G Series GX Models: Calibrating the Printer

Article ID: 90255897



Topic or Information

GX Series Printer Calibration

Applies To

GX-Series Printers


This information is useful for resolving issues such as: 

  • Feed Button Red Light Flashing
  • 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 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 Read More>>
    -Loading for Cutter Read More>>
    -Loading for Peel Mode Read More>>  

    - Ribbon Loading
  • Verify the correct setting is configured for the media type Read More>>
    - 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
  • Perform Calibration
  • Try Defaulting the printer  Read More>>
    Default settings are non-continuous web so you'll have to reconfigure if using black mark media. 
  • If the problem persist a Media Sensor Profile can be sent to Tech Support for analysis Read More>>

    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

  • Check Media Loading and assure the guides are keeping the media aligned  
    - Loading for Tear Off Read More>>
    -Loading for Cutter Read More>>
    -Loading for Peel Mode
  • Verify the printer is set to the correct Media Type. If set to Continuous the printer will not track Top-of-Form. Read More>>
  • Verify the labels are compatible with the media specifications Read More>>
  • Press the FEED Button. If one label feed each time pressed, check your label format or Driver/Software for the source of the problem.
  • Try Defaulting and verify printer has calibrated correctly Read More>>
  • Perform Manual Calibration
  • If the problem persist a Media Sensor Profile can be sent to Tech Support for analysis Read More>>




Additional Information

A note regarding 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) 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 GX420D 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, Cutter, Peel  – Default is Tear off  

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


User-added image Click here to view video -> Media Loading Video


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


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/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 GX Series Printer Sensors. Read More>>

See the GX Series optional adjustable black mark sensor. Read More>>  
Note: When using Gap Media the moveable sensor must be postitioned with the saw tooth indicators aligned as shown in this picture. 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>>


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 sequence) Read More>>

- 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 sequence) Read More>>


Note: The team Media = 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 Read More>>

+ Product Codes

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