Category Archives: Safe-Card ID Tech Tips

Evolis Printer – Install an Evolis USB Printer on a Mac

Following are the steps to install an Evolis USB printer on a Mac running OS X version 10.4 through version 10.11.

  1. Prior to starting the installation, make sure you have Administrator rights.
  2. Plug the printer into an open USB port on the Mac and power-on the printer.
  3. Ensure that cards and ribbon are loaded in the printer, and that only the power-light is illuminated following the power-up sequence.
  4. Go to the Evolis Drivers & Support page, then click through to your specific printer model from the available choices.
  5. Scroll down the printer-specific downloads page to locate the Mac OS X driver, and download it to your desktop. Run the setup installation and follow the instructions during the installation process.
  6. Open the “Apple Menu”, then select System Preferences.Mac Installation
  7. Open Printers and Scanners.Mac Installation
  8.   Click on the + to add a printer. In the resultant pop-up window, your Evolis printer will already be detected and listed. Select the Evolis printer.Mac Installation
  9. In the “Use” box, choose “Select Software”Mac Installation
  10. In the drop-down menu, select the Evolis driver and the language you need, then click on “Add” to validate your choice.Mac Installation
  11.   The driver is now ready to be used, and you are ready to begin printing cards.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed the steps required to install an Evolis USB printer on a Mac, and are ready to go!

Other tips:

In your badge-printing software, ensure that the correct driver is selected for the printer, and also check the paper-size settings. Badge creation programs will usually offer “CR80” or “Card” as a standard size. Go to Printer Features to access any Evolis print-driver properties and adjust as necessary.

Need more info?

For more information about Evolis printers, review our blog for other Evolis printer tips and support posts, or call our ID experts toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (from US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 (from other locations)

Clean Your Evolis Primacy using the Print Center

Why Clean Your Evolis Primacy?

To maintain warranty coverage for your Evolis printhead, Evolis requires that you clean your Evolis Primacy at certain intervals. The printer automatically tracks cleaning cycles and the intervals between them. However, these cleanings must follow the proper procedure for the printer to record the event.

Evolis requires two types of cleanings performed at the indicated intervals:

  • A “regular” cleaning every 1,000 cards, using the Evolis Regular Cleaning Kit:
    1. Run a “sticky” cleaning card through the printer,
    2. Manually clean the print-head with a special IPA alcohol saturated, foam-tipped cleaning swab,
    3. Wipe down all card-transport rollers with an IPA alcohol wipe.
  • An “advanced” cleaning every 5,000 cards, using the Evolis Advanced Cleaning Kit:
    1. Run a special IPA alcohol soaked “T-card” through the printer,
    2. Perform the “regular” cleaning, described above.

While not required, we recommend removing and cleaning the built-in cleaning roller each time that you change the ribbon.

Recommended Procedure to Clean Your Evolis Primacy:

It is best practice to use the cleaning wizard integrated within the Evolis Print Center utility program. Using this program helps the printer to recognize and log your cleanings. It will guide you through completing the seven steps listed below:

  1. Prepare to clean your Evolis Primacy by ensuring that your printer is:
    • connected to the PC that you normally use it with,
    • powered on and “ready”,
    • not waiting on any print-jobs in the printer queue (via Windows’s “Devices and Printers” menu).
  2. When you have prepared your printer, open the Evolis Print Center utility program. This action should pull up a status window similar to the one in the image below:  Clean Your Evolis Primacy, Step 2

    Troubleshooting: If the printer status is “Offline”, verify that the printer is firmly plugged in and that it is powered on. If the printer status is “Not Supervised by Evolis Print Center”, right-click on the Printer Name (i.e., “Evolis Primacy”), and select “Enable Supervision”.

  3. Once the printer status is “Ready”, right-click on the printer name (“Evolis Primacy”) and select “Properties”. Doing so launches a second window that looks like the one below where we have pre-selected the cleaning tab.Clean Your Evolis Primacy, Step 3

    **Note: this tab provides statistics regarding the next required cleaning, the last cleaning, and regular and advanced cleanings performed since new. It also displays whether the warranty remains in force thanks to keeping the cleaning schedule.

