Since Easter, I’ve had three check in computers die on me. Since then, we’ve had to reinstall printers on the new computers. When it comes to check-in, I know more than anyone else at our church, so it’s usually much faster for me to make sure the printer works for check-in. If you use Fellowship One and have worked with Zebra, printers, you will know that installing a Zebra Printer to work with F1 is about as easy as meeting the president. Let’s just say it’s not the most intuitive process. Since I’ve had to do this three times in the last few months, I finally made notes. This blog post is a result of these notes. Hopefully this post helps someone else in Zebra printer hell, but this blog post is a reference for me for when I have to install another printer on a new computer.
I have a feeling that someone is going to read this post and say, “Hey, you’re totally going about this the wrong way.” Please, if you know of an easier way, leave a comment with your instructions.
First of all, figure out what Zebra printer you have. We have a mixture of LP 2844’s and LP 2844-Z’s. I think that at one point, I might have even had a few TLP-2844’s that I got off Ebay for a good price. First of all, you’ve got to download your drivers. You can get them all from the Zebra website drivers page. On the left-hand side, just select the model of the printer you have and it will take you to a page where you can download the appropriate drivers. I’ve just been downloading the recommended driver for my model which is usually some from of the “Zebra Designer Driver.” Download the driver and install it.
Once I’ve installed the driver, my computer usually recognizes the printer at this point, connecting the driver to the new printer. I usually go to “printers” under the start menu and install a new printer. Because I’ve installed the drivers and the Zebra is connected to the computer, it adds the Zebra as the new printer. Now the goal is to get the printer to print a test page.
From the printer control panel, I right click on the Zebra printer and click on properties. On the general tab, I might go ahead and click, “print test page” to see if it’s working. Usually I’ve got to make sure some other things are right before it will work. On the sharing tab, I usually select “share this printer.” I think I remember some documentation telling me that I’m supposed to share, but I can’t remember. Honestly, I think some of my machines have sharing turned on and others have it turned off. On the ports tab, I make sure the computer is talking to the port the printer is plugged into. That would be USB virtual printer port for a USB connected Zebra or the LTP port if it’s connected by the old printer port. Last of all, I’d check the advanced tab just to make sure the right driver is connected, although I don’t think I’ve ever had to make any adjustments on this page. After checking all these things, I go back to the general tab to print a test page. Remember, if you can’t print a test page from here, you won’t be able to do it from F1 check-in. If you get stuck, get any computer geek to get it working. It may take them a bit, but they’ll figure it out. Honestly, this part has been the most frustrating in the past.
Now that the printer is working, do the rest of the setup in F1. Log in to check-in and type in an active activity code. Go to the menu and click the button, “Print Test Tag.” If it prints here, you’re in business. If nothing happens, you need to set up the default printer. Click on the button, “Set default printer.” From here, just select the Zebra you have installed. I find that is shows all the printers you have access to, including old installations you might not use anymore. When you clean these out of your printer control panel, they should go away from the list in F1. Once you select the zebra as your default, try to print another test page. If it prints, you’re in business. Be sure to test it though with a few families just to make sure everything is working.
If it’s still not working, have someone better at this stuff than you work on it. Don’t call or email me becasue all I’ll do it tell you to do what I just wrote. I really love Fellowship One for check-in and the Zebra printers are the most durable thermal printers I’ve ever used, but setting them up has been a beast. I hope this helps. If you have any suggestions, comment below!
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I’ve never had a check-in printer setup easy! On any software and with any printer!
To a degree, I agree with you, but these zebras are more trouble than most.
Good news. We now support a new Check-in printer which is the Godex EZ-DT-4. I even have written a new install manual for it for Fellowship One.
The printer has a field installable cutter as well.
One additional trick I found is after getting all the ZDesigner driver settings right on one printer, go to the properties tab in the printer properties that allows you to export the driver settings. Then save that file to a network share, and use it to import the proper settings quickly and painlessly every subsequent time for all printers of that model.
Also, it is unnecessary to share the printer in Windows unless you have more than one check-in PC printing to the same printer. Alhough that saves money, I hate to share the weakest link in the check-in system among multiple stations so I don’t recommend it if you have a choice.
Brilliant. I never thought of doing this. You just saved me a lot of time for the future.
Love this Kenny, great job!! I had no idea you could manipulate the Z-Designer driver to work….I was always using the Nice Label driver with F1 if it was Win7 and the Zebra Universal if it was XP. (if only the whole world could stick with XP!)
We sell the TSC TDP247 that works great with F1 and do free tech support, we even dial in and install it for you and get it set up in F1. No headaches. A lot of churches are getting the TTP245C with a cutter too. Mainly though we manufacture the labels, call us for a free roll today! 1-888-422-9249