Frequently Asked Questions

Toshiba TEC Printers

The questions and answers in this section apply specifically to TEC printer models that have a standard LCD display. The relevant models are B-472, B-482, B-572, B-672, B-852, B-872, B-882, B-SA4, B-SX4, and B-SX5.

Error Messages

Paper or Label Problems

Printing Difficulties

1. My TEC 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. For many of the TEC models, you can visually inspect the position of the paper sensor:

[A] SA4 Printer

  • Make sure that the upper and lower parts of the paper sensor are aligned with each other. The gap sensor is identified on the lower sensor by a small circle and the black mark sensor by a small square. The top part of the sensor, when closed, has an arrow on it that should be pointing to one or the other of these identifying marks, depending on the application. The alignment check must be performed without the presence of any type of label material, otherwise it will not be possible to see the lower sensor indicators.

[B] SX4 and SX5 Printers

  • Arrows are printed on the surface of the paper sensor to identify the sensor location–
  • The Gap Sensor is indicated by the straight arrow.
  • The Black Mark Sensor is indicated by the broken arrow.

[C] 472, 482, and 572 Printers

  • The two holes on the paper sensor flag indicate the sensor position–
  • The Gap Sensor is aligned with the right hole (viewed from the front of the printer).
  • The Black Mark Sensor is aligned with the left hole.

[D] 852 Printer

  • A distinctive green arrow is embossed on the upper side of the paper sensor to identify the exact position of the sensor.

[E] 672, 872, and 882 Printers

  • The fixed sensor is located in the center of the machine.
  • The moveable sensor is located about 1/2″ (at minimum) to the left of the fixed sensor.

Since Toshiba TEC 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).

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

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.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

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.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

4. I have loaded ribbon in my TEC 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 compatible with the printer. The TEC B-852 and B-SA4 machines use a ribbon designed for flat print heads, whereas all the other models use a near-edge ribbon.

Make sure that the ribbon is correctly loaded in the machine. This should not be an issue generally on the TEC B-672, B-852, B-872, B-882, or B-SA4 machines. Otherwise, on the other B-X and SX products, here is what to look for:

[A] 472, 482, and 572 Printers

  • On the back side of the print block, the ribbon must pass between the two parts of the ribbon sensor. The upper sensor is located on the back of the print block itself, while the lower sensor is located on the black plastic arm that extends from the main printer wall.

[B] SX4 and SX5 Printers

  • The ribbon should be routed from the feed spindle, then down through the center of the print block, underneath the print head, and up to the take-up spindle.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

5. My TEC 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):

  • TEC printers require the use of ribbon that loads ‘coated side out’. Make certain that your ribbon is loaded correctly.
  • In the case of the TEC B-852, B-872, B-882, and B-SA4T, make sure that the notches on the left side of the ribbon cores are fully engaged on the ribbon gears.
  • 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 spindles 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.]

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

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:

[A] 472, 482, 572, 672, 872, and 882 Printers

  • When the printer is powered up, the fan should be running. If it is not, the printer should be repaired.
  • If the fan IS running and the Excess Head Temperature error recurs, it is likely that the printer has a bad ambient air temperature sensor. Here again this would be a repair issue.

[B] 852, SA4, SX4, and SX5 Printers

  • 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. The printer would need to be serviced.

[C] General

  • Make sure that you are running the print head at a reasonable temperature for the application.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

7. The print head on my TEC machine is closed, but I am getting a ‘HEAD OPEN’ error anyway. What’s the problem?

This particular error message often indicates a defective or damaged head-up switch. However, there are a number of common exceptions, affecting only the models listed below. Here are some things to look for:

[A] B-472, B-482, and B-572 Printers

  1. Open the print head and examine the head-up switch, which is located immediately to the left of the print head bracket (as viewed from the front of the machine). The switch has a small metal tab on it that pushes up against the switch itself when the print head is closed. Is the metal tab still present? If it is, gently push on it with your finger (toward the wall of the printer). Does the printer go on line? If it does, your switch is still good.
  2. To correct the problem, very carefully bend the lower part of the metal tab toward the right, then close the print head. If the printer goes on line, then you are good to go.
  3. If the printer continues to give a ‘head open’ error or if the metal tab is missing from the switch, then the printer needs to be repaired.

[B] B-672, B-872, and B-882 Printers

  • These printers have two head-up switches, neither of which is visible without taking the printer apart. The one that usually is the source of the ‘head open’ error is located on the pinch roller assembly, and is activated by the black lever on the right side wall of the printer. Make sure that this lever is up (in a 2 o’clock position) rather than down (a four o’clock position).

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

8. Why am I getting an ‘SG’ error on my TEC 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, the 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. TEC 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.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

9. I am able to print labels on my TEC 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:

  • Except for the TEC B-852 and B-SA4 machines, TEC printers use a near-edge ribbon.
  • 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 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 also need to check the temperature settings there as well. The default darkness for Toshiba TEC printers is ‘zero’, which in this case defines average darkness under typical print conditions.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

10. 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. Printers with self-centering media supply holders usually do not present a problem here, unless the supply spindle has been damaged in some way. Otherwise, on printers without the self-centering guides, make sure that the labels are centered on the spindle.
  • Sliding of the label roll on the supply holder. This problem generally comes up if the external supply holder pieces are broken, missing, or installed too loosely.
  • Improper alignment of the media guides or failure to use them.
  • Improper positioning of the pinch roller. [Not applicable on the TEC B-852 or B-SA4 printers.]
  • Excessive wear or accumulations of ribbon or label residue on the feed roller and/or 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.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

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:

[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:

  • This type of problem may be the result of misalignment of the print head or the print head cam. A worn platen roller can also produce a similar effect. In most instances, this problem is a repair issue.

[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

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

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.

    [A1] TEC B-472, 482, 572, SX4, and SX5 with full width ribbons. The cores on the feed and take-up spindles should be pushed up against the green ribbon stoppers. These stoppers should be positioned up against the ribbon spindle plate on the printer wall.

    [A2] TEC B-472, 482, 572, SX4, and SX5 with narrower ribbons. The ribbon must be centered on the two ribbon spindles. To do this, you will need to measure the distance of the ribbon cores from the wall of the printer using the guide markings on the ribbon spindles. Make sure that the distance is equal for both the feed core and the take-up core, and that both are centered. Then slide the green ribbon stoppers away from the wall of the printer and up against the ribbon cores.

    [B] TEC B-672, B-852, B-872, B-882, B-SA4. Ribbons are automatically centered on these models. However, (a) verify that the notches on the left side of each ribbon core are fully engaged with the ribbon motor gears, and (b) on the 672, 872 and 882 machines, make sure that the ribbon adjustment toggles are optimally positioned, generally meaning, that both toggles are in the upright (or center) position.

  • 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.

Error Messages | Printing Difficulties

Technical Information or Feedback on this page: Jim Will Technical Support E-mail: Technical Support  Century Systems, Inc. Last Update: 2 September 2008

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