Category Archives: Fargo Printer

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!

Ending Promotions

It’s the last week of 2014! Which means that it’s time for me to remind you that Evolis’s Trade-In/Trade-Up and Fargo’s UpTrade 2014 promotions end on Wednesday. In order to get the most value for your current, sad printer, order your new printer by 12/31.

To order to for more information, call one of our experts at +1-704-535-5200 or +1-888-485-4696.

Fargo UpTrade, C30e and DTC550 News

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DTC550

We’ve received news that Fargo’s Persona C30e and DTC550 will no longer be supported. They have been discontinued for a while now, but parts for maintenance will no longer be produced after the end of the year.

This is a good time to remind everyone that HID Global’s current UpTrade promotion ends December 31, 2014. If you’re sitting on a DTC550 (or any other older printer) now is a great time to trade it in and take advantage of this program to get credit toward a great new Fargo machine.

If you have any questions about what printer might be best for you or how this change will affect you, don’t hesitate to call one of our experts at +1-704-535-5200 or +1-888-485-4696.

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

If you have a wrong ribbon error with your Fargo or Persona C30 or C30e printer, the following procedure can be used adjust the printer driver settings to correct the error.

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


In the Printing Preferences window, choose the Device Options tab.


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.


If you are not sure of your ribbon type, check the part number on the box the ribbon came in.

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

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.

Fargo DTC500 With a Ribbon Peel Off Bar Line

Our Fargo technical representatives are sharing some common issues with ID card printing. If the following picture looks like the card printing problem you are having, the ribbon peel off bar may need adjustment.

The dark area at the beginning of the card is caused by the “Ribbon Peel-Off Bar” being adjusted too low. When the printhead starts printing the printhead pressure is normal until the card goes under Ribbon Peel-Off Bar. The remainder of the card is printed too light because the Ribbon Peel-Off Bar lifts the printhead slightly off of the card.

To correct this problem it is necessary to raise the Ribbon Peel Off Bar slightly.

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.

Fargo DTC500 Prints A Light Bar Code

Printing ID cards sometimes is difficult as the exact card specifications are critical to the success of the identification program. One important printing requirement is a correct, dark version of the provided bar code. If your bar code is not meeting your requirements, check out the pictures below and see if your problem is displayed. If so, we have recommendations for you.

The light printing of the black in the center barcode is caused by the Ribbon Peel-Off Bar being adjusted too low. Note the horizontal streaking in the bars. Note also that the effect is across the full length of the card. (The light/dark banding on the upper and lower barcodes is due to “camera effect” and not to a problem with the printer)

To correct this problem it is necessary to raise the Ribbon Peel-Off Bar slightly.

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 printhead 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.

To correct this problem increase the printhead angle by completing the printhead angle adjustment.

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 printers and current Fargo printer models, contact our ID Card experts at 888-485-4696.