Updating the Firmware on HP Color LaserJet CP4525 via FTP

I came across an interesting incident on on our IT service management software (Service-Now) which was a nice change from the usual stuff I come across. The incident was described like this:

“Good afternoon,
Printer xyz is showing the error message ‘Resend Upgrade’. It is a HP Color LaserJet CP4525.
Can you please look into this?”

A quick look on the products support page on the HP website suggested the printer’s firmware needed to be updated.

Normally, something like this would have been passed onto the Desktop Team but I was curious to learn that the firmware could be updated remotely via FTP and wanted to this job to myself. I wanted to take ownership of the task and see it through to resolution myself.

I arranged with the user to put up an ‘out of order’ sign on the printer so no one disturbs it while I’m working on it remotely.

Here’s a look at the firmware version before the update on the printers Web interface:

firmware-before

The instructions on how to update the firmware can be found on the HP’s product support page for the printer. The firmware I downloaded was “20140127 07.160.6”.

Here’s a screenshot of the firmware reflected on the printer’s Web interface after I updated it:

firmware-after

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Upgrading the HP MicroServer

I’ve just finished upgrading the server with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive and I’ve taken plenty of photos for step by step instructions on how to go about upgrading it.

Unlocking the door on the front of the machine reveals the inside where there’s four hard drive caddies in a cage and the motherboard tray screwed onto the base with a couple of hex screws. There’s a small allen key mounted on the door on the inside – this is shown below marked with an arrow.

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First stop is the hard disk, which is mounted on the first caddy from the left. Press down where shown on the picture below and lift and pull the lever to release the hard drive.

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You will need to use the allen key to unscrew the hard drive to release it from the caddy and fix your own hard drive onto it. Once that’s done keep it aside and remove the remaining three empty caddies from the cage to give us some room to get to the motherboard. Continue reading

Introducing the HP MicroServer N40L

I’ve just taken delivery of the MicroServer which I bought from eBuyer a few days ago. It was £220 upfront but HP is offering a £100 cash back – great value for £120.

It’s a 1.5GHz AMD dual core processor with 2GB RAM and 250GB hard disk. I’m going to boost the RAM to 8GB along with a 1TB hard drive which I’m expecting to arrive in a couple of days.

The maximum RAM the server supports is allegedly 8GB but some people have managed to get 16GB memory (2x 8GB) working on this. Though its definitely a hit and miss with the RAM, the 8GB RAM that I ordered is one of those sticks that people have reportedly paired to get 16GB working on this server. This keeps my options open if I want to try my hand at boosting the RAM to 16GB myself. For now I’m sticking with 8GB – let’s see how this works out for what I want to do.

Speaking of which, the intention is to learn about virtualization, specifically running virtual machines in VMware vSphere 5. Right now I’m thinking of running Windows Server 2008 R2 and migrating my physical Ubuntu box, which runs my FOG server, to vSphere 5. I’ve already downloaded vSphere 5 along with VMware Converter Standalone which I’ll need for the P2V migration.

I’ll come up with a post on upgrading the server once the RAM and hard drive is here.

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UPDATE: Just got an email from HP accepting my cash back claim. The cheque should arrive within 45 days.

Faulty Graphics Card and HP Printer

Today’s job at hand was my cousin’s Dell Inspiron 530S which had no display on the monitor and his printer, a HP PhotoSmart C4480, which was not printing anything.

The screen was completely blank after turning on the PC, not even the BIOS screen came up. To cut the story short the culprit was the faulty graphics card with the fan not spinning. A good clean and even oiling the fans couldn’t revive it.

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I gave the inside a pretty thorough clean as i always do every time I open up any PC, especially the CPU fan.

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Once reverted to the on-board video the PC kept rebooting in an endless loop at the Vista boot screen which was easily fixed by restoring Vista to an earlier restore point. I had to use my SARDU multiboot repair DVD for that as I wasn’t given the Vista install DVD with the PC. (I mentioned SARDU in a post very briefly a long time back).

Once booted into Vista I tested the printer and sure enough it was feeding the paper through but wasn’t actually printing anything. I headed over to the HP support website and installed an updated firmware as well as a number of critical updates which solved the problem. (I have no idea if it was the firmware or which one of these updates it was that fixed the issue tbh)

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So there you have it. Another happy cousin :)

Upgrading Dell Optiplex GX260

A quick post about upgrading my brother’s (ancient) Dell machine. A quick rundown of what I done:

  • Backed up all the drivers using DoubleDriver
  • Used nLite to slipstream the drivers and build a cut down version of an Unattended Windows XP installation CD
  • Upgraded the CD-ROM with a DVD-RW drive
  • Also swapped the 40GB hard disk with a spare 80GB
  • Installed windows XP using the Unattended XP install CD
  • Registered the Dell with my FOG server and uploaded an image of the hard drive (for future disaster recovery purposes)

 

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I forgot about taking pictures until after the job was done so this is the only one i took.

Why I never throw things out

I have a habit of holding on to old hardware and spare computer parts with the belief they’ll come handy one of these days. This habit has given birth to my “Techie Box”, which has grown over the years to include a bunch of cables and extension leads and various adapters, couplers and gender changers as well as HDD’s, RAMs, a spare mouse and keyboard and much more.

I will admit the box is a bit untidy, but junk it is definitely not. These are much valued items, even more so lately since I revived two computers using contents from this box – my cousin’s Packard Bell with faulty onboard video and my Aunt’s HP with a dead PSU.

With a spare nVidia GForce graphics card from an old PC, my cousin’s Packard Bell was easy enough to fix. My cousin, I should add, has kindly let me have it since it’s been sitting in his loft for some time.

With no multimeter or PSU tester to hand however, my tech buddy Google came up with the following YouTube video to work out if my Aunt’s PSU was indeed dead.

You basically bend a paper clip into a ‘U’ shape, find the green wire on the P1 connector and insert one end of the paper clip into the green pin and the other end into the black pin next to it. You then plug the PSU to a power socket and connect something up to one of the molex connectors – I connected a spare hard drive. If it powers up you got a working PSU. If not, its a dead one . Simple!

I found my spare PSU to be a live one using this same little trick, but it had a 20-pin ATX connector as compared to 24-pin on my Aunt’s PSU. Fortunately I had a spare 20-pin to 24-pin PSU adapter, along with an IDE to SATA adapter to power up the Sata hard drive.

I gave the PSU a thorough clean, opening it up to get to all the dust that had settled on it for years.

Cleaning PSU

Often referred to as junk by others, this post is a reminder why I should never throw these out – they really do come handy!