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.