ID Card Printer Troubleshooting – Common Card Printer Issues and How to Solve Them

When investing in an ID card printer, you expect that it will serve you well. You hope for quality prints of cards and badges, and that the printer will last.

After all, when you were buying id card printer, you probably did lots of research to get something that would work. You read the description as well as online reviews to make certain it was what you were looking for.

Though printers (like other machines) wear with time, there’s something many people don’t realize. The rate of wear depends on how you treat these devices. Routine maintenance is everything.

Some of the issues that you face with a printer are simple and can be solved easily. That is if you know what the cause is as well as the ideal troubleshooting.

In this article, you will learn how to troubleshoot common ID card problems. This will include clever maintenance tips and tricks.

Let’s jump in.

Jamming cards

There are several reasons why cards might get stuck in the printer. One thing you have to realize is that pulling a jammed card is a bad idea. It might cause more harm.

Instead, try opening the printer’s cover and locate the jammed card. From there, turn the rollers manually so the card is released. Then remove the card gently.

  • Dirt and build-up of debris clogging the printer path and the gears. Cleaning is the best solution. Regular cleaning is a crucial maintenance routine to prevent jamming.
  • Incorrect card size. Ensure that the thickness and dimensions of the cards you’re trying to print are correct for your printer. Otherwise, you might deal with the problem of jamming and print quality.

Pictures come in sideways

The printer is failing to read the picture file as it should. The best way to solve this issue is to use Microsoft Paint to modify the file. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Within the software you’re using, hit “browse” to locate the affected photo.
  • Once you have located the photo in the computer, right-click it and choose “edit”. That will open the photo in your PC’s Paint program.
  • Hit “save” in Paint and close the program. That should fix the orientation issue on the printer software.
  • In the program, choose the picture and import it. The rotation should be correct this time around.

Printer failing to print 

Are you pressing the “print” button but the printer won’t print? This could be due to one of the following issues:

A failed pending print

In this scenario, what you need to do is delete the pending print process. Go to the control panel on your computer and navigate to the “devices and printers”.

Over the printer icon, right click the mouse and choose the option “see what is printing”. See any “pending jobs”? Select them all and hit delete.

Then, in your computer’s services, look for the “print spooler”. After right clicking on that, hit “stop”.

Try printing again.

A grayed out “print” icon

If this is the case, disconnect the USB cable connecting the printer to the computer and plug it into another USB port.

“This file could not be opened” error 

Is your printer software unable to open a project? This issue is usually because you’re using an old version of the printer software to open a project that has been modified with a newer version of the software.

Download the latest version of the software and install it. Then, use this version to open the project.

Grayed out (unavailable) double-sided printing option

There are several probable causes:

  • The USB port the printer is connected to has a problem. Switch the port and see if the duo option becomes available.
  • The driver is out of date. Update the printer driver and see if the duo option works again.

Another tactic I have found to work is switching the computer off then back on.

Poor-quality prints 

Are the prints unclear? Maybe the characters are too light or heavy in some areas. Perhaps it’s a case of spotting. Each of these problems has its own causes. Here are the common causes and solutions:

  • A bad ribbon – this one causes streaks on the cards. Remove and replace the ribbon.
  • A dirty/dusty printhead – you know it’s the problem when some cards are okay and others are not. Clean your printer, including the printhead.
  • The thermal unit is not heating up well – happens when there’s a problem with the power supply, causing the prints to be unclear. Disconnect and reconnect the power cable feeding the printer, and ensure it has no damaged/loose parts.

Spotting and lines on the printed cards can also be caused by dust and other contamination on the cards. This happens with improper storage. Make sure you buy good-quality cards from a shop that pays attention to the storage so you don’t end up with contaminated cards.

White Lines Appear, Crossing the Printed Cards

The lines might appear on some cards or all cards.

  • If they’re only appearing on some cards, that is probably a case of dust on the cards. Make sure the cards are not contaminated in any way before printing.
  • But if all the cards have the lines and it seems like a consistent issue, you might be dealing with a damaged printhead.

One thing that causes damage to the printhead is the failure to carry out the cleaning routine as you should.

Sadly, if you’re dealing with a damaged printhead, replacement is the only option.

Card printer ribbons breaking prematurely 

If your ribbons are breaking too soon, that might be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Common causes and fixes:

  • Build up of dust/dirt on the ribbons. To prevent this situation from causing the premature breakage of ribbons, clean your printer regularly.
  • The wrong ribbons for the printer. Are the ribbons you’re using in line with your printer’s specifications? Make sure there is compatibility to avoid breakage.

Premature failure of the printhead 

The printhead is a very important part of a printer. It comes into contact with your cards when printing, meaning that any issues the printhead might be having will appear on the cards.

There are several reasons why the part might fail prematurely:

  • Dirt – dirt and dust are some of the main culprits with most printer issues, including the printhead failing too soon. Routine cleaning helps avoid this.
  • Incorrect alignment – make sure the printhead is aligned correctly to avoid breaking the ribbons.
  • Incorrect print area – when you use an edge to edge printer to print too close to the edge, that could damage the ribbons and the printhead. Be sure to use the print area settings recommended by the manufacturer.

Printer software fails to import a particular database 

When you’re unable to import a .TXT or .CSV file as a database, that is usually due to problems with the database. Here are a few causes of the issue:

  • Some columns with text don’t have headers. Ensure that all columns with text have headers.
  • The file you’re trying to import is open in another program like Excel. In this case, try closing and importing the file again.
  • Data being outside the column with the header. Make sure that the data is in cells inside the columns with headers.

Final Word

I hope I have covered the issues you might be facing with your ID card printer.

I have come to discover that with this device, cleaning is paramount. It is the most important maintenance procedure. A clean printer is free of dust and debris, which happen to be the most common cause of card printer problems.

Know of any other id printer issues and solutions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.


I want to live in a world where we embrace our individuality. I want to live in a world where we are encouraged to innovate- to seek new solutions to every day problems that will ultimately affect our future generations. Hi! I'm Jenelle. Though these days I am most frequently referred to as Mommy, I used to hold such titles as President, Waitress, College Student, Mud Bog Racer, and I even donned a big furry cat suit in high school as Suzy Stateliner- the school mascot! Between crushing cars with Monster Jam trucks, judging silly dance contests, and those other less fun household chores... I rescue clothing and textiles from our landfills.

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