If Rebooting Gets Your Tag Printer or Receipt Printer Working, It’s Likely An Electrical Issue


It’s a common problem, but a simple one!  If you find your tag printer or receipt printer work fine, then stop working, but when you reboot the tags/receipts spit-out, it is a tell-tale sign that the printers are plugged-in to a power outlet that cannot handle them.

It’s probably one of the most-common calls we receive from store owners, both new and old — i.e. their tag and/or receipt printers will work, but stop printing and only start printing again once they reboot.

Let me be clear and concise with this one (I recommend no over thinking it) – it is likely an electrical issue, it’s that simple.  I base this on thousands of phone calls taken over the last 13 years and this one symptom — printing stops, reboot and it starts — is one that always points to an electrical issue.  If I ever see a different cause of this, I’ll update this article.

This is precisely why we have a number of monitoring points to help us proactively identify this issue, specifically:

  • Peeps monitor for unscheduled reboots.  If someone’s manually rebooting mid-day or doing so multiple times per week, that usually means there’s an issue.
  • Peeps monitor battery backups for power alerts.  If battery backups are alerting to surges/power interruptions, but there are no storms or power outages, it’s typically a sign that a printer is nearby.

Now, “electrical issue” doesn’t mean a frayed wire, a smoking outlet, or sparks flying.  An “electrical issue” typically means one of the following:

  • You have your tag/receipt printer plugged-in to your battery backup — printers can never plug-in to any outlet on a battery backup.
  • The tag/receipt printer share the same outlet/power source as another printer.
  • There is an insufficient power strip in-use.
  • Multiple power strips, extension cords, and/or battery backups are part of the power chain.
  • The outlet shares a circuit with another outlet our outlets nearby.

It’s super simple to fix, but not always easy.  Here is a quick checklist of things you can do to minimize electrical faults with your tag or receipt printer(s):

  • Do not use those “cheap, white, plastic power strips.”  They’re typically not rated for appliances and printers and have demonstrated unstable power for business printers.
  • Do not over-crowd a surge strip.  Printers are not like charging multiple cell phones — you can’t plug-in multiple thermal tag/receipt printers into the same power strip without consideration.
  • Avoid plugging-in printers to an outlet that shares a circuit with appliances, lighting, or other printers.
  • Avoid extension cords.
  • Never plug-in printers to a battery backup.

If you start with nothing on the outlet and then add things one at a time, the issue will clearly present itself @ which thing caused the tipping point, but the key takeaway is — printers require stable, consistent power in order to operate properly.  Inconsistent, unstable power typically causes printers to ‘faint’ and stop working until you reboot.  This is especially true with USB-connected printers.

I am a Software Developer, System Administrator, and consignment software specialist. I currently manage hundreds of consignment workstations, point of sale systems, and database servers all across North America and I am the developer of Peeps' Software, Peeps2Go, and Peeps' Consignor Login for iOS and Android. I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. Peeps' Software launched in 2016 and is now on hundreds of systems all across North America. I have successfully converted dozens of stores from all of the major consignment software systems. After 20 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale store-owners face. From electrical issues in old buildings or strip malls, to advocating for them when their old consignment software keeps crashing.

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