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FAQ's - Fargo Printers

  1. How should I set up and install my Fargo ID Card Printer?
  2. What kinds of cards can I print on?
  3. How do I adjust the card separator?
  4. How do I print a self test?
  5. What is thermal transfer overlaminate?
  6. What is PolyGuard overlaminate?
  7. How should I store and handle the cards and ribbons? How should the printer be cleaned and how often? How do I install the printer driver?
  8. How should the printer be cleaned and how often?
  9. How do I install the printer driver?

1. How should I set up and install my Fargo ID Card Printer?

This chec list is designed to be most helpful to those who install printer and computer systems in the field. Although this list can't possibly cover every aspect of an installation, it can provide important tips to reduce trouble and downtime. We suggest that you print a similar chec list for your installation technicians when they go to a job site. Before removing any items, examine the packaging for shipping damage, and document any smashed corners or broken sides. Document the serial numbers, part numbers and model numbers from each package before opening. Also, document the invoice numbers and dates from each package. Remove any jewelry or rings from fingers and wrists to avoid scratching painted surfaces or damaging the printhead. As with any other electronic device, practice established ESD procedures for handling electronic equipment. Refer to the Operator's Manuals for details. Wear appropriate attire to reduce the potential of static discharge. Avoid wearing clothing which may contain nylon, polyester or wool. Properly ground yourself to the metal chassis of the product before approaching any semi-conductor devices, including the thermal printhead of the printer. Unpack one item at a time. Keep track of manuals, cables and disks, and keep any loose articles with the appropriate components. Document any floppy disk software names and version numbers. Verify that the serial number on each item matches the serial number from the packaging and any documents. Document computer hardware and software configurations. Include computer type, amount of RAM, hard drive capacity and speed. Also include what peripherals are connected, length of parallel cable, any switch boxes, mouse type, monitor video card, sound cards, network cards, UPS and surge protectors and any other items. Each ID Card Printer includes the following: (1) Operator's Manual, (1) Windows printer driver disk, (1) 32-Bit Print Spooler diskette, (1) Cleaning Roller Assembly (installed) and (1) power cord. Document the version number from the printer driver for future reference. Examine the printer (and other components of the system) for surface damage that may have occurred in shipping, and document them completely. Create a clean work space for handling ribbons and cards. Wash your hands before handling any media supplies. Lay out a clean, lint-free cloth on a table for opening ribbons and cards. Before opening a package of ribbon or cards, document part numbers and the quantities. Make a note if there are any discrepancies from the invoice.

