Fastmark Thermal Printers


FM400 SERIES

QUESTION

ANSWER

How/When/Why do I need to calibrate the media sensor? The first time you use Fastmark and each time a new type of media is loaded (length, gap, color, etc. changes) you must calibrate the media sensors. Load the media to be calibrated, power on the printer while holding the FEED key, release as soon as media starts feeding, then cycle power after the feed stops. Now each time the Feed key is pressed one form should feed.
How do I tell which emulation and firmware revision is loaded in my printer? Power on holding the FEED key. Continue to hold until feeding stops then release, after a pause the configuration report will print. In PPLB emulation the printer will now be in a HEX dump mode. Press the FEED key to exit this mode.
After performing the configuration print my printer prints in strange “Number” codes? How can I fix this? If the printer is loaded with PPLB emulation, “HEX Dump” mode is automatically entered after running the configuration print out. This allows all data sent to the printer to be displayed as HEX values which is useful debugging communication and programming issues. To exit this mode press the FEED key or cycle power on the printer.
After I load media, sometimes it does not feed properly and printing is in the wrong position. How do I correct this? First, if you have just loaded a new roll, make sure you shut the top cover before printing or feeding media. Also ensure the media is loaded according to the users manual and you have performed a media calibration.
Which emulation needs to be loaded in my printer to use Windows drivers? The supplied Windows drivers works with all versions of the printer regardless of the emulation loaded. If drivers from other sources are used make sure you match the driver to the emulation loaded in the printer as follows: PPLA; use a Datamax type driver, PPLB; use an Eltron type driver, PPLZ; use a Zebra type driver.
My printer is acting up, how do I reset it to factory defaults? While powered up, press and hold the FEED button for around 10 seconds until the Ready and Power LED’s turn off and then back on then release the feed button. The printer will then automatically perform a label calibration test.
How do I change the serial port baud rate? As shipped from the factory the baud rate is set to 9600,8,1,N. If in question use the factory reset method to reset the printer back to this condition. Changing the baud rate is possible through software commands depending on emulation: PPLA- <STX>KI8n where n is 0 for 9600, 1 for 2400, 2 for 2400, 3 for 19200, 4 for 4800, 5 for 38400. For PPL-B, Ybaud where baud is 38, 19, 96, 48, or 24. Changes to baud rate are stored in NVM.
Can I use thermal transfer models with direct thermal media? If so do I have to set anything on the printer? Yes. Direct thermal media can be used in thermal transfer models. To do so the printer must be set up for direct thermal mode. This can be set from Xbar by selecting File/Print/Select Printer/Printer Setup. Under options, un-check the Ribbon selection. Also make sure the emulation and print head resolution are selected under File/Print/Select Printer option. All models are 200DPI except the FM403TT and FM4603. The emulation is PPLA as shipped from the factory. If there is any question do a configuration print to determine installed emulation. After making sure all options are set, either send the blank label to the printer by printing or save to a file using the save to file check box. In this case the file can be used to configure multiple printers by using a DOS copy command. Also, if you are writing the program to send data to the printer, make sure the commands are included in your data stream. Using the save to file option under XBar is a good way to see the required programming strings.
I plan on programming my label format on my host computer. What is the best way to determine what commands need to be sent to the printer? The best way is to use the included XBar program. After installing the included Windows drivers, install XBar. Then make sure under File/Print/Select Printer, your model is selected. Make sure the emulation PPLA, PPLB, or PPLZ match what is loaded in your printer (see configuration report). Now design a label closely matching your intended label in XBar. When the printed label is what you want select the “Print to File” option under File/Print and name the file descriptively with a .txt extension. You can now open this file with any text editor for an example of the label format and setup commands. Please note in PPLA emulation control codes such as <STX> precede many of the setup commands. Details can be found in the User’s manual or programmers manual.
Once I get my printer, can I change the emulation? Yes. Unless otherwise specified at time of order, all Fastmark units except the FM412TT ship with PPLA (Datamax) emulation loaded. The FM412TT ships with PPLZ and this is the only emulation available for this model. To change to a new emulation make sure Print Utility (included on CD) is installed on your computer, attach the printer to the parallel port. Select the F/W Download screen tab. Click on your model name. Click on the Language (emulation). Only valid selections are possible. All emulation’s are not supported by all models. Click on the Browse button. By default the correct file name should be displayed. Click on Open and the firmware update will start. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LEAVE THE PRINTER POWERED ON DURING THIS UPDATE. ON PRINTERS WITH LCD DO NOT TURN OFF UNTIL DISPLAY READS “DOWNLOAD COMPLETE”.
Which emulation’s are available in which models? Currently the following emulation’s are supported per model: FM402DT/TT – PPLA, PPLB; FM403TT – PPLA, PPLB; FM412TT – PPLZ.
The thermal ribbon which came with my printer didn’t last very long. How can I get longer life? The ribbon provided with the printer is a small sample to allow the printer to be installed and tested. Full roll ribbons produce much longer life.