  4. To view your cleaning options, click on “Proceed with Cleaning” under the cleaning heading in the left menu bar:Clean Your Evolis Primacy, Step 4
  5. Click the “Start cleaning” button under the correct heading. The cleaning wizard will then launch, as in this example of the regular cleaning process:Clean Your Evolis Primacy, Step 5
  6. Continue through the cleaning process by following the instructions on each page of the Cleaning Wizard then clicking the “Next >” button to move on to the next step. Once you have completed all of the cleaning steps, you will see with the “Finish” screen shown below. Clicking the “Finish” button on this screen will return you to the main properties menu shown in Step 3.
    Clean Your Evolis Primacy, Step 6

    **Note: If you have executed the Advanced Cleaning process, return to the “Proceed with Cleaning” section shown in Step 4. Then follow the advanced cleaning with the Regular Cleaning process.

  7. Make sure that the printer logged the cleaning properly by returning to the “Cleaning” tab shown in Step 3. While there, verify that the value in “Next cleaning in:” is 1000.

Restock your printer

To finish, reload the printer with cards and ribbon then reset the card thickness gauge to the appropriate setting for your cards. We recommend a setting slightly above the actual card thickness so, for a 30 mil card, a setting of 32-33 is most appropriate.

As always, our technicians offer free service to our clients by phone at +1 704.535.5200.

What is that fine white line on my ID card?

The Fine White Line

We often receive calls from clients whose printed ID cards include a fine white line. This line always appears in the same place on the card and does not vary (though one may not notice it if there is not a text, image, or background color in that area). This symptom indicates one of 3 problems with the printer’s printhead:

  1. A piece of dust, dirt or debris is stuck to the printhead;
  2. The printhead has physical damage (such as a scratch or a nick);
  3. The printhead has had one or more imaging pixels burn-out. This usually results from an electrical surge or lighting strike.

printhead

Solutions

A user can solve the first problem by manually cleaning the printhead with IPA alcohol wipes or swabs. (Find them here!)

The latter 2 problems are more common and require replacement of the printhead. Prior to purchasing a replacement, first check with your authorized dealer to see if the printhead is still under warranty. Virtually all top printer manufacturers’ warranties offer to replace a damaged printhead for a defined period of time following purchase of a new printer.

A word of caution: Please review your own printer’s warranty for any coverage requirements or restrictions. Many of these warranties require performing required cleanings on-schedule (usually about every 1,000 cards, but check your printer’s user manual for the exact number). Additionally, many warranties exclude damage caused by misuse, or use of sub-standard materials (i.e., cheap cards or non-brand ribbons).

For more support, or information about quality ID-card printers, parts and supplies, visit our web store, or contact one of our ID experts at +1 704.535.5200 or toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada).

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 - wrong ribbon error

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.

Bad Ribbon RFID Tag

Fargo ID-card printer ribbons are manufactured to include an RFID tag, which contains information about the ribbon itself (ribbon type, lot number, manufacturing site, etc.). On VERY rare occasions, this RFID tag is missing, or the data has been corrupted. This will prevent the printer from recognizing an otherwise good ribbon as valid. Try another ribbon if you have one available.

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, they will include new data on the encoded RFID tag affixed to the ribbon cartridge.  A printer with outdated firmware will be unable to validate ribbons that have this 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, the error is the result of an incorrect print-driver setting. 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 the “Device Options” tab, then use the drop-down box to select your ribbon type;
  6. Click the “Apply” button in the lower-right, and then click “OK” to finish and close the Window.

Need more info?

Fargo ID-card printers are manufactured by HID Global. For information about Fargo printers, contact us for a free consultation toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 (elsewhere).

Value of High-Quality Consumables for ID Card Printers

Always use high-quality consumables, purchased from authorized dealers in your ID card printer. These supplies provide the best life and results from your machine. Safe-Card ID Services is one such dealer, but there are lots out there; find a dealer you trust!

But I saw cheaper consumables online…

Less reputable dealers may offer cards and ribbons that are “compatible” with your printer but are not certified. While you may find that they offer these at a discount, these savings may be an illusion. Recently, a local client ruined multiple print-heads by using sub-standard cards. Not only was this an inconvenience that interrupted their card production, it was costly. Printer manufacturers’ warranties do not cover print-head damage from poor-quality or non-genuine consumables.

What problems might low-quality consumables have?

Poor-quality cards may have foreign objects (dirt, dust, hair, and plastic particles), irregular sizing and thickness, and jagged-cut edges. In the best-case scenario, using these cards will require more frequent printer cleaning (to remove those foreign objects!). The worst-case scenario results in physical damage to the printer, specifically the expensive print-head.

