HP all-in-one Laserjet 3330 scanner error

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.

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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.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…….

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

Thank you very much worked like a charm:)

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….


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!


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!


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


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?


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

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.

Thanks for the info! It seems to have worked.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Where do I send my firstborn?

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.

Thanks!!! This procedure worked great!

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~!

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

Thank you.

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!

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!!!

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?

u r a genius, huge thanks man..

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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

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


Thank you this worked for me as well!!!

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

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.

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

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.



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!

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.

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

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

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

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