Frequently Asked Questions
Century Falcon 8 Printer
Paper or Label Problems
- No Paper
- Paper Jam [white or single color labels or tags]
- Paper Jam [preprinted or multi-color labels or tags]
- No Ribbon
- Ribbon Error
- Excess Head Temperature
1. My Century Falcon 8 printer is giving me a ‘NO PAPER’ error, even though I have labels loaded in the printer. Why is this happening?
The most common cause for this error is incorrect positioning of the paper sensor. To be more exact, if the sensor is located off the left edge of the stock, then it will be unable to detect the paper.
Visual inspection of the position of the paper sensor is easy to do on the Falcon 8 printer. A distinctive green arrow is embossed on the upper side of the paper sensor to identify the exact position of the sensor.
Since Century Falcon 8 printers are center-fed, it is a good practice to locate the paper sensor at or near the center of your label stock. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are running gap labels that are 2-across or 4-across, then the gap sensor should be located somewhat left of center, preferably in the middle of the label adjacent to the central web. Or if you are running some sort of tag stock and you are using a notch for detection, then the sensor will need to be positioned over the center of the notch (that is, close to the wall of the printer).
2. I am getting a ‘PAPER JAM’ error, but there is no paper jammed in the printer. What should I do?
If you are using gap type labels:
- Check your software settings. Make sure that you have selected the correct sensor type and that the label height dimension corresponds to the actual height of the label you are printing. Also check the vertical gap setting, which is usually about 0.120 inches.
- Make sure that your paper sensor is positioned so that it can detect the label gap. For single label stock, the sensor can be located at the center of the label.
- If you are using preprinted labels, run the printer’s threshold setup. In this case also, some software packages require a different sensor setting, often labeled ‘preprinted’.
If you are using black mark stock:
- Check your software settings. Make sure that you have selected the correct sensor type and that the paper height dimension corresponds to the actual height of the stock on which you are printing.
- Make sure that the paper sensor is positioned so that it can detect the black mark.
3. Whenever I try to run preprinted gap type labels, I end up with a paper jam. How can I solve this problem?
Different colors on a label make it more difficult for the paper sensor to determine exactly where the label gap is located. When you load preprinted or multi-colored labels in the printer, follow this procedure:
- Turn the printer on and make sure that the LCD display reads ‘ON LINE’.
- Press the PAUSE key once. [The display will read ‘PAUSE’.]
- Press and hold the PAUSE key until four or five labels feed forward. NOTE: On some models, pressing the pause key will change the LCD display to ‘TRANSMISSIVE’. If this happens, repeat step 3.
- Press the RESTART key. The printer will go back ON LINE.
- Open the print head and reposition your labels, so that they are ready for printing. Close the print head.
You are now ready to print.
4. I have loaded ribbon in my Falcon 8 printer, but I am still getting a ‘NO RIBBON’ error. How can I correct this?
Check to be sure that the ribbon you are using is a flat print head ribbon compatible with the Century Falcon 8 printer.
5. My Century Falcon 8 printer is giving me a ‘RIBBON ERROR’. Can I correct this problem?
If you are printing in direct thermal mode (without a ribbon):
Check your software settings and make sure that the print type is ‘direct thermal’. If your software package requires the use of a Windows driver, also make sure that the driver is set for direct thermal printing.
If you are printing in thermal transfer mode (with a ribbon):
- Make sure that the ribbon you are using is loaded ‘coated side out’. The ribbon will unroll from the back side of the feed spindle and roll up on the front side of the take-up spindle
- Verify that the notches on the left side of each ribbon core are fully engaged with the ribbon motor gears, so that the cores do not slip when the gears turn.
- Check your software settings and make sure that the print type is ‘thermal transfer’. If your software package requires the use of a Windows driver, also make sure that the driver is set for thermal transfer printing.
- Check to see if there is any dirt on the ribbon spindle gears or on the ribbon motors. For the latter you will need to remove the electronics cover. If there is dirt in either of these areas, try vacuuming around the motors and/or the gears to remove as much of the dirt as possible.