FM4000 / FM6000 SERIES

QUESTION

ANSWER

How/When/Why do I need to calibrate the media sensor? The first time you use Fastmark and each time a new type of media is loaded (length, gap, color, etc. changes) you must calibrate the media sensors. Load the media to be calibrated, power on the printer while holding the PAUSE/CALIBR. key, release as soon as media starts feeding, then cycle power after the feed stops. Now each time the Feed key is pressed one form should feed.
How do I tell which emulation and firmware revision is loaded in my printer? Power on holding the FEED/CONFIG key. Continue to hold until feeding stops then release, after a pause the configuration report will print. In PPLB emulation the printer will now be in a HEX dump mode. Press the CANCEL/RESET key to exit this mode.
After performing the configuration print my printer prints in strange “Number” codes? How can I fix this? If the printer is loaded with PPLB emulation, “HEX Dump” mode is automatically entered after running the configuration print out. This allows all data sent to the printer to be displayed as HEX values which is useful debugging communication and programming issues. To exit this mode press the FEED key or cycle power on the printer.
Printer displays “LIFE PROGRAM” Firmware has been corrupted. Firmware EPROMS must be replaced. Contact technical support.
After I load media, sometimes it does not feed properly and printing is in the wrong position. How do I correct this? The first step is to ensure media loaded correctly as detailed in the Quick Start Up Guide and User’s Guide. Ensure media is wound face out and feeding off the top of the roll. Media must be routed exactly as shown in the manual, OVER the back media rail and UNDER the front media rail as viewed from the side of the printer. The media rails are two metal shafts where the green media guide slides on. The media must then pass between the upper and lower media sensor arms which are black plastic arms located in the media path. This arm is adjustable and must be slid so that the sensors are located over the object to be sensed (gap or notch) and do not see other gap or notches that should not be sensed. From the front of the printer looking into the media path under the opened print head, a small arrow is on the upper media sensor arm at the sensor location. Finally once media is properly loaded be sure to perform a sensor calibration.
This still did not correct my media feeding problem. Are there other things I can try? If this still does not resolve the problem make sure the sensing method is set correctly (reflective for black bar, see through for gap/hole). If the media feeds reliably when pressing the FEED key but skips when sending down data from the PC/host, verify the label length settings are set correctly for the length media being used and the label format is not longer than the physical label.
Which emulation needs to be loaded in my printer to use Windows drivers? The supplied Windows drivers works with all versions of the printer regardless of the emulation loaded. If drivers from other sources are used make sure you match the driver to the emulation loaded in the printer as follows: PPLA; use a Datamax type driver, PPLB; use an Eltron type driver, PPLZ; use a Zebra type driver.
My printer is acting up, how do I reset it to factory defaults? Power up the printer while holding the CANCEL/RESET button. On the FM4402 wait for the Ribbon LED to start blinking. On the FM4602, FM4603, FM6602, wait for the LCD to display “E2PROM RESET”. Ensure the media is re-calibrated after this step.
How do I change the serial port baud rate? As shipped from the factory the baud rate is set to 9600,8,1,N. If in question use the factory reset method to reset the printer back to this condition. On the FM4402, changing the baud rate is possible through software commands depending on emulation: PPLA- <STX>KI8n where n is 0 for 9600, 1 for 2400, 2 for 2400, 3 for 19200, 4 for 4800, 5 for 38400. For PPL-B, Ybaud where baud is 38, 19, 96, 48, or 24. Changes to baud rate are stored in NVM. On the FM4602, FM4603, FM6602 the baud rate may be adjusted by setting the dip switches located on the back of the printer then cycling power. Refer to the User’s manual or Quick Start Up Guide.
Can I use thermal transfer models with direct thermal media? If so do I have to set anything on the printer? Yes. Direct thermal media can be used in thermal transfer models. To do so the printer must be set up for direct thermal mode. On the FM4402 this can be set from Xbar by selecting File/Print/Select Printer/Printer Setup. Under options check or un-check the Ribbon selection. Also make sure the emulation and print head resolution are selected under File/Print/Select Printer option. The FM4402 is 200DPI the emulation is PPLA as shipped from the factory. If there is any question do a configuration print to determine installed emulation. After making sure all options are set, either send the blank label to the printer by printing or save to a file using the save to file check box. In this case the file can be used to configure multiple printers by using a DOS copy command. Also, if you are writing the program to send data to the printer, make sure the commands are included in your data stream. Using the save to file option under XBar is a good way to see the required programming strings. On the FM4602,
I plan on programming my label format on my host computer. What is the best way to determine what commands need to be sent to the printer? The best way is to use the included XBar program. After installing the included Windows drivers, install XBar. Then make sure under File/Print/Select Printer, your model is selected. Make sure the emulation PPLA, PPLB, or PPLZ match what is loaded in your printer (see configuration report). Now design a label closely matching your intended label in XBar. When the printed label is what you want select the “Print to File” option under File/Print and name the file descriptively with a .txt extension. You can now open this file with any text editor for an example of the label format and setup commands. Please note in PPLA emulation control codes such as <STX> precede many of the setup commands. Details can be found in the User’s manual or programmers manual.
 How do I re-flash firmware on the 4602 non-plus printer?
Goto the link below and download 4602nonplus_FW_FLASH zip file.
http://www.amtdatasouth.com/support-1/downloads/doccuments/  ( under Firmware Files, select “4602nonplus_FW_FLASH zip” )
Extract the folder. Then open the appropriate folder for your 4602 ( PPLA, PPLB, or PPLZ).
Follow the instructions in the txt file to flash firmware.

