G Series GK Models: Calibrating the Printer

G Series GK Models: Calibrating the Printer

Article ID: 11996512



Topic or Information

GK-Series Media Calibration

Applies To

GK420T and GK420D


CALIBRATION: Ensures correct and consistent positioning of the print on the label and the label in the printer.

Symptoms addressed by this Solution include: 

  • Prints, then skips a label or is skipping labels
  • Print is overlapping onto next label
  • Print position is drifting up and down on the labels
  • Labels stop printing in random locations
  • Prints labels then the light starts to flash

Calibrate the printer for the media.

The printer does not measure the label length unless the default Power Up or Head Close values are altered to either Length or Calibrate. There are two calibration methods to consider if the labels fail to calibrate properly.

- The 2 Flash Feed Button  sequence will find the label gap and measure the label.

Performing the Calibration Procedure (Two Flash sequence) Read More>>

- The 7  Flash Feed Button will perform a deeper analysis of the gap or mark and will produce a media sensor profile.   

Performing the Manual Calibration Procedure (Seven Flash sequence) Read More>>


Additional Information

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.

Media Related Settings and Calibration 

A note regarding printer setup and configuration 

The GK-Series printer can be configured by your driver, host application, or a utility. In these examples we will use the Zebra Designer Driver to configure the printer. (The configurations are sent when printing using the driver or printing the driver test page) If you are using a non-Zebra application/driver/label software determine the methods used to set these configurations and be aware the terminology for each setting in your environment may be different. 

1. Understanding your media

The Zebra Printer supports the use of many types and shapes of label/tags and knowing your media detail is important for proper configuration.

Here are the details you should know for printer media setup and configuration. For our examples we are using the ZebraDesigner Driver to show the configuration selections for each topic discussed below.  Note: When using the ZebraDesigner Driver the configurations are sent to the printer when you request to print a label. (i.e. printing the Windows Test page will send the printer configurations)

Media Related Configurations

>Media Type (Tracking Mode) - Selections - Continuous, Web Sensing (gap), and Mark Sensing (Black Mark). Default is Web Sensing 

ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences - Advanced Setup - Tracking Mode) Read More>>

If you are using media with an inter-label gap or a center hole set the Tracking Mode for Web Sensing.
If you are using media with a black bar or mark set the Tracking Mode for Mark Sensing.

Helpful Info - Media identification details Read More>>

>Print Method (Media Type) - Selections - Thermal Transfer (Using Ribbon) or Direct Thermal (No Ribbon) – Default - Thermal Transfer

Note: Print Method does not apply if your printer is a GK420D Direct Thermal only. There are no ribbon spindles or settings. 

ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences - Advanced Setup - Media Type)   Read More>>

>Print Mode - Selections-  Tear off, Peel (Dispense)  – Default is Tear off  

This is related to the label presentation after printing and limited to the options you have installed. The GK Series Printer  supports Tear Off, and Peel (Dispense Option Required)  Read More>>

ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences - Advanced Setup - Operation Mode)   Read More>>

>Media Loading - The media must be properly loaded for the Print Mode you intend to use.


2Understanding the Media Sensors

The printer comes with sensors for label tracking based on the Media Type used. There is a reflective and transmissive sensor positioned slightly off centered in the media path. The sensor you will use requires configuration of the Tracking Mode (Mark/Web/Continuous) setting to function with the media you are using. A hole or black mark must pass over the media sensor's position to function correctly.

See the GK Series Printer Sensors. Read More>>


3. Media Feed Power up action

The first time you load media you should run the 2 flash calibration procedure described in step 4. The Media Feed setting then determines how the media is handled when the printer is powered on or when the printhead is opened and closed.

The printer defaults to feed one label after power up or when the printhead is opened and closed. This is intended to position an already calibrated label to its resting position to be ready for printing. This can be altered using the Media Feed setting to one of the following:

  • Calibrate 
  • Feed (Default)
  • Length
  • No Motion
  • Short Cal

If you wish to alter the default setting you can create a file using the ^MF command to change the values. If you don't want to alter the printer defaults you can use the two flash calibration each time you change label lengths See Calibration below.  

Setting the Media Feed (Power Up Action) on the printer requires sending the ^MF command to alter the Power Up Head Open value. Sending a file using the ZebraDesigner Tools feature. Read More>>

^MF (Media Feed command) Read More>>

Example of a ZPL Media Feed Command to Measure the Label Length when the head is closed.

^XA^MFN,L^XZ (Power Up = no motion, Head Close = Measure the length)
^XA^JUS^XZ (Saves the value)

For recommendations on these selections Read More>>




+ Product Codes

  • G-Series GK Desktop Printers
  • GK420 Healthcare Desktop Printers
  • GK420d Desktop Printer
  • GK420d Healthcare Desktop Printer
  • GK420t Desktop Printer
  • GK420t Healthcare Desktop Printer