Frequently Asked Questions
Century Falcon 4 Plus Printer
The questions and answers in this section apply specifically to models CF-4207P and CF-4306P.
Label or Ribbon Problems
- Out of media or check media gap sensor
- Check paper setting
- Out of ribbon or check ribbon sensor
- Print head is opened
- Filename not found
- Filename repeated
- Darkness (or Lightness) of Print
- Label Tracking Issues
- Vertical Shifting of Label Designs
- Printing Voids
- Ribbon Wrinkle
- Sensor Calibration Problems
- C Label IV
- USB Connection
- Units of Measurement in C Label IV
- Downloading Labels to the Falcon Printer
- Downloading Fonts and Graphics
- Julian Dates
1. I have loaded labels in my Falcon Plus, but I am getting an error message, ‘Out of media or check media gap sensor’. What is the problem?
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.
2. I have ribbon and labels loaded in my Falcon Plus, but when I try to print I get an error message that reads ‘Check paper setting’. What could be wrong?
- 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.
3. I have installed direct thermal stock in my printer, but I am getting an ‘Out of ribbon or check ribbon sensor’ error. Since I am not using ribbon anyway, why would this error occur?
Check your software and/or driver parameters and make sure that the print mode is direct thermal.
4. I am getting a ‘print head is opened’ error on my Falcon Plus, even though the print head is closed. What should I do?
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.
5. Some of my labels print out with text fields missing. Bar codes print OK, but not the text, and I get an error, ‘Filename not found’. What is the cause of this error?
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.
6. Why am I getting a ‘Filename is repeated’ error when I try to download a graphic to my Falcon Plus printer?
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. Falcon Plus printers cannot overwrite existing file names, so you must change the name of the file on your computer if you want to retry the download.
7. Although I can print labels on my Falcon Plus printer, the images are too light (or too dark). How can I fix this problem?
There are a number of factors that control overall print quality. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- The Century Falcon Plus printers use 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.
8. My labels seem to be sliding off to the right side of the printer (away from the main printer wall). What could be causing this problem?
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 Plus printers are left justified, 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 metallic guide on the lower side of the guide plate.
- [B] Failure to secure the paper feed guide against the outside label edge The paper feed guide is located on the metal guide plate at the rear of the print block. The guide should be moved along the metal plate until it just touches the outside edge of the label stock.
9. I am able to print on my Falcon Plus, 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.
10. Certain parts of my label do not seem to be printing. Why would this be?
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 fully plugged into the adapter board?
- 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
11. My printer is basically working, but I am getting irregular white lines in the print. It looks like the ribbon is wrinkling. What is happening?
- Check to make sure that the ribbon is loaded correctly.
Since the Falcon Plus printers are left justified, the ribbon cores should always be positioned so that they are flush with the ribbon stoppers.
- 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; two-inch labels a two-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.
12. When I print labels, only every other label prints out and the text appears to be shifted vertically on the label. There are no error messages. Is something wrong with my paper sensor?
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 Falcon Plus printers, see Auto Sensing below.
13. What is C Label IV and why do I need it?
C Label is a free label design software package that comes with all Falcon Plus printers. The software package is required in order to download label designs to the printer. The Falcon is thus enabled to store labels so that it can be used independently of a direct computer connection.
IMPORTANT NOTE: C-Label IV is available in two editions: Standard and Special. The Special edition is recommended if you do not require database connectivity or if you have system applications that depend on older versions of the Borland Database Engine. The Special Edition is also recommended for usage with Falcon stand-alone applications. For additional details, see Database Information.
14. I replaced my Falcon 4 printer with a Falcon 4 Plus, and now I cannot establish communication on my USB port. How can I solve this?
The Falcon 4 USB connector is actually a serial device that is converted to operate as a USB port. So, on the computer end of things, the Falcon is communicating by way of a COM port (typically COM3 or COM4). By contrast, the Falcon 4 Plus uses a standard USB 2.0 connector, and so is identified on the computer as an actual USB port.
