Category Archives: Fargo Printer

Fargo Printers How-to: Update Drivers and Firmware

All Fargo ID-card printers rely on “Drivers” & “Firmware” from their manufacturers. Periodically, you must update drivers & firmware to correct minor faults, enhance functionality, or maintain compatibility with new releases of Windows and other supported operating systems.

Fortunately, Fargo makes it easy to check for updates, and to install them, via a free utility program – the Fargo Workbench Utility. Follow these steps to make sure you have the latest versions for your printer, update drivers & firmware. (Note: you must be connected to the internet and have sufficient Windows privileges to install programs and drivers.)

Use Fargo Workbench Utility to Update Drivers & Firmware

Install Fargo Workbench & Check for Updates

  1. Download and install the Fargo Workbench Utility. Make sure to select the option to launch the program at the conclusion of the installation.
  2. Within Workbench, select your printer in the drop-down box in the top-right of the screen. (Tip: if the printer is not present, ensure that it is powered on and in a ready state, then click the “refresh” icon to the right of the drop-down box and try again.)
  3. Select the “Update Manager” option on the menu bar (far-left choice).
  4. Click the link for “Check for Updates”.
  5. Download available updates to either the drivers or firmware. These appear in the middle of the screen, with a button to the right to download from the Fargo web-site.
  6. Once the downloads are complete, you can update drivers & firmware one at a time, starting with the driver program.

Update Drivers

  1. In the update list, choose the driver update and click “apply update” to install.
  2. Note: installing new drivers may require removing the old drivers first, temporarily disconnecting the printer from your PC, and finally re-booting your PC.

Update Firmware

  1. Move on to updating the firmware. Select the appropriate options (in the lower part of the screen) for the firmware and the printers.
  2. Now you can click to apply the firmware upgrade. There will be a progress indicator counting up to 100% done, and the front-panel LED lights will flash or a message will appear on the LCD screen indicating the update progress.
  3. When the update completes, the printer will do a “soft” restart on its own. Finally, the printer will come to a ready state.

Now that the printer’s required drivers & firmware are current, you can once again verify the correct ribbon setting and resume printing.

For more detailed instructions, including screen shots, you can download a PDF of HID Fargo’s instructions here.

If the above tips don’t get you going again, never fear – we are ready to help. Just reach out to our ID-card experts toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 elsewhere for personalized support.

 

Fargo Printer – Wrong Ribbon Error

We often receive calls from clients whose Fargo ID card printers display a “wrong ribbon” error. This error will appear on the printer’s LCD screen or on the user’s computer monitor and has a few potential causes.HID Fargo Printers

Common Causes of the “Wrong Ribbon” Error:

Hardware Fault

Occasionally, we find that there is a hardware fault with the printer, particularly with the ribbon sensor or RFID-tag reader. After ruling out the other possible problems listed below, please call one of our experts if you still receive the “wrong ribbon” error.

Wrong Ribbon

You could, indeed, have the wrong ribbon for the printer. Many Fargo ribbon cartridges look identical, and there are no markings on the ribbon carriers to indicate which you have. For example, a YMCKO ribbon for the Fargo DTC1250e looks like the YMCKO ribbon for the DTC4250e, but they are not interchangeable. Each ribbon has an embedded RFID tag which includes a ribbon part-number. The printer’s corresponding firmware includes a list of all ribbons that are compatible with the printer. As a result, if your ribbon is not compatible with your printer, you will receive this message.

Out-of-Date Firmware

You could have out-of-date firmware on your printer. Periodically, Fargo will introduce new firmware to include updated manufacturing information. Once this new firmware is introduced, the new information will be encoded on an RFID tag embedded in the ribbon cartridge.  A printer with outdated firmware will be unable to validate ribbons with new encoding and reject them, returning a “wrong ribbon” error. Please see our separate blog post “Fargo Printers How-to: Update your Drivers and Firmware” for detailed instructions on updating firmware.

Incorrect Driver Setting

But most-likely, your printer driver may not be set properly. For example, you may have a full-color (YMCKO) ribbon, but a print driver set for a monochrome-black (K) ribbon. This mismatch between the actual ribbon loaded, and the ribbon the PC “thinks” should be loaded will result in a mismatch, and “wrong ribbon” error. For this scenario, follow the directions below to change the printer driver settings.