Poor-quality ribbons may not be compatible with RFID sensors or printer firmware updates, leading to “no ribbon” or “unknown ribbon” errors, thus preventing their use. Non-genuine ribbons are often made with sub-standard materials. Use of these materials can lead to low-quality images, rendering of colors inconsistently, and ribbons tearing and sticking to card surfaces, all of which can also cause damage to the print-head.

Why are high-quality consumables such a big deal?

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. Find a trustworthy, authorized dealer for your printer consumables and rest assured that your printer investment will be protected.

How to Clear a Card Jam in a Zebra ZXP Series 7 Printer

Card jams are an occasional problem with any PVC card printer. Zebra has made it easy to clear a jam from their ZXP Series 7 printers. Watch the short video below for a quick guide on the process.

As always, if you have trouble clearing a jam or any other concerns with your ZXP Series 7 or any other card printer, call our experts at +1 888.485.4696.

The 4 Items Your Business Needs to Get Started with Printed Cards

Printed PVC ID-cards are a great business asset in many industries. Identification cards add security or a professional touch to your business. These cards can be as simple as a name tag, or they can include complex security features such as holograms or smart chips. Gift or loyalty cards help to create and maintain brand recognition for customers. No matter what your goal is for your cards, you need to start with 4 basic supplies:

zxp-quikcard-bundle-medium__45323_zoom

Zebra ZXP Series 3 QuikCard Bundle

  1. Plastic-card printer. Available from multiple manufacturers, these specialized printers come in a variety of configurations, and are designed to meet most any need, from a few cards a month to hundreds of cards a day.
  2. Print Ribbon. Ribbons layer colors over a blank card to create the image and text you have designed. They come in a variety of monochrome colors, or full-color options.
  3. Blank Cards. PVC cards are available in myriad colors and security options including smart chip, magnetic stripe, or thin adhesive-backed stickers that can be applied to thick, non-printable proximity cards.
  4. Card Design & Printing Software. There are multiple brands of of software available from many developers, and that are specifically designed to simplify the design and production of printed PVC cards. Basic software versions all support creation and printing of photo-ID cards, whether single- or dual-sided, and features like simple bar-codes. The more advanced software versions support multi-user environments and shared databases, live-links to existing databases, and even the direct encoding of proximity access cards and RFID smart cards.

There are combinations of these four items to meet every budget and need, and is an investment that can pay off dividends for one’s business.

At Safe-Card ID Services we strive to help our customers find solution to address their expressed requirements. We offer many pre-configured bundles that include all of the above items in well-matched combinations. Our experts also specialize in creating custom bundles to meet the specific needs of our clients. For those with smaller scale needs or who do not want to invest in a printer system, our service bureau offers custom cards printed to order.

Let us answer your questions about getting started in card printing. Our experts are always available for a free consultation toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada). We look forward to hearing from you!

Handling PVC Cards for Best Results

Why Care in Handling PVC Cards is Important

Properly handling PVC cards will give you better results by preventing dirt, hair, and grease from adhering to the card. To get the best results from your PVC cards, be careful in handling and storing unused stock. If handled improperly, the card’s surface will attract dust and lint. Additionally, touching the printable surfaces will transfer residual oils from the user’s fingers. The printing process can trap or embed dust and lint on the print surface, and ribbons used in card printers does not adhere to oily surfaces, resulting in poor quality photo IDs.

For best results, we recommend handling cards only by the edges or wearing nitrile gloves (un-powdered). Our service bureau team has found that it is relatively simple to place a small stack of cards into an input hopper while keeping their fingers off the cards’ surfaces, as demonstrated below.

Handling PVC Cards CarefullyHowever, when we handle a number of individual cards, we often use medical-style nitrile gloves to protect the surface of the card.

Handling PVC Cards with gloves

For more tips browse our TechTips Blog, or call our ID experts at +1 888.485.4696.

Evolis Primacy – How to Do a Routine Printer Cleaning

The following video provided by Evolis provides manufacturer instructions illustrating how to complete a routine printer cleaning with a cleaning card.

1. Open the printer lid on the top of the printer.
2. Remove the print ribbon.
3. Close the lid.
4. Open the card input hopper.
5. Remove all blank cards.
6. Shift the card thickness gauge to “MAX”.
7. Remove the adhesive strip from the cleaning card.
8. Place the cleaning card in the input hopper and leave the hopper door open.
9. Press the power button twice.
10. The card will be automatically cycled through the printer and ejected into the output hopper.
11. Remove the card from the output hopper and close the card output hopper.
12. Open the printer lid.
13. Replace the print ribbon and close the lid.
14. Return unused cards to the input hopper.
15. Return the thickness gauge to its correct setting and close the hopper door.

