Using Color Ribbons on an S4M Printer

Article ID: 33916281



Topic or Information

Using color ribbons in an S4M Printer 

Using blue, yellow, red, green ribbon 

Applies To

S4M Printer


Color ribbons such as red, green, blue as well as other colors tend to be more transparent then black ribbons. As a result the ribbon sensors in the printer can have a difficult time sensing that the ribbon is present. In normal operation the printer should be able to recognize both conditions:

  • Ribbon Out
  • Ribbon In

Trying to manually adjust ribbon sensor levels through the LCD does not always produce consistent reliable detection from one printer to the next when using color ribbons.

This procedure is meant to provide an alternative method that is reliable in detecting the conditions mentioned above when using non-black ribbons.

This procedure will only work if the roll of ribbon being used has a silver reflective trailer at the end of the roll. Read More>> The silver trailer is used to detect the ribbon out condition. Most rolls of colored ribbon have a silver trailer at the end of the roll.


1.) Turn the printer power off. 
2.) Open the printhead 
3.) Remove the ribbon completely from the printer. 
4.) Place a small piece of electrical tape on the ribbon sensor reflective surface.
 Note: Be sure that the tape is placed so that it is positioned over the ribbon sensor and not the printhead open sensor. There should be a small area exposed on the inboard side of the reflective plate for the head open sensor to use for reflecting its light. See the sensor diagram below

User-added image


Here is a close up of the sensors viewed from the front of the printer.

User-added image

5.) Remove several labels from the liner and place liner only under the printhead mech.

User-added image

6.) Close the printhead. 
7.) Turn the printer power On 
8.) Press MENU, advance to ADVANCED SETUP 3, enter password 9999, then advance to MEDIA AND RIBBON CALIBRATE 
9.) Press ENTER button. 
10.) Display now shows LOAD BACKING, REMOVE RIBBON. (liner already loaded, ribbon is already out, go to next step) 
11.) Press ENTER button. 
12.) Display shows CALIBRATING PLEASE WAIT, then switches to RELOAD ALL. 
13.) Open the printhead 
14.) Load the ribbon and load labels so that blank liner is now hanging out the front of the printer. 
15.) Close the printhead.  
16.) Display still shows RELOAD ALL 
17.) Press Enter button. 
18.) Display shows CALIBRATING PLEASE WAIT and it also feeds labels. Allow it to feed labels until they stop and the display is back at MEDIA/RIBBON CALIBRATE. 
19.) Open the printhead, load the colored ribbon, close the printhead and take the printer out of pause state by hitting the PAUSE button. The printer will feed few labels and calibrate and finish with display reading PRINTER READY. 
When the roll of ribbon runs out by reaching the silver trailer the printer should trigger a RIBBON OUT error.


User-added image


+ Product Codes

  • S4M
  • S4M Series