 

Once I get my printer, can I change the emulation? Yes. Unless otherwise specified at time of order, all Fastmark units except the FM412TT ship with PPLA (Datamax) emulation loaded. The FM412TT ships with PPLZ and this is the only emulation available for this model. To change to a new emulation make sure Print Utility (included on CD) is installed on your computer, attach the printer to the parallel port. Select the F/W Download screen tab. Click on your model name. Click on the Language (emulation). Only valid selections are possible. All emulation’s are not supported by all models. Click on the Browse button. By default the correct file name should be displayed. Click on Open and the firmware update will start. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LEAVE THE PRINTER POWERED ON DURING THIS UPDATE. ON PRINTERS WITH LCD DO NOT TURN OFF UNTIL DISPLAY READS “DOWNLOAD COMPLETE”.
Which emulation’s are available in which models? Currently the following emulation’s are supported per model: FM4402 – PPLA, PPLB; FM4602 – PPLA, PPLB, PPLZ; FM4603 – PPLA, PPLB; FM6602 – PPLA
The thermal ribbon which came with my printer didn’t last very long. How can I get longer life? The ribbon provided with the printer is a small sample to allow the printer to be installed and tested. Full roll ribbons produce much longer life.
I designed a form using Xbar configured for “Forms Making Mode”. For variable data fields I changed the automatically assigned Field names to be my data prompts. After I downloaded to the FM4602 w/ PS2 keyboard attached, the entire prompt is not displayed on the LCD. Why? Using Xbar, when an objects Data Source is set to “When printed”, this means that the data for that object is input from a keyboard at print time. In this case the Field name located under the Option tab of the objects property box is actually used as the Prompt for the data and is displayed on the printer LCD for example “Enter Qty:. While XBar allows up to 20 characters to be entered for this prompt, since the printer LCD is only 16 characters wide, only the first 16 characters of the prompt are displayed.
FM4600plus Network Issues Ethernet firmware may need updating. Download instructions:  4600+ F/W Instructions

