Xerox Phaser 6500 fan replacement

As the title suggests, my Phaser 6500 colour laser printer – which I’ve been pretty happy with – had its main cooling fan fail, a few months after the warranty expired. The failure was indicated by a fairly explicit message on the built-in display.

So I tore the printer apart and fixed it. Should you find yourself in a similar circumstance, you could give it a try.

I have to give three warnings: 1. Read all of these steps before executing any. 2. Should a step here prove too difficult to execute, reverse everything, reassemble the printer, and seek qualified help. 3. If upon finishing you have any screws or other parts left over apart from the failed fan, then actually you are not finished.

The fan itself bears Xerox part number 127E86270. You may be tempted to read the manufacturer’s data from the fan itself (Nidec D08K 24TS1), and replace accordingly, but you would be disappointed: The Xerox fan bears that Nidec part number, however, Xerox has used a custom version of that part having three wires [black, brown, yellow] instead of the usual two [probably black and red]. I guess that the third wire enables sensing of proper fan operation (or, if you’re a pessimist, enables detection of fan rotation failure). I’m confident that the two-wire version won’t work without some engineering (if it were to work at all). So, procure the Xerox part. I found one at the curiously-named ItemInc.

If you order from ItemInc, be explicit about shipping. For me, in Canada, they shipped it out FedEx Ground (fine) but lacking the commercial invoice necessary for Canada Customs (not fine). FedEx discovered this and sent the shipment back to ItemInc. ItemInc augmented the shipment with the required invoice, but then inexplicably re-shipped it UPS (not fine – in fact, bad). UPS charges CAD 20 to file customs paperwork, collected COD (VISA or cheque please, no cash) for a service that (as I understand it) FedEx provides at no charge as part of their service. There are many other reasons to loathe UPS.

Now you have to disassemble the printer. Refer to your user manual [PDF] to make sense of this paragraph. Release and lower the front cover (as if clearing a paper jam), and drop the transfer belt unit (ditto). Then, remove the fuser, located just inside the unit at the exit tray. Its location is described in the user manual, as are the two green tabs that release roller pressure for paper-jam clearing. However, removing the fuser is not described in the user manual.

You need to find the grey tab that releases the right end of the fuser. The fuser is effectively hinged at its left end, so swing it toward you keeping it horizontal (with the right end in the “hinge”), then at 30° or so, lift it out.

When you lowered the front cover, you exposed the front of the printer mechanism. The bottom remained on the table. There are four other faces of the cube. Your task is now to remove the plastic covers on those four faces, that is, the top, the left and right sides (as viewed from the front), and the back. The top cover is also known as the “exit tray.”

Having removed the fuser, you’ve exposed two Philips screws that attach the front end of the exit tray assembly to the body of the printer. Remove those screws. On the back edge of the exit tray is sort of a hinge, invisible to you at the moment. Lift the front of the exit tray, rotating around the imagined hinge at the back edge. At 30° or so, you’ll be able to lift the exit tray clear. You can now see “hinge” mechanism; it’s simply moulded into the plastic parts (at zero marginal cost). Removing the exit tray has revealed the fan that needs to be replaced, but it will be obvious that more shrouding needs to be removed, and there are more screws to do so. All of the screws tap into plastic, not metal: Remove them carefully. When reinstalling, take care not to overtighten and strip threads; it’s not clear to me how you could recover from that. All of the screws that you will remove are identical.

When you lowered the front panel, in addition to exposing the front of the printer engine you exposed two Philips screws that attach the front edge of the left-hand side cover to the main unit. Remove those two screws. There is a moulded plastic hinge on the back edge of that part; rotate the front edge of the panel outward, and at 30° or so, you’ll be able to lift the part clear. (Is this hinge business beginning to sound familiar?)

When you lowered the front panel, you also exposed two Philips screws attaching the front edge of the right-hand side panel. Open the toner access cover to reveal several more screws; remove all of the screws. (Sorry, I forgot to count.) Then rotate and remove the right-hand side panel (along with the toner access cover). The “hinge” for the side panel is, of course, at the back.

Now, access the back of the printer. At the bottom of the back panel are two screws; remove them. There is no hinge here – just pull the back cover straight out toward the back. Now the machinery is bare – and now you can access the fan.

You’ll notice three small wires forming a bundle that leads from the fan to the power supply board. Carefully (!) pop out the cable connector at the power supply end. There’s a very small plastic latch involved; gently hold it in the release position while you gently tug all three wires of the cable straight upwards. Unthread the wiring from the (black plastic) fan duct so that the wires emerge directly from the fan. The fan duct has four black plastic spring tabs that hold the fan itself inside the duct – splay those four tabs outward from the axis of the fan, and pull the fan straight backwards to remove it from the duct. Remember the fan’s orientation with respect to the emergence of the wires. (The fan sucks air into the printer; it does not exhaust air.)

There. You’re halfway done.

Snap-in the replacement fan. Dress its wires through the wire channel, and insert its connector onto the power supply board.

Then, perform the inverse of all of the cover/shroud instructions in opposite order. Done!

If you disassembled everything before receiving the replacement fan (as I did), you should be aware that the imaging unit can be damaged by light. If you leave the unit for several days with the covers off (as I did), I recommend that you cover it up with an opaque green polyester bag or some such.

I admit that I did have access to a maintenance manual while I executed this procedure, but you shouldn’t need it. (In fact most of the service manual information that I used was for the closely related model 6125/6130; you could use search terms like Phaser 6125 30 Service Manual Part1 filetype:pdf.)