Top 10 Maintenance Tips For Datamax-O'Neil by Honeywell Thermal Barcode Label Printers

Simple Datamax-O’Neil by Honeywell Thermal Barcode Label Printer Maintenance Tips

Timmy Thermal TM10 maintenance tips for Datamax thermal label printers.
by Timmy Thermal

Datamax, also known as Datamax-O’Neil and has been purchased by Honeywell recently has a broad range of thermal barcode label printers.

We’ve compiled the 10 most common maintenance tips to help keep them running. datamax-oneil honeywell logo

Datamax Thermal Tip #1

One of the greatest failures occurring in thermal barcode printers is due to the printheads not being cleaned regularly.

A good rule of thumb is to clean the printhead on each of your Datamax thermal printers every time you replace a ribbon or roll of paper. It takes only about a minute and this action could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the printer.

Follow the instructions in your User’s Manual as to the type of solvent to be used for your specific model.

Datamax Thermal Tip #2

If you feel you are burning out printheads too often on your Datamax printer, you may want to check your User’s Manual for the recommended heat and darkness settings for the printhead.

An incorrect setting often will reduce the printhead life and could cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the printer.

Datamax Thermal Tip #3

An area that can cause major service issues is dust residing on the Media Sensor. This is the mechanism that insures that the gap between the paper and the printhead remains constant.
Most people purchase a bottle of “canned air” and simply give the Media Sensor a few quick blasts of air which usually will clear out any dust residue left over from the roll paper. You should consider doing this regularly, perhaps every time you change the ribbon or a roll of paper. It will only take a few seconds and it will ensure more up-time.

Datamax Thermal Tip #4

If you are using a ribbon in your thermal printer, be sure that it is a good quality ribbon.

Lower cost ribbons are not manufactured to the exact wax and/or resin specifications of your printer and could cause a wax build-up on the platen.

Wax build-up can cause poor print quality resulting in barcode reliability issues.

Datamax Thermal Tip #5

If you are using a thermal printer that does not use a ribbon (typically called a Direct Thermal printer vs. a Thermal Transfer printer that does use ribbons) and are constantly having problems with defective printheads, you may want to consider either changing your printer to a Thermal Transfer printer or using a better quality paper.
A Thermal Transfer printer, due to the position of the ribbon between the printhead and the label paper, can greatly extend the life of thermal printheads, as paper is not directly rubbing against the printhead itself and causing friction.

Datamax Thermal Tip #6

A good rule of thumb, when purchasing new ribbons on thermal transfer printers, is to purchase a ribbon that is slightly wider than the actual labels that you are using.

For instance, if the label that you are using is 4.1″ in width, then you may want to consider purchasing ribbons that are 4.33″ in width. This extra width will help keep more lubrication on the printhead and help extend printhead life.

Datamax Thermal Tip #7

Are you wearing out printheads? If so, here is something you may want to check.

Be sure that you are not using low grade label paper if you are using Direct Thermal printers. Often bargain priced rolls of paper really are not a “bargain”.
Why?
Because low grade paper often is coarser and can cause more wear on the printheads. We have seen situations with even as high as 50% more wear on the printhead. As you may know, printheads in thermal printers are very expensive.
It may make sense to pay a little more for paper, as it is a fraction of the cost compared to replacing printheads more often.
Remember, the manufacturers of thermal printers consider the printheads as consumables that the end-user is responsible to replace. These consumables run into the hundreds of dollars each.

Datamax Thermal Tip #8

Is your print quality declining? It’s probably your printhead that needs attention.

If print quality declines, the typical cause can be traced to debris build-up on the printhead. If left unattended, the printhead service life can be reduced. The Datamax-O’Neil printer can be programmed to remind you to perform cleaning. Depending upon the media and printing parameters used, different cleaning methods are recommended.

