Replaced non-Zebra printer with a Zebra card printer - not encoding in the encoding station

Replaced non-Zebra printer with a Zebra card printer - not encoding in the encoding station

Article ID: 68568133




Symptoms addressed by this solution include

  • Encoder does not encode the card
  • Encoding error, Read/Write errors

Applies To

This solution is useful for

  • All mag encoder equipped printer models except P620 and P640
  • Magnetic encoding


Cause or Overview

I replaced my previous non-Zebra printer with a Zebra card printer, but the printer is not making encoding passes through the encoding station.


Encoding with Zebra Card Printers.

Other card printers (non-Zebra) may require that the magnetic encoding Start and Stop sentinels be included with the encoding data string. Zebra printers automatically include these sentinels when doing standard ISO encoding. Adding of the sentinels to the encoding data string will produce a command error in the printer, so these characters should not be included in the encoding data on any Zebra card printer:

Some errors you may receive when adding start and stop characters include:

  • Parameters error on Windows screen.
  • Encoding error on LCD or LED.
  • Writing error on LCD.


You may want to try direct encoding from the driver Tools under the Device Settings tab. This is a quick way to find out if the encoder is functional. You can enter in a sample data string and send it to the encoder. Remember that Track 1 is for upper case alpha and numberic characters only. Tracks 2 and 3 are for numberic only. If the encoder is working correctly, the card should go through the encoding process once, then return to the "ready to print" position.

You may read the data that you've encoded in the same screen where you will see either "Direct command for printer" or "Command to send to printer". To read the encoded data simply type in &Lx where 'x' represents the track that you've encoded and want to read. The encoded data should be read and will display on the driver screen (this is true only for i-series printers).

Note: If you have tried all these steps and you still cannot encode, please contact Zebra Card Technical Support for further assistance.

Helpful information

Contact Zebra Technical Support  Read More>>

+ Product Codes

  • P100i
  • P110i
  • P120i
  • P330i Card Printer
  • P430i Card Printer
  • Value Class Card Printer