Calibrating Preprinted Labels on a 105SL Printer

In some situations the 10SL may have difficulty calibrating preprinted labels. The printer will exhibit this by not lining the gap between labels at the correct tear off point on the tear bar consistently or may even display a false paper out condition.

If at all possible align the upper and lower sensors so they track over a portion of the label where there is no preprint or minimal preprint as shown below.

upper web sensor

lower web sensor

In some applications where a variety of preprinted labels are used the best approach is to set the sensors in a location where the least amount of preprint may occur across the the selection of labels you are dealing with. You maybe limited with some preprinted labels because there is no way to position the sensors to avoid the preprinted sections.

If you are at a point regardless of where the sensors are positioned the printer is not able to calibrate then making some additional manual adjustments may become necessary.

The first step is to print a sensor profile printout.

The following information explains in detail how to read a profile to get a better understanding of how the sensors work.

Sensor Profile Information

A media sensor profile is a graphical representation or the sensor's view of the label. The profile can tell you if the printer sensor sensitivity is correctly adjusted as well as if the sensor is seeing the label gap, hole or notch correctly.

In the profile shown above you can tell the following:

"A" is the MEDIA S value and in the above example is set to 75. This is the value (a trip point) at which the printer will detect it is out of media. If the "C" and "D" values go above the MEDIA line for more than 1/2" of travel the printer will go into a PAPER OUT condition. ( i.e. a "C" peak can exceed the MEDIA value but not "C" plus "D" for 1/2".)

"B" is the WEB S value and in the above example is set to approximately 50. This is the value (a trip point) that determines the leading edge of the label. Each time the peak passes the WEB value the printer identifies the top of form. This value should be in an area where any "noise" or variations in "D" do not come close to passing the WEB line but not so high that the "C" peak fails to cross.

"C" is the peak produced by the sensor viewing a label gap, hole or notch. As the gap passes the sensor more light is passing to the upper sensor which results in the peak as shown above. As the peak passes the WEB line the printer identifies the top of form. This peak should have a consistent appearance and distinctly protrude from the background "D".

"D" is the background produced by the sensor light shining through the liner and label. This may vary in height from barely visible (using card stock or other light obstructing material) or up to 20 to 30 as in the example shown above. If the "D" value appear too high try lowering the "MEDIA LED" value in the LCD Display. If it is already at 000 you can try moving the lower sensor slightly to misalign the light path.
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In the example below you can see how the "D" background is exceeding the "B" Web S value. Preprint on the labels can cause the profile to have noise along the background. The "D" background and the accompanying noise spikes need to be reduced to a level that stays consistently below the "B" Web S value. Otherwise the printer will not be able to distinguish the true "C" peak from the noise and excessive background levels.

The way to clean up the profile on the preprinted label is to disable the auto-calibrating feature which is part of the 105SL default settings.
To do so start by:

  1. Pressing the SETUP/EXIT button on the front panel.
  2. Hit the NEXT/SAVE button until you reach a display that reads MAXIMUM LABEL LENGTH. Set this value so that it is set to 1 inch longer then the longest label that will be used in the printer. For example if your longest label is 10 inches, set the MAXIMUM LABEL LENGTH to 11 inches.
  3. Advance through the display until you get to MEDIA POWER UP and change it from CALIBRATION to LENGTH. (Enter the password 1234 when prompted then hit NEXT/SAVE to make the change)
  4. Advance through the display until you get to HEAD CLOSE and change it from CALIBRATION to LENGTH.
  5. Advance through the display until you get to WEB S and set it to 050. 
  6. Advance through the display until you get to MEDIA S and set it to 075. The value you set for Web S and Media S should be derived based on the profile that resulted. Web S of 050 and Media S of 075 are good starting values to try but can be set differently depending on you profile.
  7. Advance to MEDIA LED....note the value, for example let's say the current value is at 044, the profile from the bad example above shows excessive levels, so lets reduce the MEDIA LED value to 010, then press SETUP/EXIT, then NEXT/SAVE to save all the changes made.
  8. Now go back through the display and print a new sensor profile. If the value you entered for MEDIA LED was good you should see a much improved profile printout like the one shown below.

You'll notice the top of the pulse falls nicely between the established "B" web and "A" media sensor lines. Also the noise as well as the rest of the "D" background stays below the "B" web line.

Once you've gotten to this point its likely that any preprinted labels you have should be able to calibrate properly. If not print a profile on the problem label and see if some tweaking to the sensor values helps.

Notes:

  1. The instructions in the above procedure are assuming other standard settings in the printer are properly set....such as SENSOR TYPE set for WEB.
  2. You can also set the values shown in steps 3 and 4 to FEED instead of LENGTH. Setting for FEED is more suitable if you only print on one size of label all the time. Upon power up or head close the printer will only advance labels to next gap instead of feeding the MAX LABEL LENGTH value specified. This will help reduce label waste.