Zebra Thermal Printer Print Quality Troubleshooting

There are a few common issues/repairs on the Zebra thermal printers. The printhead and platen are both parts that wear out with use and can be damaged by well-intentioned but uninformed end users and improper maintenance.

One of the most common things to come across my bench is a platen that has been cut up by an end user removing media with a razor blade. Never use a razor blade to cut labels off of the machine. Another common issue with platens is uneven wear across the platen due to using media that is not the full width of the platen. This can lead to poor print quality due to uneven pressure across the printhead.

The easiest issue to diagnose is a cut platen, even if a cut is small it can lead to voids in print as the cut can cause a loss of pressure at the print line. To check for cuts on the platen remove labels from the machine and perform a visual inspection on the platen by rotating it manually (while the printer is turned off). If you are not sure if there is a cut or just a mark on the platen, apply pressure with a fingertip and drag your finger perpendicular to the mark, if it is a cut you should feel it open up under your fingertip.

To determine if you have uneven wear on your platen, open the printhead and remove the labels. Simply place a fingertip on one end of the platen, and lightly rub your finger from left to right, and back again, if you feel anything that feels like a ridge or bump, then odds are you have uneven wear on your platen.

It is also possible for your platen to wear out from use without a ridge or obvious physical signs of wear. If you find yourself adjusting the toggle pressure on the printhead, or turning your darkness up, it may indicate that the platen is worn down.

If any of these conditions are met in your printer, it is necessary to replace the platen, as the printhead may be damaged, and print quality will be affected. For instructions on replacing the platen, please check out the video we have on our YouTube channel.

Printheads and print quality issues are also a common issue on thermal printers. It is common for a user to buy a printer that has a wider print area than the media the user needs. When this happens, it is possible for the edge of the narrower media to cause wear on the printhead. It is also common for wear to occur when the printhead toggle pressure is too high, or there is damage to the platen.

Wear mark on a thermal printhead.

The first step in diagnosing this is to clean the printhead. Simply take a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, and wipe from left to right until the paper towel stops picking up ink from the printhead. Cleaning the printhead may solve minor print quality issues. The most obvious signs of wear are dead dots on the printhead, but often there are visual signs of wear as well, such as wear spots in the conformal coating of the print element. These visual cues can be obscured by ink buildup on the printhead, so be sure to clean it with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol before the inspection. Also, be sure to clean the printhead any time you swap out the ribbon or media, and any time you make contact with the print line of the printhead, as oils on the skin can reduce printhead life.

If you have dead dots or wear on your printhead, they can be replaced, however, a trained technician is recommended for this job, as the printhead may require mechanical alignment/adjustments to ensure proper print quality. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact MRP for more details.

How a Managed Inventory System can help you save time and money

As a parts buyer, you have a tough job.

The Service Manager wants you to find the highest quality parts at the most economical price point for next day delivery, regardless of how late they gave you the order. You’ve got to coordinate shipping between various vendors and the customers site or a hold location. And then there’s the headache of getting the defective part back from the field service engineer. Even if you do get it back, you still must deal with shipping the part out for repair and following up with the repair center to have it returned to you.

What if there was a way to make this process easier, thereby taking some of the stress off you? This is where an established Managed Inventory System can help. Let’s look at how the system works.


At Midrange Repair & Parts we have developed a Managed Inventory System that can ease the daily burden of parts management.

The system starts with a seed stock of inventory to maintain the products your company has under maintenance. This seed stock is determined by the type of machines being maintained, the quantity of machines, and the common failure items for these machines. When we build a program for a customer, we’ll ask for this information and provide the customer with recommended stock levels. The customer will then transfer the appropriate quantity of inventory to our warehouse location for storage. We receive the items into a virtual warehouse for that specific customer, recording the part number, serial number and condition of each item. The condition of the item will indicate a status of defective, repaired, or unrepairable. As a customer you’ll be able to access our customer portal to check the status of all your inventory.

When you need one of your parts, you’ll send an order to your MRP Account Executive who will start the order process. They’ll create a Sales Order to ship the part to your customer’s site or to a hold location for your Field Service Engineer to pick up. They’ll also include an Authorized Return Shipment (ARS) label with the package and instructions for your engineer to return the defective part to our repair facility. The first time your seed stock ships out you’ll only be charged for shipping. If the part we ship was originally defective and we repaired it, you’ll be invoiced for the repair work as well as the shipping charges.

We’ll monitor the ARS labels and watch for your Field Service Engineer to return the defective core part. When it arrives, we’ll receive it back into your inventory as defective for future repair.

Once a week we run a usage report to monitor which parts were used in the preceding 30-day period. The report shows us what was used, what you have in repaired inventory, what you have in defective inventory and what items should be repaired. This ensures we always have 30-days part usage repaired and ready to ship. By the way, we can ship your parts as late as 6:00 pm Central Time Monday through Friday.


So, how does this make your life easier? Let’s look at how most companies handle their inventory problems.

