Troubleshooting a Ticket Printer

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

Ticket printers, like any pieces of hardware, are unlikely to work 100% of the time. While problems should hopefully be rare, we’ve gathered together some of the common issues you might face to help you troubleshoot in the event that you’re struggling to get your printers working as expected.

If you’re having trouble installing a printer, please have a look at this article on how to install a ticket printer. If you're not familiar with ticket printers, you might find this video on the Anatomy of a Stima SML Ticket Printer to be worth watching first:

 

 

This article is intended to troubleshoot common problems that might stop an installed printer working at all, or cause it to print incorrectly. While Spektrix will print to a wide range of printers, this article is limited to issues with Stimare and BOCA printers, as these are the two makes that we recommend and provide direct support for. If the problem you’re seeing isn’t listed here, or if you’ve followed these suggestions and are still having problems, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.

Although Spektrix doesn’t produce printers, we will always be on hand to help fix any issues you encounter with them. In some cases we may need to refer you to the printer manufacturer, but please check with us as your first line of support.

Always check this first!

In the event that a printer stops working, the first thing to do is to always check that your Spektrix App is connected and configured correctly.

the Box Office App is a small program which needs to be installed on every computer that has a ticket printer, chip and pin pad or cash drawer plugged into it. It provides the bridge between that computer’s locally installed hardware and your Spektrix system, which is accessed via a web browser.

If a computer’s App is not connected, then any hardware installed on that computer will not work with Spektrix, and may not appear where you would normally see it in the Change local settings section within the Spektrix control panel. See this article for more information about the Box Office App, or this guide to troubleshooting the Box Office App.

The next thing to try…

We’re aware that it’s become something of a cliche, but the first thing to always try to resolve a ticket printer issue is to do a full reset of the printer - in other words, turn it off and on again!

Ticket Printer Reset

To do this:

  • Unplug the printer at the mains so that it loses power entirely (turning it off at the off switch is not enough)
  • Now take the ticket stock out of the printer
  • Plug the printer back in and wait for it to restart
  • Now feed the ticket stock back into the printer
  • Finally, restart the PC the printer is attached to

Following all those steps will force the printer to recalibrate.

It's still not working!

If you've checked the Box Office App and reset the printer, and it's still not working as expected, then check to see if the problem you're experiencing is listed below. If not, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.

The Box Office App is green, I’ve reset the printer, but it’s still not printing at all!

You’ll first need to determine if there’s a problem with the printer or its connection to the PC. To do this, first try to complete a test print from Windows.

Windows Test Print

  • Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop screen
    • If you're using Windows 10:
      • Type Control, select Control Panel from the results that appear, then select View devices and printers
    • If you're using any other version of Windows:
      • Type Devices and then select the Devices and Printers option from the results that appear

You should now be shown a window with all of the hardware attached to your computer, including a list of printers, similar to this:

Devices_and_Printers.jpg

If your printer is greyed out in the list (as in the image above) then please check all cable connections and ensure it is plugged in, turned on and has ticket stock inserted. If everything appears correct but the printer is still greyed out then please move onto the Printer Test Print section below.

A yellow exclamation mark next to the printer indicates that there is a problem with the it which Windows will try help you to resolve, by giving you a Troubleshoot option when you right-click the icon:

Troubleshoot.jpg

If this doesn’t work, you will need to contact whoever is responsible for your organisation’s IT to try and resolve the problem.

If your printer is displayed normally in the list, then perform the following steps:

  • Right-click on your ticket printer and select Printer Properties
Printer_Properties.jpg
  • On the next window, select Print Test Page
Print_Test_Page.jpg


If the printer successfully prints a test ticket, it means that the connection between the PC and the printer is working, and the problem is to do with the printer’s connection to Spektrix.


If nothing prints, first of all try restarting the Box Office App and trying once again. If that still doesn’t work, right-click on the printer and select
See what’s printing, as sometimes documents can get stuck in the print queue. If there is a list of incomplete documents, try deleting them from this list before trying another test print.


NOTE:
if you are unable to delete outstanding print jobs, it may mean that only people with Administrator rights on that PC are able to do so. Restarting the PC should delete them automatically. If they are still listed after restarting the PC, try disconnecting the printer from the PC and then deleting these jobs manually.

If the troubleshooting tips above don’t resolve the problem, please contact the Spektrix Support team.

Printer Test Print

If you haven't been able to make a test print in Windows, the next thing to try is to do a test directly from the printer itself.

