Frequently Asked Questions
Century Falcon 4 Printer
The questions and answers in this section apply specifically to models CF-4206 and CF-4306.
Label or Ribbon Problems
- Darkness (or Lightness) of Print
- Label Tracking Issues
- Vertical Shifting of Label Designs
- Printing Voids
- Ribbon Wrinkle
- Sensor Calibration Problems
- USB Setup
- Q Label IV
- Printer Drivers in Q Label IV
- Units of Measurement in Q Label IV
- Downloading Labels to the Falcon Printer
- Downloading Fonts and Graphics
- Julian Dates
Several different conditions may cause this particular difficulty. Here are some things to look for:
- Check the paper path to make sure that the stock is passing through the paper sensor. (NOTE: It is possible on this printer to load the paper so that it goes over top of the entire sensor assembly. If the paper is installed in this way, the paper sensor will not be able to detect it.)
- Check whether the paper sensor is positioned so that it can detect the label gap, notch, or black mark. The sensor has a distinctive white arrow on it (visible when the print head is open) that identifies the location of the sensor. This arrow should be placed so that it will always be able to see the gap, notch, or black mark on your label stock.
- If the paper stock is loaded correctly and the paper sensor is properly positioned, run the printer’s Auto Sensing function to allow the printer to detect the paper/ribbon combination on its own.
- Check the ribbon path to make sure that it is not routed through the paper sensor.
- If the paper stock is loaded correctly and the paper sensor is properly positioned, run the printer’s Auto Sensing
function to allow the printer to detect the paper/ribbon combination on its own.
Check your software and/or driver parameters and make sure that the print mode is direct thermal.
The print head must be fully latched in order to enable printing. Make sure that the two prongs on the bottom of the green print head lever are fully inserted into the two holes on the lower print block support plate. In addition the top portion of the print head lever should be flush with the side plate of the upper print block.
This error most commonly results from an incorrect graphics setting for True Type fonts in the label software. The basic solution involves altering the driver setup to clear the printer memory after each print job. For details on how to implement these changes for selected software packages, see the white paper Century Falcon 4: Printing True Type Fonts with LABELVIEW and LABEL MATRIX. Also see Downloading Fonts and Graphics.
The printer is letting you know that a graphic using the same name as the one you are currently trying to download is already present on the printer. The Falcon cannot overwrite existing file names, so you must change the name of the file on your computer if you want to retry the download.
There are a number of factors that control overall print quality. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- The Century Falcon 4 uses a flat print head. Consequently a ribbon designed specifically for flat print heads should be employed.
- The ribbon should be compatible with the labels or tags that are being printed. The effective bonding temperature of ribbons varies according to their chemical composition, and so their ability to adhere to different types of surfaces also varies.
- Check the darkness or temperature setting in your software. In addition, if you are using a Windows driver, you may also need to check the temperature setting there as well. A setting around ’10’ is usually good for mid-range print applications.
Incorrect label tracking is generally the result of poor alignment of the labels themselves. This problem can occur for a number of reasons:
- [A] Sliding of the label roll on the supply holder
Since the Falcon 4 is a left justified printer, the label roll must be placed flush against the media holder plate mounted on the main printer wall. In addition the green media supply guide should be pushed up against the label roll, so that the labels cannot move away from the media holder plate.
As labels pass under the print block, the label edge closest to the wall of the printer should just touch the green media guide mounted on the lower back side of the print block closest to the wall side of the printer.
- [B] Failure to secure the paper feed guide against the outside label edge
The paper feed guide is located on the metal bar just at the rear of the print block. The guide should be moved along the metal bar until it just touches the outside edge of the label stock.
9. I am able to print on my Falcon 4, but the text does not seem to be printing in the right position on the label (too high or too low) or appears to drift gradually in a vertical direction. I am not getting any error messages from the printer. How can I correct this problem?
The most common cause of this difficulty is an incorrect sensor setting in the software. Check to make sure that the sensor type selected in your software is appropriate for the type of stock you are running. In addition, if you are using a Windows driver, it may be necessary to check the sensor setting there as well.
Printing voids can arise from a number of causes. Here are some things to consider:
- No printing at all:
Is the ribbon loaded correctly? Is the ribbon properly matched for the type of material on which you are printing? Is the darkness set correctly? Is the print head cable plugged in?
- Sharply defined vertical white lines or rectangles:
This type of pattern generally indicates a damaged print head.
