Many people have experienced issues with their Ender 3 not connecting to their PC, as well as not detecting it at all. This article will go through different fixes that have worked for various users to get a proper connection.
Keep on reading for more about fixing your Ender 3 connection problems.
How to Fix Ender 3 Not Connecting to PC
If you followed all the steps above, you should be able to connect your Ender 3 to your PC. However, if you’re still having trouble with the connections, here are a few issues that you should look at.
- Not having the right drivers
- Using the wrong USB cord
- Interfering Linux packages
- Damaged USB cable
- Faulty motherboard
Here’s how you can fix your Ender 3 not connecting to the PC:
- Install the right drivers
- Use the right USB cable for the connection
- Try a hard reset
- Disable Brltty on Ubuntu Linux
- Check the USB port for bent pins
- Change your faulty motherboard
1. Install the Right Drivers
You have to install the port drivers for the Ender 3 for it to connect to the 3D printer. Without the correct drivers, Windows or macOS won’t know how to communicate with the 3D printer.
You might see your printer under the device manager, but it won’t be identified properly. One user had a similar problem as Cura didn’t recognize their 3D printer.
They tried to solve the issue by opening the device manager, then unplugging and plugging back the cable but they saw an error message detailing how the driver for the printer wasn’t installed properly.
So, to fix it, they installed the correct drivers for the Ender 3 on their PC. The Ender 3 requires the CH340 or CH341 drivers to work properly with a PC.
You can download and install both on your PC to be on the safe side.
2. Use The Right USB Cable For the Connection
Getting the right USB cable for the Ender 3 is vital for data transmission between it and the PC. If you don’t use a cable rated for data transmission, your printer won’t show up on your PC’s device manager.
One user tried printing via USB with an old Micro USB cable they had lying about. It didn’t work so they had to get a newer one rated for data transfer.
Also, some users have reported slow or intermittent data transmission via some USB cables. This can lead to undesirable defects in your print, so you have to get the right cable.
3. Try a Hard Reset
If the printer throws an error after it has been steadily working via a USB connection, a hard reset can resolve the issue. These connection issues can arise from failed prints, power cuts, and all other forms of print interference.
Resetting the printer is quite easy.
The first step is to turn off the printer and close the printing software. Next, disconnect the USB cable from both.
Unplug the printer and keep it unplugged for about half a minute. Next, plug it back in and turn on the printer.
Open the printer software and connect the Ender 3 and the PC once more with a USB cord. Try and establish a connection again. It might not work for all users, but it did work for one user who was having this issue.
A user who had a similar problem on Reddit suggested an extra step to this method:
- Turn off the printer
- Unplug the USB cable from the printer
- Slice a simple print and save it to an SD card
- Print the file from the SD card
- Plug the USB cord into the printer
4. Disable Brltty on Linux
If you are using a Linux system, disabling Brltty on your Ubuntu Linux machine can help solve your connection errors. The Brltty package is an accessibility add-on that allows vision-impaired users to connect to and use the PC’s terminal.
However, as one user noticed, it can interfere with the operation of your USB ports, so you might have to remove the add-on if you aren’t using it.
To remove the Brltty package, open your terminal and type in: sudo apt autoremove brltty. This will clear the package from your system.
After this, the USB connection on your Linux machine should work correctly.
You can read more about it here.
5. Check the USB Port for Bent Pins
Checking your USB ports for bent pins and straightening them out can lead to your PC and Ender 3 finally connecting. Due to the user or manufacturer error, the pins in the USB ports can sometimes get bent, leading to faulty connections.
For example, one user had been struggling to initiate a USB connection with their printer. Upon further investigation, they noticed that the 3D printer had a bent pin in its port.
You can fix this by shining a light into the USB ports to inspect them for any broken or bent pins. If you find some bent pins or a blockage, you can use a thin tool like a tweezer to make them right again.
6. Change your Faulty Motherboard
If you’ve tried all the steps above and none worked for you, you might have a faulty motherboard. If your motherboard is defective, there’s not much you can do.
Your Ender 3 just won’t be able to connect to your PC. Unless you’re an electronics whiz who can take apart the board to fix it, you’re going to have to replace the board.
