Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


While helping a customer install and configure a GP-C831 printer, I had a “SURPRISE”:  I learned Epson had made available a new driver; Version

Offering several changes, this new driver is not necessarily “plug and play” with your existing label formats.  In this post, I like to explain the new driver, and how the change may affect your work.

If you want to get the new driver, you first need to visit the Technical Resource pages: or this specific page:

The primarily reason you should upgrade to the new driver is the capability to print wider; now 8.25” versus the previous 8”.  From my perspective, this capability is a major improvement; especially without requiring a change in the hardware.

With this change, please remember these details about the page settings/sizes.  The print starting point on the right side (fixed) as you face the printer is still .51”.  Therefore, you will have approximately a .135” (.51” -.375”) non-printable boundary on the right side when using labels with a .375” tractor-feed.  This boundary will be eliminated, basically, when using labels with a .5” tractor feed.  In addition, the top and the bottom of the label will have a .08” non-printable boundary as well. 

In addition to the wider print capability, the driver has other notable changes.  First, the default setting for print quality is “Plain Label” and "Quality" versus “Plain” and "Speed" in the previous version.

With the plain label setting, the default Mode setting is “Quality”.  For producing most labels, the default setting is sufficient.  You may want to test “Synthetic” and Quality for matte poly labels (  to determine which you prefer.  During my discussions with Epson, I learned the color gamut is slightly different between these two settings.  Therefore, I suggest you print your labels with both to determine which settings match your preferred colors the best.

In addition, you’ll find several changes on the paper tab as well.  First Epson has changed the default page sizes; from seemingly random sizes to ISO standard pages:

In addition, you’ll now need to enter the width of the actual label size for user defined.  In the previous driver, you needed to add the total construction (including the pin feed) in this section of the driver.  However, you still use the size from perforation to perforation.  (Please remember the difference in this setting for my later comments.)

In addition to the change in the print quality and page size, Epson added one more important feature; the ability to import and export driver settings.

Now you can export the settings as “BSF” files to import into other computers.  This capability will save a lot of time for network installs.  While on this page, don’t forget to set the Notification Settings to “No Beep” (I find the beep very annoying).  Also, don’t forget to select these settings not only in the “Printer Defaults”, but also in “Printer Preferences”. 

Although these changes are seemingly straight forward, please know; any templates you have created using the previous driver will not print correctly using the new version.  For example, here is what I saw when I opened my example drum label in BarTender:

With the change in the driver from using the total construction to now using only the label size, the templates built using the previous driver do not work correctly.  You need to change the templates.  In BarTender, you’ll get this message when trying to print using a format created with the previous driver:

If you get this message, be sure to select cancel to get to the page setup.  In page setup, be sure “Set Manually” is NOT selected.

And be sure the correct page size from the GP-C831 driver is selected:

After making these changes, you may still need to move the content on the label format.  For example, the content on my new format was too close to the leading edge even though it worked well previously:

In situations such as above, you may want to move the print start position versus changing the position of the content on the label.  To move the print start position in the GP-C831, follow these directions:

1. Open the top cover.
2. Hold down the Pause button for about three seconds. The Pause light flashes, the printer enters Micro Adjust mode, and then the paper is advanced to the current top-of-form position.
3. Press the FF D button to move the top-of-form position down on the page, or press the Load/Eject U button to move the top-of-form position up on the page.

After working with this new driver, I would recommend one key point: you need to use the same version of the GP-C831 driver for all installs within your company.  You will not be able to print the same label template correctly from both drivers.  If you want to stay with the existing driver, contact me; I’ll send you the previous version.

If you use BarTender and want to start with a template that should work, I’ve updated my post on Drum Label Templates to include the 8.5” x 11” format: 

In addition, I’ve change the label size in my store to 8.5” x 11” as well: 

If you are using the GP-C831, you should install the new driver.  But don’t be SURPRISED when things change; Just contact us instead.

Guy Mikel

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Death By Inkjet

While helping a customer of another reseller, I came upon something I’ve never seen before:  Death by Inkjet.

As you can see in this picture, ink is everywhere; on the printer, on the walls and on the label catch basin.  After selling and supporting hundreds of customers move to print on-demand color labels, I’ve not see this type of situation.  It reminded me of a scene from Dexter; needing a blood spatter expert.  I’m not a blood spatter expert, but here are my and the customer’s ideas on what created this scene.

According to the customer, “a label jams in the printer while using the rear feed.  After the label jammed, the printer would continue to spray ink. The jam in the printer was caused by the label separating; the liner from the facestock.”

As soon as I saw this picture, I knew to ask one more question; are you using an unwinder?  “Yes”, said the customer.  Continuing he said, “it seems we get this issue on the third label after setting overnight.  Once we get past this 3rd label, we don’t have any other problems during the day; except for dealing with ink everywhere.  To try to improve this problem, we moved recently the unwinder away from the printer.  Initially, the unwinder was about 3 inches from the printer, with a sharp turn up to the rear feed opening in the printer.  Now, we have the unwinder sitting about 1 foot from the printer.”

When I saw this picture, I told the customer that the “dancer bar” from the unwinder is applying a significant amount of pressure on the labels going into the printer.  Plus the dancer bar is pulling the label around a sharp radius corner similar to a label dispenser.  By pulling the label around this type of edge, the liner may be separating from the facestock.  As the liner is thinner, it must travel farther around the tight radius corner; thus it lifts and separates just like a label dispenser.  To learn more about how a label dispenser works, check out Wikipedia:

In addition, the labels going into the printer are taunt; with zero slack.  As the TM-C3400 uses a vacuum to hold the labels to the printhead, this inkjet printer does not have any type of compression rollers able to pull the media.  With all the tension, the label media “slips” causing the overprint seen on the label in the second picture above.  The bottom line; you can’t have the winders creating tension on the media going into these Epson label printers.  You might find this post on unwinders from some time ago of interest:

After a couple of days, the customer contacted me again; he said, “I believe I have determined the cause of the bump in our labels that thus, what is causing the label jams. The bump seems to occur at the rear feed where the label bends around the edge. This “bump” happens when the label is left in this position overnight.”  So the cause of the problem was NOT the bend around the unwinder roller; rather the bend at the rear feed on the back of the printer.

To properly use a winder (both unwinder and rewinder), you need to have a “loose loop” between the printer and the winder.  Here is how I have my unwinder set up: 

As soon as the dancer bar lifts, the electric motor feeds out more labels: 

Or this recent post on the new winding solution from Labelmate:

By setting the unwinder in this fashion, you prevent tension on the labels as they feed into the printer. Now, this customer has adjusted the tension on the unwinder.  I appreciate his willingness to not only problem solve, but to get me involved and send me pictures.

If you have blood spatter, call Dexter.  But if you get this or any other issue while printing color labels on demand, contact us.  We’ll help you to insure you don’t experience, Death by Inkjet!

Guy Mikel