- Uneven contrast from left to right across the print head:
There are several possible causes for this sort of problem, the most common of which are: (1) uneven pressure on the left and right hand sides of the print head; (2) misalignment of the print head; or (3) excessive wear on the platen roller. Of these three, the first one can usually be resolved by repositioning the pressure toggles above the print head, sliding them more to the left or right as needed. Otherwise, a resolution of the problem will likely require repair work.
- Irregular white lines in print:
(a) If the lines are basically vertical, then the trouble is probably just dirt. Try cleaning the print head.
(b) If the lines wander around the label, then the issue is ribbon wrinkle
- Check to make sure that the ribbon is loaded correctly.
Since the Falcon 4 is a left justified printer, the ribbon cores should always be positioned so that they are flush with the ribbon stoppers. In addition, make sure that the ribbon type toggle is set for the type of ribbon you are using: for coated side in, the toggle should be set to ‘INK IN’, and for coated side out, it should be on ‘INK OUT’.
- Use a ribbon that is at least as wide as or just a tiny bit wider than the label being printed. Four-inch wide labels need a four-inch ribbon; three-inch labels a three-inch ribbon; and so on. Trying to print a two-inch wide label with a four-inch ribbon will inevitably cause wrinkling of the ribbon.
CAUTION: Running label material that is wider than the ribbon, or allowing the left or right edges of the material to be exposed beyond the edge of the ribbon can cause damage to the dot rows on the print head.
For more on this topic see Printing Voids.
- Check the darkness or temperature setting in your software. Higher temperatures may at times produce wrinkling.
No, your paper sensor is probably normal. Label skipping occurs if the label height dimension in your software is set higher than the actual label dimension. Check to make sure that your label size is correctly defined in your software.
Related Problem. A different sort of difficulty occurs if the label height dimension is set lower than the actual label dimension. In this case, each label will print, but the design will be shifted toward the leading edge of the label.
NOTE: For general information on sensor calibration on the Falcon 4, see Auto Sensing below.
In order to set up the Falcon for USB operation, you will need to install the Falcon 4 high speed serial converter and USB port driver. If you do not already have the software and the instructions, you can download them from our web site. For the software, go to Falcon 4/4D USB Port and High Speed Serial Converter Driver File. The installation information is listed under Falcon USB Install Instructions.
IMPORTANT NOTE. Installation of the high speed serial converter and port driver must be done sequentially. If you have questions prior to installation, please contact Century Systems Technical Support.
ADDITIONAL NOTE. If you are using label software that requires use of a Windows driver, make sure that you install the necessary printer driver.
Q Label is a free label design software package that comes with all Falcon 4 printers. The software package is required in order to download labels designs to the Falcon. The Falcon is thus enabled to store labels so that it can be used independently of a direct computer connection.
All of the drivers that you need for your Falcon printer are already part of the Q Label package, so you do not need to install anything else. Which Q Label driver name you choose depends on the type of Falcon you have. For the CF-4206 model, you should use the EZ-2200 driver; for CF-4306, you should use EZ-2300.
Yes. To change the unit of measurement in Q Label, follow these steps:
- Go to the Advance menu and highlight ‘Control’.
- In the ‘Control’ submenu, highlight ‘Unit of Measurement’.
- Select ‘inch’ from the last submenu.
The basic procedure for downloading a label to the Falcon is fairly simple. However, if the label design contains any graphics or True Type fonts, these must be downloaded to the printer separately.
NOTE: To see screen shots of the download process, see Falcon 4 Download Procedure
Downloading a True Type font
is usually most easily done during the process of creating a new label. Make sure that your printer is turned on and that your parallel cable is attached. The steps for doing the download follow:
- Go to the Draw menu and click on ‘Text’. [Or you can simply click on the Text icon.] Left click on a blank area of the label design. This will open the Multi-Text Setup window.
- Input a data string in the box that says ‘Data’.
- Under ‘Font Type’, select ‘Downloaded Font’, then click the ‘Download New Font’ button.
- In the Font window, select the desired font, style, and size. Click OK.
- In the Select Font Name window, choose the Font ID that you want to use for the chosen font. Click OK.
- The new font will be downloaded to the printer. You will see a progress bar appear on your computer screen. When it finishes, you should hear a single beep from the printer, indicating that the download has been received. The name of your new font will appear in the Multi-Text Setup box. Click OK.
- The data string will appear on the new label and will be ready to print.
