Loading Non-Zebra 300-Meter Transfer Ribbon
Loading Non-Zebra 300-Meter Transfer Ribbon

Loading Non-Zebra 300-Meter Transfer Ribbon

To load non-Zebra 300-meter transfer ribbon onto your printer, you will need Zebra ribbon core adapters.
The minimum requirements to use non-Zebra 300-meter ribbons with your printer are as follows:
Inside core diameter (I.D.)
25.4 mm (1.0 in., with a range of 1.004 in. to 1.016 in.)
Inside core material
Fiberboard (hard materials such as plastic cores may NOT function correctly)
Ribbon width range
33 mm to 110 mm (1.3 in. to 4.3 in.)
Ribbon's maximum outer diameter (O.D.)
66 mm (2.6 in.)
Using non-Zebra media or ribbons not approved for use in your Zebra printer may damage your printer or printhead. Image quality may also be affected by:
  • poor or marginal ribbon performance (maximum print speed, ink formulation, etc.)
  • core material that is too soft or too hard)
  • loose or tight ribbon core fit or a ribbon core that exceeds the maximum outer diameter of 66 mm)
The adapters help you align the ribbon and core to the media (and printer’s) center. They include a core-lock spring to engage the soft fiberboard inside the ribbon core. They scale, as measured from the printer’s center-line,  when mounted in the printer.
Center line
Core lock spring
  1. Load an empty ribbon core onto a ribbon core adapter. The empty ribbon core should be the same width (or larger) than the ribbon roll. Roughly center the core over the adapter's center line.
    An empty Zebra ribbon core may be used instead of the ribbon-core adapter and empty non-Zebra ribbon core. One 300-meter empty ribbon core is supplied with your printer.
  2. Load the non-Zebra ribbon roll onto the ribbon-core adapter. Orient the adapter flange on the left side and verify that the ribbon unwraps on the backside of the roll as shown here. Roughly center the core over the center line (CL) of the adapter.
    Flange – place on left
    Ribbon exiting the roll in the back
    The maximum roll width of 110 mm (4.3 in.) does NOT require centering.
    For media less than maximum width down to the minimum width of 33 mm (1.3 in.), use the graduated scale on the adapter core to align the ribbon rolls to the media and printer.
    Width = 110 mm (4.3 in.)
    Width = 33 mm (1.3 in.)
  3. Place the adapter with an empty core on the take-up spindles and the adapter with the ribbon roll on the lower supply spindles. The right side of the core adapter fits on the cone-tip on each of the spring-loaded right-side spindles. Continue pushing the adapter onto right-side spindle and swing the adapter onto the left-side spindle hubs. Rotate the adapters and hubs until the notches on the adapters flange align and lock on the left spindles' hub spokes.
  4. While the ribbon and empty cores were being installed during the previous steps, they may have been bumped off center.
    • Verify that the ribbon roll and empty core are aligned to the center of the media (labels, paper, tags, etc.). Use the center line scales on the ribbon core adapter as a guide to return them to the proper positions.
    • If you have not yet checked if the ribbon is wide enough the for the media in use, do so now. To protect the printhead, the ribbon must be wider than the media (where the width includes the label liner or backing).
  5. Attach the ribbon to the take up core. If your media does NOT have an adhesive strip on the ribbon leader as Zebra-manufactured ribbon does, use a thin strip of tape to secure the ribbon to the take-up core. Align the ribbon so that it will be taken straight onto the core.
  6. Turn the ribbon take-up hub with the top moving towards the rear to remove slack from the ribbon. Rotate the hub to finish aligning the take-up ribbon position with the supply-ribbon roll. The ribbon should be wound, at a minimum, one-and-a-half times around the take-up ribbon core.
  7. Verify that the media is loaded properly and is ready for printing, then close the printer cover.
  8. If printer power is ON, press
    to advance a minimum of 20 cm (8 in.) of media to remove slack and ribbon wrinkle (straighten the ribbon), and align the ribbon on the spindles.
  9. Change the print mode setting from Direct Thermal printing to Thermal Transfer using the printer driver, the application software, or printer programming commands.
    The printer cannot print in Direct Thermal mode and with direct thermal media loaded when ribbon is also loaded. Attempting to print in Direct Thermal mode with ribbon loaded generates a ribbon-in print error.
    When controlling printer operations with ZPL programming...
    Refer to the Media Type ZPL II command (
    ), and follow the instructions, in the ZPL Programming Guide).
    When controlling printer operations with EPL Page Mode...
    Refer to the Options EPL command (
    ), and follow the instructions, in the EPL Page Mode Programmer’s Guide).
  10. To verify the mode change from Direct Thermal printing to Thermal Transfer printing, print a configuration report. For instructions on printing this report, see Printing the Printer and Network Configuration Reports (CANCEL Self Test).
    on the printer configuration status report should read