Suggestions for Resolving Tabletop Printer Colored Ribbon Issues

Article ID: 15523229



Topic or Information

Suggestions for successful color ribbon usage in a Zebra Table Top Printer

Applies To

Xi-Series Printers
105SL Printers


Zebra Tabletop printers may experience Ribbon Out errors when used with colored ribbon. Some colors like dark purple or dark blue may work fine however, a red, green, or yellow ribbon is almost transparent to the printer's ribbon sensor.

There are two possible solutions. 

  • The first solution is to adjust the LCD Display RIBBON LED and/or RIBBON GAIN and try to get the sensor to detect the ribbon. This is a trial and error exercise since the only visual item you have to look at is the sensor profile that shows the ribbon levels. You would have to observe changes to bring the top of the printed ribbon value (solid printed area) on the profile as close to the RIBBON S level setting. More often than not there is a very small change in value when ribbon is installed and removed so this method becomes unreliable. 

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  • The second solution would be to cover the ribbon reflector plate with a piece of black electrical tape or black ribbon. If using this method use Zebra Brand ribbons as they have chrome trailers that will provide the reflective surface for the ribbon detection.  Note:Ribbon Out detection will fail if the ribbon were to break before the end of the roll. If using a non-Zebra ribbon that does not have the reflective strip at the end when the printer runs out of ribbon the printer will not detect a Ribbon Out Error.  
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If all else fails you can also set the printer to Direct Thermal and ignore the “Ribbon In” warning message that will appear. The printer will not detect the end of ribbon and you will also have to reduce your darkness setting since in this mode the energy to the printhead is increased.


+ Product Codes

  • 105SLPlus Industrial Printers
  • 105SLPlus Industrial Printers
  • 110Xi4 Industrial Printer
  • 140Xi4 Industrial Printer
  • 170Xi4 Industrial Printer
  • 220Xi4 Industrial Printer
  • PAX Print Engines
  • Xi Series Industrial Printers