Thermal Printer Troubleshooting

Labels need to be specially made for the purpose.
Labels need to be specially made for the purpose. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Thermal printers are most commonly found in office label makers. Unlike a laser printer or ink jet, they don’t use toner or ink. Images are embedded onto treated material with heat. The drawback to this system is that the labels or materials need to be specially made for the purpose; plain labels won’t work. These labels are more expensive, but the print head never needs replacing — unlike an ink tank, or toner cartridge in a classic office printer. Problems with the printers can include issues with power, loading and quality.

Plug the printer into an outlet if the lights on the printer don’t come on, or the printer won’t print. There’s likely an AC adapter, and make sure it’s the one that came with the printer and that it’s plugged in.

Insert labels into the printer if there’s no output. Make sure that the labels are designed for the thermal printer. There should be some kind of designation on the packaging. Labels marked “Ink-jet” or “Laser” won’t work.

Make sure that the labels are inserted correctly if text is skewed. The roll inserts onto a spindle and the spindle sits in a cavity under a cover. The guide should be tight against the label spool.

Verify that the labels are feeding from underneath if you continue to experience issues. The left edge of the label roll is flush with the spool in the case of a Dymo, but other makes may be a bit different.

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