Choosing the Correct Driver Setting

Prior to beginning the instructions below, please verify that you have Windows administrator rights or have been granted Windows permissions by  your network administrator to change the driver functions on your computer. Without these elevated privileges, you will not be able to make these changes.

  1. Click the Windows “Start” icon (usually the lower-left corner of your screen);
  2. Select “Devices and Printers” (if not visible, enter this as a term in the search box);
  3. Locate your Fargo printer and right-click on it;
  4. Select and click on “Printing preferences” – a new window will open;
  5. Select “Device Options”, then use the drop-down box to select the proper ribbon type;
  6. Click the “Apply” button in the lower-right, and then click “OK” to finish and close the Window.

For information about the Fargo HDP5000, or other Fargo printers, contact us for a free consultation toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 elsewhere.

The Value of High-Quality Printer Consumables

It is always important to buy high-quality consumables for your ID Card Printers from authorized dealers in order to get the best life and results from your machine. At Safe-Card ID Services, we are one such dealer, but there are lots out there; find a dealer you trust!

Less reputable dealers may offer cards and ribbons that are “compatible” with your printer, but are not certified. While you may find that they can offer these at a discount, it’s a cost-cutting measure you may pay for down the road. In the last couple of months we have seen a local company ruin multiple print-heads by using sub-standard cards. Not only was this an inconvenience that interrupted their card production, it was costly, as printer manufacturers’ printer warranties do not cover the print-head if it is damaged due to the use of poor-quality or non-genuine consumable items.

Flaws common to poor-quality cards include the presence of foreign objects (dirt, dust, hair, and plastic particles) irregular sizing and thickness, and jagged cut edges. In the best-case scenario, use of such cards will require more frequent printer cleaning–to remove those foreign objects from your printer. The worst-case scenario results in physical damage to the printer, and specifically the expensive print-head.

Problems you may see with poor-quality ribbons: they may not be compatible with RFID sensors, or printer firmware updates, leading to “no ribbon” or “unknown ribbon” errors, and preventing its use. Also, non-genuine ribbons often are made with sub-standard materials, leading to low-quality images, rendering of colors inconsistently, ribbons tearing and sticking to card surfaces, all of which can also cause damage to the print-head.

All printer manufacturers stipulate that the use of non-branded or low-quality materials can void printer and print-head warranties. While great online deals can be tempting, it is important to make sure that the materials are of high quality – both to preserve your device warranty, and to ensure the best possible output.

The bottom line: be sure to inspect materials before using them. A broken printer costs more to replace or repair than you could ever save with aftermarket or “gray-market” supplies. So find a trustworthy, authorized dealer for your printer consumables, and rest assured that your printer investment will be protected.

Fargo HDP5000 – Ribbon Has Misqued Error

Fargo HDP5000
When using a Fargo HDP5000 printer, the error code “ribbon has misqued” may display on the LCD screen. The printer may also display an Error Code 97. Following are the steps you can take to attempt to resolve the error and resume printing.

 

  1. Open Windows’ “Devices and Printers” screen;
  2. Locate the HDP5000 printer, and right-click on it with your mouse;
  3. Select the option for “Printing Preferences”;
  4. Select the tab named “Card”;
  5. Click the link button for “ToolBox” and a new window will open;
  6. In the new window, select the “Calibrate Ribbon” tab, and follow the directions provided.

If the calibration finishes normally, resume printing your cards. If the calibration does not resolve the problem, or the same errors continue to occur, please contact us about your warranty or service options, as this error is also symptomatic of a ribbon sensor that has gone bad.

For information about the Fargo HDP5000 and other Fargo printers, or for further technical support, contact us for a free consultation at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200.

Uh-Oh! Ribbon Not Recognized on Your Trusty Fargo Printer?

HID_Fargo_Ribbon_Insert2

Ribbon insert provided by HID, indicated the need for a firmware update.

Hopefully, many of you are staying on top of your firmware updates. If you aren’t and have a Fargo printer, today is the day to catch up. HID Fargo has updated the RFID chip in their 442xx print ribbons. As you may know, the RFID chip ensures that you have genuine HID/Fargo ribbons, which assures warranty coverage and proper functioning, plus enables automatic ribbon sensing and settings for those who may switch ribbons periodically. As a result of this change, if you have a Persona C30 or PersonaC30e, you may find that your printer does not immediately recognize your new 442xx ribbon, making the printer unusable until the proper device firmware is loaded.