If your printer is still under warranty, you can contact your retailer to send you a replacement. One user was able to contact Creality for a replacement and a refund.
If not, you can easily spring for a replacement board on Amazon.
The SKR Mini E3 is an excellent upgrade over the Ender 3’s stock board. It comes with better heat dissipation, features silent stepper drivers, and an upgraded micro-USB port.
It also has extra ports for installing additional features like fans and automatic bed leveling systems on the printer.
How to Fix Cura Not Detecting Ender 3
Cura is one of the most popular 3D printing slicers around. It offers several features, like USB printing for numerous 3D printers.
So, if Cura isn’t detecting your Ender 3, it may be due to the following issues:
- Older version of Cura installed
- Wrong print profile
- Absent USB printing plugin
- Unsupported firmware
- Short timeout
Here’s how to fix Cura not detecting the Ender 3:
- Update or re-install Cura
- Set the right printer profile
- Install the USB printing plugin
- Set a longer connection timeout
- Use the right firmware for your printer
1. Update or Re-Install Cura
Updating Cura to the latest version can help fix its USB connection issues. This is because some older versions might have bugs preventing your PC from connecting to the printer via USB.
So, it’s better to look for a newer, more stable version to install on your PC. Also, it’s worth noting that some people like one user have fixed their connection issues by performing fresh Cura installs on their PC.
They uninstalled Cura, deleted all its save files from the Program Files folder on Windows, and re-installed it. This process was able to fix the connection issues. You might be able to keep your configuration files and saved data, so see if it works for you.
2. Set The Right Printer Profile
Setting the right print profile for your printer in Cura is crucial for it to know how to communicate with the printer. Cura can support a wide variety of printers, so letting it know your machine is an Ender 3 allows it to optimize the printer’s settings.
To check if the printer is using the correct settings, click in the upper-right corner of the printer’s dashboard. If the printer there doesn’t match your printer’s model, then you need to change it.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Click on the Printer name. Next, select Add Printer.
- On the menu, click on Add a Non-Networked Printer On the drop-down list that appears, select your printer’s model under Creality.
- Click on “Add”
3. Install the USB Printing Plugin
The USB printing plugin is an add-on that lets Cura connect to the printers from PCs. If it is not enabled, your printer will not be able to connect to Cura on your PC.
The USB printing add-on is normally enabled on Cura right out of the box. But, in cases like this, you should check to be sure.
- Click on the Cura Marketplace icon
- Click on the settings icon to see the installed plugins. Scroll down until you see USB Printing.
If it isn’t, you can search for it and install it from the plugins tab.
4. Set a Longer Connection Timeout
If you have just installed a new bootloader or firmware on your Ender 3, setting a longer timeout can help with your Cura connection issues.
These issues happen because the bootloader takes longer to load, and the USB connection times out before it can finish loading. This is why many users always complain about these issues after upgrading their firmware.
Here’s how you can fix this:
Step 1: Open the USB plugin’s AutoDetectBaudJob.py file.
- On macOS, you can find it at: Mac > Applications > Ultimaker Cura > Content > Resources > plugins > plugins > USB printing.
- On Windows, you can find it at C:\ Program Files\ Ultimaker Cura \ Share \Plugins \USBPrinting
- Open it in an IDE like VS Code.
Step 2: Change the wait bootloader time
- On line 26, you should see an array named “wait_bootloader_times”
- Change the values in the array to [5,15,30].
Step 3: Save the files and restart Cura
Check out the video to see the process in more detail.
5. Use The Right Firmware for Your Printer
Cura’s only supports some specific firmware and flavors of G-Code for printing. One of these is Marlin, the default firmware that the Ender 3 runs on straight out of the box.
However, if you’ve upgraded or flashed your Ender 3 with a new brand of firmware, Cura might not recognize it. You might have to go back to the default firmware if you want to use wired printing with that printer via Cura.
Connecting your PC to your Ender 3 can be a great way to print and control the printer. However, better performance and connectivity, you might want to consider a better option like OctoPrint.
You can read how to set it up in this article I wrote on How to Setup OctoPrint on your printer.
Good Luck and Happy Printing.