2. What kinds of cards can I print on?

Oftentimes, media compatibility between the ribbons used by the printer and the card stock can raise some concerns. Fargo Electronics suggests the use of clean, smooth, polished, PVC-coated video-imaging quality cards. Card types that do not print well are cards with a satin or dull finish, polyester-surfaced cards, cards coated with contaminants, such as a separation lubricant, and paper-coated cards. The dye sublimation process and the ribbons used by our printers are specifically designed to be used with video-imaging quality PVC cards. Even if you are using PVC cards, it is important that they are formulated for use with the Fargo brand of printers. We suggest purchasing the Fargo UltraCard brand of ID cards. Intelligent Cards Cards in this category include proximity, wiegand, barium ferrite, chip (or smart cards), radio and any other type of card with imbedded circuitry. The printable surface of intelligent cards can have imperfections such as dips and valleys, caused by the lamination of plastic coatings onto metal traces of the circuitry inside. These imperfections will cause poor print quality, such as drop-out or light print. Please be aware that the printhead used by dye sublimation printers have a flat glass structure which cannot shape itself to imperfections of a plastic card. Most intelligent card manufacturers now carry cards with surface formulations designed for use in dye sublimation printers; they are flatter and smoother than cards manufactured in the past. When ordering intelligent cards from a vendor, be sure to specify that you will be using the cards with a dye sublimation printer. Magnetic-Striped Cards The mag stripe raised above the surface of the card will raise the printhead at an angle, affecting the dye sub process which depends on pressure and continuous contact with the surface of the card. The output may be dark above the location of the mag stripe, with light edges surrounding the stripe, but the remainder of the card may have light or discontinuous color. It is best if the mag stripe is flush with the surface of the card. Contaminants Dust, lint or oils on the surface of a card can impair print quality (example: spots and small discolored streaks). The cleaning roller assembly can remove most dust and lint contaminants, but the cleaning rollers have to be maintained for optimum service. Oils from skin contact or other by-products also can impair print quality (example: poor resin transfer or a spot of color spoilage). The cleaning rollers can't remove oil by-products, only dust, lint and hair. Contaminants also can be transported by contaminated cards to the rest of the printer via the feed rollers. It's best to keep a regular maintenance schedule for the entire printer. Mineral Contaminants Sand, dirt and metal particles can damage a printhead. Thin white lines along the length of a printed card can indicate that pixels on the printhead have been obscured or scratched by mineral contaminants. Cards that have been affected by mineral contaminants typically will impact the surface of the card and drag the mineral across the printhead while printing. Mineral contaminants will behave much like sandpaper, wearing against the glass surface of the printhead until the glass fractures and breaks open, exposing the heating element of the printhead to the air. Once the element is exposed, it will corrode and open the circuit of the element. Corrosion can occur in a matter of seconds or days, depending on the level of damage to the glass surface of the printhead. Printhead Evaluations If white lines occur in the output, the printhead may have been damaged by a mineral contaminant.printhead is not repairable, therefore it should be replaced. If the printhead fails within the warranty period, an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) number can be issued for the printhead to be evaluated. Damage from a scratch or gouge to the elements voids the printhead warranty. If physical damage does not appear, a test card is printed. If a white line is evident from the test card, we can conclude failure was due to an internal defect and Fargo will warranty the replacement of a new printhead, provided printheads are still under warranty. Top of the page

3. How do I adjust the card separator?

Adjusting the card separator is required when two or more cards are drawn into the printer at once. The opposite is true as well, when no cards are being fed into the printer. This instruction sheet is accompanied by a drawing depicting two exposures of the card hopper entrance and associated mechanisms. Tools required: 2 - Phillips head screwdrivers, at least 5 inches in length. 1 - Scrap ID card, to wedge open the spring-loaded hopper tray 1 - Sample ID card for desired feed thickness 1 - Good source of light for working on the printer Instructions Remove any cards loaded in the card hopper tray. Open the top cover, and remove the ribbon and cleaning roller assembly. Pull down the spring-loaded hopper tray, and wedge the tray open using the scrap ID card. Examine the attached drawing. Direct your line of sight, as depicted in the illustration. Visually line up the bottom edge of the metal roller and the bottom edge of the metal shaft of the feed roller. Once you have established line of sight, glance toward the air gap between the feed roller and the orange rubber flap (this is the card separator). The air gap needs to be equal to the thickness of a single card (see sample ID card of desired thickness). To correct the air gap, carefully loosen the two locking screws about 2 or 3 turns. Apply the second Phillips screwdriver to one of the height adjustment screws and turn counter-clock wise (loosen) to widen the gap, or clock wise (tighten) to reduce the gap. Apply downward pressure with the second screwdriver on the height adjustment screw, while checking the gap. The adjustment screws are not spring-loaded, and the separator may float if pressure is not applied. With the first screwdriver, snug in the locking screw located directly below the height adjustment screw you're pressing down on. Repeat steps 8 through 10 for the second height adjustment screw. You may need to fine tune the adjustments until the air gap is evenly spaced across the feed roller. Once the air gap is correctly set for the thickness of the sample card, test feed the card for a snug fit. The card separator should remain unbowed when the top card is fed through.

4. How do I print a self test?

A self test should be performed after initial setup of the printer or after a calibration procedure has been conducted to check for proper operation of the printer. The procedures described below are alternative methods to the procedures described in the respective user's manuals. For Uno, Quatro, Persona and PersonaPlus printers: If power is on, unplug the power cable from the printer. Verify that a full-color ribbon is installed and that cards are properly loaded. Press and hold the on-line button. While holding down the on-line button, plug in the power cable to the receptacle. Once the printer begins to cycle the drive motor, release the on-line button. A gray scale self test pattern will be printed. For Cheetah, Cheetah II, Pro and Pro-L printers: If power is on, unplug the power cable from the printer. Verify that a full-color ribbon is installed and that cards are properly loaded. Press and hold the Pause/Resume button. While holding down the Pause/Resume button, plug in the power cable to the receptacle. Once the printer begins to cycle the drive motor, release the Pause/Resume button. A gray scale self test pattern will be printed on the front side of the card, then the card is rotated and the black panel is applied to the back side. The overlay panel is never applied during the self test.

