip with rubbing alcohol, wiped off any residue after it had all dried, and sprayed it clean with some canned air. Works like a charm. <3

  50. Rosemary Says:

    Why yes, my heart IS filled with joy and I did the happy dance too. Thank you so much for posting this. Saved my office a few weeks of being without a fax while this one was shipped to our National office to be swabbed by someone who makes more money than I do. lol

  51. tonya Says:

    wow U ROCK!!! thanks a million… WHAT A LIFESAVER!!!

  52. Brian Wright Says:

    You’ve made another guy very happy. Thanks! I was about at wit’s end, as the power-off time necessary to get past the error had increased from a few minutes to a few hours to overnight, and at the beginning of this week even the overnight didn’t work. Should have Googled the problem long ago.

    Took me a few seconds to see the narrow belt, up near the edge of the main glass closest to the hinge for the printer’s top. And then a few more seconds to be sure I was looking at the right thing to clean at the bottom of the long, narrow gap in the scanning head (actually looks like glass, not a mirror). All I did was run a dry Q-tip back and forth along the length of the glass/mirror a couple of times and that did the trick. Wasn’t sure it was actually fogged up until I saw the difference afterward. I’d begun to contemplate buying a new printer, so thanks for saving me the hundreds of dollars and hassle!

  53. Michael P Says:

    Another way to get the scan to move to the opened glass window is load a piece of paper in the autofeeder.
    the scan head will then move all the way to left. Once it arrives, simply pull the power pluge.

    Once the wire is cleaned, and the glass window is re-assembled. Plug the scanner/printer back in.
    The power-on sequence will move it back into it’s normal position. This may take one or two minutes.

  54. Craig Says:

    Saved the day for me too! I just love it when such a simple fix can be found with a simple internet search. Thank you so much for sharing!

  55. Tony B Says:

    Can not believe it! I have had this problem for over a year and getting worse until it simple would not clear the error message after being unplugged and then plugged back in.

    6 minutes of repair and back to 100%

    Thank you very much

  56. Richard Says:

    Worked for me as well!!

    This really is a great solution!


  57. Alex Says:

    Worked for me too with the stuck error “Scanner bulb warming up” by 3330mfp printer.

  58. Mark Says:

    Hey Bubs!

    Thanks for the q-tip tip. The printer was about to be tossed into the steel rubbish can until I came across your post. The tides have turned as today has been productive and you have eased some tension within the workplace.

    We initially thought it was some part which had to be replaced but this solution has costed us less then a penny in consumables.

    Thanks again!

  59. John Says:

    Had a LJ3380 with the exact same issue. This solution worked like a charm! It’s easy to do and will save you from possibly throwing the printer out or incurring the cost of replacement and/or professional repair. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS TIP – IT SAVED MY PRINTER!!!

  60. Greg Smith Says:

    Worked like a charm.

    Oh by the way, the white cable is the data cable not the drive cable. The drive cable is at the top and is black. So don’t be an idiot (like me) and try to pull the data cable.

  61. Shipu Says:

    I have the same problem with my HP LJ 3330 mfp:
    1. Scanner Bulb warming for ever
    2. Grinding noise

    Often my machine would not get ready and I would get errors. Cycling power sometimes worked but temporarily.

    I took apart the scanner and thoroughly cleaned all the 5-mirrors but the problem did not go away until I also cleaned the lens. So, if you open up the scanner assembly, you might as well clean the lens.

  62. Shel Rodg Says:

    Thank you! Whoever wrote this page is awesome!

  63. Axel Says:

    Danke für den Hammer-Tipp, um den HP Scanner 3300 wieder zum Laufen zu bringen. Funzt wie am ersten Tag. Schande über HP, die diese Hilfe nicht liefern! Thanks a lot, works brillant like first-day-use.

  64. M. E. Barnes Says:

    Dear Mr. Quentin:

    On Sept. 22, 2011, I used your instructions to clean the mirrors on my HP LaserJet Printer 3330 mfp and it worked! Fantastico!

    When I got the “Power On/Power Off” Error, I was sad; after I used your instructions, I’m up and running again on the LaserJet 3330 mfp!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  65. Robert Frischer Says:

    Worked for me. Have used the power on-off routine for years. Pain in the neck. Once you have the bulb warmup error off though as another reader says, load a document via document feeder and pull power just as scanner head is way over to the left. Then you don’t need to mess with the belt at all. Clean the mirrors ( the wide slot ) and power on. the head will move back to the right and all works.

  66. Brooks U Says:

    Thanks a lot! This worked for me as well!!

  67. Dave Hill Says:

    Yay! Just fixed the one from the shed which is still giving sterling service at DisplayLink!

    I had to push the scanner back under the glass after cleaning or I got “Error 79″ all the time.

