Tip & How-To about Zebra 105SL Thermal Label Printer

How to calibrate the label & ribbon sensors on Zebra printers

One of the most common problems with Zebra Xi, XiII, XiIII, Xi4, and 105S,105Se, 105SL series of printers is sensing or proper advancement of the labels. The printer has two sensors, top and bottom, that must be properly aligned with each other. If you are not sure they are aligned correctly, see my other tip on how to align the media sensors.
The label passes between these two sensors. The idea is that the label blocks the light between the two sensors and the gap between each label does not block the light. So the labels advance based on light, no light, light, no light. Note that the red light you see in the “throat” of the printer when you raise the printhead is not the sensor being discussed here. That red light is a “reflective” or “mark” sensor and is used for a different purpose.
Sometimes the labels are on a backing (liner) that is almost as opaque as the label itself. If this happens, then not enough light passes through the liner when the gap passes under the sensor. The printer loses the ability to find top-of-form. We can recalibrate the printer sensors however to adjust to this new liner. My video at the link below will walk you through step-by-step on how to calibrate the sensitivity of the media sensor. The ribbon sensor is recalibrated at the same time. Once this is done, the printer should now easily advance from label to label. The procedure may have to be performed each time for different thicknesses of liners or backing.
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