Downloading a graphic
to the printer can also be done at the time a label is being created. It is accomplished in the following way:
- On the Draw menu, click on ‘Graphic’. [Or use the Picture icon on the Q Label toolbar.] Left click on a blank area of the label design. This will open the Graphic dialog box.
- Click on the ‘Load’ button.
- Open the graphics file that you wish to add to the label. The chosen graphic will then appear in the Graphic dialog box.
- Click on the dropdown arrow next to the ‘Download Graphic’ button and select ‘Download this Graphic to External Memory’. Click OK.
- The software will ask you to provide a name for the graphic file. You can use either the default name (which should reflect whatever name you gave the graphic on your computer) or you can select a new name.
- When the download is completed, click OK to close the graphic box.
- The graphic will appear on the new label and will be ready to print.
Once any True Type fonts and graphics have been downloaded to the printer, the label design itself can then be downloaded as well.
The procedure is as follows:
- Go to the Advance menu. Highlight ‘Download’ in the submenu.
- In the next submenu, highlight ‘Label’ and then select ‘Quick Download to Printer’.
- The software will ask you for a file name. You can use the default name (which will be the same as the file name in Q Label) or you can choose a new name.
Yes. True Type fonts or graphics can be downloaded to the printer at any time by using the submenus under Advance in Q Label.
For True Type fonts:
- Go to the Advance menu and hightlight ‘Download’.
- In then next submenu, select ‘Font’ and then click on ‘To External Flash Memory’.
- In the Font dialog box, choose the font, style, and size that you wish to download, and click OK.
- Select the Font ID that you want to use for this font, and click OK.
- A progress bar will appear on your computer screen. When it finishes, you should hear a single beep from the printer, indicating that the download has been received.
For information on downloading True Type fonts as part of the process of creating a label design, see Downloading Labels to the Falcon Printer.
- Go to the Advance menu and highlight ‘Download’.
- In the next submenu, select ‘Graphics’ and then click on ‘To External Flash Memory’.
- In the Open file window, select the graphic file that you wish to download to the printer, and then click ‘Open’.
- The graphic will be loaded to the printer, and you will see a box on the computer screen that reads ‘Download Finished’. Click OK. The printer will beep once to acknowledge the download.
For information on downloading graphics as part of the process of creating a label design, see Downloading Labels to the Falcon Printer.
The process of setting up a Julian date format involves two general steps. The first step is to change the Q Label date format itself. To do this, follow the procedure below:
- Go to the Advance menu and click on ‘Printer Date/Time Setup’.
- In the Printer Date/Time Setup box, click first on the ‘Reset’ button and then on the ‘Insert Julian Date’ button.
- Click OK to exit the dialog box.
The second step will be to create a label that contains a Julian format.
Once you have opened a new or existing label format, proceed as follows to add the date format to the label:
- Go to the Draw menu and click on ‘Text’. [Or you can simply click on the text icon.] Left click on a blank area of the label design. This will open the Multi-Text Setup window.
- In the Text Setup box, click on the dropdown arrow next to the ‘Insert’ button.
- Select ‘Date’ and then click OK.
- The letters ‘jj’ will appear on your label design to stand in for the Julian date.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for Julian dates to print out on an actual label, you must have a Falcon printer with at least firmware version 2.430C.
Yes. Q Label is able to access database information either by a dbf file connection or by an ODBC connection. Further details on working with databases can be found on the Q Label Help menu.
NOTE: Database access is not available when the Falcon 4 is used as a stand-alone printer.
The Falcon 4 is capable of detecting the type of paper stock using a function called ‘Auto Sensing’. The procedure for running this sensor calibration follows:
- Start with the printer turned off. Make sure that labels and ribbon (if being used) are loaded in the printer. Close the print head.
- Press and hold the PAUSE key while turning on the printer. After the printer beeps three times, release the PAUSE key. The LCD display should read ‘Auto Sensing Mode’.
- The printer will run a short routine to measure the label. When completed the printer will automatically go to Ready mode.
The Falcon 4 uses ribbons designed for flat print heads. The ribbons can be either coated side in or coated side out. Depending on which of these types of ribbon you use, the ribbon type toggle, mounted just behind the ribbon feed spindle, should be set for the corresponding ribbon type. So, for coated side in, the toggle should be set to ‘INK IN’, and for coated side out, it should be set to ‘INK OUT’.
The Falcon 4 should be run with a cardboard ribbon core on both the feed and take-up spindles.