FM 4600 Plus series  – tech bullitens

XBAR LABEL DESIGN SOFTWARE

QUESTION

ANSWER

Why do I get a Windows driver not found error after I install Xbar? Before installing Xbar you must install the Windows drivers included with the printer. The drivers must be installed first.
What printer emulation’s does XBar support? Under File/Print/Select Printer, three options are listed: Windows driver, Printer Command, Forms Making. When Windows mode is selected, a choice of drivers included with the printer will be displayed. If you have multiple drivers installed for Fastmark printers pick the one that matches your model. The included Windows driver works with all models regardless of which emulation is loaded. When selecting Printer Command option you must select your model WITH the correct emulation. The emulation loaded in your printer can be determined by performing a configuration print. Selecting Forms Making mode allows you to generate forms suitable for download to the printer or the FastKey KDU.
Which print driver method should I use? If you are connected to the parallel port and require mainly graphics and True Type fonts then the Windows driver will be a good choice. If you want to improve performance use the Printer Command. In this case make sure you select your model AND the correct emulation. Also, for best performance use the printers resident fonts instead of True Type fonts. This is also the best setting if you are going to use the code generated by XBar as a template for coding host applications. Use Form Making mode if you plan on storing forms in the printer or FastKey KDU.

 

FASTSET PRINTER UTILITY

QUESTION

ANSWER

What types of things can I do with the FastSet Printer Utility? The FastSet printer utility allows various features of the printer to be adjusted. It also allows the optional Real Time Clock (RTC) module to be adjusted. Another useful feature is the ability to change printer emulation’s loaded in the printer.
How do I use the FastSet print utility? First select the Fastmark model, then the emulation, then the port which it is attached. After this set you can one by one click on various settings and enter the new values. When all these parameters are adjust you can press the Send button which will send the configuration information to the printer. Under the port settings you can even select FILE which allows this information to be stored in a file. This is useful to use as a programming template or as a file that can be emailed to configure printers remotely.
Why are some options grayed out? FastSet automatically disables features which are not supported by the currently selected emulation.
Are changes made by the FastSet program Permanent? In the Windows FastSet printer utility help files, each feature is explained it is also listed per model if the change is stored in NVM or is temporary. Of course any feature changes may be overwritten if the data sent to the printer from PC or Host contains control sequences. If you find a parameter such as DT or TT mode changing, check the data or the application program used to generate the print jobs to see if there are settings which could be interfering.

 

FASTKEY KEYBOARD DISPLAY UNIT (KDU)

QUESTION

ANSWER

How is the FastKey KDU used? The FK KDU is a powerful flexible keyboard solution with LCD for data prompts. Because it is an intelligent keyboard it can store forms which can be called up individually for each print application. It also supports a BASIC programming mode which allows programs to be written and downloaded. This is especially useful if a stand alone application needs to make calculations or decisions. You can even implement a password scheme.
How does FastKey know what emulation my printer is using? This can be configured by entering the FastKey setup mode as explained in the FastKey manual. The choices are PPLA, PPLB, or BASIC. If BASIC is not used, make sure the emulation selected matches your printer either PPLA or PPLB. When BASIC is used the printer may be loaded with PPLA or PPLB. In this case make sure the printer control sequences you program into your BASIC application match what is loaded in the printer. Generating the basic label commands using XBar is an excellent way to determine the commands which need to be programming into BASIC.
How do I generate the forms to be loaded in FastKey? If PPLA or PPLB is used, use Xbar. Under XBar select File/Print/Select Printer/ and click the Forms Making Mode. You will then be prompted for the form name which will be displayed on FastKey. You then must select your printer model. Once this is selected begin your forms design. As each object (text, barcode, etc.) is placed on the form, a dialog box will open. If you want this object to be variable at print time, under the Data Source menu select When Printed. Then under the Option tab, fill in the desired prompt under the Field Name box. For example you could use Enter Quantity: as the field name. This prompt will be displayed on the FastKey LCD at print time allowing you to enter the variable data. If BASIC mode is used on FastKey, these programs can be created with a text editor. In this case refer to the FastKey manual and the Fastmark programmer’s manual.