5. What is thermal transfer overlaminate?

Thermal transfer overlaminate is considered the traditional overlaminate material for video-imageable PVC cards. Thermal transfer overlaminate offers full edge-to-edge coverage, but lacks durability. It is a resin-based material, much like the overlay from the color ribbon. It offers only a marginal increase in protection against abrasion but offers no additional UV or dye-migration resistance. Because this overlaminate tends to be brittle and flakes when applied to PVC, the Fargo lamination printers also will apply the overlay from the print ribbon to the thermal transfer overlaminate to help bond the film to PVC. This offers the same limited UV and dye-migration protection of the overlay alone, but with the benefit of additional abrasion resistance.

6. What is PolyGuard overlaminate?

PolyGuard is a polyester that is laminated to the surface of the video-imaging quality PVC card. PolyGuard is a brand-name product of Fargo Electronics and offers superior protection to the printed data on ID badges. PolyGuard eliminates all the causes of dye migration by sealing the dye colors into the PVC card. It also offers excellent abrasion protection, extending the average life of an ID card in heavy-duty use environments such as multiple-gate access control. Contact us for further details about PolyGuard.

7. How should I store and handle the cards and ribbons?

Keep unused ribbon, overlaminates and card stock clean and stored in zip-lock type plastic pouches, away from direct sunlight and dust. Before inserting a stack of cards into the card hopper, remove the top and bottom cards before printing. Avoid printing onto cards which have been touched by hands or other surfaces. Do not use cards which have fallen onto the floor or have been contaminated in some other way. It is important to use high-quality, dust-free, video-imaging quality PVC cards with a smooth and polished finish. Avoid using lubricated cards.

