How to Fix a Broken ID Card Printer Ribbon
The first thing you need to know if you encounter a
broken ID card printer ribbon is DON’T
throw it away. Even if it’s torn and wrapped around the main card roller that’s
under the print head, it can be salvaged and repaired so you can continue
printing with it.
Here’s what you need to do if your ribbon breaks:
- Pause your printing job (if you have something in the queue).
- Turn off your printer.
- Open the cover and unlatch the print head.
- Remove the cartridge containing the ribbon. There will be 2 spools, the
ribbon supply on the right side and the take-up spool on the left side. Make
sure to note which side is which so that you can reinsert them in the proper
- If the ribbon is stuck to the main card roller or stuck to a card, pull
the card and the ribbon out. Make sure you clear your printer completely of
cards and torn ribbon.
- Lie the spools on a flat, clean surface with the torn ends facing each
- Trim the torn ends so that you get a fairly straight edge.
- Overlap the two edges, and using only scotch tape (no duct tape or
electrical tape), tape the ends together. You can tape directly over used
ribbon, if that’s what is available on the take-up spool.
- Reinsert your print ribbon cartridge in its proper position, latch the
print head, and close the cover.
- Turn the printer back on. Your
printer should automatically recalibrate itself to position the ribbon at the
color position you need to continue printing.
You should be clear to resume your printing session.
If you continue to have ribbon breaking problems, here are a few tips to check
before calling our Technical Support team:
- Design Issues. Check your design. If you’re
using a direct-to-card printer, they’re not designed to print anything over the
edge of the card. You may need to move or resize your images to keep your
design away from the edge.
- Driver Issues. Reset your driver to the
default setting. This may have been changed, causing the temperature to
increase, making it too hot for your ribbon.
- Debris Issues. Checks for rough edges on your
cards, especially if you pre-punch cards with a slot punch before printing.
This can cause burrs that can tear your ribbon. You should always print your
cards first and then slot punch them.
- Intensity Issues. Sometimes when you’re using
100% of a color at the edge of your cards, it can burn your ribbon if the card
doesn’t fully absorb the heat. Make sure your printing intensity isn’t too
- Cleaning Issues. Clean your printer using the
cleaning kit designed specifically for your model. You can find cleaning kits
on the IDSecurityOnline website here. We
also have a wonderful blog post on cleaning your ID card printer here.
If your ID card printer ribbons continue to break, it
may be time to schedule a maintenance appointment. IDSecurityOnline has expert
technicians who are specifically trained to work on your printer model. You can
increase your card printer’s lifetime output exponentially by having our
technicians perform routine deep cleaning, calibrate the sensors, and replace
your printer’s roll.
Since calibration tools and factory training are
required, it’s best to contact our experts today to have your ID card printer
professionally serviced if you continue to have problems.