BOCA
If you are using a BOCA printer and have a small screen with 3 buttons on it, or 3 hardware buttons, press Test. If the printer fails to perform a test print then please contact your BOCA printer provider as this is a potential printer fault.

If it does successfully test print, you will need to get in touch with the people responsible for your IT to help troubleshoot the connection between the printer and the PC. Alternatively, you can try uninstalling it by right-clicking on the printer in the Devices and Printers menu and selecting Remove Device, then re-installing it following this article.

Stimare
Stimare printers do not have test print buttons, so you may need to contact the people responsible for your IT to help troubleshoot the connection between the printer and the PC. Alternatively, you can try uninstalling it by right-clicking on the printer in the Devices and Printers menu and selecting Remove Device, then re-installing it following this article.

My tickets are printing the wrong way round

This could be due to the ticket template design, or a setting in the Box Office App - that is, as long as you’re sure that the ticket stock is in the right way round!

On the underside of each ticket will be a black mark, or notch (we’ll refer to it as the notch from now on).  In some cases, this may be a small black square at either side of the ticket (or both sides), while sometimes it will be a black band running the width of the ticket.

If you're not familiar with things like the black notch then you might want to watch this video before going any further.

The printer uses these notches to tell when it’s reached the end of one ticket and the start of the next. They should normally be face down when you insert the ticket stock. With Stimare printers the notch should be at the leading edge of the ticket - i.e. you should insert the tickets so that there’s the shortest possible distance between the notch and the printer’s sensor. With BOCA printers it’s best to insert the tickets stub first, which means the notch might be further away from the sensor.

It’s possible that some printers may be configured differently, so it’s always best to check this against one of your other printers if possible.

Feed_Direction.JPG

 

Having checked this, the next thing to determine is whether the tickets print the wrong way round from every printer (assuming you use more than one), or just one of them. If it’s every printer, there’s probably an issue with the ticket design - which you can find in the Admin Interface under Document Design > Tickets. Here’s how to edit a ticket design:

  • Find the ticket design you’re trying to print and click the Edit button
  • In the Edit document design window, click the Document Properties button and try switching the orientation between Landscape and Reverse Landscape, before trying another print
Document_Design.jpg


If the problem is limited to one printer, then a setting may need to be changed in the Box Office App installed on the PC that the printer is plugged into.

  • Right-click on the Box Office App icon and select Open, then enter your Spektrix login details. The Box Office App will open with a list of Spektrix printers on the right-hand side

NOTE: Only Spektrix users with the General Administrator role will be able to log into and open the Box Office App.

  • Select the printer you’re working with and click Edit Printer. On the following page tick the box which says Print reversed, then OK, before closing the Box Office App. You’ll need to restart your computer before the changes will take effect. Once it’s restarted, try another print
Print_Reversed.jpg


Extra, blank tickets are printing out with some orders

This is probably because one of the document design templates has been set with the wrong size in Spektrix. If a document template is slightly too large, the printer may try to print it across two separate tickets, leading to extra blank tickets printing out with certain orders.

  • Find the template that needs to be changed in the Admin Interface under Document Designs > Tickets and click the Edit button.
    • It may not necessarily be a ticket design, but could be merchandise, a gift voucher, an address slip, etc.
    • Check which ticket from the order printed out before the blank one to help you narrow down where the problem may be
  • Once you’ve found the template, click the Document Properties button:
Document_Design_2.jpg
  • Check that the width and height of the design, in millimetres, are no bigger than the stock you are using. If they seem to be the same size, try reducing each dimension by 1mm, before saving the design and trying another print

If this hasn’t resolved the problem, it may be because the form settings in your printer’s driver are wrong. The next section of the article details how to check this.

The design drifts out of alignment while printing multiple tickets on my printer

This may be because the printer settings are wrong. You will need to check if the right form settings are present in the printer’s driver - the form size setting tells the printer what size your ticket stock is.

NOTE: you may need Administrator privileges on your Windows account to perform any system changes.

  • Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop screen
    • If you're using Windows 10:
      • Type Control, select Control Panel from the results that appear, then select View devices and printers
    • If you're using any other version of Windows:
      • Type Devices and then select the Devices and Printers option from the results that appear
  • Right click on your printer and select Printing Preferences, then click the Advanced button and note down the name of the form size in the Paper Size field
    • This is the name of the form size that is currently set in the driver
  • Head back to Devices and Printers on your PC, highlight the printer and select Printer Server Properties from the top menu bar:
Print_server_properties.jpg
  • Scroll down the list of form sizes until you find the correct one and then select it. This will now reveal your form measurements at the bottom of the page:
PSProperties.JPG
  • Get out your ruler and measure your ticket stock and compare the form measurements to see if they match

NOTE: in Print Server Properties, the Height setting refers to the long edge of the ticket. This is different to Spektrix - in the Document Design editor found in the Admin Interface under Document Designs, the long edge is the Width.

