Tales from the Intake Department: Fargo Uptrade Edition

The Fargo UpTrade Program: Credit for Any Printer

We recently received a trade-in printer after one of our clients took advantage of the excellent Fargo UpTrade program. One of the best features of this program is that you can receive a credit for a printer in ANY condition. In this particular case, that included evidence that rats had been inside the printer (at SCID, we’re pretty grateful that rat poop is rarely part of our job description). Luckily for our client, this doesn’t even affect the credit they receive for trading in their old printer.

Fargo UpTrade Program

If you’re looking sideways at your old printer right now, you aren’t alone. Let us help you replace it and get some money back for your current printer, regardless of condition. Generally, however, we recommend keeping your systems rodent-free; they tend to last longer. 😉

The Safe-Card ID Service Promise

Another benefit of using the Fargo UpTrade program through us? Safe-Card ID is proud to offer free telephone-based support for our clients. Our experts are happy to help clients with any update issues, or to answer any questions about the information above! For more information and help determining what new printer best suits your needs contact one of our experts at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704-535-5200 from other locations. You may also browse our online printer catalog.

SwiftID Card Software from HID Global

SwiftID is an ID-card design program that comes free with new Fargo DTC1250e, Fargo DTC4250e, and Fargo DTC4500e printers. The software is a no-frills option for designing and printing basic cards. SwiftID is installed with the Fargo Workbench Utility program, which is included on the product CD/DVD packed with each printer. The Workbench Utility can also be downloaded for free directly from the HID/Fargo website.

SwiftID offers basic card-design and printing options for items such as visitor cards or loyalty cards. There is no database available with this application, meaning that it does not store card data after printing. Instead the program erases data when you begin a new card or exit the program. Therefore, we do not recommend SwiftID if you have to retain, recall and reprint cards.

SwiftID also relies on some features built into each printer’s firmware. As such, only one user or PC can access it at a time, a significant limitation for a network-connected printer. In these cases, users will have to develop a method to ensure only one user prints cards at a time. (Ethernet connectivity is optional on the DTC1250e, and standard on the DTC4250e and DTC4500e).

Prerequisites for use of SwiftID include use of Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 on the host PC, and an installed copy of the Fargo Workbench Utility. HID/Fargo’s technical support group handles support for both applications directly.

Additional Limitations:

In addition to the items mentioned above, SwiftID has a limited font selection available and no ability to print bar-codes. It also cannot encode mag-stripes or proximity access or smart cards. Clients with these additional requirements are advised to purchase Asure ID, a more advanced software offering from HID Global.

Need more info?

For additional information about SwiftID, or current Fargo printer models and options, please contact our ID experts toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (from US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 (elsewhere).

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.

How to Clean a Fargo HDP5000 Retransfer Printer

HID Global has provided a video guide on how to clean a Fargo HDP5000 printer. In it, you will see the contents of the cleaning kit as well as how to run the cleaning process. To clean your HDP5000, you will need a 089200 cleaning kit, your computer, and the printer. Before beginning any cleaning process, remove the retransfer film, print film, and card input hopper.

We recommend that you run the basic cleaning process every 1000 cards in order to keep your printer in optimal working condition:

  1. Open the cleaning kit and remove the adhesive backed card.
  2. Remove the paper backing and place the card at the entrance to the printer input feed.
  3. In your PC’s start menu, open “Devices and Printers.”
  4. Right click on the HDP5000 and choose “Printing preferences.”
  5. Within this window, click the “Toolbox” button on the bottom left, then open the “Clean Printer” tab.
  6. Review the instructions provided to make sure that you are prepared to run the cleaning process, then click the “Clean” button at the bottom of the window.

Less frequently (we recommend every 3000 cards), run the alcohol cleaning card:

  1. Open the card and insert it into the input hopper.
  2. Hold the card in place and press the forward button for 10 seconds.
  3. Continue to hold the card and press the back button for 10 seconds.
  4. Feed the card through the printer by pressing the forward button until the card exits the printer.