In simple terms, then, the port assignment for the Falcon 4 Plus has to be changed from a COM port to a USB port. The way that this change is made depends on the driver/software that you are using. As a rule, one of the following sorts of changes will be required:
- A. Q Label. Since Q Label software does not have a true USB communication option available, it cannot be used to transmit data to the Falcon 4 Plus. To solve this problem, simply install the C Label software program that comes with the Falcon 4 Plus, and set the communication type to USB. NOTE: After completing the C Label installation, make sure that you select the correct print head resolution for the Falcon 4 Plus. Any labels that were previously created in Q Label can be opened in C Label. Keep in mind too that any elements of a label design that you downloaded to your old Falcon will need to re-loaded onto the new Falcon Plus.
- B. Labelview and other programs with embedded drivers. For programs like Labelview, follow the normal procedure for installing a new driver. You can install either a Falcon 4 driver, or Falcon 4 Plus, if available. Make sure that you connect the newly installed driver to the appropriate USB port before you close out of the installation window.
- C. Bar Tender, Nice Label, and other Windows programs. Software programs that utilize Windows print drivers can be handled in one of two ways: 1) Change the existing Falcon 4 driver port setting to USB, or 2) Let Windows install the Falcon 4 Plus driver from your Falcon CD-ROM. The second approach is probably the better option, since Windows will put the driver on the correct USB port without user intervention.
15. When I create labels with C Label, all the dimensions are in millimeters. Can I change the setup so that everything is in inches?
Yes. To change the unit of measurement in C 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.
16. How do I use C Label to download labels to the Falcon Plus printer?
The basic procedure for downloading a label to the Falcon Plus 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 Plus Download Procedure
Downloading a True Type font is usually most easily done during the process of creating a new label, if this is the first time that you are using the desired font. It is generally most convenient to download a complete font set (such as Arial), rather than a singular font size (such as Arial 10 point). Make sure that your printer is turned on and that either your parallel cable or USB cable is attached. The steps for doing the download follow:
- Go to the File menu and click on ‘Printer Setup’. Select the appropriate print port, then click OK.
- 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 ‘True Type Font’.
- Under ‘TTF Name’, select the Font ID that you want to use for the font.
- Click the ‘Download True Type Font’ button, and select the Font that you desire. 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 C 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. Select the type of halftoning you want to use for the image, and make any adjustments to the image height and width, if required.
- 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. Click OK.
- C-Label will let you know that the download is completed. Click OK in the Download window. The printer will beep once to confirm the download.
- 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 C Label) or you can choose a new name.
17. Can True Type fonts or graphics be downloaded to the Falcon Plus printers even if I am not creating a label design?
Yes. True Type fonts or graphics can be downloaded to the printer at any time by using the submenus under Advance in C Label. However, keep in mind that in the case of True Type fonts, only one single font type, size, and style can be downloaded at a time. To download a complete font set, refer to Downloading Labels to the Falcon 4 Plus Printer.
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 4 Plus 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 4 Plus Printer.
18. How would I set up a Julian date format in C Label?
The process of setting up a Julian date format involves two general steps. The first step is to change the C 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.
19. Can C Label be used with a database?
Yes. C 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 C Label Help menu.
- Database functionality is available ONLY with C Label IV Standard Edition.
- Database access is not available when the Falcon Plus is used as a stand-alone printer. Consequently, for such applications installation of C Label IV Special Edition is recommended.
20. How do I calibrate the printer’s paper sensor?
The Falcon Plus printer 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.
21. What kinds of ribbon can I use on the Falcon Plus printer?
The Falcon Plus uses ribbons designed for flat print heads. The ribbons can be either coated side in or coated side out.
The Falcon Plus must be run with a cardboard ribbon core on both the feed and take-up spindles.
22. Where can I obtain manuals or other documentation for the Falcon 4 Plus printer?
Technical Information or Feedback on this page:
Technical Support E-mail:
Last Update: 29 September 2008