Tag Archives: wrong ribbon

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Out-of-Date Firmware

You could have out-of-date firmware on your printer.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  A printer with outdated firmware will be unable to validate ribbons that have this new encoding and reject them, returning a “wrong ribbon” error.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).

Persona C30e – Wrong Ribbon Error

A wrong ribbon error received on a Fargo Persona C30 or C30e card printer usually is caused by an incorrect printer driver setting. Below, we will detail how to correct this error by adjusting the settings in Windows.

Adjusting Print Driver Settings with Printing Preferences

** Note – to make the changes referenced below, your Windows logon ID must have administrative privileges, or have elevated privileges sufficient to allow for the modification of device drivers. **

To correct the Persona C30/C30e wrong ribbon error, you will first need to locate the device driver settings. You can access the via the “Devices and Printers” screen, accessible through Windows’ “Control Panel”. (For legacy users still operating Windows XP, use the “Printers and Faxes” screen, also accessed via “Control Panel”.) Once you’ve opened this screen, locate and right-click on the Persona C30/C30e printer, the highlight and left-click “Printing Preferences”.

Screenshot of Printer and Faxes Window, fixing a C30e wrong ribbon error
When the Printing Preferences window opens, select 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 automatically set the driver to the correct ribbon type by clicking the “Auto Ribbon Select” check-box. After selecting the correct ribbon type, click the “Apply”, then “OK” buttons to save any changes. (** Note – if the “Apply” and/or “OK” buttons are grayed out and non-functional, this indicates that you do not have the required Windows privileges to make driver changes.)

Next, close the program from which you print your cards, then restart it. This will allow that program to recognize and utilize the new driver setting.

Screenshot of Device Options Tab, fixing a C30e wrong ribbon error


If you are unsure which ribbon type you use, locate the part number on the original box. Compare that number to the ribbon configuration options, below, setting the driver to the one appropriate for that ribbon. For example, if the box indicates a Fargo #044200, set the driver to “YMCKO – Full Color/Resin Black/Overlay”.

C30/C30e Ribbon Colors and Part Numbers

Wrong Ribbon Error Still Not Resolved?

For more information about wrong ribbon errors in Fargo printers, please visit this post on the topic, which covers several other potential 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.

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. You can reach our ID-card experts toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (from the US or Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 (elsewhere).

Safe-Card ID Services is an authorized dealer and service center for Fargo printers, Asure ID software, and related supplies.

HID Global is a leading global provider of secure identity products and services under the Fargo, Asure ID and HID brand names.