Do you see a white line or multiple white lines along the length of your ID card? If yes, then it’s pretty safe to assume there is a problem with your printhead. When a group of cards are printed, the white line will appear in the same location on each card. Below is an example of two cards printed with the same damaged printhead.
To fix this problem, you will probably need to replace the printhead. However, before having your printhead replaced, clean the printer to see if that resolves the issue. (If you don’t own a cleaning kit, you can use our ID Card Printer Supplies Selector to find the correct cleaning kit for your printer.)
If a white line remains after cleaning the printer, then a new printhead will be required. Most printheads typically cost between $500 and $1000. If your ID card printer 2-4 years old and out of warranty, it may be time to consider buying a new printer. Oftentimes it makes more sense to invest in a new printer than replacing parts on an old machine that is out of warranty. If your printer is under the original warranty, you may be able to get the printhead replaced by the manufacturer. Our technical support team can help you verify your printer warranty and assist you with this process.
Either way, it is important to protect your investment of the new printhead or new printer. Dust, debris, and oil from your skin can cause printhead problems. Below are steps you can take to maximize the life of the printhead:
1. Clean often. Properly maintain your printer by cleaning it regularly. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning your printer every time you install a new ribbon.
2. Remove jewelry. If you are planning to open the printer cover for any reason, remove all jewelry from your hands and wrists. Printheads are fragile and they are easy to accidentally bump with a watch or ring. Below is an image of a printhead unintentionally damaged by jewelry.
3. Handle unprinted cards with care. Wash your hands before opening and loading cards into the printer. Touch the cards on the edges or sides (not on the top or bottom surfaces that get printed). If you accidently drop an unprinted card on the floor, throw it away. Don’t try to clean it and do not put it into the printer.
4. Always use graphic quality cards. These high quality cards are visually inspected which ensures the card is clean when it is packaged by the manufacturer. Keep the shrink wrap on the cards until they are loaded in the printer.
5. Cover your printer. If your printer sits for extended periods of time without being used, use a dust cover or return the printer to the original packaging for protection.
6. Never use pre-punched card or perforated cards like keytags. Protect your printhead by punching a hole in the card after the printing is completed. If your application requires a pre-punched or perforated card, do yourself and your company a favor and purchase a reverse image transfer ID card printer.
At ID Wholesaler, we work to educate our customers to help them get the most out of their printers. For additional help or to learn more call an ID Expert at (800)321-4405.
Do you have additional tips to help others protect their ID card printer investments? Share in the comments below!