2824 Plus Series -- Resolving Print Quality Issues

Article ID: 81638376




  • Light print or faded image
  • Partially missing print or cut off
  • Broken bars or lines in a barcode
  • Poor or low barcode ANSI grade
  • White lines in the print
  • No print on the labels

Applies To:

2824 Plus Printers


A note on printer applications

The printer can be configured using any number of applications, utilities, or using a Zebra Printer driver. If there are changes that are needed to the printer settings determine your application's method used to alter these settings. For example, if you need to increase/decrease the darkness setting you will need to determine if this is done in your driver, or application or in both. Zebra provides utilities for printer setup (see Helpful Information below) but once you establish your application driver/software or program you will need to determine the methods used for modification of the printer settings. 

Media - Print quality is a product of proper printer setup and use of compatible media for the application. When ribbon is used for Thermal Transfer printing it must be compatible with the labels to ensure the printer meets the requirements the user is expecting. Proper matching of the labels/ribbon also assures the pressure and darkness settings don’t have to be at the extremes to print acceptably. Direct Thermal (no ribbon) labels must be approved for thermal printing applications since it does come in direct contact with the printhead.

Optimizing Print Quality - Printer setup for proper print quality includes properly adjusting the darkness level for the print speed you wish to use in your application. Test your application using the text and barcodes you plan to use for your label printing needs. Media and Ribbon (if used) must be properly matched for your application.  In addition, regular maintenance assures the printer is operating at an optimal level. 

Important: All printer settings can be impacted by commands from a mis-matched or misconfigured driver or software application. A printer that is functioning fine after setup but fails or indicates an error after label requests are received are most likely affected by the host side misconfiguration of the driver or printer software settings. The host device that generates the printer commands for printing typically have setup configuration that send these as commands to the printer. Make sure all settings match the printer settings to avoid intermittent issues.

Problems and Resolutions





Print is faded or too light when printing self test

Note: if the problem occurs after printing from your application, verify your driver/software configuration

Note: If there is a flood coating or preprint on the label surface where the print issue is occurring check with your supplier for corrective action.

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  • Clean the Printhead. Contamination can cover the elements preventing heat transfer. Read More>>
  • Try increasing the Burn Temp  Read More>>
  • The media must be matched for the (ribbon if used- TLP2824 Plus Only) and if no ribbon is used verify the quality of the Direct Thermal stock. Check with your media supplier if you have tried all suggestions without success.
  • Lower the print speed Read More>>
  • Verify the ribbon is not slipping due to improper loading. Look at the spent ribbon and observe the image is a negative of the printed image on the label. If it is shorter or compressed see if the ribbon is sticking or if the ribbon core is not properly loaded on the spindle. 
  • Make sure you have the correct power supply for your printer. Look at the label on the power supply and verify the following:


For the 2824 Plus printers - Auto-detectable (PFC Compliant) 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz, Output: 20 VDC, 2.5A




Print is faded or too light on the left of right side.

What is left or right? Read More>>

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  • The printhead latch may not be closing properly. Verify both sides latch correctly. 
  • Check the platen roller for wear. 

 Barcode ANSI grade is low or won't scan

Note: It is common to have the darkness set too high and cause bar spreading. This may look visually better but it causes the spaces to be reduced lowering the barcode grade.


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  • Darkness is too high or low. Try changing the darkness on the LCD Display. Also check the driver or application darkness settings. Read More>>
  • Verify your quiet zone is 10x the narrow bar width. Barcodes too close to the edge may not scan
  • Check for printhead element problems printing the Pause test. Missing elements can create problems with the bars in the barcode. Print a configuration label (One Flash Feed Button) and look at the box around the text. It should be a solid line with no white stripes in the direction of travel.  Button Flash Read More>>


 The print is smearing or rubbing off

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  • Media and ribbon mismatch - The ribbon ink will rub off the label if it is not matched for the media. Verify your ribbon and media are properly matched for your application. (TLP2824 Plus Only)
 The ribbon is wrinkling

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TLP 2824 Plus Only

If the ribbon is wrinkling

  • Verify the printer ribbon is properly loaded Read More>>
  • Verify the media guides are properly adjusted to prevent horizontal wandering.
  • Assure the printhead is properly latched on both sides




 White lines in the print

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  •  Try cleaning the printhead elements. Build-up can cause lines in the print. Aggressive cleaing with cleaning film is sometimes needed if there is baked on residue that fails to be removed by swabs.  Read More>>

  • The printhead element(s) may have failed and the printer requires service.

 Image is cut off on the right 

What is left or right? Read More>>


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  • Verify the PRINT WIDTH is set correctly in the Driver or application. 
  • If using ribbon assure the ribbon is the wider than the labels.
  • Verify there is no debris or a label stuck to the printhead covering the print elements.


Helpful Information

Utilities and Drivers

Application or Utility Comment
Zebra Setup Utility Read More>>                                             This is a free Windows based utility that features a printer setup wizard for simple printer or network setup.  
ZebraNet Bridge  Read More>>                                  This is an enterprise application for network printer management but is free to use for configuring a network or locally connected printer
ZebraNet Print Server Webpage Read More>>                                The ZebraNet Print Server has a Webpage that is accessed from a browser when you enter the printer's IP Address. Printer configurations can be viewed and altered.
ZebraDesigner Driver Read More>>                                                                  If you are using the ZebraDesigner Driver there is a Printing Preferences section that allows you to configure your printer.

+ Product Codes

  • 2824 Plus Series
  • LP 2824 Plus Desktop Printer
  • TLP 2824Plus Desktop Printer