What Can Cause the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) Not to Read the SD Card?

Due to the complexity of the 3D printing process, the number of distinct issues you can face in your journey is endless, whether it’s a silent issue, such as warping, that won’t stop the print from continuing but cause your print to fail, or an error, such as the homing process failing, which will immediately prevent the 3D printer from further operating until the problem is solved.

Between the two, facing a scenario where the 3D printer is actually aware that there is indeed a problem and tells you that there is an error preventing the printing process from starting is usually preferred compared to a silent issue where you can only notice that there has been a problem after wasting time and material, especially combined with the fact it makes the troubleshooting process more straightforward.

In today’s article, we will be diving into one such error that will prevent the printing process from starting, where the Ender 5 cannot read the data on the SD card and, as a result, is unable to access the G-code file required for the print.

So, what can cause the Ender 5 not to read the SD card?

Below, we have listed the factors that can cause your Ender 5 not to read the SD card:

  • SD card incorrectly formatted
  • SD card uninitialized
  • Corrupted SD card filesystem
  • Issues related to filenames
  • Problems with pathing of the G-code files
  • SD card capacity too high

Next up, we will take a deeper look into the factors that can cause your Ender 5 not to detect the SD card, discuss what to do to get the SD card in working condition, go through the steps of correctly formatting the SD card for the Ender 5, and, finally, find out maximum SD card size that you should use.

What Can Cause the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) Not to Read the SD Card?

There is no denying that finding out your 3D printer cannot read the SD card when you’re just about to start a print is disappointing, but on the bright side, this is one of the more minor errors with a limited amount of potential culprits.

Here are the potential reasons behind your Ender 5 not reading the SD card alongside detailed descriptions that clarify the reasoning:

  • The SD card is not formatted correctly. For the Ender 5 to be able to read the SD card correctly, it needs to have the MBR partition table and the FAT32 filesystem.
  • The SD card is not initialized. In some cases, such as when you insert the SD card while the Ender 5 is powered on, the SD card may not be automatically initialized and require manual initialization.
  • The filename used for the G-code file is not suitable. Using a file name that is too long or contains spaces and special characters can prevent the Ender 5 from accessing the G-code file.
  • The path of the G-code file is not suitable. Placing the G-code file in a folder rather than the root directory of the SD card can prevent the Ender 5 from accessing the file in some cases.
  • The filesystem of the SD card is corrupted. It’s entirely possible for the filesystem of an SD card to become corrupted during usage, especially in cases where the card is switched across multiple devices frequently and removed while the device is still accessing the card.
  • The capacity of the SD card is too high. While there is no hard limit on the capacity of the SD card you can use in your Ender 5, SD cards with capacities higher than 8 GB are known to cause problems.

How to Get Your Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) to Read the SD Card?

As the process of getting your Ender 5 to read the SD card once more isn’t a complex one by any means, you should be able to get back to your prints in no time.

Below, you can find the step-by-step solution guide we recommend following to get your Ender 5 to read the SD card as intended:

  1. Insert the SD card into your computer.
  2. Convert the partition table of the SD card to MBR.
  3. Format the SD card with the FAT32 filesystem.
  4. Rename the G-code file you’re attempting to print to a name that isn’t too long (<10 characters) and does not contain any special characters or spaces. Finally, ensure that the G-code file has the .gcode extension.
  5. Move the G-code file you’re trying to print to the root directory of the SD card.
  6. Power your Ender 5 off.
  7. Insert the SD card into your Ender 5 and power it back on.
  8. Initialize the SD card from the LCD controller of your Ender 5 if the card is not automatically detected.

If following the above steps does not resolve the issue, replace the SD card, preferably with one lower than 8 GB of capacity, to be on the safe side.

How to Format the SD Card for Usage in the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus)?

Correctly formatting the SD card is perhaps the most vital part of ensuring that your Ender 5 can read the SD card, as even a slight error will cause incompatibility.

While the exact process depends on the operating system you’re using, there are two main factors to be aware of when formatting an SD card for usage in the Ender 5, which are to ensure that the partition table is MBR, and the filesystem is FAT32.

Between the two, the first step of setting the partition table to MBR is overlooked in most cases, which is not surprising considering that familiarity with partition tables requires slightly more technical knowledge than filesystems.

On the other hand, the step of formatting the SD card with the FAT32 filesystem is pretty self-explanatory and almost impossible to miss, as the default formatting tool of every mainstream operating system allows you to choose the filesystem through the user interface.

As long as these two factors are fulfilled, it doesn’t matter how or with which software you format your SD card, as it should be compatible and ready to use in your Ender 5.

What Is the Maximum SD Card Size the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) Supports?

While there is no official data on this, there are many reports in the community about the Ender 5 not being able to read SD cards above a particular size threshold.

In a nutshell, it’s possible for your Ender 5 to have issues with reading the SD card in cases where the capacity of the SD card is over 8 GB for reasons that currently are not known, which is why we recommend staying below the 8 GB limit to eliminate any risks.

On the other hand, as there is no official specification related to such a limit, and considering that many Ender 5 users utilize higher-capacity SD cards without issues, we don’t see a reason to switch if your current SD card is already working for you.

Wrapping Up

Unless the SD card itself is compromised, you should always be able to get your Ender 5 to read the SD card by applying the appropriate solution steps, which aren’t too technical or time-consuming, especially compared to fixing the more complex issues you can face in 3D printing.

To quickly recap, an incorrectly formatted, corrupted, or simply uninitialized SD card, a misnamed or erroneously placed G-code file, or even something as simple as using an SD card with too high capacity can contribute to the issue of your Ender 5 not reading the SD card.

Fortunately, resolving the issue of your Ender 5 not reading the SD card should be a fairly straightforward process in most cases, as none of the solutions require deep technical knowledge by any means, including the worst-case scenario of having to replace the SD card altogether.

Happy printing!