For information about the Evolis Primacy printer, please contact our ID card experts at +1 888.485.4696.

The Basics of Determining Which Type of Ribbon You Need

Let’s face it. There are a lot of options when you’re looking at printer ribbons. Sure, it can be pretty straightforward to determine whether you need a black monochrome (K) ribbon or a full color (YMCK) ribbon, but then you run into the Os, Ts, Fs, and other permutations of the color spectrum. This guide should help you sort through these options.

This is a great place for me to remind you, however, that you are always welcome to call us (toll-free: 1-888-485-4696) and have an expert walk you through this choice. Our first priority is getting you the equipment you need. For those of you who (like me) are a little averse to calling and would rather read, this (lengthy) one is for you:

Step 1: Determine what kind of printer you have. This is crucial to making sure that you get the right ribbon. These are even among the first questions we’ll ask you if you call!

a) The brand of the printer will determine the ribbon brand you need.
b) The model (i.e., Evolis Primacy) will determine what kinds of ribbons you can use.
c) If you have a single-side or dual-side printer, you will need ribbons that are compatible.
d) If you have a laminating module (if you have a Fargo DTC4500e with a laminating module you need different ribbons than if you have a Fargo DTC4500e without one!)

Step 2: Find out if you need ribbons that will print in multiple colors or just one. We have monochrome (one color!) ribbons available in a variety of different colors, so if you need something that you don’t see on our website, just call and we’ll help you out.

It may be tempting to order a full color ribbon “just in case” since black and other individual colors are included, but if all you need is a monochrome black ribbon, you’ll save yourself a lot of money if you just order the K or KO ribbon. In addition, if you are printing barcodes or QR codes, scanners will not consistently read black print that is derived from a combination of yellow, magenta, and cyan (YMC).

 

KO

Black Monochrome with Overlay Labeling

 

One more piece to consider in this step: on what color cards will you be printing? If you have bold or dark color cards, regular color or black ink will not be accurately rendered, so you want to look at a metallic monochrome such as silver, gold, or white-resin, to make sure that your content is clearly visible.

Step 3: Dual or single side printer. If you have a single side printer, you should steer clear of anything with a repeated color (YMCKK, YMCKOK, and YMCKTK are the most common). This extra K (black monochrome) indicates that your ribbon can print color on the front and monochrome black on the back in a single pass, which makes it perfect for most dual side printing. In our product descriptions, we’ve clearly indicated which ribbons can only be used for dual side printing to help you avoid this.

 

YMCKOK

Dual Side Full Color/Black Ribbon with Overlay Labeling

 

Luckily, for many folks, a YMCK(O/T) ribbon will work. While it looks like this will only print on one side, your dual side printer will simply use a second set of panels to print on both sides. What’s important to remember about this is that your dual side printer will only get half as many cards as the number of images indicated on the product page (because each side of the card counts as a different image).

**Reminder: If you’re printing a barcode on the back, make sure to set your print driver to only use the K panel when rendering full-black images on the back—barcode readers won’t consistently read the “composite” black mentioned above.**

 

YMCKO

Full Color Ribbon with Overlay Labeling

 

Step 4: Determine what method your printer uses to get the color onto the card. There are two common ones.

a) Direct-to-Card printing: This method transfers ink directly to the card. If you print in color, and don’t have a separate UV overlay that you’re applying, make sure to purchase a ribbon that includes an overlay (O) panel. The UV resistant overlays and varnishes protect the color images on your cards, which will otherwise fade in as little as a few days when exposed to direct sun.
b) Transfer printing: This method prints a reverse image on the underside of the film then fuses the film to the card, negating the need for the overlay panel included on many ribbons (the transfer-film IS the overlay too).
c) I know! I said two! But lamination isn’t a method of getting ink onto your cards. It does, however, provide protection for your image and also keeps you from needing a separate overlay panel on your ribbon cartridge. So if, for example, you’re using an HDP5000 with the laminating option, you can use just the YMCK ribbon, with the lamination layer serving as your UV shield.

This covers the basics of what you need to know to order ribbons for your card printers. If your business has more advanced needs (such as holographic film or fluorescing ribbons), please call to speak to one of our experts at 1-888-485-4696. If you have follow-up questions or would just like more information about a specific option, drop a note in the comments.