Once you have made any amendments or confirmed the size is correct you need to make sure that the correct form size is set in the appropriate locations in the driver.

  • Right click the printer and select Printing Preferences, click the Advanced button; confirm the right form size is in the Paper Size field and press OK
  • Right click the printer again and select Printer Properties, click the Advanced tab, select Printing Defaults and click the Advanced button again. Do a final check to confirm that the correct form name is selected in the Paper Size field and press OK

If you’ve created a new form or amended the dimensions of an existing form, and it does not appear in the drop-down list of options, it is most likely because the dimensions have been entered incorrectly. Try swapping the Height/Width figures and checking again.

If you’ve made any changes, be sure to then reset the printer following the steps at the top of this article. Now head back to Spektrix and perform another test print.

If the problem is still happening and you’re using a Stimare printer, it may be due to the notch settings being incorrect. See the section on My tickets are printing the wrong way round… for more information on what the black notch is.

You can change the notch settings by making amendments to the Stimare’s firmware setup file, as follows:

  • Right-click on your printer, then select Browse files > FLASH DRIVE (D:)
Browse_files.jpg


NOTE:
If you have a Stima SML, you may not initially see the option to Browse Files when right-clicking on the printer icon. If not, please refer to the I need to change the settings on my Stima SML... section below.

  • Double-click on SETUP.INI
  • Scroll down to Notch/B.Mark Min.Width
Notch_Distance.JPG
  • Change this setting to 0mm – this means that the printer will now look for any black notch that is bigger than 0mm

WHY? If the setting is even a fraction of a mm too large compared to the size of the actual notch then the printer might ignore it all together and start spitting out blanks until it can find the next ticket.

  • You should also check that the Notch Distance set here is correct - this should be the distance between the leading edge of the ticket and the notch
Notch_on_Ticket.JPG
Notch_Distance_2.JPG


Once you’ve made any changes, simply save the file, then follow the steps at the beginning of this article to
reset the printer before trying another print.

The final thing to check is that the printer’s notch sensor is clean and correctly positioned, which we cover in the next section of the article.

My printer is randomly feeding the ticket stock back and forth, and it's stopping with a ticket sticking half way out!

Your ticket stock will have black notches on the underside - see the section on My tickets are printing the wrong way round… for more information about this. If the printer is having trouble detecting these notches, it may not know when to stop feeding through the ticket stock.

It’s important to check that the sensor is not being obstructed by dirt or debris. It may look similar to either of the following pictures, depending on the make of your printer.

In a Stima SML, the sensor looks like this once you’ve opened the print head:

Stimare.JPG


For a bit more information on a Stimare SML, including how to adjust the sensor, take a look at this video.

In a BOCA Lemur C printer, it will look like this:

BOCA.JPG


It’s best to use a can of compressed air to clean away any dust or debris, as the notch sensors are delicate and can be damaged fairly easily.

The next thing to check is that the ticket stock has been put in the right way round. There may only be a notch on one side of the ticket, so if it’s put in the wrong way, the notch may not be passing over the printer’s sensor. When you’re sure that the stock is being fed through the right way, double-check that the notch is passing over the path of the sensor.

While these sensors are fixed in place on BOCA printers, they are not in Stimare printers, and can be re-positioned if necessary. As long as you’re careful not to damage the sensor lens, you can move the sensor casing along the horizontal track using something like a biro nib or paper clip.

If following these steps has still not resolved the problem, and you have already tried a ticket printer reset, it may be necessary to uninstall and reinstall the printer.

  • Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop screen
  • Type Devices and then select the Devices and Printers option from the results that appear
  • Right click on your printer’s icon and select Remove Device
  • Once this is completed, unplug the printer from your PC before following the installation guide below:

The font that is printing out on my tickets does not look like the font I used in my Document Design

The first thing to check is that the Printing Mode set in the document design template matches the printer setup in your Spektrix App.

  • Right-click on the Box Office App in your system tray and select Open before entering your Spektrix login details
  • Select the printer you’re working with from the list of Spektrix Printers and click Edit Printer
Print_using_FGL.jpg


If
Print using FGL is ticked in the Box Office App for this printer (in which case it should be for all your printers) then FGL Basic or FGL Extended needs to be set in your Document Design under Printing Mode. If FGL mode is not selected in the Box Office App, then the Printing mode should be Generic.

