Printhead Pressure Adjustments

A key element to proper print quality and prevention of ribbon wrinkle is printhead balance. Printer models that have a method of adjusting the printhead balance allow flexibility to maintain constant image transfer across the label width. This adjustability allows the printer to function with a wide variety of label widths and thicknesses.


The pressure should be evenly distributed across the media (label/tag/card stock). This is typically done by printing a Pause Test label with the darkness reduced to produce a light image while adjusting toggles or pressure springs until even printing is achieved. . The reduced darkness will enhance the pressure differences and allow for accurate printhead pressure adjustments to achieve an image with the same darkness across the label. Once this is achieved, increase the darkness to optimize the print quality.


Some simple steps to follow:

1. Enable the PAUSE test print. Refer to your User Guide for details.

2. Reduce the burn temperature or darkness until the test print begins to lighten and turn grey.

3. Adjust the printhead pressure
- Printers with left and right pressure toggles, increase or decrease the pressure to assure even grey printing across the label. Use minimal pressure but enough to assure outer edge transfer.
- Printers with a single toggle, move the toggle to a position where even transferr occurs across the label. This is typically in the middle of the label. Add pressure if needed to assure outer edge transfer.

4. Increase the darkness and observe an even image across the label. Repeat the above steps if necessary.

Note: Media that is less than full width may require reducing outboard pressure to increase inboard pressure as shown in this video.....

Narrow Label Pressure Balance  


Typical Zebra Printer Test Label (Properly Balanced)


Increase pressure on the left


Increase pressure on the right

If your pressure toggle does not appear to give you enough range of adjustment to produce acceptable results assure the printhead is installed correctly and that the ribbon strip plate is not impacting the media surface.