G Series GX Models: Calibrating the Printer

Article ID: 90253768

Issue / Question

GX Series Printer Calibration

Applicable To

GX-Series Printers

Resolution / Answer

This information is useful for resolving issues such as: 

  • Feed Button Red Light Flashing
  • Prints then skip a label or are skipping labels
  • Print is overlapping onto the next label
  • Print position is drifting up and down on the labels
  • Labels stop printing in random locations
  • Prints labels then the red light starts to flash

Common Issues and Resolutions

Problem Resolution

Flashing Red Light

  • Check Media and Ribbon (if used) Loading

- Loading for Tear-Off. Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Loading Roll Media for more information. 

-Loading for Cutter. Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Cutter Option for more information. 

-Loading for Peel Mode. Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Label Dispenser Option for more information.   

- Ribbon Loading. Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Loading Transfer Ribbon for more information.    
- Use the MARK Sensor for media with a black bar on the backing.
- Use the GAP/NOTCH (Transmissive) Sensor for gap, notch, or hole media.
NOTE Press the FEED Button after calibrating. If one label feeds each time pressed then the printer is properly calibrated. Verify Software/Driver settings are not changing the calibrated values or printer configurations.
Labels are
skipping or 
the print image is wandering 
  • Press the FEED Button. If one label feeds each time-pressed, check your label format or Driver/Software for the source of the problem.


Additional Information

NOTE Printer Setup and Configuration

The GX-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). Refer to ZebraDesigner Driver Printer Configuration Printing Preferences vs Printing Defaults for more information.  

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.

>Print Method (Media Type) Selections: Thermal Transfer (Using Ribbon) or Direct Thermal (No Ribbon).
Default is Thermal Transfer.

NOTE Print Method does not apply if your printer is a GX420D Direct Thermal only. There are no ribbon spindles or settings. 

ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences > Advanced Setup > Media Type). Refer to ZebraDesigner Driver Printer Configuration Printing Preferences vs Printing Defaults for more information.  

>Print Mode Selections: Tear off, Cutter, Peel.
Default is Tear-off.

This is related to the label presentation after printing and is limited to the options you have installed. The GX Series Printer supports Tear Off, Peel (Dispense Option Required), and Cutter. (Cutter Option Required). Refer to Print Mode Details for more information. 

ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences > Advanced Setup > Operation Mode). Refer to ZebraDesigner Driver Printer Configuration Printing Preferences vs Printing Defaults for more information.  

>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. An optional adjustable black mark sensor is available. The sensor you will use requires configuration of the Tracking Mode (Mark or Web or 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.

Refer to GX Series Printer Sensors for more information.

See the GX Series optional adjustable black mark sensor. Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Moveable Blackline Sensor Option for more information.  

NOTE When using Gap Media the moveable sensor must be positioned with the sawtooth indicators aligned as shown in this picture

3. Media Feed Power up action

The first time you load media you should run the 2-flash calibration procedures 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 calibrations 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. Refer to ZebraDesigner Driver and the Send File Feature for more information. 

^MF (Media Feed command). Refer to Programming Guide for more information.

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, refer to the Media Feed for more information. 

4. 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 sequence will find the label gap and measure the label.

Performing the Calibration Procedure (Two Flash sequences). Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Feed Button Modes for more information.

  • The 7-button flash will perform a deeper analysis of the gap or mark and will produce a media sensor profile. 

Performing the Manual Calibration Procedure (Seven Flash Sequences). Refer to GX420t/GX430t User Guide: Manual Calibration for more information.

NOTE The term Media refers to labels, tags, card stock, and so on. In summary, the supplies you use in the printer. 

See Printer setup details for proper printer configuration settings and explanation of printer-related terminology. Refer to GX Series Initial Printer Setup Details and Information for more information.

Helpful Information:

+ Product Codes

  • G-Series GX Desktop Printers
  • GX420Rx Desktop Printer
  • GX420d Desktop Printer
  • GX420t Desktop Printer
  • GX430d Desktop Printer
  • GX430t Desktop Printer