I am very disappointed with Zebra. We ordered one of their ZXP8 card printers. It is, overall, a good printer, and one of the few that can cope with printing on SIM cards.
Like most commercial card printers it has encoding options which are add-ons at extra cost that allow you to encode the card in some way. The main options you would expect are magnetic encoding (the mag stripe on the back), contact encoding (like chip and PIN cards, or SIM cards), and contactless encoding (like Oyster cards).
The ZXP8 offers three encoding options which (a) magnetic (b) contact station, and (c) contact and contactless (mifare) encoding.
As we only needed contact cards for SIMs I ordered the "contact station". FYI, they also list the interfaces on the unit as Ethernet and USB only.
When we got the printer we could not figure out how to use the contact station. The applications said contact station installed but in other places said "encoder: none", so it was confusing. It also had no serial number in the config, or serial number for the print head, and various other obvious omissions, so we assumed it was an error.
It has taken 5 months of various emails back and forth, and us installing some windows software and running tests and all sorts to finally get the answer that the "contact station" does not actually talk to the card at all.
No, the contact station is simply the contacts to connect the card, that are run to a 9 way D-type on the back. No electronics at all. A 9 way D-type is not one of the listed "interfaces" in the spec. But they knew this from the serial/model number and could have told us on the very first email we sent. 5 months to tell us is crazy.
Now they want nearly £500 for the upgrade kit, and the reseller was prepared to send that to us. We have the service manual we found on-line and it is simple enough. But guess what, they won't sell us the upgrade kit. We have to pay another £500 and send it back to them (for weeks?) to have it fitted.
In short I feel let down by Zebra
- The advertising is misleading - if you only want contact cards you would naturally assume the "contact station" is the option you want
- They took 5 months to tell me, and even internally their staff did not know that the contact station was so pointless. Nobody said [waves hand] "These aren't the encoding options you are looking for".
- They won't sell the upgrade kit.
P.S. Yes, as this bodge is likely to be permanent now, I will 3D print a case.
Update: Zebra have said, on this occasion, they will send someone to install the upgrade for free, if we buy the upgrade itself, having agreed it was very misleading. So some progress.