8. How should the printer be cleaned and how often?

This section deals with the printer's internal and external maintenance in regards to the unit's cleaning and general upkeep. It is a good idea to clean the printer on a regular basis to ensure that the printer consistently produces high-quality output. Be sure to disconnect the printer's power cord whenever performing any type of maintenance procedure unless otherwise directed. Cleaning of the printhead, card feed rollers, platen rollers and cleaning roller assembly should be done every 250 cards to maintain output quality. Preparation Before approaching the printer to clean it, replace a ribbon or clear a card malfunction, it is recommended that you extinguish all smoking materials, remove jewelry from fingers and cleanse your hands from oils and debris. This reduces the risk of accidentally damaging the glass substrate of the printhead and introducing contaminates to the media and rollers. Please observe all established Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) procedures any time the covers of the printer are opened or removed. Cleaning the printhead This procedure is performed if you notice a streak on the card where ink was not transferred. Note: Never use a sharp tool or a metal object of any kind to clean the printhead! Fargo Electronics offers a Cleaning Kit (P/N 081518) which includes alcohol cleaning pens and instructions for cleaning the glass substrate of the printhead. If this kit is not available, please use the following alternative procedure: Open the top cover imaging assembly of the printer. If you observe dust and/or other particles laying on the top surface of the ribbon, manually roll it up into the take-up roll. Occasionally, dust may settle on the top surface of the ribbon and cause print quality problems. To remove residue from the glass substrate of the printhead, use isopropyl alcohol (99% pure) and a clean, soft, lint-free cloth. To clean the printhead, wipe the glass substrate from front to back several times with the alcohol-moistened cloth. Allow the printhead to dry completely before using the printer. Cleaning the card feed rollers Fargo Electronics offers a Cleaning Kit (P/N 081518) for purchase which includes adhesive-backed cleaning cards. These cards can be used for cleaning the gray or black card feed rollers during each ribbon change or when the rollers are noticeably dirty. Use the following procedure when using these cards: Remove the ribbon and cards from the printer. The cleaning roller assembly can remain within the printer during the cleaning process. Remove the adhesive backing from the cleaning card. With the top cover assembly closed and with the exposed adhesive-side of the cleaning card facing up, insert the cleaning card into the card hopper so that the longest nonadhesive end of the cleaning card enters the printer first. Be sure to insert the cleaning card beneath the all-metal card input roller and above the card input tray. This procedure will work best if the leading edge of the cleaning card is fed slightly past the orange-colored card separator. Once the cleaning card is properly inserted into the card hopper, run a self test. As the self-test sequence begins, you may need to push the cleaning card into the printer to help it initially feed. Allow the cleaning card to feed through the printer until the on-line LED flashes. Press the on-line button to completely eject the cleaning card. Repeat this cleaning procedure if necessary. If the cleaning kit is not available, adhesive tape is also an effective method for removing lint and debris from the rollers. Be sure to use either clear tape or masking tape. Do not use duct or strapping tape. These adhesives leave a gummy residue behind. Open the lid, and use the on-line and on/cancel buttons to rotate the main feed rollers, while applying the tape. Alternatively, 99% pure alcohol wipes can be used, but not for every cleaning, as this could eventually deplete the tack from the roller's rubber. Do not use alcohol to clean the cleaning roller assembly. Maintaining the cleaning roller assembly The cleaning roller assembly removes dust particles from card blanks as they are fed into the printer. Cleaning this assembly will help prevent contaminated cards from passing beneath the printhead, extending the printhead's life and allowing for higher-quality output. Refer to the following steps to clean the cleaning roller assembly. Remove jewelry from fingers and wash hands before servicing the printer to avoid damaging the printhead Open the top cover of the printer's imaging station. Remove the ribbon from the printer. Located to the left of the card hopper, the cleaning roller assembly has been identified with a label. The cleaning roller assembly is held in place by two magnets. Simply grasp the front edge of the assembly bracket with your thumb and finger and lift it out of the printer. To clean the assembly, use an adhesive cleaning card and feed it back and forth between the rollers to remove the dust particles and lint. DO NOT use alcohol to maintain the cleaning rollers, as this will deplete the tack from the rubber. Cleaning the platen rollers Remove both the print and overlaminate ribbons. Locate the two platen rollers. Use a piece of either clear adhesive tape or masking tape and apply the sticky side of the tape to the platen rollers to lift and remove debris. Use the on-line and on/cancel buttons to rotate the rollers. After the rollers are clean, replace the ribbon and close the top covers. Cleaning the exterior of the printer The printer has a durable casing that should retain its luster and appearance for many years. Use mild glass cleaner or water and a lint-free cloth to remove dust and lint from the exterior of the printer. When cleaning, always spray the cloth first and then wipe down the printer instead of spraying the printer directly. It is important to regularly clean the interior and exterior of the printer at least once a week, and more often when the duty cycle is high. Cleaning the interior of the printer As you use your printer, dust and other foreign particles will accumulate inside the printer's case. These particles are attracted to the underside of the ribbon by static produced during printing and can cause voids on the printed image. Periodically, use the following procedure to remove dust and other foreign particles: Open the top covers of the printer. Remove both the print and overlaminate ribbons. If you have access to a very small vacuum cleaner (most computer stores sell devices just for this purpose), use it to vacuum out all visible areas inside the printer. If you don't have such a device, use a soft, lint-free cloth slightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to wipe out all visible areas inside the printer's cabinet. Be extremely careful not to let any alcohol drip inside the printer's case. As an alternative method, use a can of compressed air and in a sweeping motion blow air into the printer from the card hopper working towards the card exit side of the printer. Use a lint-free cloth or tape to remove any particles of debris remaining on the surface of the interior. Once the cleaned areas are completely dry and free of foreign debris, re-install the ribbons, close the top covers, and install cards.

