Resurrecting a 'dead' printer

My wife bought an HP C5180 Photosmart printer several years ago. A few months back, it started acting really 'weird'. It claimed all sorts of bogus errors and problems, and I never had any time to look into it. Recently we were cleaning up the house after moving our bedroom upstairs, and I ran across it. I plugged it in, thinking perhaps time had healed all wounds.

I was wrong.

The printer was now in an endless loop of reboots. Not wanting to give up on it quite yet, I looked online for the symptom. "Blown capacitor," several articles said. Intrigued by the opportunity to tear it apart, I grabbed my Torx set and pulled it to pieces. Sure enough, there was a 330uF 10V capacitor with bulges on top and bottom. I honestly didn't think it would be so obvious, but there it was.

Blown Capacitor

The closest component I had was a 470uF 16V capacitor, and since I figured I couldn't break it anymore than it already was, I swapped it out. A solder sucker would have been pretty good to have here, but I had to make do with some braid and some tweezers. I also noticed a whole lot of heat was required, maybe due to lead-free solder being used?

Viola! The printer sprang to life. My wife may have actually been impressed; hard to say. Total cost to repair? $0 and 30 minutes of my time. Downside? The printer refuses to print with 'expired' ink, and the replacement cartridges cost $50. You can buy a brand new Photosmart printer for $100.

As a comparison, our HP LaserJet 4L -- manufactured in 1993 -- is still working like it's brand new.

I bought it on eBay for $30, 10 years ago.

Postscript

If you're going to try this repair yourself, remove the plastic panel on the side of the printer next to the power, ethernet, and USB jacks. There is a Torx screw in the back, and one accessible by lifting the printer lid. You can get access to the control board by removing the half-dozen or so Torx screws that hold it in place.