Video: Calibrating Media on S4M Printer | Zebra

Video: Calibrating Media on S4M Printer

Article ID: 82376764


Understanding the media configurations needed for the S4M Series printer for proper calibration and avoiding media errors includes:
• Understanding printer calibration
• Adjusting the Media Sensors
• Correcting Paper Out Errors
• Correcting image drift problems 
• Labels stopping at random locations
• Labels skipping or occasional blank label
• Labels are not lining up or are not aligned
 S4M Printers

The S4M printer has an LCD Display for printer configuration but can use ZPL commands as well for printer configuration.

These are free utilities or applications that can be used to configure a connected printer

Application or Utility Comment
Zebra Setup Utility Read More>>                                     This is a free Windows based utility that features a printer setup wizard for simple printer or network setup.  
ZebraNet Bridge  Read More>>                             This is a Windows based enterprise application for network printer management but is free to use for configuring a network or locally connected printer
ZebraNet Print Server Webpage Read More>>                             The ZebraNet Print Server has a Webpage that is accessed from a browser when you enter the printer's IP Address. Printer configurations can be viewed and altered.
ZebraDesigner Driver Read More>>                                                                If you are using the ZebraDesigner Driver there is a Printing Preferences section that allows you to configure your printer.

The printer can be used for a variety of media and verifying the media related settings is required when any problems are encountered.

By default the printer will calibrate and function correctly with the most commonly used standard gap labels. Problems can occur if there are specific setting required to use other types of labels or if the configuration settings are altered by mis-configured driver or label printing applications, or incorrectly altering LCD configuration settings.
This procedure will help understand printer setup and configuration for accurate calibration/registration of your labels.
This includes:
  • Identifying the media being used
  • Correctly configuring the printer for Black Mark, or Gap media
  • Selecting the correct sensors for the media being used
  • Correctly positioning the movable sensor for proper top of form identification
  • Assure the Maximum length is longer that the length of labels being used
  • Assuring the printer is correctly calibrated for the media
  • Troubleshooting suggestions for Paper Out or registration issues
Important: All printer menu 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.
Note: The team Media = Labels, tags, card stock and so on. In summary the supplies you use in the printer


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.

Media Related Configurations

>MEDIA TYPE – Continuous, Gap/Notch, and Black Mark. Default is Gap/Notch  Read More>>  
Helpful Info - Media identification details 

>RIBBON (Print Method) – Ribbon Yes (Thermal Transfer - Using Ribbon) or Direct Thermal (No Ribbon) – Default - Thermal Transfer  Read More>>

>REMOVAL (Print Mode) – Tear off, Cutter, Peel  – Default is Tear off   Read More>>
This is related to the label presentation after printing and limited to the options you have installed.  Read More>> 

>Media Loading - The media must be properly loaded for the Print Mode you intend to use.
2.  Understanding the Media Sensors
The printer comes with two sensors for label tracking based on the Media Type used. 
Selecting the Media Sensor  Read More>>
Reflective Sensor – This is an adjustable position sensor that has a red light to helps you to position for proper sensor placement. It can be viewed when the printhead is opened and the printer is powered on. This sensor is used for sensing label Gaps, Holes, Notches, and Black Mark media. See the Reflective Sensor  Read More>>

Transmissive Sensor - This is a fixed position gap sensor. This is used for media that is not compatible with the Reflective Gap sensor, typically media with dark pre-print. See the Transmissive Sensor  Read More>>
3. Positioning the moveable sensor
The moveable or adjustable position Reflective Sensor must be placed so the top of form can be detected. This can be an inter-label gap, a hole, notch or Black Mark. When using typical labels on a backing with an inter-label gap, the sensor can be positioned along the width of the label as long as it is not over the rounded edge. If using a hole or notch position the sensor's red light directly under the hole or notch so it is seen as the labels feed. Here are more details on positioning the moveable sensor  Read More>>
4. Media Feed Power up action
The printer can be configured to position or calibrate the media after head closure or when powered on. These are configured from your utility/application since there is no LCD Menu Item for this setting.
These configurations are detailed as follows
  • Calibrate (Default)
  • Feed
  • Length
  • No Motion
For recommended on these selections  Read More>>

Setting the Media Feed (Power Up Action) on the S4M printer. - Change the Media Feed Setting using a Utility or create a file containing the ZPL ^MF command.  

> Zebra Setup Utility allows you to configure "Media Feed Options"  Read More>>

> Create a file that has the ^MF command settings and send this to the printer   Read More>>

> Use ZebraNet Bridge to configure the Media Feed Setting  Read More>>

> Use the ZebraNet Print Server Web Page (Calibration Selection) for a network connected printer  Read More>>
5. Maximum Label Length 

Note: You probably don't have to change this from the 39" default so ignore the Maximum Label Length discussion if you have defaulted the printer or are setting the printer up for the first time. If your printer is feeding less than a label length and experiencing a Media Out Error then you may want to see if this setting was incorrectly configured. 

Label Length Max setting. It should be noted that if the printer Maximum Length setting is changed from the default 39” it should be set to a value 1 inch longer than the longest label you intend to use.  For example, on a 203dpi printer using a 6" label, set the Maximum Length value to 7". ( 7x203 = 1421) Here is the ZPL (V58 only)  - ^XA^ML1421^XZ   Read More>

To view the existing MAXIMUM LENGTH  setting on the printer print a configuration label or request a configuration from your host   Read More>>

>Setting the  Label Length Maximum<
LCD Display - MAXIMUM LENGTH (Set to 1" longer than the actual length)
There are no settings in the Zebra SetUp Utility so if required create a ZPL (V58 only) file with the recommended Maximum Label Length- Example: 

^XA^MLxxxxx^XZ (Sets the length in dots)
^XA^JUS^XZ. (Saves the value)
Send the file using your utility or application.

6. Calibrate the printer for the media. - (This step assumes you have not changed the  Media Feed Power Up Action from the default Calibrate setting)

- With media loaded power on the printer

- The printer should complete the power on selftest and begin to feed labels

- The printer should stop feeding labels and be in the printer ready state 

- Press the FEED button several times. A single label should feed and come to the same resting position each time. 

- The printer has been calibrated successfully. 

If the printer fails to feed properly or there is a Media Out indication, perform the Manual Calibration Procedure  Read More>> 

User-added image     Click here to view video -   > Printer Calibration Video
Note: If the printer fails after receiving a label request from your data source then there are likely commands being sent from the host that are overwriting the printer configurations. Check your host driver or application settings and assure they match the printer settings. 
Common Issues and Resolutions
Problem Resolution
Alert Paper Out Error
  • Check Media and Ribbon Loading 
    - Media Loading Read More>>
    - Ribbon Loading Read More>>
  • Verify the LCD Display  MAXIMUM LENGTH is set longer than labels used Read More>>
  • Verify the correct sensor is selected for the Media Type Read More>>
  • Verify the moveable Reflective Sensor is correctly positioned Read More>>
  • Try Defaulting the printer and allow it to run Auto Calibration Read More>>
  • Perform Manual Calibration
  • 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 Read More>>
  • 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>>
  • Check the Reflective Sensor position Read More>>
  • Perform Manual Calibration 
  • If the problem persist a Media Sensor Profile can be sent to Tech Support for analysis  Read More>>



  Helpful Information
Printer Menu Item Descriptions Read More>>

+ Product Codes

  • S4M
  • S4M Series