If this is the case, you simply need to update your printer’s firmware. (If you like to get ahead of potential pitfalls, this is also a great process to undergo–it will help you stay on top of important updates in the future!) This can be done by using the Fargo Workbench Utility to download and install any new firmware, as well as any driver updates. These steps will help you make this update smoothly:

  • If it is not already loaded on your PC, download and install the Fargo Workbench Utility from the HID/Fargo website here: http://www.hidglobal.com/drivers/15325;
  • Ensure your Fargo printer is connected and powered on, and that you have a “live” internet connection, then start/run Fargo Workbench
  • In the upper-right of the application screen is a drop-down box where you can select the Fargo printer you wish to work with (if you have only one, it should be pre-selected);
  • Click on the “Update Manager” icon in the upper-left of your screen;
  • Click the link to “Check for Updates” just under the Update Manager icon. Workbench will automatically connect to the HID/Fargo servers, and report any needed updates to either the printer drivers or the firmware.
  • If any updates are found, click the appropriate button to first “Download”, then to “Apply” the discovered updates. If both driver and firmware updates are available, we recommend applying the driver update(s) first, and then the firmware update.
  • If no updates are available, then congratulate yourself for avoiding trouble before it found you!

If you have already installed the most recent firmware and your printer still does not recognize your ribbon, or if you have trouble with any of the above, please call one of our experts at +1 704.535.5200 or +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada). We’re happy to help!

Retransfer vs. Direct-to-Card Printers

The announcement of Evolis’s Avansia retransfer printer raises a key question: What is the difference between a retransfer printer and a direct-to-card printer?

Short answer? It’s all about how your design is applied to the printable ID card. One transfers an image that has first been printed onto a thin film; the other prints directly onto the surface of the card (I know! I was surprised too! 🙂 ).

I’ve broken this down into the 4 sub-questions I had when I was first investigating the difference. I really like to know how things work, but if you’re more interested in the differences than the inner-workings, feel free to skip the next section.

What are the methods and how do they work?

retransfer

Image via Ultra Magicard, maker of the Prima 4 retransfer printer.

With retransfer printers, your design (images and text) are printed onto clear film which is then thermally fused to a card, thus transferring your design to the card. This allows the entire image to be applied to the card at once.

On the other hand, direct-to-card printers place the images and text directly onto the card. This is done through a series of passes over the card, sequentially applying yellow, magenta, cyan and black ink (YMCK) to create virtually any color, followed by the application of a clear varnish overlay to protect the printed image.

What are the differences in results?

By laying the film over the card, a retransfer printer is capable of “over-the-edge” printing that maximizes the card’s surface area–if you want a background image that covers the entire card, this is how you get it. This film also acts as a protective barrier that renders the image slightly more durable.  A direct-to-card printer leaves a very thin border around edge, only 2mm or so wide. This is called “near-to-edge” printing, and if you are printing an ID for which the card color itself serves as the background color, this is more than sufficient for those needs.

HID Global, maker of the Fargo HDP5000, says that the retransfer printer creates a sharper, glossier image (a result of the gloss finish of the retransfer film; the clear varnish overlay applied by direct-to-card printers is a slightly matte finish). Plus, the retransfer process is more forgiving of slight imperfections in the card surface, which is important if you print proximity access cards, as there is often a slight “dimple” in the surface areas above and around the internal electronic components. This also is forgiving in situations where an inadvertent fingerprint might be on a card–laying the entire image down with the overlay will completely cover these slight imperfections.

A direct-to-card printer might not correctly render an image over a spot on the card in the desired color(s), or at all, should such imperfections exist. You can protect against some of the causes by ensuring that unused cards are handled carefully by the edges to prevent fingerprints on printable surfaces, and that they are stored in a clean and dry location to avoid dust and surface damage.

What are the similarities?

Both involve application of a full-card image via thermal print-ribbons to the card surface, the retransfer printer just includes an additional step.

Both create durable cards, but are still subject to wear—to get the maximum life out of your card, employ lamination options or protective badge sleeves or holders.

What materials are required?

Retransfer printers need clear retransfer film (on which the card design is printed then fused to the card) in addition to color or monochrome ribbons. Typical designations are: K, YMCK, YMCKK.

Direct-to-card printers use ribbons with an integrated varnish-overlay, applied as the last step in the print process, to protect the image from wear and fading in sunlight. Typically designations are: KO, YMCKO, YMCKO.

