Zhono Video Shows How to Downgrade HP CF500 Firmware


Third-party chip supplier Zhono Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. has put up a video on YouTube showing how to downgrade the firmware version for laser printers that use CF500-series toner cartridges.

The toner cartridges that are the subject of the video are as follows:

  • Models using the standard-yield HP 202A (CF500A, CF501A, CF503A, and CF502A) toner cartridges, the HP 202X (CF500X, CF501X, CF502X, and CF503X) toner cartridges, the HP 203A (CF540A, CF541A, CF542A, CF543A) toner cartridges, and the HP 203X (CF540X, CF541X, CF542X, CF543X) toner cartridges. These include models such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw/M254nw, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M280nw, and the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw/M281fdn (see “HP Rolls Out New JetIntelligence Toner Cartridges in New Color LaserJet Pro Models”). The HP 202A and 202X cartridges are sold worldwide except for Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA); Russia; and the CIS region. The HP 203A and 203X cartridges are designated for EMEA, Russia, and the CIS region.
  • Models using the HP 204A series (CF510A, CF511A, CF512A, and CF513A) and 205A series (CF530A, CF531A, CF532A, CF533A) toner cartridges. These are used in the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M154nw/M154am Color LaserJet Pro MFP M180nw/M180n, and Color LaserJet Pro M181fw (see “HP Rolls Out New JetIntelligence Toner Cartridges in New Color LaserJet Pro Models”). The HP 204A series are the cartridges used worldwide except for EMEA, Russia; and the CIS region, while the HP 205A series are used in those regions.

The fast-moving 1 minute and 9-second multi-step video presented by a Zhono engineer named Mark races through the steps. The video is in Chinese but includes written English instructions.

“We received a message from a customer, who asked how to downgrade the firmware version from 20221010 to 20220414 for the M281 printers,” Mark said, according to the subtitled English translation. “The current firmware version of the HP CF500 series printers is 20220414 (cartridge numbers: CF500/510/530/540) which can be downloaded from the HP website.”

The video advises users to perform the following steps:

First go to www.hp.com. Click Support and then choose Software and Drivers. Select Printer as your device and input the corresponding printer model number and click to submit. Next, choose the correct firmware version and then click to download.

To downgrade the firmware version, turn on the Allow Downgrade function on the printer screen and choose Yes. Next, click Setup, then Service, then LaserJet Update, then Next, then Manage Updates, Allow Downgrade, then click Yes, then Allow Updates, then Yes.

Open the firmware package which was downloaded from the HP website and choose the corresponding printer driver.

Click Send Firmware and a progress bar appears. At the same time a Programming progress bar also appears on the printer screen. After about five minutes, a smiley face icon appears which indicates that the firmware version downgrade has been completed.

Many users say downgrading a firmware version can be problematic. It isn’t easy and manufacturers don’t support it. Still, many users who have been surprised by an automatic firmware update want to return to the previous firmware version, especially if the new firmware blocks third-party ink or toner cartridges.

Zhono suggests at the end of its video that to avoid getting reminders from HP for new firmware updates after you have downgraded the firmware version on the printer, click Allow Updates and then click No.

It seems that this cartridge series may be top of mind for Zhono for good reason. In October, the firm announced that its replacement chips were impacted by one of HP’s many firmware updates (see “Zhono Quickly Develops New Chips after HP Firmware Update”). However, Zhono quickly sprang to work and addressed the issue.

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