[IMPORTANT: Make sure your printer is turned OFF when you vacuum the motors. Keep away from the main logic board.]
6. My printer was running fine, but then it just suddenly stopped. The LCD reads, ‘EXCESS HEAD TEMPERATURE’. Is my print head bad?
Probably not. Usually this error message is simply telling you that the print head is too hot to run. Turn the printer off and allow it to cool down for awhile. When you restart it later, it should return to its normal on line mode.
Once you resume printing, check the following things:
- The fan should start up once a print job is in progress. If the fan fails to respond, you may need to replace it (or possibly the main processing board). If the Excess Head Temperature error reappears, it is likely that the air temperature sensor is bad. Correction of this problem requires that the printer be serviced.
- Make sure that you are running the print head at a reasonable temperature for the application.
7. Why am I getting an ‘SG’ error on my Century Falcon 8 printer?
The SG error indicates that the printer has received incorrect graphical information. Sometimes this error is the result of a label formatting problem. Hence, ths first thing to check is the label format itself to make sure that there are no problems with the graphics (including True Type fonts) that may be used as part of the design.
Aside from the foregoing issue, the error may also sometimes occur after the installation of newer Windows drivers. Falcon 8 printers use a graphics compression method called TOPIX. Some applications, however, have difficulty doing the compression. To get around this problem, it is necessary to make a change to the Windows driver settings.
To make the necessary change, follow these steps:
- Click the START button. Go to SETTINGS and then to PRINTERS.
- Locate the TEC printer driver and right click on it.
- Select one of the following: Click on the OPTIONS tab.
- [A] PROPERTIES (Windows 95 and 98)
- [B] DOCUMENT DEFAULTS (Windows NT)
- [C] PRINTING PREFERENCES (Windows 2000 and XP)
- Change the Graphical Print Method to ‘Uncompressed 8-bit Overwrite’.
- Click APPLY and OK.
8. I am able to print labels on my Century Falcon 8 printer, but the printing is too light (or too dark). Any suggestions?
There are a number of factors that control overall print quality. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Since the Falcon 8 printer uses a flat print head, it is important that a ribbon designed for this type of head is loaded on the machine.
- The ribbon should also 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 bond or adhere to different types of surfaces also varies.
- Check the darkness or temperature setting in your software. If you are using a Windows driver, you may also need to check the temperature settings there as well. The default darkness is ‘zero’, which in this case defines average darkness under typical print conditions.
9. My labels seem to be sliding off to the left (or the right), instead of running straight. Why would this be?
Incorrect label tracking is generally the result of poor alignment of the labels themselves. This problem can occur for a number of reasons:
- Failure to center a roll of labels on the supply holder.
- Improper alignment of the media guides or failure to use them.
- Excessive wear or accumulations of ribbon or label residue on the platen roller.
Some of these problems are not easy to fix on site. If you are having label tracking problems, call Century’s Technical Support Department for assistance.
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:
- [A] 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? Are the print head power and communication cables plugged in?
- [B] Sharply defined vertical white lines or rectangles:
This type of pattern generally indicates a damaged print head.
- [C] Uneven contrast from left to right across the print head:
The pressure across the top of the print head may not be even. Raise or lower the pressure lever on the left side of the print block depending on the relative width of the material being printed. A worn platen roller can produce a similar effect. Check the platen roller for signs of wear.
- [D] Irregular white lines in print:
(1) If the lines are basically vertical, then the trouble is probably just dirt. Try cleaning the print head. (2) 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.
Verify that the notches on the left side of each ribbon core are fully engaged with the ribbon motor gears.
- Use a ribbon that is at least as wide as or just a tiny bit wider than the label being printed. Eight-inch wide labels need a eight-inch ribbon; six-inch labels a six-inch ribbon; and so on. Trying to print a six-inch wide label with a eight-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.