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Problem: Labels appear very faint or distorted on a thermal label printer
Solution: There are a different factors which can contribute to faintness and distortions of barcodes and fonts on labels: quality of label/transfer ribbon, print darkness (heat intensity), and condition of thermal printer/print head. Below is a check list of causes and solutions for label faintness issues:
- Clean print head: Over time dust from the labels or other particles may accumulate on the print head and cause distortions on the label media. Most label manufacturers will have directions on cleaning and maintaining the thermal print head. Consult the user guide for your printer on proper cleaning instructions for the print head.
- Print darkness/heat intensity: Thermal label printers use a print head which literally heats chemicals on the label to produce images, text, and barcodes on the media. The print head can be adjusted to different levels of heat intensity which directly affects how dark an image appears on the label. If a label driver is installed in Windows you can adjust the print darkness through the printer’s properties inside of Control Panel/Printers and Faxes.
- Label/transfer ribbon quality: Printer manufacturers will recommend compatible label media which matches the specifications and performance criteria of the specific printer. Check to see if you are using label and ribbon media provided or recommended by the printer manufacturer. If using recommended media then try a different roll of labels and ribbon on the label printer. 3rd party media manufacturers may use a process which creates labels that are not compatible in specification to the label printer.
- If none of the above steps help to identify the cause check to see if you have a 2nd label printer of the same make and model. Try the 2nd printer with the same labels/transfer ribbons on the same interface cable and computer originally used (works only for parallel and serial models) with the first label printer.