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Zebra Label Printer Troubleshooting

Zebra Label Printers may experience unique occurrences that temporarily disrupt communication with the SpecVet software.

Here is what you can do to troubleshoot if/when issues arise.

If a label printer is not communicating with SpecVet, first try to power cycle that label printer and try to print your label again.

  • To power cycle your zebra label printer, first flip the on/off switch on the back of the unit and then unplug completely for 5-10 seconds. Plug back in and ensure the Ethernet cable connected to the printer is also securely in place.

    • After power cycling, try to print a label from SpecVet. If communication errors still occur, move on to the following suggestions.

Sometimes Zebra Label Printers will flash red, green, amber or just combinations thereof. If you do not have a solid green light on the top of your Zebra Label Printer and you are experiencing issues, they may be resolved by walking through the following troubleshooting steps.

Status Light Error Resolutions

The following Status Error Light Resolution numbers correspond to the Status Light Description table on the previous page. Each error number may have one or more resolution to correct that error listed.

ERROR #1

The printer is not receiving power

  • Have you turned on the printer power?

  • Check power connections from the wall outlet to the power supply, and from the power supply to the printer. 

  • Disconnect the printer from the wall outlet for 30 seconds and then reconnect the printer to the wall outlet.

ERROR #2

The printer is on and in an idle state.

  • No action necessary.

ERROR #3

The printer has failed its power on self-test (POST).

  • If this error occurs right after you turn on the printer, contact an authorized reseller for assistance. When the printer is operating normally, the printer status light will be amber for about 10 seconds before turning green (solid or blinking).

  • There is a memory error.

    • If this error occurs after you have been printing, turn the printer power off and on, and then resume printing.

  • The print head needs to cool down.

    • If this error continues, turn the printer power off for five minutes or more, and then turn on. If the amber light persists, then the printer requires service.

ERROR #4

The printer is receiving data.

  • As soon as all of the data has been received, the status LED will turn green and the printer will automatically resume operation.

ERROR #5

The media is out.

  • Follow the instructions for Loading Roll Media on page 9 in the Getting Started section, and then press the Feed button to resume printing.

  • The print head is open.

    • Close the top cover and then press the Feed button to resume printing.

ERROR #6

The printer is paused.

  • Press the Feed button to resume printing.

ERROR #7

The print head is over temperature.

  • Printing will stop until the print head cools to an acceptable printing temperature. When it does, the printer will automatically resume operation.

ERROR #8

FLASH memory is not programmed.

  • Return the printer to an authorized reseller.

ERROR #9

The print head or motor has had a critical failure.

  • Return the printer to an authorized reseller.

  • The print head may have had a ‘THERMAL SHUTDOWN’ error. Turn off the printer power and let the printer sit for several minutes before reapplying power. If it still gets the error, return the printer to an authorized reseller.

ERROR #10

The printer is defragmenting memory. 

  • Caution • Do NOT turn off the printer power during defragmentation. Doing so can damage the printer.

  • Defragmentation is a normal operation of the printer – necessary to manage the memory space for optimal use. The printer will defragment its memory both after a factory default and when the printer detects that a defragment is required.

    • When the printer is in this condition, allow it to finish defragmenting. If this warning occurs frequently, check the label formats. Formats that frequently and repeatedly write to and erase from memory my cause the printer to defragment often. Using formats that avoid frequent and repeated memory write/erase event will minimize the need for defragmentation.

  • If this warning condition does not go away, contact Technical Support. The printer requires service.

ZEBRA FEED BUTTON MODES - Information from Zebra on Label Printer Feed Button Modes

For troubleshooting specific types of issues

Power Off Mode (Communications Diagnostics Mode)

With the printer power off, press and hold the feed button while you turn on the power. The printer prints out a listing of its current configuration. After printing the label, the printer will automatically enter a diagnostic mode in which the printer prints out a literal representation (see Figure 23) of all data subsequently received. To exit the diagnostic mode and resume printing, turn off and then turn on the printer.

Power On Modes

With the printer power on and top cover closed, press and hold the feed button for several seconds. The green status LED will flash a number of times in sequence. The explanation at the right (Action) shows what happens when you release the key after the specific number of flashes.


Flash Sequences listed below…


  1. Hold until you achieve 1 flashing light, and then release the feed button.

*

A configuration label will print.

  1. Hold until you achieve 2 flashing light sequences, ending in 2 flashes in a row, then release the feed button.

*

**

The media sensor calibrates and a media sensor profile prints (see “Manual Calibration” on page 42).

  1. Hold until you achieve 3 flashing light sequences, ending in 3 flashes in a row, then release the feed button.

*

**

***

To reset the communication parameters, press and release the feed button while the LED rapidly flashes amber and green.

For autobaud synchronization: Send a ZPL II format to the printer while the LED rapidly flashes amber and green. When the printer and host are synchronized, the LED changes to solid green. NOTE: No labels will print during autobaud synchronization.

  1. Hold until you achieve 4 flashing light sequences, ending in 4 flashes in a row, then release the feed button.

*

**

***

****

Resets the factory default, auto calibrates, and saves settings into memory.

  1. Hold until you achieve 5 flashing light sequences, ending in 5 flashes in a row, then release the feed button.

*

**

***

****

*****

The print width calibrates. While the status LED alternately flashes green and amber, a series of stacking rectangles print on the label. When the rectangle prints to the outer edges of the label, press and release the feed button. The label width and current communication parameters will be saved into memory.

  1. Hold until you achieve 6 flashing light sequences, ending in 6 flashes in a row, then release the feed button.

*

**

***

****

*****

******

The print darkness calibrates. A series of nine samples print, starting with the lightest and ending with the darkest image. When the desired print darkness is achieved, press and release the feed button. The print darkness will be saved into memory.

Note: If the feed button remains pressed after a 7-flash sequence, the printer will ignore the button when it is released.