Ender 3: Is it an 8 bit or 32 Bit Motherboard? (more on how to tell)

Creality updated the stock motherboard in their Ender 3 3d printer towards the end of 2020. So how do you tell if it’s an 8 bit or 32 Bit Motherboard? There is nothing external to the 3D printer that allows the user to figure out whether they have an older 8 bit Atmel board or a new 32 bit Arm board with the exception of of one thing. Creality took the opportunity to change the USB connector from a mini USB socket to a Micro USB socket on their stock board. I blogged about this HERE I think that this is still the easiest way to find out. But here’s some more information on identifying the boards.

Ender 3 Motherboards: The Differences

But I just received a comment from somebody who has a board with a micro USB socket and yet cannot get the 32 bit software to update. So I thought I’d look a little deeper. First of all here’s an image of the two different boards that ship or have shipped with the Ender 3.

Ender 3 8 bit Atmel processor board. Notice V1.1.4 and the silver oscillator can just behind the processor
Ender 3 32 bit board Notice the legend “V4.2.7” and ARM processor

If you’re thinking of upgrading to a 32 bit board you can get one for approx $79/£60 on This LINK (Amazon seller with over 200 5* ratings)

 

Notice the 32 bit board has the number “V 4.2.7” on it just under the “Creality” logo while the older 8 bit board has the legend “Creality 1.1.x” near the Atmel processor. The other visual giveaway is the silver oscillator can on the older 8 bit board. It is not present on the 32 bit board.

3D printing Failures 2020 edition
475 5* reviews!! Seriously – Why haven’t you bought it yet? Click on the image.

(Be warned: Several suppliers (including Creality!) have an advertising image of the 8 bit board along with it’s box instead of the 32 bit board mixed in with the advert for the 32 bit board. Like HERE:
They go to great lengths to show the difference between the 8 bit or 32 Bit Motherboard then wrap it up with a packaging image (last one) of the wrong board. Hey Ho.

I have one potential issue. It’s with 8 Bit boards that are “silent boards” (i.e. V1.1.5) Getting images on-line of the USB connector has proven to be spectacularly difficult. But… “I think” they are mini USB like earlier versions (from one image at an angle!). I don’t think that many 1.1.5 boards were made before they were replaced by the 32 bit boards. I don’t think they even made it into the shipped product – they were only replacements. But if you have one I’d be grateful if you could confirm the USB connector type in the comments below.

So, I suppose that if you are doubting whether the mini/micro USB connector is correctly identifying your board then the only this to do is crack the beast open and have a look. This is not difficult. Creality even provide you with the tools you need. Which in this case, is a single Allen Key.

Creality Ender 3: Accesssing the Motherboard

There are two screws on the top/front of the motherboard box box and one towards the back of the processor box. You will need to bring the bed forward to get at the screw at the back. Take them out and then behold your motherboard in all its beauty. Here’s mine (8 bit)

Here’s my Atmel 8 bit board. Notice the thin oval silver oscillator can behind the processor..

The only possible alternative here is that you have a non Creality board fitted in which case all bets are off, but I think that in most cases is unlikely.

0 thoughts on “Ender 3: Is it an 8 bit or 32 Bit Motherboard? (more on how to tell)

  • I have just [1 September 2021] taken delivery of an Ender 3x Pro from Banggood CZ depot. The mainboard says V1.1.5 and it has a mini usb connection. I have not yet assembled the kit but I can already see some things to be corrected right from the start. For instance the Y axis motor bracket is not 90º so the motor is cocked over and the belt is not centred on the pulley. The whole Y axis is very loose in its track but I know there is adjustment for that. Alsdo I thought the power supply would have something to say it is by Meanwell, but there is nothing!
    Ken Croft, SW France and brand new to 3d printing.

    • I feel your pain Ken. I suppose that the Creality Ender 3 family has been so popular that maybe quality control is slipping. Which is bad news.

      I hope your printer comes good without too much grief. When set up, they are good at what they do. I think you’ll find it a good buy at the end of the day.

  • Thanks for your encouragement. A washer under 2 of the screws brought the motor more or less into the correct alinement. [There should have been 4 screws but there were only 3 so I added the missing one]. As a professional engineer all my working life and a model engineer as well for a very long time, I find the mechanical design of the Ender 3 is a bit marginal. The Z axis can only work best if the two upright extrusions are absolutely parallel, otherwise the X axis gantry is bound to be tight at either the top or the bottom and loose at the opposite end. To get the Ender 3 put together and moving smoothly takes a fair amount of fiddling and it surprises me not at all that if the thing is just assembled assuming all will be well without a thorough checking at each stage, so many problems arise when printing. Mine is now assembled and all I have to do it plug-in all the cables and switch it on.

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