To clean the printhead (also every 3000 cards, we recommend completing this process with the alcohol cleaning process detailed above):

  1. Disconnect the printer power supply.
  2. Open the printhead cleaning swab.
  3. Open the front panel of the printer.
  4. Remove the ribbon.
  5. Squeeze to saturate the tip of the cleaning swab.
  6. Firmly wipe across the surface of the printhead.

After finishing any cleaning process, replace the ribbon and retransfer film and close the front panel.

To clean the outside of the printer, use the cleaning pad provided in the cleaning kit. Additionally, each new film cartridge comes with a cleaning roller, which is inserted at the input feed. We recommend changing that roller every time you change the film in order to keep your printer at its cleanest.

As always, if you have any questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our experts at +1 704.535.5200 or +1 888.485.4696.

Incompatibility Issue with Certain Evolis Premium Suite and Firmware Versions

Evolis has found an incompatibility issue with some versions of Evolis Premium Suite and some printer firmware versions. Affected users will see an “offline” printer and can correct the issue by following the Evolis Premium Suite update instructions below.


The printer appears as “offline” in the supervision mode in the Evolis Print Center. Communication with the printer and printing are not possible.

Printers affected:

  • Evolis Zenius
  • Evolis Primacy
  • Evolis Elypso
  • Evolis KC200 et Evolis KC200B

Evolis Premium Suite versions affected:

  •          (Published 10-July-2015)
  •          (Published 27-Aug-2015)
  •          (Published 25-Sept-2015)
  •          (Published 14-Oct-2015)
  •          (Published 19-Nov-2015)

 Printer firmware versions affected:

  • 1607 (or above)

Beginning with Evolis Premium Suite version “” (published 13-Jan-2016), Evolis has solved this incompatibility error.

Evolis recommends updating Evolis Premium Suite in case the printer appears to be “Offline” in the Evolis Print Center, or in any instance of a client running one of the driver or firmware versions identified above. Following this recommendation will solve the incompatibility problem and may prevent it before it starts.

Clients should use the “Update Verification Wizard”, available from Evolis Print Center | Tools | Update Verification Wizard, to install the latest version of Evolis Premium Suite, and the latest printer firmware. The Update Verification Wizard requires access to the internet so it can connect to and retrieve the most recent updates from the Evolis website. If the host PC is not connected to the internet or you have any trouble following these instructions, please contact Safe-Card ID Services for assistance in retrieving and applying the necessary updates.

These kinds of compatibility issues are why we offer free lifetime support for a printer purchased from us! Our support technicians are available at +1 704.535.5200, or toll-free from the US and Canada at +1 888.485.4696.

Levels of Security: 5, Biometric Authentication

Welcome to the fifth, and final, installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode & magnetic stripe cards, proximity access devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

biometric authentication is the highest level of access control securityBiometric authentication uses a reader to scan and verify identity using a unique physical attribute. The most common are fingerprints, palm prints, facial scans, and iris scans. New technologies include scans of the shape of the skull and of the interior of the ear canal.

For access control, these methods of authentication are most often used with another method, playing on the security adage that the most secure “key” is “something you have, something you know, and something you are”.  An ID card (of any level) or key serve the purpose of being an exclusive item one has. Biometric markers, which are unique to the person seeking entry, is something they are. Often keypads or password encryption serve as “something you know”. Verifying identity through biometrics prevents security breaches based on theft of cards or other access devices or recreation of credentials using stolen data, as the person who uses the device is as important as the device itself.

Companies also use biometrics to help protect data and to provide appropriate access. Many devices use fingerprints instead of passwords as an unchanging piece of data that restricts access to the appropriate user. This technology provides the option for targeted, instead of widespread, use of biometric authentication. Some programs require the input of a password and verification of a user’s biometric data before allowing access to secure information. This solution can provide an incremental security increase, rather than outfitting an entire facility for biometric scanning.

