Being able to manufacture almost any plastic object you want in the comfort of your own home is definitely extremely handy and also very enjoyable at the same time, especially considering that the process is almost fully automatic and requires no manual work.
On the other hand, as the magic of 3D printing is made possible by many components working together, mechanical and electronic alike, the possibility of facing problems is also higher than with any other regular electronic device, which can cause some hiccups along the way.
Today, we will be going into two of the much-dreaded scenarios you can face while using your Ender 3: the 3D printer not turning on at all or it not starting the printing process even though it’s powered, with both cases making it impossible to proceed with the printing process.
So, what can cause the Ender 3 not to turn on at all or not print even when it’s powered?
Numerous problems can cause your Ender 3 not to turn at all, which we have listed below:
- Incorrect PSU voltage setting
- Wiring problems
- Defective or malfunctioning PSU
- Defective or malfunctioning mainboard
On the other hand, here are the issues that can cause your Ender 3 not to print even though it’s powered on:
- Corrupted G-code file
- Wrong SD card filesystem or partition table
- Incompatible or corrupted firmware
- Malfunctioning or defective SD card
- Malfunctioning or defective mainboard
Next up, we will take a deep dive into the reasons that can cause the Ender 3 not to turn on or not start the printing process even though it has power and take a quick look at a case where the Ender 3 gets stuck on the boot screen and does not proceed forward.
What Can Cause the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Not Turn On?
The Ender 3 not turning on at all can definitely be a cause for concern since any functional electronic device that has power going into it should technically react with signs that it is powered on, such as a flashing screen or an LED light, and the situation is no different for a 3D printer.
Below, you can find a list of the most common culprits behind your Ender 3 not turning on at all, alongside detailed descriptions that explain the reasoning.
The Power Supply Voltage Setting Is Incorrect
The PSU of the Ender 3 has a physical switch that allows you to swap between 230 volts and 115 volts of input, which should correspond to the voltage output of your outlets.
If the PSU voltage setting is higher than the output of the outlet, your Ender 3 won’t turn on due to under-voltage, and if the PSU voltage setting is lower than the output of your outlet, the PSU, and in most cases, many other components of your Ender 3 will be fried due to over-voltage.
In such a scenario, the PSU fan won’t start at all due to it not receiving any power, which is a sign that you can use to confirm whether this is the case or not.
As a rule of thumb, those who live in the United States should switch the setting to 115 volts, and those who live in Europe should go with the 230 volts option instead.
There Are Problems with the Wiring
There are many wires that can be defective or connected improperly, which would cause your Ender 3 not to turn on.
In a nutshell, if the power supply fan is not working when you turn your Ender 3 on, we can easily say that there is a problem with either the PSU itself, or the wiring of the PSU.
On the other hand, if the power supply fan is spinning, but there is no sign of life from any other components of your Ender 3, we would recommend checking the wires between the PSU and the mainboard.
As loose wires are pretty standard, especially if you are assembling your Ender 3 for the first time, we highly recommend going through all of the connections and ensuring that they are seated correctly.
The Power Supply Is Malfunctioning or Defective
A malfunctioning or defective power supply means that there won’t be any power going to your Ender 3, which is a reason that is enough by itself for your 3D printer not to turn on.
In the case of a power supply that is defective or malfunctioning, the primary sign we recommend looking for is, once again, the PSU fan, as the PSU fan not working is the biggest giveaway that there is something wrong with the PSU.
If you are familiar with the electronic side of things and have a multimeter at hand, you can quickly diagnose the power supply by opening it up and taking voltage readings to determine whether the power supply itself is not operational.
The Mainboard Is Malfunctioning or Defective
As the mainboard is the heart of your Ender 3, responsible for distributing energy to all the other components, it not being operational means that your Ender 3 won’t turn on.
Provided that the PSU of your Ender 3 is operational, a defective mainboard would create a scenario where the power supply fan spins without problems, but the 3D printer itself and its components (such as the screen) does not turn on.
Similar to diagnosing the PSU, you can analyze the state of your mainboard with a multimeter to find out where precisely the problem resides.
What Can Cause the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Not Print?
The Ender 3 not starting the printing process despite being powered on is a whole different issue than it not powering on at all, with a separate set of potential causes, and is definitely a better scenario due to the possibility of getting some feedback from the device.
