ZM Series -- Loading the Ribbon and Resolving Ribbon Issues (With Video)
Article ID: 88957715
This solution discusses resolving symptoms related to the following:
- Ribbon In error
- Ribbon Out error
- Not detecting a ribbon out condition
- Ribbon wrinkle causing random diagonal lines in print
- Ribbon stalling or sticking
- Ribbon breaking or tearing
ZM Printers experiencing ribbon related problems or errors.
The printer can be used for a wide variety of printing applications. Printing can be done with and without ribbon and for each method the printer (and driver/software) must be properly configured. The most common term used when ribbon is required is ”Thermal Transfer” while “Direct Thermal” refers to applications that do not use ribbon. For non-ribbon applications a heat sensitive label must be used referred to as Direct Thermal labels.
The ribbon used in the printer consists of a wax or resin based ink on a plastic film called the carrier that is rolled onto a cardboard core. The width of the roll varies based on the width of the labels and should always be slightly wider. This provides protection for the printhead to prevent wear. On Zebra printers the ink is on the outside of the ribbon roll (see note) and this is the surface that should be facing the labels so ink transfer is accomplished. Read More>>
Note: There is a reverse wound Ribbon Supply Spindle Optional P/N 79830M for the ZM400 that can support the inside inked ribbon
Common Issues and Resolutions
|Ribbon Out Error||
|Ribbon In Error||
|Not detecting a ribbon out condition|
|Ribbon Breaking or Tearing||
Click here to view video -> Printer Ribbon Loading Video
Load the ribbon following the diagram that is printed on the inside wall of the supplies compartment. This will ensure the ribbon sensor detects the presence of ribbon correctly. Improper loading can cause false ribbon out errors and also lead to wrinkling.
Spindle Replacement Instructions Read More>>
How it works
There are two spindles, Ribbon Supply and Ribbon Take-up, that guide the ribbon during printing. The actual movement of ribbon is controlled by the printhead pressure at the print line. Back tension is applied from the Ribbon Supply spindle to help prevent wrinkle and take up slack during backfeed operation. Printhead pressure moves the ribbon keeping it synchronized with the labels and the Ribbon Take-up spindle removes the ribbon from the labels and rewinds the spent ribbon.
The printer uses a combination of an optical sensor and reflector plate to detect the ribbon as it blocks the ribbon sensor light path. The ribbon sensor is used in Thermal Transfer applications to detect the state of the ribbon and will provide a Ribbon Out condition when the ribbon reaches the end of the roll or is not installed. A clear ribbon trailer allows the light to reach the reflector plate or the ribbon has a reflective chrome trailer that acts as a light reflector for the ribbon sensor. For Direct Thermal applications (where ribbon is not required) the sensor will warn if ribbon is detected by displaying a Ribbon In warning on the LCD Display. To avoid ribbon errors proper loading and configuration of the printer and driver/software is required.
Ribbon Sensor and Reflective Plate view from the Side
Ribbon Sensor Viewed from the Front
+ Product Codes
- Z Series Industrial Printers