I'm getting white lines on the front end of each printed label and I'm wondering if the printhead is going bad.
I can crank up the heat settings and it helps for awhile but then it starts again.
Can the printhead be changed easily or does a technician have to be used?
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Thermal printheads - white lines - - move your image!
I've been a printer engineer for many years now, before that i worked designing label formats and operating thermal transfer printers that produced over 2,500,000 labels daily. During my time operating thermal transfer printers I discovered that sometimes you can have a printhead that blows 1 pixel out, and no more will blow for 3 - 6 months! As sod's - law would have it, the blown pixel would be through a barcode or image, making the printer unuseable until the expensive (usually 300.00 - 1500.00 pounds) printhead has been changed. If you have many vertical white lines through your labels or tags, this might not work. Most makes of Thermal printers that have an LCD display will have margin settings and/ or image movement settings that you can change through the operator panel, you will have to consult your user manual. Simply move the image across the page until the white line caused by the blown printhead is in an unprinted area or sufficiently hidden between characters! In addition to this, if you are using software such as bartender, label matrix or similar, you should be able to edit the label image or label format on your Pc, and manipulate your label format in a matter of seconds, again moving or changing your data fields in a way that hides the offending white line between characters or in an unprinted area. I know this will not always work, but its worth a go as you could extend the life of your print head by upto 6 months.
1. The printhead in your printer might be scratched (evidenced by thin white streaks through your print). This is common, and the most likely cause. Printhead must be replaced. 2. Material might be stuck on your printhead (usually evidenced by wide white streak vertically through print). Printing surface of printhead can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and cotton ball. 3. The ribbon might be wrinkling due to uneven tension, producing intermittent diagonal streaks in your print. This is somewhat common, but doesn't fit your description as well as 1 & 2 above. Mechanical adjustment and/or proper media loading solves ribbon wrinkles. 4. Poor pressure and/or printhead alignment. Evidenced by grainy, light or no print on one side or the other of the media. This is somewhat common, but doesn't fit your description as well as 1 & 2 above. Mechanical adjustment solves printhead pressure and alignment issues.
Printing the "PAUSE" test will print a nice black box that will show white lines or voids for any printhead elements that are not functioning. Turn the printer off, press and hold the PAUSE key while turning on the printer. After 5-6 seconds, let go of PAUSE and let the power up self test finish.
The test label will starting printing. To stop, press PAUSE. This is also usefull for seeing the "parallelism" of the printhead by looking at the lines that print at the begining of each label. Should be the same number of lines on the left as the on the right.
Easiest way to cancel the pattern is to cycle power.
The lines(voids) are being caused by elements that are worn off the printhead. No energy is getting there to release the ribbon, causing a void area. To see the full extent, just create a label, using your widest label, that prints a thick black line. You will easily see the "void" areas as white lines.
This is common over time due to the constant contact with the ribbon. The elements wear down just like the tires on a car from the constant contact with the road.
The only way to correct is to install a new printhead.
Sounds like there are some elements worn off of the printhead causing some of the bars to not be printed. To test, create a label that prints a thick black line or solid black box across the width of the label (assuming a 4" label). Any vertical white lines that show indicate elements that are not functioning.
You could also put one label above the other, lining up the barcodes and you'll probably see bars that are missing from the label that won's scan.
The only ways to correct the problem are to install a new printhead or move the barcode field on the label so that the missing elements fall in the spaces between the bars.
Try cleaning the printhead, then print the zebra test print. (see user manual) or just print a solid black box 4" wide by 1" long. If you have white vertical lines through it you may need a new printhead.
If print test is good try increasing the heat/darkness setting
The problem is that the printhead is damaged and will have to be replaced. Assuming there are no other letters in the TLP2844 model number you gave then the part number for the printhead is G105910-053 and will cost around $100. Hope that helps.
Clean your platen roller. It's the white rubber roller (that turns and pulls your labels through your printer) located under your printhead. When this gets slick it causes your labels to slip while printing. You should use rubbing alcohol to clean it. Your computer guys may also have some cleaning wipes in a foil packet that you can use.
Question, when the printer prints is there an image of the data on the ribbon when it spools onto the ribbon takeup spool? If so, the ribbon may be installed backwards. I'm sure you know what you are doing but one must check even the smallest detail when trying to solve these strange problems. If the ribbon is installed correctly and there is no image of the data on the ribbon you may be dealing with a bad printhead and the printhead needs to be replaced.