Zebra Performance Class (P Series) Card Printer Initial Setup Details and Information

Zebra Performance Class (P Series) Card Printer Initial Setup Details and Information

Article ID: 44984623



Zebra Performance Class Card Printer Setup Overview 

P330i and P430i

P330i and P330m User's Guide  Read More>>
P430i User's Guide  Read More>>

The Zebra Performance Class Card Printers can be used in a wide variety of applications using many different media types to suit your printing needs. This flexibility is due to the printer's ability to be configured and adjusted for all the variability an application may introduce. Understanding the printer configurations will enhance your ability to optimize your printer to meet your printing needs and also understand the limitations of the printer.

The printer comes from the factory set for use with 30mil thick cards and uses only Zebra brand ribbon.  Although third party cards may be able to be used in the printer, it is recommended to use Zebra brand cards to ensure optimal print quality.

Important: All printer 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.


Media Related Settings

1. Understanding your media

Zebra Performance Class Card Printers support PVC and PVC Composite cards but can also be used with adhesive backed cards. For optimal printing, it is recommended to use 30mil cards.  Only Zebra ribbon is supported in the printer for printing.  The specs within the link below provide more detail on what the printer will support as far as media is related.

Here are the details you should know for printer media setup and configuration.

Media Related Information

>Card Type – Zebra Performance Class Class Card Printers support many different card types, but it is required to stay within the specs of what the printer can handle to ensure proper operation.  See below for card specifications:

  • Types: PVC, PVC Composite, and Adhesive backed cards
  • Card Width/Length: ISO CR-80-ISO 7810: 2.125" x 3.375" (54mm x 86mm)
  • Card Thickness: 10mil (0.25mm) to 60mil (1.524mm). For optimum performance, use standard 30mil (0.762mm) cards
  • Magnetic Stripe Spec: ISO 7811
  • Smart Card contact and contactless


See printer spec sheet for more details:

P330i/P330m Spec Sheet  Read More>>
P430i Spec Sheet  Read More>>

>Ribbon Information – 

The Performance Class Card Printers are designed to work only with Zebra i Series ribbon.  Below are more specs on the ribbon:

  • i Series Printers require the use of i Series ribbons for full color printing
  • YMCKO: 200 & 330 cards/roll
  • 1/2 Panel YMC Full KO: 450 cards/roll
  • KdO: 500 cards/roll
  • KrO: 500 cards/roll
  • Overlay Varnishes: Clear and Hologram: 350 cards/roll
  • Monochrome: 1500 (Black) & 1000 cards/roll
  • Monochrome Colors: Black, Red, Blue, Green, Silver, Gold, White, and Scratch-off Grey


For information on how to purchase Zebra Card and Ribbon or verify you have correct media, click the following link.  Read More>>

>Media Loading – The media must be properly loaded to ensure jams do not occur and media errors do not display on the printer. Make sure to press the first card loading down using the thumb depression on the card feeder mechanism. 


2.  Setting Windows Print Driver Appropriately for Media Being Used

DoubleSided Printing (on Double Sided units)
When accessing your printer's properties you can enter the "Printing Preferences" to configure specific settings.  When you click on the preferences button from within the printer properties, the driver should automatically detect the ribbon type that is installed.  If you are attempting to set the printer for printing on both sides of the card (ZXP3 only, requires doublesided printer), you need to ensure that you select the appropriate ribbon combination and specify to print on both sides.  For more information, click the following link.  Read More>>



Print Quality

Print quality is a product of proper printer setup and use of compatible media for the application.  When using Zebra Card Printers, you must use Zebra branded ribbons to ensure the printer properly detects the ribbon and proper color panels to provide you with appropriate printing of the colors.  Also, it is recommended to use Zebra branded cards to ensure the card materials do not cause issues with the printing of the image or adhering of ink to the cards.  If you are experiencing print quality issues, there are a few steps to take in an attempt to correct or optimize output:

1. Ensure that you are running the most current driver and firmware for your product

Zebra Card Printer driver and firmware updates typically contain fixes for ribbon sensing issues and print quality issues.  Before attempting troubleshooting of the printer, settings, or application, it is recommended to check the driver and firmware you are running and if they are not current, update them.  For information on how to do this, click the following link.  Read More>>

2. Attempt Calibrating the Printer's Ribbon Sensors

Zebra Card Printers use RFID technology to detect the ribbon type installed and then calibrate it's sensors to know what color panel is where to ensure proper printing occurs.  If you are seeing incorrect colors being printed or only part of the card printing the correct colors, attempt recalibrating the unit.  For information, click the following link.  Read More>>

3. Print Darkness/Black Print Optimization

You can modify the driver settings for the printer to optimize your black printing or barcode quality.  For information, click the following link.  Read More>>

4. General Print Quality Information

For general print quality information and troubleshooting to ensure optimal card printing click the following link.  Read More>>

5. Cleaning the Printer

A new printer should not require cleaning.  However, if specs are seen within the printing or just overall quality issues are seen that are not corrected using the steps above, attempt a printer cleaning.  

P330i/P330m Printer Cleaning  Read More>>
P430i Printer Cleaning  Read More>>


Communications Setup


A Zebra compatible driver must be installed before connecting the printer.  This will allow Windows plug and play to properly detect the device and install the driver for the printer.

USB Details Read More>>

Network Setup

The following link contains information pertaining to setting your printer up on your network as well as installing the network driver for your printer (if it has an ethernet option).  Read More>>

After setting up communication you can use a Test Card to verify  Read More>>


Printing App or Program

The Zebra Performance Class Card Printers support the EPCL printer programming language.  They can also be used with the Windows printer driver that Zebra offers which can be found through the link below to Zebra.com Support and Downloads.  You will have to click on the Printer Support dropdown and select your printer model which will route you to that printer's download page.  For custom applications and development, you can visit the following link which will bring you to the Zebra Value Class and Performance Class Card Printer SDK downloads.  Read More>>

Zebra.com Support and Downloads (to access Driver downloads)  Read More>>

Zebra offers CardStudio Software for Card Design  Read More>>



Utilities and Drivers

Application or Utility Comment
CardStudio Software Read More>>                                             This is a licensed card design software that Zebra offers.  It can be used to develop card designs for printing. 
Card Software Development Kit  Read More>>                                  This is a software development kit containing information developing applications for printing to Zebra card printers.
Zebra P330i Support Page  Read More>>                                The Support page contains How-to videos for the printer as well as manuals, driver downloads, and firmware downloads.
Zebra P430i Support Page  Read More>>                                                                     The Support page contains How-to videos for the printer as well as manuals, driver downloads, and firmware downloads.


+ Product Codes

  • P330i Card Printer
  • Performance Class Card Printers