ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3 Initial Printer Setup Details and Information

Article ID: 77684749



ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3 Printer Setup Overview

ZXP 1 and ZXP 3

ZXP Series 1 User's Guide  Read More>>
ZXP Series 3 User's Guide  Read More>>

The Zebra ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3 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 15-40mil cards (30mil thickness is recommended for optimal printing) and uses only Zebra brand ribbon.  

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 print jobs 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 ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3 Card Printers support PVC and PVC Composite cards.  It is recommended that these cards are 15mil-40mil in thickness.  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 – ZXP1 and ZXP3 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 and PVC Composite
Card Width/Length: ISO CR-80-ISO 7810: 2.125" x 3.375" (54mm x 86mm)
Card Thickness: .015" to .040"; for optimum performance, use standard .030" cards
Magnetic Stripe Spec: ISO 7811
Smart Card Contact (ZXP3 only): ISO7816-1,2,3,4
Smart Card Contactless MIFARE (ZXP3 only): ISO14443A/B

Ribbon Information – 

ZXP Series 1: 
The ZXP Series 1 is designed to work only with Zebra True Colours ix Series ZXP Series 1 ribbon.  You have the option of full color YMCKO ribbon, half YMCKO, black monochrome and white monochrome ribbons.  

ZXP Series 3:
The ZXP Series 3 is designed to work with i Series intelligent media technology.  It supports YMCKO, YMCKOK, Half Panel YMC/Full KO, KdO, KrO, as well as black, blue, green, gold, red, silver, or white monochrome ribbons.  

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.


2.  Setting Windows Print Driver Appropriately for Media Being Used

DoubleSided Printing
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>>

Single Card Feeding
If your printer is equipped with a single card feed kit you can configure the driver and printer for printing by feeding individual cards through the front of the printer.  If you would like this option and do not currently have it, you can order a kit to upgrade your unit to allow for this option.  For more information on configuring the printer and driver for this, 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.  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 ZXP Series 1, ZXP Series 3, ZXP Series 7, and ZXP Series 8 do not have a supported native printer language with which a host can communicate with the printer. This differs from the legacy printers such as the Performance and Value Class Card Printers which support EPCL. The newer card printers rely on a set of support utilities to communicate with the printer. In addition, programmers have a robust SDK that can be used for application development for both models.  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.
ZXP Series 1 Support Page  Read More>>                                The Support page contains How-to videos for the printer as well as manuals, driver downloads, and firmware downloads.
ZXP Series 3 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

  • ZXP Series 1 Standard Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 1 Standard Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 3 Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 3 Professional Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 3 with Security Enclosures
  • ZXP Series 3C Card Printers (China Only)