Computers Printers and Scanners

How To Change a Printer Ribbon


The dot matrix printer is still used in certain environments, such as when there is a need to handle carbon paper, or when the whole database is linked to a dot matrix printer to begin with. One problem that arises rather frequently with dot matrix printers is that of changing the printer ribbon, and many people struggle with it being more used to inkjet printers that are popular nowadays. This article will act as a guide to that.

There is not just one type of printer ribbon because dot matrix printers are of many kinds. Before you can get any further, you need to determine what kind of printer ribbon is used by your system. The various kinds are the Okidata ribbon, the Hypercom ribbon, the Labels ribbon, and the Tally ribbon.

Step 1

A useful tip here is that you should have a back-up stock of printer ribbon. A dot matrix printer will function for years on the same ribbon, but these ribbons are not too easily available nowadays because of more advanced printers becoming the norm and dot matrix printers going out of style. You could look online for printer ribbon or, in the most dire circumstances, ask a printer specialist to refill the ribbon with printing ink.

Step 2

The second step consists of removing the printer ribbon. It is advised that you keep track of the steps you undertake to do this. This can be a bit of work – open up the cover of the printer to see the print head. Now, there are many pins and gears near the print head, and their function is to hold the printer ribbon in place.  

Step 3

If you have worked with a typewriter, you will find this familiar (in fact, you could ask somebody who has experience with typewriters to help you with this – they will be able to sort out your problem in a jiffy!). You need to remove the printer ribbon from the gears first, and only then can you remove the ribbon spool. Carefully disengage the spool from the many pins that tack it to its place, and then remove it from the larger needles that hold the printer ribbon.

Step 4

Now comes the time to put in place a new printer ribbon. You have to retrace the steps you followed to remove the ribbon in the first place, and have the ribbon back in the same place as the old one. This may not be all that easy, but you were warned beforehand to remember how the ribbon was in the first place!

Step 5

Once done, close the cover of the printer and print a test page to see whether all is in working condition. If yes, enjoy your dot matrix printer with its newly placed ribbon.


If the printer does not work, it most likely means that you missed some of the loops to which the printer ribbon was attached. This will restrict the free movement of the print head and your dot matrix printer will not function.

Sources and Citations



By Smita, published at 03/25/2012
   Rating: 4/5 (11 votes)
How To Change a Printer Ribbon. 4 of 5 based on 11 votes.


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