9. How do I install the printer driver?

Windows 3.1x Driver Installation After starting Windows, go to the Main program group, and select Control Panel. From the Control Panel, select Printers. For best performance, use Print Manager at the bottom left of the Printers group (should contain an "X"). Select the Add button. Highlight the Install Unlisted or Updated Printer option from list of printers. Select the Install button. Insert the supplied printer driver diskette into your computer's A: or B: (3.5) disk drive. If you insert the diskette in a drive other than the A: drive displayed in the Install Driver dialog box, you must change the drive designation. Select the OK button. The ID card printer should now be listed in the Add Unlisted or Updated Printer dialog box. Select the OK button. Your PC's disk drive will now load the printer driver. Depending upon your computer, loading will take about 10 to 20 seconds. Select the Set As Default Printer button in the Printers group, followed by the Close button. The ID card printer has now been selected as your default (main) printer. If you wish to use another printer later, you must de-select the ID card printer and switch back to the other printer's driver. Finally, select the Connect button. Check that the box called Fast Printing Direct to Port is selected (should contain an X). Although this option is not necessary, it helps the printer deliver maximum print speed and best overall performance. Also change the Transmission Retry Value from 45 to 900 seconds. See Printer Settings at the end of this section for more information. Top of the page Windows 95/Windows NT Driver Installation To install the printer driver into Windows 95 or Windows NT, refer to the following: Select the Start button, and from the taskbar choose Settings, then Printers. Double click on the Add Printer icon. Select the Next button from the Add Printer Wizard dialog box. Select the Have Disk button. Insert the ID card printer driver disk into the floppy drive, then select OK from the Install From Disk dialog box. In the Add Printer Wizard dialog box, ID card printer will appear. Select the Next button. Select the parallel port to which the printer will be attached, then select the Next button. If you want the printer to be selected as the default printer, answer Yes, then select the Next button. Windows 95 has the ability to print a Test Print answer Yes to print the test page, or answer No, then select the Finish button. In a few moments the printer driver will be installed onto your computer. See Printer Settings at the end of this section for more information.

Top of the page Windows 95 Obsolete Driver Removal From time to time, Fargo Electronics will release a new printer driver version. Typically, these new releases include enhancements to improve system performance or to amend points of contention with software or hardware. Before installing a new printer driver version, you must first remove your system's existing printer driver according to the following steps. For complete details on the printer driver's enhanced or added features, refer to the driver's online Help Menu. Select Start from the task bar, then select Settings\Printers. Place the mouse cursor over the top of the ID card printer icon you wish to remove, then single-click the RIGHT mouse button, and from the drop-down menu that appears, select Delete. You will receive the following message box on the screen: Are you sure you want to delete the printer 'ID card printer...'? Select YES. You will receive the next message box on the screen: Some files were used only for this printer and are no longer needed. Would you like to delete these files now? If you have FargoColor and/or the fast 32-Bit Print Spooler installed, select NO. If none of these applications apply, select YES. You have now completed the removal of the obsolete printer driver from the computer. Top of the page Windows 95 32-bit Print Spooler Installation The 32-Bit Print Spooler installs just like any other standard Windows 95 application program. To install the 32-Bit Print Spooler, refer to the following: Insert the 32-Bit Print Spooler diskette into your computer's disk drive. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and select Control Panel. Double-click on the Add/Remove Programs icon. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete installation. When installed, the 32-Bit Print Spooler will appear in the Programs group of the Start menu. To use the Spooler, select the Fast 32-Bit spooler option from within the printer driver setup window. When this option is selected, the spooler will automatically open and close with the start and finish of each print job.

Top of the page Windows 95 Obsolete 32-bit Print Spooler Removal From time to time, Fargo Electronics will release a new 32-Bit Print Spooler version. Typically, these new releases include enhancements to improve system performance or to amend points of contention with software or hardware. Before installing a new print spooler version, you must first remove your system's existing 32-Bit Print Spooler according to the following steps. Select the Start button from the taskbar, choose Settings, then Control Panel Select the Add/Remove Programs icon. Select the 32-Bit Print Spooler icon, then choose Add/Remove. You have just removed the 32-Bit Print Spooler from your computer. Top of the page Changing Printer Driver Settings in Windows 95 Below are the instructions for changing the Windows 95 printer driver settings. This will be necessary for specifying the card size, ribbon type, etc. Refer to the following steps to change these settings. Select the Start button from the taskbar; choose Settings, then Printers. Double-click on the printer icon. The printer's dialog box will appear, select Printer from the menu bar, and choose.

 

 

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