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White Stripe on Label – Thermal Printer Problem

Summary

This article explains the problem of a white stripe appearing on a thermal label and discusses how to resolve it.

Symptoms

  • Using thermal transfer or direct thermal printing
  • White line appears instead of part of the images, text, or barcode
  • Barcode is unreadable

Explanation

A problem with the thermal printer print head is likely preventing some of the heat elements on the print head from either:

  • Burning the ribbon material on to the label (thermal transfer)
  • Activating the thermal paper (direct thermal)

Most likely this is caused by either the failure of some of the heat elements on the print head or some foreign material stuck to the print head preventing the heat transfer.

Solution

Start by cleaning the print head.  This video from Zebra provides a good overview however the same process applies to all thermal printers: Zebra Thermal Print Head Cleaning Video

If this fails, have you printer serviced by a trained Zebra printer repair technician.  It is likely the thermal print head will need to be replaced.  If so, you may want to consider replacing the entire printer since the print heads tend to be expensive and printer manufacturers often drop support for printer models after a few years so parts and good technical support get hard to find.

Updated on November 16, 2017

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