How to Troubleshoot a Dymo LabelWriter Problem

By Elizabeth Mott

Direct-thermal printing provides a quick, straightforward output process for black-only labels. You can print on the proprietary adhesive-backed white stock these devices use. Dymo's LabelWriter hardware adds this technology to your desktop, simplifying the tasks of addressing packages, applying postage, identifying file folders and organizing household supplies. If your LabelWriter's performance lapses from its expected standard, look for problems that involve supplies, connections and software.

Loading Labels

Dymo LabelWriters use a pull-apart supply spool design. One half includes a spindle that fits into a guide in the other half. To load labels, disassemble the spool, remove the thermal labels from their black plastic bag and insert them so the labels roll out toward you from the bottom of the spool. The left side of the roll should sit snugly against the spool before you slide the guide back onto the spindle. Any gap between the roll and either side of the spool prevents the labels from feeding properly. Set the reassembled spool into the guides in the printer cover and line up the labels with the feed slot in the base. Unless the new roll starts with a partial label, the printer should auto-feed into printing position. If the labels don't advance, press the form-feed button to get them ready for use. The printer's status light flashes when it runs out of labels or can't feed stock from an improperly loaded roll.

Checking Connections

LabelWriters rely on a power cord and a USB cable for operation and data input. On most models, both connections plug into a recess on the bottom of the device. Duo models, which accept both thermal label stock and cassette-loaded permanent plastic marking tapes, use connectors mounted on the backs of the units. These printers don't incorporate on/off switches, so their indicators should light up as soon as you plug them into a power source. If your LabelWriter fails to respond to any input and its status light stays dark, verify that you've connected its power cord correctly and plugged it in to an active outlet. If your printer doesn't respond to data, check its USB cable.

Testing the Printer

Dymo includes built-in self-test cycles in its LabelWriter products. To begin a self test, press and hold the form-feed button until the printer begins outputting a series of patterns made up of vertical lines, and press the button again to halt the test. If you see dropouts in the pattern, run the cleaning card that came with your printer through the machine to remove dirt from the printhead. Additionally, verify that you're using fresh Dymo-branded label stock and that your supplies haven't been exposed to heat. Third-party supplies may not operate properly in these printers' feed mechanisms. Old labels may not react evenly to printed output. Because the LabelWriter's thermal output process relies on heat to alter the surface of its label stock, heat exposure can damage its supplies. A completely blank self test points to printhead failure, which requires replacement of the device.

Software and OS Considerations

Before you invest in one of these printers, check your OS and computer against Dymo's minimum requirements. The driver software that manages communications between your LabelWriter hardware and your computer must remain compatible with your OS and may require specific computer hardware. If you upgrade your system or move the printer to a different computer, verify that you match the driver you install to your OS version. Dymo issues periodic updates to its drivers and label software, which you can download from the company's website.