Frequently Asked Questions
Century Falcon 4D Printer
The questions and answers in this section apply specifically to models CFD-4206 and CFD-4306.
- STATUS light solid red + 2 sets of 2 beeps
- STATUS light solid red + 2 sets of 3 beeps
- STATUS light solid red + 2 sets of 4 beeps
- STATUS light solid red + no beeps
- STATUS light flashing red
- STATUS light solid amber
- Darkness (or Lightness) of Print
- Label Tracking Issues
- Vertical Shifting of Label Designs
- Missing Text or Graphics
- Printing Voids
- Ribbon Wrinkle
- Sensor Calibration Problems
1. I have loaded labels in my Falcon 4D, but when I try to print, the status light turns red, the printer sounds two beeps twice and will not run. What is wrong?
Several different conditions may cause this particular difficulty. Here are some things to look for:
- Check the paper path to make sure that there are no obstructions.
- Make sure that the sensor is positioned so that it can detect the label gap, notch, or black mark. The paper sensor is located at the front of the printer, just behind the platen roller, and can be moved from the center of the printer to the far left side.
- 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 to make sure that the label height dimension is correctly set for the label you are using. If the height dimension in the software is set for less than the actual label height, the printer will respond with this particular error.
2. When I try to print labels on the Falcon 4D, the status light turns red, and the printer sounds three beeps twice. What is the problem?
If you are using ribbon:
- Make certain that you are using the right type of ribbon for the printer. The Century Falcon 4D uses a flat print head. Consequently a ribbon designed specifically for flat print heads should be employed. In addition, the Falcon 4D requires that the ribbon be wound ‘coated side out’.
- Check to be sure that the ribbon spindles are fully engaged with the gears on the left side of the print block, and that the right side of each spindle is locked into position.
- Make sure that your software and/or driver parameters are set for thermal transfer printing.
If you are not using ribbon:
- Make sure that your software and/or driver parameters are set for direct thermal printing.
3. I cannot get my Falcon 4D to print. The status light is red and the printer sounds four beeps twice. What do I need to do?
This error indicates that the printer has detected a head open condition. Check to make sure that the print block is fully latched down. The printer’s head open switch is located on the right side of the machine. With the print head open, you should be able to see the metal tab for the switch just inside the right side plastic casing. If the metal tab is missing or damaged, you will need to have the switch replaced.
4. My Falcon 4D had been working fine, but all of a sudden the red status light has come on, and the printer has stopped running. There are no beeping sounds at all. What is wrong?
Your printer is probably OK, but you will not be able to use it immediately. This error indicates that the print head temperature is too high for operation and needs to cool down. Turn the printer off and allow it sufficient time to cool before restarting it. If the error cannot be cleared, there may be a more serious problem with the printer, which will require having the machine serviced.
5. The status light on my Falcon 4D is flashing red, and I cannot get rid of the error even if I turn off the machine and restart it. Sometimes the green ‘ready’ light will come on for just a moment, but then the status light will begin blinking again. Why is this happening?
The problem here has to do with the power supply adapter device for your printer. With the printer plugged in and turned on, take a look at the top side of the power adapter. (The side with the silver label is the bottom.) If the power adapter is working properly, the green light on the top of the unit should burn steadily. If the green light is blinking or seems to be fading, then the power supply is bad and needs to be replaced.
Of course, if there is no green light at all on the power supply, then your printer will not power up at all. In this case, check to make sure that the adapter is in fact plugged in both on the power supply and at the wall or power strip. You might also try plugging into a different outlet just to be sure where the problem lies.
6. The status light on my Falcon 4D is solid amber, and no matter what I do, the printer is unresponsive. How can I get my printer running again?
While this problem can be fixed, it requires the intervention of a service technician. Call Century Systems technical support department for repair assistance.
7. Although I can print labels on my Falcon 4D 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 4D 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.
8. My labels seem to be sliding off to the right or left sides of the printer. 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. The Falcon 4D printer is center justified, so label stock must always run down the middle of the machine. Media rolls easily center themselves on the curvature of the media holder. The two media guides on the printer base should be moved so that they are positioned just along the outside edge of the label material. This arrangement should be sufficient to keep the label track straight.
9. I am able to print on my Falcon 4D, 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. When I print labels, one or more lines of text or graphics near the top or bottom edge of the label is missing. Is the printer losing the data I am sending?
No. Actually the printer is in a sense ‘editing’ the data. This problem will occur 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.
11. 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 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 increasing or decreasing the relative pressure on the left or right sides of the print head. 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
12. 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.
Check that the two ribbon spindles are solidly anchored on both the left and right hand sides of the printer.
- 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.
13. How do I calibrate the printer’s paper sensor?
The Falcon 4D 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 FEED key while turning on the printer. Continue to hold the button until the STATUS light is solid amber and the READY light is flashing amber.
- The printer will run a short routine to measure the label. When completed, the STATUS light will go out and the READY light will burn green, indicating that the Falcon 4D is ready to print.
14. I am trying to set up my Falcon 4D printer for USB operation. What do I need to do?
In order to set up the Falcon 4D for USB operation, you will need to install the Falcon 4/4D 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.
15. I cannot find any Falcon 4D drivers in Q Label. Do I need to use a Windows driver in order to print?
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 CFD-4206 model, you should use the EZ-1200 driver; for CFD-4306, you should use EZ-1300.
16. When I create labels with Q 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 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.
17. How would I set up a Julian date format in Q Label?
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 4D printer with at least firmware version 1.460.
18. Can Q Label be used with a database?
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.
19. What kinds of ribbon can I use on the Falcon 4D?
The Falcon 4D uses ribbons designed for flat print heads, and must be wound coated side out.
The Falcon 4D should be run with a cardboard ribbon core on both the feed and take-up spindles.
20. Where can I obtain manuals or other documentation for the Falcon 4D printer?