This guide will explain the basic knowledge of firmware and help users to find the proper Firmware for their 3D printers.This guide is only appliable at our official forum.
According to Wikipedia, firmware is a specific class of computer software that provides low-level control for a device’s specific hardware. Appliance, like microwave or smartphone, needs firmware to achieve different functions. firmware is like an operating system on a device.
Firmware sometimes may have bugs or out of date. In many cases, users want to update an appliance’s firmware in order to solve a problem, get new functions or for any other purposes.
Most 3D printers, as one type of appliance, also have the firmware to achieve the Human-Computer Interaction and control all the electronic components. With the development of 3D printing technologies, the firmware is improving as well. Therefore, updating (flashing) firmware to a newer version become a need for many 3D printer users.
3D printer Firmware Format
A hex file is one type of 3D printer firmware format and it is used for mainboard versions lower than V4.x.x.
Older version mainboards like V1.1.4 or V2.2 can only recognize the .hex file as its firmware format.
Flashing a .hex file can be done by connecting the 3D printer( mainboard) to a PC and using certain software(E.g. progisp or Cura)
A bin file is a new type of 3D printer firmware format and it is used for mainboard versions higher than V4.x.x.
New version mainboards like V4.2.2 or V4.2.7 can recognize the .bin file as its firmware format.
Flashing a .bin file is much easier than ever—— paste the .bin file into an SD card and insert it into the printer.
Screen firmware normally comes as a Folder file, which contains screen pictures and other files.
Screen firmware only needs to be flashed when the 3D printer has a screen that has an SD card slot. Normally a touch screen needs to update its firmware.
Flashing screen firmware is similar to flashing .bin file. We have to insert the card into the screen slot instead of the printer card slot.
Creality 3D printer Firmware Naming
Creality does not have a standard for firmware naming. As a result, all the firmware comes out with random name structures. Many users get confused by those meaningless numbers and incomplete words when they want to find the correct firmware for their printer.
At our Forum Download Section, I reordered the firmware names and made them easy to read. Here is the guide for the Naming System.
- Blue color refers to BL- Touch firmware.
- Default color refers to the end-stop version.
- Red color refers to Source Code or Source files.
BL-Touch Firmware and Installation
BL Touch Version
BL Touch also has a version. When we download the BL Touch firmware, we need to pay attention to the firmware name and find the right one that matches your mainboard and BL Touch version.
BL Touch Cable
More confusingly and importantly, different BL Touch Kit has a unique cable to pair with the different mainboards. Overall, there are two types of cables: the 5-pin cable and the 3+2-pin cable.
5 pin cable means the cable end connects to the mainboard is a 5 in 1 jack. This cable normally goes to the specific socket on a V4+ mainboard(as shown below).
This type of connection does not need a pin/adapter board. So when we download the firmware, look for [without adapter board].
3+2-pin cable means the cable end connects to the mainboard has two parts: 3-pin jack and 2-pin jack. This cable can be applied to most of the Creality Mainboard. But it requires an adapter board(as shown below). When we download the firmware, look for [ adapter board].
If you get the wrong cable or cannot find the firmware with/without an adapter board, don’t worry, you may try a different firmware or replace the cable pins.
Questions & Bugs
Important Note: Please use a standard 8GB SD/TF card to flash the firmware. Mainboards have difficulty to read files on large cards(>=32GB).
Like computers, firmware has bugs and faults, which could cause 3D printing issues. Flashing a new firmware may solve printing problems, but it would also cause new issues. SO, Flash Firmware with Caution.
If you have any questions regarding 3D printer firmware, feel free to post them at our forum. Many users would love to help you!