The Bottom Line

The retransfer printer helps you maximize your card’s surface, is a little more forgiving of imperfections, and are generally regarded as producing a better, glossier finished card. The direct-to-card printer removes the need for retransfer film and applies your design directly to the card, eliminating a step. Finally, retransfer printers frequently cost somewhat more than direct-to-card printers, so your budget will play a role in deciding which is right for your organization.

At the end of the day, which printer you need is always going to come down to what your own specific requirements are. Hopefully this will help you think through that process.

Questions? Concerns? Not sure what printer is best for you? Call our experts at +1-704-535-5200 or +1-888-485-4696.

Fargo Ribbon Compatibility – C30 and DTC400 Series Printers

The new Fargo DTC series printers, the Fargo DTC1000 and Fargo DTC4000 printers have printer ribbons that can not be used straight out of the box in older Persona C30 and Fargo DTC400 card printers. With a firmware update, however, these older printer models can be updated so that they are able to print with the new printer ribbons.

To update the C30 or DTC400 series printer:

1. Visit http://fargosupport.com/
2. Locate your current printer using the drop down box.
3. Update both the workbench and the firmware.

Once these steps are completed, you can use DTC1000 printer ribbons with the C30 and C30e printers. You can also use DTC4000 ribbons with your DTC400 or DTC400e printer.

Persona C30e – How to Calibrate the Ribbon

To calibrate the ribbon sensor, click the Start button in the lower left corner of your monitor and select Settings. Then select Printers and Faxes. Depending on your installation of Windows, you may need to go to the Control panels and then select Printers.


In the Printers and Faxes window, Right Click on the driver for your printer and select Printing Preferences from the list.

In the Persona C30e Card Printer Printing Preferences window, Select the Calibrate tab and then click the Sensors button.

For the C30 and C30e printers follow the instructions in the Calibration window to calibrate the ribbon sensor. When the calibration is complete, the printer will beep twice.

Note that for the C30 or C30e printer, you must cover the front of the printer before clicking the send button to prevent ambient light from entering the printer as it may negatively impact the ribbon calibration process.

For information about Fargo printers or other photo id card systems, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.

Persona C30e – Wrong Ribbon Error

A Persona C30e wrong ribbon error can be corrected in a couple of ways. Below, we will detail how to correct the error using the settings in Printer Preferences. For more information about wrong ribbon errors in Fargo printers, please visit this post on the topic, which covers three other potential ribbon problems. If you think that you may have out-of-date firmware or drivers, this post details how to update those, which will help ensure that your printer can recognize the most currently produced ribbons.

Adjusting Print Driver Settings with Print Preferences

To correct the C30e wrong ribbon error, visit on the Printers and Faxes window. Once there, right click on the C30 or C30e printer and choose Printing Preferences.

Screenshot of Printer and Faxes Window, fixing a C30e wrong ribbon error
When the Printing Preferences window opens, choose the Device Options tab.

Screenshot of Printer Preferences Window, fixing a C30e wrong ribbon error
From within the Device Options tab, select the correct ribbon type. Alternatively, you can select the ribbon type by clicking the Auto Ribbon Select button. After selecting the correct ribbon type, click the OK button. Then stop/close the program from which you are printing and then restart it so that it will recognize the corrected ribbon setting.

Screenshot of Device Options Tab, fixing a C30e wrong ribbon error
If you are not sure of your ribbon type, check the part number on the box the ribbon came in.

C30/C30e Ribbon Colors and Part Numbers

We are proud to offer free phone support for our clients! Therefore, if you purchase your supplies or printers from us, one of our technicians will walk you through these adjustments. We’re also happy just to chat or to provide more information about Fargo printers or other photo ID card systems at +1 888.485.4696 or +1 704.535.5200.

Barcode Printing Inconsistently with a Fargo DTC550

ID Card Barcode PrintingIf your printing with a Fargo DTC500 printer and your bar code printing is not consistent, you may need to follow this tip:

The light printing of the black in the barcodes is caused by the angle of the printhead being to small. Note that the barcode darkens to normal as the print approaches the center of the card. Increasing the printthead angle will darken the beginning of the barcode. After adjusting the angle of the printhead it may be necessary to raise the Ribbon Peel-Off Bar.

Please consult with the ID card intergrator technical support area where you purchased your printer to obtain assistance for your specific printer issue prior to adjustment. For information about the Fargo DTC550 and current Fargo printers, contact our ID Card experts at 888-485-4696.