ZT400 Series Initial Printer Setup Details and Information
Article ID: 85746960
Issue / Question
ZT400 Series Printer Setup Overview
Resolution / Answer
ZT400 Series Printer Setup Overview
The Zebra Printer can be used in a wide variety of applications using many different media combinations 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.
The printer comes from the factory set to tear-off mode and adjusted for full with paper label stock with wax ribbon.
Many printing applications will function with these factory settings and require no additional adjustments beyond the communications setup and minor darkness adjustment.
IMPORTANT! All printer settings can be impacted by commands from a mismatched 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 is 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 has a setup configuration that sends these as commands to the printer. Make sure all settings match the printer settings to avoid intermittent issues.
Media Related Settings and Calibration
Understanding your media
The Zebra Printer supports the use of many types and shapes of labels or tags and knowing your media detail is important for proper configuration.
Here are the details you should know for printer media setup and configuration.
3. Understanding the Media Sensors The printer comes with two sensors for label tracking based on the Media Type used.
Transmissive 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, and Notches.
Reflective Sensor: This is a fixed position Black Mark media sensor. This detects black mark media using a black bar on the media backing.
Positioning the moveable sensor
The moveable or adjustable position Transmissive Sensor must be placed so the top of the form can be detected. This can be an inter-label gap, a hole, or a notch. 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 label's feed. Refer to ZT400 Sensor Positioning for more details on positioning the moveable sensor.
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 using the LCD Display or can be configured from your utility or application.
These configurations are detailed as follows:
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's Maximum Length setting is changed from the default 39” it should be set to a value 1'' 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: ^XA^ML1421^XZ
For more information, please refer to User Guide: Maximum Label Length.
To set the Label Length to 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 file with the recommended Maximum Label Length.
^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 self-test 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. Refer to User Guide: Media and Ribbon Sensor Calibration.
To manually calibrate:
This applies to applications where the use of ribbon is required. This is referred to as Thermal Transfer printing where an inked ribbon is used to produce the image on the label.
Ribbon Basics: This explains the ribbon types and typical darkness and speed selections. Refer to: Ribbon Basics.
Ribbon Loading: The printer uses a reflective plate and a sensor that shines and receives light to detect the presence of ribbon. (Some desktop printers use a slotted wheel to detect the ribbon supply rotation). Refer to: User Guide: Load the Ribbon.
Ribbon Configuration: Select Thermal Transfer if you are using Ribbon, and Direct Thermal if you are not using Ribbon. Refer to: User Guide: Print Method.
Print quality is a product of proper printer setup and the use of compatible media for the application. The four impacting factors to consider are:
The Media and Ribbon (if used) capabilities.
Not all media is the same when it comes to being compatible with your application or needs. Printing speed, the durability of the image/media, environment are just a few factors to consider when determining the printer setup for the application. Trying to compensate for poor media compatibility by using high printhead pressure and/or darkness settings can impact your printer’s printhead life.
You may need to adjust printhead pressure if printing is too light on one side, if you use thick media, or if the media drifts from side to side during printing. Use the lowest printhead pressure necessary to produce good print quality. Uneven pressure will cause ribbon wrinkle, poor print quality, and horizontal media drift.
For adjusting the printhead pressure on a ZT400 Series Printer, refer to User Guide: Adjust the Printhead Pressure. For more information regarding Printhead Pressure Details, refer to Printhead Pressure.
The printer is capable of printing at multiple print speeds. The speed selection takes the media/ribbon (if used) compatibilities into consideration since if high Darkness and Pressure settings are required to achieve acceptable print then slower rates should be used.
If your application requires the highest print speeds available be sure your media supplier has recommended the correct media for your application. Refer to: User Guide: Print Speed.
Print Darkness (also may be referred to as Density or Burn Temperature) is a user-adjustable setting. If you have an LCD Display the setting can be adjusted and changes to the darkness observed during printing. You can also use a setup utility or the printer webpage if available to set the print darkness. Avoid overheating the ribbon as it can melt if set too high. Vary the darkness to produce the best print quality. Refer to: User Guide: Print Darkness.
For setting the darkness using the ZPL commands, refer to Programming Guide: ^MD - Media Darkness.
If the printer has a parallel port, use an IEEE1284 compatible cable. For more information, refer to Parallel Communications.
Wired Ethernet Network
Printers that include a ZebraNet Print Server option can be connected to an Ethernet Network. If your network supports DHCP the printer can obtain an IP Address when the cable is connected.
You can use one of the following Utilities to set specific parameters or set a permanent IP address for your printer queue:
Configuring for Wireless communication requires that you establish a local PC connection via the USB, Serial, or Parallel Port or a host connected over the wired Ethernet Port. Some utilities have wireless setup capabilities and are listed below.
For more information, refer to Setting up and Troubleshooting a Printer for a Wireless Network.
Printing App, Driver, or Program
Zebra printers are command interpretation engines that take programming commands such as ZPL (Zebra Programming Language) and convert these commands into the printed images. The printer will not respond if the label format received does not contain the required programming commands for label printing. Programming commands can be entered into a file and communicated to the printer, received as an output through a driver from an application, or created using one of many Zebra Label Software packages on the market.