Question about Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

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Bad print heads

It seems my fargo dtc550 ID card printer print head is giving me a line down the center..they keep saying my print head is going bad...but after 3 months? we are cleaning it everytime we change the ribbon what could be the problem.
note: my eltron ID printer lasted 3 years without change

Posted by jackcali on

  • Anonymous Mar 13, 2014

    I was printing an ID card and after printing it got stuck before it ejected. It became hot and very soft when I pulled it out through the front



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If you are cleaning the printer, the problem is contamination, either cheap cards that have debris left from manufacture on them. Or they are getting contaminated from where you are storing them. Keep your unprinted cards covered and away from dirt, try to handle them as little as possible. Check out or for better cards and cheaper printheads. A SSP card will have less roughness, debris from manufacture and will be shrink wrapped in packs of 100 to prevent contamination.

Posted on Aug 15, 2011


Bob Wenker

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This is a continuing problem we have with our Fargo DTC550 printer. If you remove the printhead from the printer and look at the underside you will see a nick on the head in the same area you are getting a line on your card. Fargo claims we damaged the head due to not keeping the printer clean even though we clean at every ribbon change. I believe that the damage happens when a plastic debris (from the plastic card) gets between the card and the head. You must check your card stock to make sure there is no plastic debris on them. Bottom line, you have to replace the head and at the time it costs $700 per head.

Posted on May 05, 2008


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1 Answer

Printer head error

Try updating, or reloading, the printers firmware using the "Fargo Workbench application. it can be found (along with the firmware file) in the "Downloads and Drivers" section, in the Support tab on

Print head errors come in a few ways. Some common issues i see are:

"Print head voltage error"
1. The wire harness, from head to pcb, is loose or damaged.
2. Print head is Damaged and needs replacement. Usually you will see dull lines going straight across your final prints, consistently.

"Head life error"
This error is primarily a mechanical failure. the belts that drive the head life motor have worn, and need replacement.

Apr 24, 2014 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

1 Answer

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Try the printer maintenance to clear theprinter nozzles.
After several deep cleaning attempts and there is no improvements in the printthen a new print head is required.
A new print head maybe expensive and it maybe more cost effective to purchase anew printer.

May 09, 2012 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

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I am using fargo direct to card 550 printing machine.In that error displays "HEAD LIFT ERROR". sir how can i solve this problem and also have lots of noise is coming from the printer..please...

In this problem , first check the front side head lift gear and gear belt.
solution : Gear or gear belt may be broken.


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1 Answer

Edge to edge print problem

The Fargo DTC550 will not be able to print an "over the edge" card. Any Direct To Card printers will have a white line on the edges. There are several printers that are able to print covering the entire card, those printers are called Reverse Transfer or Fargo's High Definition Printers. One printer that I do recommend is the Fargo HDP5000, you can read more about it at:

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You might go to the print driver settings to change the way the printer prints the card. This can be found in the printing preferences. Go to the device options tab and choose "rotate front 180 degrees". Then print a card. This may fix the problem.

If not, try downloading the latest print driver from

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Since the printer prints the test page from the driver, most likely the problem is with your Cardfive software. To test this, try printing a card on the printer from Microsoft Word or Notepad. Just remember to set your page size or you will get multiple cards printed. The Fargo printer is just a windows printer and may receive output from any windows software.

Aug 02, 2008 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

1 Answer


If you have a solid white line running the entire length of the card (think landscape style) you probably have a bad print head. I always tell people if you could place a ruler along the line and it is perfectly straight along the ruler, then that is a classic example of a bad print head. Check the MFG warranty for replacement or purchase.

May 17, 2008 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

2 Answers


The is usually resolved by replacing the head lift motor or sensor.

Dec 17, 2007 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

3 Answers

Fargo DTC550

My printer is Fargo DTC550 and I'm using HID 1326 card for printing. I cannot get this equipment to function correctly. I had no
problems installing the software and hooking up the printer to make the ID
cards, but all attempts to print an ID card have failed. Every card I have
tried to make has been unsatisfactory, with colours not printing, very poor
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single card I have tried to make.
Sir, please help me.

Nov 26, 2007 | Fargo DTC550 Thermal Card Printer

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