  68. Mike Late Says:

    Brilliant! That is excellent work.

    Thanks a lot. Run into the same problem with my LJ3300 mfp. Searched the internet and found threads talking about the service-manual and a 1 hurs procedure to disassemble and clean
    the whole machine. Searched again and found this.

    Just to confirm: Still works in 2012. Just invest 5-10 minutes and follow this procedure to clean the mirror. And issue is fixed.

    Thanks again and greetings from “old” europe.

  69. allan cohen Says:

    just worked perfectly for me on a 10 yr old hp3330 printer-THANKS–mirror had a coating of presumably “air pollution”. For the less adventures I was able to move the scanning head under the access window by power off,pwer on untill the head moves an inch,power off and repeat approx 15 times-tedious but works. I also used canned air to clean off dust before and after

  70. LOTS OF HELP Says:


  71. Brian Says:

    A slight variation on this, though the source is the same. My printer gave this Scanner Error Power Off message once before, but it eventually cleared itself up. Today it did it again.

    After reading this post, I figured I was having the same problem. However, I noticed that it was very humid in our office today…and as I think back was on that previous day also. Assuming that is had to do with an “unclean” mirror, I took the small piece of glass off the left side, and pointed my fan to blow air into the opening, and therefore around the scan head.

    Did this for a couple minutes, plugged it back in a voila, works like a charm again. I suspect that the humidity was causing that mirror to fog up, maybe more so it there are contaminants on it, but this was quicker for me.


  72. Ghulam Muhammad Says:

    Thanks I am hopeful that my heart and mind will be filled with joys, while I will be succeeded in solution of the problem of power on power off of my printer laser jet 3330. I am grateful to see this solution. Thanks with regards and the users also, who post their comments in this site. I will be with in contact even when having no problems. Thanks again with regards. Ghulam Muhammad.

  73. mk-englsih Says:

    thx so much from 麦肯英语

  74. David Says:

    I did this repair again, after 3 years of successful operation after doing it the first time on 21 August 2009. The repair again solved the problem.

    Slight modification of the repair technique: Wearing a nitrile glove rolled the little roller pulley around which the belt is stretched. This let me move the sled into position where I could use my fingertips to pull it fully under the little removed glass area. After I cleaned the optics with Q-tips, I pushed the sled to the right as far as my fingers would go. When I then powered on the machine, it took some time (more than 30 seconds) before the machine started moving the sled back to the right. It moved it back, in fits and starts, and then it showed Ready.

  75. Dan Griffin Says:

    Here we are, 12 years after my HP 3330 was purchased and it failed for the first time yesterday (Sat 12/13/12). Must be something about Friday the 13th on Saturday. Anyway, as might be expected the “web” has solved the problems of the universe* and my printer is now happy again. :-) The “clean the mirror” procedure is super simple, and when you think about how these things operate, it’s no real surprise that “junk” will build up.

    (Answer to the problem of “everything” really is 42, as all Douglas Adams fans know.)

  76. Dave Allen Says:

    I had the same problem repeat itself and couldn’t remember all the steps. Found you (again) followed the simple steps, and “POOF” it works again !!! Thank you for posting this verrry simple solution. There was another page that had you disassembling the entire scanner operation into hundreds of pieces and then tells you clean the mirrors at your own risk. Your simple solution has worked for me a few times with no fears or risk.

    Thank you again !!!!!!!!

    (think I will print this and save it for the next time. :)

  77. Todd Says:

    I’ve had this printer for over 10 years, and except for this problem, it works well. I have to clean the mirror every few months to a year.

    It may take several cleanings to get the mirror clean enough to make the printer happy again. Just keep at it! (We just had some sanding and painting done in our house, and the mirror was extra dirty this time.)

    I use high quality camera lens cleaner sprayed on a Q-tip. Then I dry the mirror with a new, clean Q-tip.

  78. qsf Says:

    Thanks Todd –

    Yes, I’ve found it to be a very good printer, overall, and worth this occasional inconvenience!


  79. SteveF Says:

    I wanted to echo the sentiment of everyone else. Brilliant and perfect solution. Solved my problem in a few minutes. Forever grateful for people who post such assistance and feedback for everyone to see and benefit from.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  80. VS Says:

    Thanks. Worked like a charm!

  81. zahid hassan Says:

    hi sir
    error in my hp laser jet 3330
    sir plz help me…
    How to manual feed on…????

  82. zahid Birgawa Says:

    hi sir
    error in my hp laser jet 3330
    sir plz help me…
    How to manual feed on…????

  83. qsf Says:

    Hi Zahid – sorry, I don’t have my Laserjet any more – but I’m sure you’ll find an answer if you Google a bit!

    All the best,

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