Cotton Swab Procedure:

  1. Turn OFF and unplug the printer. Open the cover and raise the Printhead Assembly. Allow the printhead to cool before proceeding.
  2. Move media (and ribbon, if present) away from the printhead, as necessary. Using a cotton swab moistened (not soaked) with isopropyl alcohol, gently wipe build-up on the printhead while paying special attention to cleaning the Burn Line. Allow the printhead to dry.
  3. Reposition media (and ribbon, if present). Lower and lock the Printhead Assembly.
  4. Plug in and turn ON the printer. Close the cover then run a few sample labels and examine them. If streaking is still present, use the Cleaning Card Procedure, below; otherwise, this completes cleaning. If the CLEAN HEAD SCHEDULE has been set, enter the menu and select RESET COUNTER.

Cleaning Card Procedure

  1. Open the cover. Unlock the Printhead Latch and raise the Printhead Assembly. Allow the printhead to cool before proceeding.
  2. Remove media (and ribbon, if present) then place a Cleaning Card under the printhead.
  3. Lower and lock the Printhead Assembly. Disengage the Leveling Cam.
  4. Close the cover, then enter the menu and select CLEAN HEAD NOW.
  5. After the cleaning card has been run through the printer, reinstall media (and ribbon, if needed). Run a few sample labels and examine them. If streaking is still present, use the CLEANING FILM PROCEDURE, below.

Cleaning Film Procedure:

  1. Open the cover. Unlock the Printhead Latch and raise the Printhead Assembly. Allow the printhead to cool before proceeding.
  2. Remove media (and ribbon, if present) then place a sheet of Cleaning Film under the printhead.
  3. Lower and lock the Printhead Assembly. Disengage the Leveling Cam.
  4. Close the cover then enter the menu and select CLEAN HEAD NOW.
  5. After the cleaning film has been run through the printer, turn OFF and unplug the printer. Open the cover, then raise the Printhead Assembly and wait briefly for the printhead to cool. Using a cotton swab moistened (not soaked) with isopropyl alcohol, clean the printhead and then allow it to dry.
  6. Reinstall media (and ribbon, if needed). Plug in and turn ON the printer. Run a few sample labels and examine them. If streaking is still present, the printhead may need to be replaced.

Datamax Thermal Tip #9

Do you know what the platen roller is on your Datamax – O’Neil printer? It is an important part of the printer and should be cleaned regularly.

Grit, adhesive and ink build-up cause a decline in print quality and, in extreme cases, cause labels to stick and wrap around the roller. Clean the platen roller as follows:

  1. Turn OFF and unplug the printer.
  2. Open the access cover. Unlock the Printhead Latch and raise the Printhead Assembly. Remove media and ribbon.
  3. Using a Cotton Swab dampened with isopropyl alcohol, clean the accessible portion of the roller, and then manually rotate the roller to clean the remaining area. Allow the roller to dry.
  4. Replace ribbon and media.
  5. Lower the Printhead Assembly and rotate the Printhead Latch completely back, to the locked position.
  6. Close the access cover. Plug in and turn ON the printer. Feed several labels to normalize tracking.

datamax clean platten roller
Datamax Thermal Tip #10

datamax i-4208These are the steps that you have to follow to perform calibrations on a Datamax I-4208.

  1. First, make an Empty Calibration.
  2. Remove completely the media (labels) previously loaded to the printer. With the printhead open, press the PAUSE and FEED buttons at the same time. Keep them pressed for 6 seconds. Release both buttons and you should see Calibration Complete on the screen.
  3. Then do a Quick Calibration.
  4. Reload your media (labels) in the printer as shown in the label in the cover. Check your media roll is fully inserted until it reaches the Backstop. Route the media under the Media Idler, through the Media Sensor, and then straight out the front of the printer. The Media Sensor should be placed in the center – middle of your labels if you’re using Gap labels. Raise and then slide the Media Guide over so that it rests lightly against the edge of the media. With the first label partially out, close the printhead. Press the FEED button for 6 seconds and then release it. You should see Calibration Complete on the screen. (The printer should feed 3 or 4 labels during this time).
  5. Press the FEED button 3 or 4 times, checking if the printer feeds the labels correctly, one by one.

Need service on your Datamax-O’Neil printer? Schedule service by clicking here or call us at (800) 643-2664 and talk to a Service Specialist right away. Chat us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!

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