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Barcode Printer Troubleshooting

Barcode Printer Troubleshooting

Wish you could solve the common problems concerning your barcode printer yourself, without having to call the concerned personnel each time? Well, then this might be all you want! Just keep reading for information on troubleshooting a barcode printer...
Mukulika Mukherjee
A barcode printer is a printer used to print the barcode on products. There are two types of barcode printers, based on the working principle: direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers. While direct thermal printers use a special type of paper that changes color on heating, in a thermal transfer printer, a ribbon made of a resin like substance is heated and this ribbon is rolled over the paper. Thermal transfer printers are more commonly used because the print from these printers is more or less permanent and is not affected by exposure to high temperatures. Read on to know what to do if some problem shows up in your barcode printer.
Troubleshooting for Barcode Printers
You should know how to choose a barcode printer that best suits your purpose, before you decide to get one. Choosing the right printer can go a long way in saving you the trouble of frequent troubleshooting, literally! Barcode printer troubleshooting covers problems that fall under two chief categories, operational problems and print quality related problems. Here we'll discuss problems under both these categories.
Operational Problems
The problems concerning the functioning of the printer are termed as operational problems. Any of these problems can stop the printer from running properly. Given below is a table of operational problems along with their respective causes.
Problem Probable Causes Method of Troubleshooting
No power supply The printer is not connected to the source of power or else, the power cable is damaged. Plug in the printer to the power source. In case the cable is defective, replace it with a new one or get it repaired.
Printer slows down Either you have set the image bands or print speeds incorrectly or the printer has automatically reset itself to the default values. Go to the settings menu and change the settings for image bands and print speeds as required.
Labels do not feed through the printer There's no media loaded in the printer or there has been some problem with loading the labels. Check with the media path and also if labels are loaded correctly. If media is out of stock, load media into the printer.
Printing stops. Flash of LED light. Prolonged use has resulted in overheating of the print head. Stop using the printer for some time and allow it to cool by itself.
Problems concerning the printer media This could be due to various reasons.
  • Sensor type incorrectly set
  • Media type incorrectly set
  • Incorrect position of print head
  • No media in the printer
  • Media incorrectly loaded
Once you have identified the specific error, take steps to troubleshoot accordingly. Always make sure that the position of the print head is downwards. If sensor type is set incorrectly, configure the printer for either label gap or label mark sensor. If media type is incorrectly set, check the settings of the DIP switch.
Problem in printing the test configuration label You have either loaded the media incorrectly or there is some fault with the media itself. Or else, the printer media configuration has been set to 'self-strip'. Set the printer to default configurations and check for errors in the media, if any.
Printer communication problems There's some error in the printer memory settings. Reset the memory settings to restore the default configurations.
Print Quality Problems
The problems concerning the quality of print that you get from the printer, are referred to as print quality problems. Although the printer might be running smoothly, the quality of print you get may not be up to the mark. Have a look at the table below to learn how such problems can be dealt with.
Problem Probable Causes Method of Troubleshooting
Blotches during printing This occurs either due to low quality of ribbons or accumulation of dirt on the print head or the media path. Clean the print head or the media path and always use good quality ribbons.
Print is lighter or darker than required There's error in either the media settings or the darkness control settings. It could also be due to a dirty print head or poor quality printer ribbons. Properly adjust the darkness control settings and/or the media control settings. Always use good quality accessories for your printer for optimum performance.
Improper printing alignment This is due to error in installation of media in the printer. Check if the media is correctly installed. If not, install the media properly.
Labels not stopping for removal, as required. This is due to some error in setting the rest point of the label. Reset the default label rest point from the printer manual.
Poor or very low print quality This could be due to various reasons.
  • Error in media sensitivity settings
  • Error in darkness control setting
  • Dirty print head, media path or platen rollers
  • Very high print speed
  • Low quality of printer ribbon
  • Folds or creases on the printer ribbon
  • Incorrect installation of the printer ribbon
Once you have identified the specific error, take steps to troubleshoot accordingly. If you find errors in any of the settings discussed, reset to default values. For a dirty printhead, media path or rollers, clean them according to the instructions given in the printer instruction manual. Make sure to always use good quality ribbon stock and install them correctly and carefully. Reduce printing speed to recommended levels.
Labels are skipped randomly during printing. Printer shows intermittent error. The length of the label format is far greater than the label length. Go through the format once more and make necessary changes such that it fits into the label length.

To keep your printer in good condition and to ensure that it functions smoothly, it is essential that you take steps for proper maintenance and clean the parts of the printer regularly. So the next time your printer stops functioning, don't panic. Just follow the information on barcode printer troubleshooting given above, and you would be able to fix it in a jiffy!