Printing_Mode.jpg


NOTE:
if you are using FGL mode, you will not be able to use custom Windows fonts on your Document Design.

After making any changes here, make sure you do a printer reset, detailed at the top of this article, for the changes to take effect.

If you didn’t need to make any changes there, or if the changes had no effect, you will need to make sure that the font you are trying to use is installed on the PC you are trying to print from. It should be as simple as putting the font file on your computer, right-clicking and selecting Install. The following article has more details:

You will then need to contact the Spektrix Support team and ask them to add the font to your system. Next, the font will need to be added to your printer. The following sections explain how to do this depending on your make of printer:

Installing True Type Fonts on a Stimare Printer

  • Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop screen
  • Type Devices and then select the Devices and Printers option from the results that appear
  • Right click on your printer and select Browse Files > FLASH DRIVE (D:)
Browse_files.jpg
  • Paste the font you want on your ticket design into the folder called Fonts

NOTE: Stimare printers have to use TTF (TrueType Fonts), while OTF (OpenType Fonts) are not generally supported. Also, while many fonts are open source and require no special permissions for use, others can require licences for use in different contexts. Please be sure you have permission to use whichever fonts you are installing.

After making any changes here, make sure you do a printer reset, detailed at the top of this article, for the changes to take effect.

Installing True Type Fonts on a BOCA Printer

BOCA have produced their own documentation to talk you through installing a True Type Font directly onto a BOCA printer, which can be found here. It is only possible to add the following fonts, which are not always pre-loaded onto BOCA printers, but are compatible with them:

  • Comic Sans
  • Comic Sans Bold
  • Verdana
  • Verdana Bold
  • Verdana Italic
  • Verdana Bold Italic

NOTE: Open Type versions of these fonts won’t work - only True Type fonts are supported.

The process will involve selecting the Font files from your PC - please note that although fonts are stored in the directory C:\windows\fonts, it is not possible to download directly from this location to your BOCA printer. You will need to copy the font file you are attempting to transfer and save it elsewhere before continuing.

Please be sure you have permission to use whichever fonts you are installing - some fonts require licences for use in different contexts.

After making any changes here, make sure you do a printer reset, detailed at the top of this article, for the changes to take effect.

There is a long delay between clicking Print in Spektrix and the tickets coming out of the printer

This may be due to a setting in the Box Office App installed on the PC that the printer is plugged into. In versions 2.0 and higher, you can change the Poll Period, which controls how frequently the Box Office App will check for new information from your Spektrix system. If this period is set too high, it can lead to printing delays.

To check which version of the Box Office App you are currently using, you can right-click on the Box Office App icon in your system tray. The Box Office App version will be given at the top of the pop-up window:

Open_App.jpg


If you are using version 2.0, you can change the Poll Period by selecting your App from the list found in the
Settings Interface under Configuration > Spektrix App.

Spektrix_App.jpg


On the following page, you can amend the
Poll Period setting - it’s likely that this is set to 20000 if printing is currently slow, in which case it should be changed to a minimum value of 2000:

Poll_Period.JPG


You’ll then just need to click
Save Spektrix App for the changes to take effect.

I need to change the settings on my Stima SML but it isn’t showing up as a Flash Drive on my PC

Depending on the firmware version of your Stima SML, it may not automatically appear as a Flash Drive when plugged into your PC. If this is the case, you can still change its settings using a configuration tool called CePrinterSet, which is available to download here.

Stimare_Setup.jpg


Once you have downloaded this zipped file, you can extract the contents and run the file called
CePrinterSet_2.7.1.exe to install the utility on your computer.

This document explains how to use this utility to change the notch settings in your printer.

To add fonts to your printer, you will need to do the following:

  • Launch CePrinterSet.exe and go to the Communications tab
  • The USB Class setting should currently be set to Printer. Set this to Mass Storage instead and save the changes
  • You can now add fonts as per this section of the article
  • Once you have added your fonts, right-click on the printer icon again and open the SETUP file. Scroll through the document until you come to the following section:

USB Class = 1
// * 0 = Printer
//   1 = Mass Storage
//   2 = Virtual COM
//   3 = HID

  • Change the USB Class to 0 by overwriting the text, then save and close the file

Your printer should now be working as normal, with the extra fonts successfully installed and available to use.

***

If none of these suggestions have worked, or you have any other questions about how to troubleshoot a ticket printer, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.

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