Certain industries have also begun using biometric scans to store user data: hospitals such as Carolinas Medical Centers use palm scans to ensure that medical records are accurate and secure. Many school systems have begun using thumbprint scanners to link student lunch accounts. This replaces a card (which students often lose) or code (which students sometimes forget and slows down the lunch line).

Concerns about Biometric Authentication

The use of biometrics is still controversial. Many people worry about someone stealing or hacking into this secure information, extending the privacy problems that plague technology companies. Companies address this concern in multiple ways. Many do not store biometric information. Instead, they use a computer algorithm to create a unique identifying number derived from the biometric scan. This number is then associated with the user. Others keep the biometric information stored on a device rather than in a database. Banks that use biometric authentication in mobile apps store the user’s information on the device rather than in a database. The same can be done with smart cards. The chip in a contact or contactless smart card has enough storage space to store the data required to verify the cardholder’s identity, which eliminates the need to keep information in a centrally controlled (and thus target-rich) access control database.

Thank you for following along with our series on access control security. As always, feel free to contact one of our experts for more information 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.



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).

Levels of Security: 4, Contact and Contactless Smart Cards

Welcome to the fourth installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode & magnetic stripe cards, proximity access devices, contact and contactless RFID or smart cards, and biometric authentication.

Contactless Smart Cards

Contact and contactless smart cards are the second highest level of authenticationContactless smart cards use high-frequency radio frequency identification, or RFID, and afford stepped-up security (vs. standard proximity cards) by employing a memory chip that can store more information. These larger capacity chips allow users to store and encrypt more data than before, making it more secure. While typical applications use readers limited to 1 foot or less, the technology can read card data from as far as 30 feet. Like standard proximity devices, RFID credentials do not need a direct “line of sight” from the reader. As a result, readers can access these devices through clothing, and even packaging (such as in a box, pocket, wallet or purse).

A few examples of common applications for contactless RFID devices include:

  • use of RFID-enabled ID cards or fobs for access-control through secured doors or vehicle access to controlled parking areas;
  • storage of computer-network access credentials and authorization levels;
  • access to pharmaceutical cabinets and dispensaries;
  • medical and healthcare applications vary from tracking inventory and patients, to confirming correct medication dispensing, and out-of-bed/fall detection;
  • tracking of retail goods for stock/inventory control, and anti-theft systems;
  • contact-less payment systems, linked to your credit-card or bank-account (i.e. – Apple Pay(TM) )

If you are considering use of RFID credentials, be aware that there are privacy concerns regarding their data storage. Because these devices are compatible with long-range scanners, they are susceptible to reading without the holder’s knowledge. This opens the door (pardon the pun!) for duplication and for skimming of information that should remain private. As a result, some users wrap their cards in aluminum foil or use RFID blocking wallets to prevent unauthorized reading.

Contact Smart Cards

Contact-type smart cards carry a chip with exposed contacts, which a user must insert into a reader for data to be read or retrieved from the memory chip. This type of card is slightly more secure in that it prevents skimming in the manner described above. Access control applications can use these devices, but they are still more common in payment application. In fact, if you live in the United States and have bank-issued credit- or ATM-cards, you most likely now have a card of this type today, as all US institutions were required to adopt these more-secure cards within the past year.

Check back soon for our next post in the series, regarding the highest level of access control security: biometric authentication.

Levels of Security Series: 3, Proximity Access Devices

Welcome to the third installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we will be investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode & magnetic stripe cards, proximity access devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

Proximity Access Devices are a mid-level security measureClients whose facilities need a moderate degree of security may find their best solution in proximity access devices. Organizations issue these devices, which take the form of cards, key-fobs, or stick-on (adhesive) disks, to individual users. Each device includes a tiny computer chip that houses a small amount of data custom-programmed for a facility. These credentials allow an installed access control system to determine if the device holder has the required permission to access a facility.

