Datamax Stationary Printers FQA

Do you have Datamax stationary thermal printer questions?
by Peter Printer

I was just over at Datamax and we were talking about stationary thermal printers. Many businesses require at least one stationary printer, so there are a lot of basic questions that are asked at Datamax with regards to upkeep. As it so happens, there is a lot of basic knowledge regarding a stationary printer to keep them printing until the remote future, so if you’re interested in learning a few tips and tricks, you’re in for a treat.

Lets first talk about the lifetime of a stationary printer. They can keep running for many years with proper maintenance. Despite this, if you receive your printer with a factory defect, Datamax will cover the cost of repairs for a whole year, or up to one million inches of printing, whichever comes first. Hopefully your printer will be free of any defects, but it’s reassuring to know that the brand is accountable for their rare mistakes.Datamax I-4212e Mark II

There are some simple things, of a corporeal nature, that you can do to help sustain the lifetime of your printer. You’re going to want to keep your printer in a climate controlled environment, meaning don’t leave it outside in the hot sun! Remember also to keep the area around your printer clean from dust and debris, dust regularly. Lastly, if you’re in a humid area, make sure that you keep your printer in a dry room because printers can’t handle a lot of moisture in the air. With these three environmental conditions, you’re half way there with extending the life of your stationary printer.

Another important, but easily forgotten bit of physical maintenance is to clean the printhead every once and a while. When I say regularly, I’m talking about every time you change and install a new roll of ribbon. If your printer is in a dusty, dirty area, however, you’ll be smart to clean your printer head every day.
Now here are some interesting aspects of your Datamax stationary printer. For instance, did you know that a 9-pin serial port won’t fit into the proprietary pin-out on the serial ports? If you damage the cord that comes with the printer, you’ll just need to buy a Datamax-O’Neil brand serial cable, or make one, which is what I would do! You can do this according to the pin-out diagram in your operator’s manual.

Alright, by now you’ve got your printer in the perfect area, you’ve cleaned your printer head, and you’re aware of the proprietary serial port, now we’re ready for the fun stuff. The first thing that you should do is download the correct drivers for your printer. You can find them here for free from That should get you started really nicely, and if you’ve had your printer for a few years, you may want to go back to those drivers and see if they’ve been updated. The reason is that Datamax wants to keep your printer running smoothly, and will occasionally update their drivers. Oh, and don’t worry if you lose power while you’re updating firmware, it won’t do any harm to your printer. Just power back on when you can and the firmware will continue to update automatically.

If something changed on your printer that doesn’t make sense, you can always rest your printer to its factory default. Just hold down the pause, feed, and cancel buttons all at once while you power up your printer. Keep them held down until a “System Reset” pops up, and then you can let go of the buttons. Your printer will be back to the defaults, you won’t have to do anything else.

Now lets talk about some common problems. If you have to cancel a batch of labels in the middle of printing, there should be no problem, but did you know that if you’re using third party software packages, when you resume you may find the printing is smaller than you wanted. Just close all of the label setting formats, and then open them again. It’s a classic ‘turn off and turn back on’ situation that resets all of your formatting so that they’ll look the way you want when you print.

But what if the display is blank? No worries, all you have to do is hold down the menu button, which is located on the left side of the printer. A menu will pop up for contrast settings, adjust the contrast and you’re ready to go. What’s really cool about this setting is that it’s available on every Datamax-O’Neil printer, so you’ll always know to do this. It may even impress your friends, it’s a great party trick.

The last thing I’m going to talk about is one reason your printer might print out blank. That can be really frustrating, and if it ever happens make sure to check if your printer is set up for “direct thermal.” Take the label and use a coin to scratch the label. If you get a gray mark, you have thermal transfer labels, so you’ll have to get a ribbon. If the scratch is darker, then you are in fact using direct thermal labels, so you may have to call technical support for some deeper insight into why your printer isn’t working.

Now you know the basics when it comes to maintaining your Datamax O’Neil thermal printer, but if something out of the ordinary happens, you may need a repair. While you contact us here at MIDCOM to get that taken care of in a snap with our Annual Service Plan, make sure you have one of our many refurbished printers ready as a backup to save you time and money!

As always, when the printheads hit the fan, call MIDCOM at (800) 643-2664 or chat us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!