Purchase Only – Some companies purchase the parts they need either outright or on exchange. If you purchase the part on exchange it’s on you to make sure your Field Service Engineer sends the board back to you. This means either you’re tasked with managing the core exchanges for your various vendors or you’ll need a co-worker to help you manage them. Neither way is efficient or cost-effective.

Additionally, if you purchased the board outright, you’ll still want to get the defective board back from your engineer. If it’s a popular or valuable board you may decide to send them out to be repaired, assuming you don’t have your own depot repair center.

Having your stock repaired as needed – Depending on the size of your company and the volume of your maintenance contracts you may have decided to manage your own parts inventory. Now you’re having to manage two inventories, one for good stock and one for defective stock. You’ll need to monitor your parts usage, project your future usage, determine what defective parts to send for repair and in what quantities and follow up with your vendors as to the status of those repairs. You’ll also need to track and receive the repaired boards as they come back to you and receive them into good usable inventory. This just adds more work to your already busy schedule as well as a variety of added expenses.

The first improvement you’ll see when using our service is in cost savings. Having your boards repaired can save you up to 75% over the cost of purchasing boards. You only pay for parts that ship which means you don’t have to outlay money for inventory until it’s needed while reducing exposure to inventory write-downs.

The second improvement you’ll see with a Managed Inventory System involves time and efficiency. When you entrust us to manage your inventory and your repairs, you’ll find you have more time to take care of tracking down those hard to find purchases.

We’ll keep track of all your parts, both defective and repaired. Your parts can be shipped at a moments notice until 6:00 pm CST Monday through Friday. We monitor your usage and repair your defective inventory accordingly. You’ll see a savings in both time and money within a very short time period.

Call your MRP Account Executive today and see what we can do for you!

MRP is Printonix Largest Authorized Spare Parts Reseller

Printronix Parts

Printronix Parts

MRP is Printonix Largest Authorized Spare Parts Reseller

Contact MRP for Pricing 708-597-4222

(May 30, 2013) – At MRP we are proud to be Printronix’s largest Authorized Spare Parts Reseller in the world for the last ten years. MRP provides genuine Printronix parts at value pricing, with same day shipping. This is only part of the reason for our success.  MRP has a teams of Printronix technical and sales specialist available to you to assist you in diagnosing your issue and selecting the correct parts.

Let MRP show you why we are number one. If it is genuine Printronix Parts, Supplies or Products  you need, come to MRP.  The Printroix leader for over ten years.


DASCOM Americas announces new TD2600 Series Serial Matrix Printers

TD2600 Serial Matrix Printer

TD2600 Serial Matrix Printer

DASCOM® Americas announces new TD2600 Serial Matrix Printers

New Models bring impressive features at aggressive price points

Contact MRP for Pricing 708-597-4222

(May 14, 2013 – Waynesboro, VA) DASCOM® Americas, a recognized leader in complete business printing solutions and marketer of Tally® and Tally DASCOM® serial matrix, specialty, and thermal printers today announced several new feature-rich mid-range printers in the Tally DASCOM® 2600 narrow and wide carriage models.

The printers boast an impressive array of features including standard connectivity choices of Parallel, USB, and Ethernet (10/100 BaseT).

With print speeds up to 680 characters per second and a duty cycle that supports a workload of up to 20,000 pages per month, the 2600 series is well positioned to address needs in the mid-range transaction print market.

Chuck Ward, DASCOM® Americas’ Product Manager says of the 2600 series; “These printers combine the best in speed and feed choices to give users a real value with great flexibility.  Continuous and cut forms are fed at the front for quick and easy loading, the 24 pin print head produces excellent print quality and clarity, and the broad range of connectivity that is standard on the printers make them extremely versatile.”

Juan Vidaurrazaga, Vice President of Sales, adds; “The 2600 series printers really offer users the best of both worlds.  The product will be affordably priced, but have many key features that address not only functionality and durability, but ease of operation as well.  For example, the models have the ability to print up to 6 part forms, a print head rated at 500 million dots per wire, a host of interface choices, and a liquid crystal display operation panel.  Further, the 2600 is available in both narrow and wide carriage offerings so users can select either 80 or 136 column printer models.  This all combines to make the 2600 series one of our most exciting products.”

The printer is available through MRP 708-597-4222

IBM 6500-V1p Printer Special

http://www.theMRPsolution.com is the place to find all your IT Infrastructure Products, Parts and Service needs.


Product Description

Meet the demands of your work environment with the high-performing IBM Infoprint 6500 V1P line printer. This industrial line printer can print high-quality text at up to 500 lpm. The Infoprint 6500 V1P will reduce per page costs and comes at an extremely low total cost of ownership. Watch your efficiency skyrocket with IBM’s Printer Management Utility software. With optional Ethernet and Wireless Ethernet capabilities, the 6500 V1P provides improved versatility, allowing printing in almost any part of the office. The IBM Infoprint 6500 V1P is just what your business needs with reduced printing costs and better efficiency.