Prior to the introduction of access-control systems, organizations would provide key copies to their employees, or have full-time receptionists, or employee security guards as ways to manage access.

Benefits of Using Proximity Access Devices

  • Unlike keys, access control systems can operate on schedules. For example, a key-card or fob can allow access to buildings only Monday thru Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Other devices and individuals can have their own unique schedules.
  • Also unlike keys, with proximity access devices, you can immediately and remotely “turn off” or modify access areas and times. This means that if an organization needs to change an individual’s access, it can do so quickly, without affecting any other device holder. This includes restricting access to certain facilities or to certain days or times. In the “old days”, if  an employee’s access need to be changed, locks were changed and new keys issued. As you can imagine, this was a considerable expense!
  • If the proximity access device is a printable ISO card, it can double as the employee’s photo ID. This provides both a visual identity check and a physical access-control check, further enhancing security.
  • Proximity access device readers can work with optional modules, such as numeric key-pads, requiring input of a second-form of authentication. Often used on exterior doors, these combinations help to prevent unauthorized entry should someone find a lost credential.

As technology has developed, more secure options have been introduced which can store more data and are more difficult to be scanned and copied. We will explore those options in coming installments. But, for organizations with a need for flexible security controls, while maintaining relatively low or moderate costs, the access-control systems and proximity devices are the perfect solution.


Levels of Security Series: 2, Barcode and Magnetic Stripe Cards

Welcome to the second installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode and magnetic stripe cards, proximity devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

Barcode and Magnetic Stripe Cards are an easy way to add security elements to your IDsFacilities in need of a low-moderate security solution may find that ID cards printed with a bar-code, or with an encoded magnetic stripe, fill their needs. Like the previous level’s solution, these options are still relatively easy to implement and low cost. Facilities that do not require this level of security should refer to the first post in this series: Printed PVC Cards.

Often our clients can meet other needs by making enhancements to their regular ID cards. Some commonly available technologies allow for many uses of these enhanced cards.

  • Restaurants and factories, for example, often use time-clock applications. Employees clock in and out by “swiping” card through a reader connected to the payroll system.
  • Many schools, colleges and universities have moved to a “one-card” system. This system allows students to obtain meals in cafeterias, access a library, or make purchases by presenting an authorized card.
  • Medical service providers’ EHR (electronic health-record) systems often require dual-factor authentication to log in. By equipping system computers with readers for barcode and magnetic stripe cards and appropriate access control software, the employee’s ID card can double as the required second-factor authority.

Barcode Cards

The barcode category includes traditional “1D” bar-codes, “2D” bar-codes, or QR codes. These codes created by selecting a font that transforms an alphanumeric code into a lined or pixelated image. These images are printed onto the card and can be scanned by specialized readers or by smartphone applications. This solution requires a database of some kind that associates the unique graphical code with the pertinent information. A significant limitation here is that barcodes can be photocopied. This can result in unauthorized access if secondary security measures are not put in place.

Magnetic Stripe Cards

Magnetic Stripe CardsThe magnetic stripe card can store a very limited amount of information, such as an account, employee, or student ID number, dollar amount (or other financial balance), & other encoded information. These early versions of modern smart cards are less secure than newer options due to technological advances. The technology used in them makes these a slightly higher-cost option than “plain” PVC cards. In addition, they require specialized readers and a computer program to interpret and act on the stored data.

Customers who print larger quantities of cards or who would like to be able to issue cards immediately may find that an investment in a printer and supplies is beneficial. For small organizations or those who do not want to maintain cards themselves, our service bureau is able to print cards on demand for a reasonable fee.

Barcode and magnetic stripe cards are excellent solutions for organizations with modest functional needs and low to moderate security requirements. Both options provide a way for customers or patrons to recognize the authority of the person wearing the card. And all ID badge solutions add the benefit of a sense of visual cohesion in any work, school, or healthcare environment.