While 3D printers are devices that are perfectly capable of operating on their own, as long as you find a way to supply the G-code files for the print, there is no denying that connecting a computer to the 3D printer opens up many new and valuable features.
Considering how much these features improve the printing experience, especially from a quality of life perspective, using computers to interface with 3D printers is quickly becoming the norm, with more and more enthusiasts preferring to use their computers rather than the panel of the 3D printer.
Today, we will be examining the drivers that Windows requires to be able to communicate with the Ender 3 through a USB connection and make a connection between the computer and the Ender 3 possible, which is a pre-requisite for using handy features such as printing directly from the slicer without using an SD card or running a 3D printing interface such as Pronterface.
So, which USB drivers will you need to connect your Ender 3 to your Windows PC?
To establish a USB connection between your Ender 3 and your Windows PC, you will need the CH340 drivers since the Ender 3 utilizes the CH340 chip as its USB-to-serial converter, which is the component that allows the Ender 3 to interface with other devices through its USB port.
In the upcoming sections, we will dive deeper into the USB drivers that the Ender 3 requires to connect to a Windows PC, find out how to install these drivers and discuss whether these drivers are necessary for connecting the computer and the 3D printer.
Which USB Drivers Does Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Require for a Windows PC?
Ensuring that you find the correct USB drivers that allow Windows to recognize and connect to your Ender 3 is vital, as installing drivers that belong to a different device or drivers that are not compatible with your operating system won’t work.
The USB drivers you are looking for to connect your Ender 3 to your Windows PC are the CH340 drivers, which are the drivers required for the commonly used CH340 chip, responsible for converting the serial data to USB data and vice versa, to function on Windows.
Since the CH340 chip is originally manufactured by a company called WCH, we recommend obtaining the official CH340 drivers directly from their website, which you can quickly find by searching for “WCH CH340 drivers” online.
According to WCH, the Windows drivers should be compatible with all versions of Windows starting from Windows XP, all the way to Windows 10 and 11, both in 32-bit and 64-bit.
Alongside drivers for Windows, you can also find Linux, macOS, and Android drivers on WCH’s download page for the CH340, and while we haven’t tested these drivers as we have done with the Windows version, they should most likely work without issues.
Finally, as there are plenty of manufacturers who utilize the CH340 chip on their products, it’s worth noting that it’s also possible to find the CH340 drivers through many different sources, which are usually the websites of companies that develop hardware for makers.
How to Install Ender 3 (Pro/V2) USB Drivers in Windows?
While installing drivers may not be something that every Windows user is familiar with due to most of the core driver installation becoming automatic lately, the process is pretty straightforward and does not require a lot of technical expertise once you know the steps to follow.
Below, we have prepared a detailed step-by-step guide you can use to install the Ender 3 USB drivers in Windows:
- Download the CH341SER.EXE file from WCH’s official download page for the CH340 chip.
- Run the executable file you have downloaded, which is a self-extracting archive that will extract the necessary files, and bring the CH340 driver installation dialog up.
- Click the install button on the dialog, and wait for the driver installation to complete.
- Upon success, a pop-up will show you that the driver installation is successful. At this point, you can close the pop-up and the driver installer.
At this point, the drivers should be installed, and you should be able to connect your Ender 3 to your Windows PC.
If you would like to take the extra step to verify that the Ender 3 USB drivers are indeed installed, you can follow the steps below:
- Right-click the Start Menu to activate the dropdown menu.
- Click the Device Manager option, which will bring a dialog up.
- Find the Ports section in Device Manager, and expand it by clicking the arrow icon next to the text.
- Plug the USB cable that connects your Ender 3 with your Windows PC.
If the connection between your Ender 3 and your Windows PC are indeed successful, a new entry should come up under the Ports section, with a text which contains the word “CH340”, verifying that the drivers are installed correctly.
In the case where the connection between your Windows PC and your Ender 3 is not working even after installing the drivers, restarting your computer can be helpful.
Are the USB Drivers Necessary to Connect an Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to a Windows PC?
While there is no harm in installing trusted drivers by a trusted manufacturer, especially considering that drivers barely consume any space or other resources on your computer, it’s natural to wonder whether these drivers are actually necessary.
Since Windows does not ship with the CH340 drivers that are required to interface your Windows PC with your Ender 3 by default, manually installing the CH340 drivers (also called USB drivers) is necessary for Windows to be able to communicate with the Ender 3.
The CH340 chipset, and hence, the CH340 drivers being required, comes down to Ender 3’s mainboard not having native USB support, which means that an extra component that is capable of converting serial data to USB and vice versa is needed.
As drivers are what allow an operating system to interface with a device, finding and installing the correct USB drivers that belong to the Ender 3 and are compatible with Windows is essential for the connection between your computer and your 3D printer to work.
To quickly recap, the drivers you will need to get your Windows PC to recognize your Ender 3 over a USB connection are known as CH340 drivers, with CH340 being the name of the chip the Ender 3 utilizes to convert the USB data signal to serial data that it processes.
While the driver installation process can appear to be technically complex if you have no prior experience with it, it’s actually a quick and straightforward procedure that won’t take a lot of your time as long as you follow the appropriate steps.