Issue / Question
• Print request always results in a blank label
• No print or image on the labels
• The printer looks like it is printing but the labels are blank#
ZM or ZT Series Printers that fail to print or produce an image as expected
ZM400, ZM600, RZ400, RZ600, ZT410, ZT420, ZT410R, and ZT420R
Resolution / Answer
Note: This solution does not apply if the printer is producing an image on some of the labels.
- If this is the case, assure the printer is properly calibrated or verify your label size in your application or driver are set correctly.
Overview or Cause
The printer uses heating elements to heat ribbon (if used) for ink transfer or heat a direct thermal label to produce an image.
A failure to produce an image can be a result of the following:
- The printhead has debris or a stuck label preventing heat transfer
- The Darkness or Burn Temperature is too low
- The wrong media is used in a Direct Thermal application (non-ribbon)
- The media and ribbon are not properly matched (if using ribbon)
- The ribbon is inked on the wrong side (if using ribbon)
- The label format is printing off the label
Common issues and Resolutions
| Prints labels but then skips or issues blanks
||See the Calibration Solution ZM Series Calibration Issues and Details (With Video)
|No print on the labels
|| Using Ribbon (Thermal Transfer)
Not using Ribbon (Direct Thermal) Application
- Verify the labels are Direct Thermal by rubbing your nail across the label See a video>> The labels must have a heat sensitive coating to produce an image.
For all applications
- Clean the printhead assuring there is nothing stuck to or blocking the heating elements Read More>>
- Try increasing the Darkness from the LCD Display (Not ZT220). Setting the Darkness on a ZM Series, RZ, or ZT200 Series Printer
If selftest labels print but when printing from the application the problem reoccurs check the driver/software configurations.
- Print a Pause Test label. Read More>> If the printer prints the selftest labels verify your application and/or driver is properly configured for both the darkness and label size being used.
- Default the printer and allow the printer to recalibrate
Defaulting the ZM Printer Read More>>
Defaulting the ZT Printer Read More>>
Media and Ribbon
Zebra recommends the use of Zebra media and ribbon but it is not a requirement.
Thermal Transfer applications ribbon and media should be properly matched to allow acceptable print quality in the application without having to use excessive burn temperature and printhead pressure. In addition, the durability of the label image is impacted by the media and ribbon combination.
Check with your supplier to assure your media and ribbons are properly matched.
Direct Thermal application that do not use ribbon, require labels with a heat sensitive coating. Use only quality media that has been approved for Direct Thermal printing since these labels come in direct contact with the printhead. Improper media or the composition of flood coats can quickly damage a printhead requiring expensive replacement.
The printer can produce test labels that will verify the printer is functional or provide printed copies of the printer settings. Read More>>
You can print these labels independent of your label application and driver helping to determine if the printer or application are the cause of the issue.
Print head cleaning Read More>> When cleaning make sure there is nothing blocking the printhead heating elements.
Labels have been known to peel off and become stuck to the printhead.
How It Works
The printer uses a printhead that contains a row of small print elements that are heated as the labels (media) and ribbon (if used) pass the print line.
When using ribbon (Thermal Transfer) the heated elements cause the ribbon ink to melt and transfer to the label surface.
When ribbon is not used (Direct Thermal) heat sensitive labels are required and produce an image when heated.