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> ID CARD Printers FAQS

ID Card Printers Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions:

  • What are Photo ID Printers?
  • What is the advantage of a Photo ID system?
  • What is the print head and what does it do?
  • How easy is it to change the print head?
  • Why should I keep the PVC cards dust free?
  • How often should I clean a Photo ID system?
  • How easy is it to change the ribbon?
  • Why would I need a magstripe encoder as part of a system?
  • What other options can I purchase with a Photo ID system?
  • Can I send the same card through twice on a single-sided printer?
  • Can ABC Office provide samples upon request?

Supply Questions:

  • How can I tell which ribbon is for what Photo ID system?
  • How many cards can be printed with one roll of ribbon?
  • Do I throw away the complete cartridge housing?
  • How can I tell when I am close to the end of a roll?
  • How should I store the cartridges?

Magstripe Encoder Questions:

  • What is a magstripe encoder?
  • What is the difference between low coercivity and high coercivity?
  • Does a magstripe encoder require software?
  • Does the manufacturer install the magstripe encoder?
  • Can these magstripe encoders read the cards, or do I need to purchase a magstripe reader?

Card Five Software Questions:

  • What is Card Five Software?
  • Do I need to use Card Five Software to print cards?
  • Is this software compatible with Windows and Macintosh?
  • How easy is it to use Card Five?
  • Does Card Five include a Database?


General Questions:

What are Photo ID Printers?
Photo ID printers are designed to print full color graphics onto plastic, PVC cards. The electronic print head imprints the ribbon on the card. These printers connect to a computer through the parallel port using a standard printer cable.

What is the advantage of a Photo ID system?
A Photo ID system is a package, which allows the consumer to easily make Photo ID Cards. Most systems include: Full Turn-Key System, ID Printer, High Resolution Capture Board, 8mm Hi-8 Camcorder or Digital Camera with Tripod, Cables, Full System Configuration/Setup, Card Five ID Card Creation Software. Possible uses include: Security cards, time cards, school cards, and much more.

What is the print head and what does it do?
The print head is the heart of the printer. Using small, fine hairs, the print head electronically burns the ribbon onto the card. It is very important not to touch this part of the printer unless you know how to replace the print head. If one of these fine hairs becomes damaged, you will need to replace to print head. Print heads are a very costly device of your machine.

How easy is it to change the print head?
Most of our models require the removal of two screws and two wire clips to be removed in order to release the print head. Before doing anything with the print head, please read your owner's manual, or send it to our service department.

Why should I keep the PVC cards dust-free?
Dust on the PVC cards will shorten the life of the print head and cause the machine to print improperly.

How often should I clean a Photo ID system?
You should clean a Photo ID system before and after using the printer to ensure continuous, quality printing.

How easy is it to change the ribbon?
Our models display instructions on the inside cover, as well in the owner's manual. If you have any questions, please give our service department a call: 1-800-247-9143.

Why would I need a magstripe encoder as part of a system?
A magstripe encoder is valuable if you are making Photo ID cards for security or digital-entry purposes: Opening doors, turning off alarms, employee time clocks, or other similar uses. The magstripe encoder allows the printer to encode each ID card as it prints. The manufacturer installs these encoders. The sales person must be notified at the time of your order.

What other options can I purchase with a Photo ID system?
On our product pages, there are links to other options and accessories for the printers, which will help give your Photo ID cards a professional look.

Can I send the same card through twice on a single-sided printer?
This is not recommended. Although it is possible to print on both sides of the card using a single sided printer, this can shorten the lifetime of the print head.

Can ABC Office provide samples upon request?
Yes, ABC Office will happily send samples upon request.

Supply Questions:

How can I tell which ribbon is for what Photo ID system?
The tables on our supplies page specifically show which ribbons go with the ID printer.

How many cards can be printed with one roll of ribbon?
This depends on the type of ribbon you purchase. On our supplies page, the amount of printable images is clearly stated for each ribbon.

Do I throw away the complete cartridge housing?
Yes, after the ribbon is completely used up, please dispose of it properly.

How can I tell when I am close to the end of a roll?
Most printers will make a slightly different sound, or will stop printing entirely, as it nears the end of the roll. It is recommended that you check the ribbon before printing.

How should I store the cartridges?
The print ribbon cartridges are like film, and should be stored at room temperature. Hot temperatures will cause damage to the ribbon and, if inserted into the printer, may cause problems in printing and to the print head.

Magstripe Encoder Questions:

What is a magstripe encoder?
These devices store digital information on the magnetic stripe of an ID card, just like an ATM or Visa card.

What is the difference between low coercivity and high coercivity?
LOW COERCIVITY: As the name implies, low field energy is used to write data onto the magnetic stripe of an ID card designed for low-energy encoding. Low-coercivity encoded cards are best used for medium-use, non-critical, security applications. One of the main benefits of using low-coercivity cards is the low cost.

HIGH COERCIVITY: High-coercivity uses strong magnetic field energy to write data onto the magnetic stripe of an ID card designed for high-energy encoding. High-coercivity encoded cards are best used in high-usage environments such as secured installations, where the long-life of the data on the magnetic stripe is of extreme importance. High-coercivity cards are resistant to data loss due to the high level of energy used to encode them.

It is important to use the appropriate encoder-type printer with the appropriate coercivity cards. For example, if you use a low-coercivity encoder printer with high-coercivity cards, the field intensity created by the encoder will not be enough to permanently polarize the receptive material of the card. The magnetic stripe will rapidly lose its encoded information. In the opposite case, in which a high-coercivity encoder is used with low-coercivity cards, the magnetic field created by the encoder will saturate the magnetic stripe of the card, rendering it useless.

Does a magstripe encoder require software?
Yes, we offer Card Five software which allows you to store or change information to a magstripe card.

Does the manufacturer install the magstripe encoder?
Yes, the manufacturer installs these encoders. The sales person must be notified at the time of your order.

Can these magstripe encoders read the cards, or do I need to purchase a magstripe reader?
No, to read what is on a magnetic stripe, you will need to purchase a magstripe reader (please note whether you need HIGH or LOW coercivity).

Card Five Software Questions:

What is Card Five Software?
Card Five is a user-friendly software tool for making professional Photo ID cards. It provides many options for placing pictures, text, graphics, and encoding. One great feature of Card Five is the ODBC, which is a database. This feature allows you to easily modify or replace lost cards card. Card Five also provides the capability of printing on both sides of a card, and much more. With this software, you can expect to get everything out of your Photo ID printer system.

Do I have to use Card Five software to print cards?
No, we recommend this user-friendly software, but you are not required to use it for printing Photo ID cards.

Is Card Five compatible with Windows and Macintosh?
This software is a Windows based program, yet with Virtual PC (Macintosh application) you can use this on a Macintosh.

Is Card Five easy to use?
Yes, we have found this to be very easy, user-friendly software for making ID cards.

Does Card Five include a database?
Yes, Card Five includes a database. With its ODBC, this software is a powerful tool for developing professional cards in a timely matter.
 
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