Below, we have listed the factors that can prevent your Ender 3 from printing even though it’s powered, alongside descriptions that clarify why.
The G-code File Is Corrupted
A corrupted G-code file is the most common problem that can prevent your Ender 3 from moving forward with the printing process and also the easiest one to fix.
In a nutshell, the G-code file is what your Ender 3 needs to read to know which commands it should execute, meaning that if the file is corrupted, there are no actions for the 3D printer to take, and as a result, the printing process is unable to move forward.
In most cases, the G-code gets corrupted during the slicing process due to various factors, and because of this, we would recommend re-slicing the model first and testing with a G-code file that you haven’t sliced yourself if that does not work, which will allow you to narrow the culprits down.
The SD Card Is Malfunctioning or Defective
Provided that you are printing from a SD card, your Ender 3 needs to be able to communicate with it to obtain the data.
If the SD card is defective or malfunctioning, the G-code data on it won’t be available to your Ender 3 or will be corrupted, which, similarly to a corrupt G-code file, will prevent your Ender 3 from conducting the printing process.
While not exactly a case of malfunctioning or defect, it’s also worth noting that SD cards that are too large are known to not play well with the Ender 3, which is why we would recommend going with an SD card that is lower than 8 GB in size.
The SD Card Is Not Formatted Correctly
While an SD card that isn’t formatted correctly doesn’t mean it’s defective, such a scenario would still prevent your Ender 3 from creating a line of communication with it.
The SD card needs to have a particular filesystem and partition table for the Ender 3 to be compatible with it, which we have many examples of in the computing space, such as Windows not having direct support for Linux ext (extended file system) partitions.
For the SD card to be compatible with your Ender 3, you will need to set its partition table to MBR (Master Boot Record) and format it with the FAT32 filesystem.
The Firmware Is Incompatible or Corrupted
As the firmware is essentially the code that runs whenever you execute any action on your Ender 3, including starting the printing process, a corrupted firmware can prevent the print from moving forward.
The chance of this issue occurring is at its highest after updating or replacing the firmware of your Ender 3, as it’s highly unlikely for the firmware to automatically corrupt itself out of nowhere.
The best path forward, in this case, is to flash an updated version of Marlin firmware to your Ender 3, which is a proven and widely-used Ender 3 firmware option that will ensure you’re not facing any firmware-related problems.
The Mainboard Is Malfunctioning or Defective
The mainboard is a complex piece of electronics with many components on it, which makes it possible to face multiple problems related to it.
For instance, while a problem with the power input of the mainboard would entirely stop your Ender 3 from turning on, an issue with its SD card controller would prevent the 3D printer from printing, even if it’s powered.
While it’s most likely for the mainboard to be the problem if you have either never used it yet (meaning that it came defective) or been swapping things around on your Ender 3, such as the cabling, there are also cases where it can eventually fail due to wear and tear.
In most cases, replacing the mainboard is the most feasible solution in such a case, but if you are familiar with electronics, you can also diagnose the problematic mainboard with a multimeter.
Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Stuck on Boot Screen – What to Do?
Another specific case where the Ender 3 can fail to turn on is it being stuck on the boot screen permanently, which tells us that power is indeed going into the 3D printer, but something is causing it not to be able to initialize fully.
In most scenarios, the Ender 3 getting stuck on the boot screen points towards an issue with the firmware, such as the firmware file you have flashed being corrupted, something going wrong during the flashing process, or the firmware being outdated or incompatible.
To resolve the problem, we highly recommend downloading the newest version of Marlin firmware from the official source and flashing it to your Ender 3.
If the problem still occurs, you should swap the SD card you use to flash the firmware (V4.2.X) or the USB cable connecting your computer to your Ender 3 (V1.1.X).
As with any electronic device, if your Ender 3 is not turning on despite being connected to the power, it is definitely a sign that there is a problem related to one or more of the electrical components of your 3D printer, which prevents it from actually receiving the power and distributing it to the necessary elements.
To quickly recap, the issues that will cause your Ender 3 from turning on at all are mostly hardware related,
On the other hand, the problems that will prevent your Ender 3 from conducting the printing process while it’s powered on, in most cases, lean more towards the software side of things,
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.