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:
A piece of dust, dirt or debris is stuck to the printhead;
The printhead has physical damage (such as a scratch or a nick);
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).
It is common for our technical staff to hear a customer call and wonder why there is a white clear line across the ID cards that they are printing with their ID card printer. Following are pictures of two types of white lines on printed ID cards.
The white line in the above picture across the card is wide and is caused by physical damage to the printhead.
The light thin straight line across the card is normally caused by a bad pixel in the printhead. Although a line this thin can be caused by a damaged printhead, it is usually due to a burned out pixel.
To correct either of these problems, the printhead assembly needs to be replaced. For information about Fargo printer printhead replacements with the Fargo DTC550 or other Fargo printer models, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.
The following procedures provided from technical support personel are offered to balance the printhead pressure on the DTC-550 series printers. You may need to balance the printhead when the edges of the top or bottom of the the plastic ID card print too light.
Warning! Remove all jewelry, rings, watches, bracelets etc. from your wrists and hands before beginning work with the printhead. The printing edge is extremely fragile and is easily damaged. It is strongly advised that you work in a static protected area.
Loosen but, do not remove, the two peel off bar hold down screws. DO NOT let the peel-off bar come into contact with the printing edge as it may result in damage that can seriously affect print quality.
To balance the printhead pressure, either lower the end of the printhead that is printing light or raise the opposite end of the printhead. Typically, the printhead is assembled with the print edge at its lowest point making it necessary to raise the end of the print edge that is opposite the light edge. Usually about 1/64 of an inch is sufficient. Raising or lowering the print edge too much will result in a light edge on the opposite side of the card.
After loosening the two peel off bar hold down screws, only loosen the printhead mounting screw on the end of the printhead that you wish to raise or lower. DO NOT loosen the other printhead mounting screw.
Using a small pocket sized screwdriver, carefully pry the head of the loosened printhead mounting screw to raise or lower that end of the printhead.
After balancing the printhead pressure it may be necessary to adjust the ribbon peel-off bar to maximize print quality.
Please consult with the ID card integrator 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.
Magicard printers can often be serviced by the user. Magicard has developed a number of videos to illustrate how to keep your printer in top running condition. The following video illustrates how to replace a printhead in a Magicard ID card printer.
1. Switch off the printer and unplug the power lead.
2. Open the printer and gently disconnect the cable connector from the printhead.
3. Using a screwdriver, unscrew the printhead fasterner.
4. Be carefuly not to touch the printing edge.
5. Unhook the printhead.
6. Hook the new printhead into position and secure it.
7. Gently push the connector into position.
8. Make sure a ribbon is in place. Clost the lid and switch the printer on.
9. A steady green light indicated you can start printing.
For more information about Magicard printer models, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.
For best ID badge printer performance, it is recommended that you keep your printer as clean as possible. To keep the printhead free of any dust particles, follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning schedule. The following Evolis video displays how to clean the printhead with a cotton swab from your Evolis cleaning kit.
1. Unplug the power cable to power off the printer.
2. Open the printer cover.
3. Use a cotton swab from your cleaning kit and press the center of the tube until it clicks and releases the cleaning product.
4. Gently apply the cotton swab onto the printhead moving it from left to right and for a few seconds.
5. Close the cover.
6. Wait a couple of minutes before using the printer until the cleaning product has dried.
7. Reconnect the power cable.
If you are interested in information about the Evolis Pebble printer or other Evolis printers available, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.
Magicard printers provide printed identification cards for both small organization and large card printing needs, such as a government issued ID card or financial cards from banks. The embedded video provided by Magicard begins at the point of the cleaning process that shows how to clean the printer’s printhead.
This process is important to keep the internal printing mechanisms free from dirt, dust and oils that may reduce the quality of the card output.
Steps for Printhead Cleaning
1. The printhead needs cleaning when traces of ribbon or lines are seen on the printed cards.
2. Take the cleaning pen.
3. Open the printer and pass the cleaning pen across the length of the printhead.
For additional information about Magicard printer models or id badge printers, contact our ID card experts at 888-485-4696.
If you are experiencing one of more thin white lines that travel the entire length of a printed card and the problem persists with every card, it is possible that you have a chipped, scratched or externally damaged printhead. It is also possible that it could be a blown pixel in the printhead.
To see if the printhead is damaged:
1. Clean the printer. Make sure to take special care when using the printhead cleaning pen to remove any particles stuck to the printhead.
2. Visually inspect the printhead for any remaining dirt.
3. Attempt to reprint one of the cards.
4. If the problem still persists, carefully remove the printhead.
5. Using a magnifying glass, inspect the glass edge of the printhead for scratches, chips or external damage.
6. If no damage is noticed, the printhead may have a blown pixel.
Printheads are only warrantied by evaluation processes through Fargo technical support. RMAs are needed for an evaluation to occur. If you see visible damage on your printhead, it will not be covered under your warranty, and you must purchase a new printhead.
For more information about Fargo printers and the Fargo DTC550 printer, our ID card experts can be reached at 888-485-4696.
Fargo ID card printers use a printhead to burn color onto the PVC card as it passes through the printer. This process produces the colorful identification cards and membership cards that you carry in your wallet.
Occasionally, it is necessary to replace the printhead. You will often need to replace the printhead when you see a small white horizontal line consistently in your printed cards.
The replacement printhead as a one year limited warranty. The replacement warranty is subject to review by Fargo Electronics Technical Support Team.
This means that the printhead would need to be returned to Fargo by way of an RMA. If they deem that the printhead was internally defective, they warranty the part. Shipping charges are the responsibility of the customer.
If you have additional questions about this warranty or other card printer questions, contact our id card experts toll free at 888-485-4696. For additional information about the Fargo DTC400e, Persona C30e or other Fargo printers, let our ID card experts provide you with a free consultation.