28xx/38xx Series - Ribbon Loading and Ribbon Errors

28xx/38xx Series - Ribbon Loading and Ribbon Errors

Article ID: 10519708


Important: If you are using an LP2844 printer that is used for or supplied by a shipping vendor (i.e. UPS or FedEx for example) DO NOT try to load standard firmware or drivers from the Zebra Website. These printers are used exclusively with the shipping vendor's driver and label application. Read More>>

Topic or Information

Ribbon loading and Ribbon errors on TLP ( Thermal Transfer ) models. LP (Direct Thermal ) models can not use ribbon.

Applies To

TLP2844, TLP3842


Ribbon is used in Thermal Transfer application to produce labels that are longer lasting and more durable than Direct Thermal labels. It is important that the ribbon you use is properly matched with your labels to meet your printing needs.

Loading Ribbon

Load the ribbon following the diagram that is printed on the inside of the supplies compartment. This will ensure the ribbon sensor detects the presence of ribbon correctly. Improper loading can cause false ribbon out errors and also lead to wrinkling. Read More>>


User-added image Click here to view video -> Loading Ribbon   


 Ribbon Detection

The ribbon sensor is composed of a sensor and a spoked wheel. With ribbon properly installed the wheel turns at a consistent speed based on printing. If there is an interruption or inconsistency to this motion a ribbon error can occur. The notches on the ribbon spool must fit snuggly onto the keys on the left side ribbon holders so the sensor properly detects the ribbon condition. Read More>>



The printer fails to detect Ribbon Out Conditions

  • Assure your printer is set for Thermal Transfer mode (Using ribbon) . The mode can be viewed on the configuration label on the letters printed on the Option line: Read More>>

    View a configuration label Read More>>

    Note: If your printer shows a D under Options it is set to Direct Thermal.
    "d" = Thermal Transfer
    "D" = Direct Thermal
    . Check your driver or application to assure you have selected Thermal Transfer (Using Ribbon).

Example: Configuring your printer from the Zebra Designer Driver settings Read More>>

The printer displays a solid Red Light (Ribbon Out) condition with ribbon loaded. 

  • Verify the ribbon core is fully seated on the supply spindle hub notches. The left side of the ribbon spool should have two notches on it. These notches should mate snuggly with the keyed areas to prevent a solid red light error. Read More>>
  • Remove the ribbon and see if the error is eliminated. You will not see print on the labels but if there is no error there is an issue with the sensing of the ribbon. Either it is not properly loaded or it is not moving consistently. Your printer may require service.
  • If you have removed the ribbon and the error persists there is likely a a media calibration error or the printer door is not properly latching. See the Solid Red light troubleshooting here Read More>>


+ Product Codes

  • TLP 2824