This morning I installed the silent motherboard on my Ender 5 Plus. It was a relatively easy and quick process. The difference this change made is drastic. Before the upgrade, the printer could be heard in my son’s room with his door shut. Now the stepper motors cannot be heard at all. In this post, I will briefly lay out the steps I used to replace the board out.
Opening the chassis.
To access panel for the chassis is on the bottom of the printer. I turned the printer on its side to access the panel. Six M3 screws are holding the access panel on. It is was with this step I had my only problem. One of the M3 screws had a stripped out on the head. I carefully used an old pair of dykes to get the screw turning. Luckily I have an assortment of M3 screws on hand to replace that bad screw.
While I had the Ender 5 Plus open, I took a moment to took at the power supply. The power supply that originally came with the 5 Plus is substandard, and Creality has since been using the Meanwell power supply. As you can see from the picture, this one came with a Cheng Liang power supply. I have no plans to replace it out with a Meanwell, but it is good to know which one I have. Since I don’t ever heat the bed and nozzle up simultaneously, I don’t think I’ll have problems anyhow.
Replacing out the board
Replacing out the board was a pretty simple process. Physically the new board appears to be the same as the old board. All of the connectors go to the same locations. I think the only real difference with the silent board is that it has upgraded stepper drivers. Here is a picture I took of the board before moving any of the connectors over to the new board.
Basically, I just put the new board in front of the old board and moved connections over one at a time. There is some hot glue on the connectors going into the origin board. I just peeled those off carefully with a pair of needlenose pliers. After all of the connectors were moved over, I removed the old board and screwed the new board into place.
If I had to do this process again, I probably would have replaced the board first and then moved over the connectors. That maybe would have given me a little more room moving the connectors over. It also would have decreased the chance of me accidentally pulling out a connector I had already moved. Either way, it is essential to recheck all connections after the swap is complete.
Here is a picture of my boards mid-swap. The board with B3 in the upper left-hand corner is the new board.
Before closing up the chassis, I rechecked all the connections one last time. Then I screwed the access panel back on and powered up the printer.
I was eager to see how much more quiet the new silent driver are, but I did a PID tuning before doing anything. I have a MicroSwiss all-metal hotend on this printer. So from replacing that out, I learned it was essential to do PID tuning after making any changes to the hot end. And since my previous PID tuning settings were saved on the old board, I had to tune the new board to ensure my hot end is heating correctly.
I used the terminal in Octoprint to do the PID tuning.
First, I typed an M503 command. That allowed me to see the current PID settings. Here is what this board came with by default:
Recv: echo: M301 P14.72 I0.89 D61.22
I typed M303 to do the autotune. During autotuning, the printer will heat up and then bounce the temps up and cool down for short amounts of time. Here is what the autotune looked like in Octoprint:
When autotune was complete, it showed the final values I needed for PID. Here is what PID tuning recommended for me:
Recv: #define DEFAULT_Kp 33.90 Recv: #define DEFAULT_Ki 3.83 Recv: #define DEFAULT_Kd 74.98
I took those three values and set the PID in my firmware with the M301 command:
M301 P33.90 I3.83 D74.98
I then did an M500 command to save these settings to EEPROM. That step is essential, or the PID settings will go away next time power is lost.
Testing the printer
Finally, it came time to test the printer. I went to leveling, and the BL touch worked precisely as it had before the upgrade. I did have to change my Z offset slightly. I also did an auxiliary level to ensure my corners were level. After that, I went back out of leveling and back in to verify my z offset was correct. Finally, I let BL touch measure the bed. Throughout this whole process, I marveled at how quiet the stepper motors were. Even auto-leveling was a loud process with this printer in the past. But now the only noise I could hear was the fans.
I then proceeded to print a guitar hook. I became even more amazed at how quiet the printer had suddenly become. I forgot to take a before video of the noise this printer made. But then I figure anyone reading this already has an Ender 5 Plus and knows how loud it is. Here is a video took just a short bit ago. You can’t even hear the stepper motors. The only noise is coming from the fans.
Well worth the upgrade
This upgrade was well worth the time and cost, both of which were minimal. I will admit I was starting to wonder if I would ever get the silent motherboard. It was ordered in May, and I didn’t receive it until just a few days ago. If I were going to do this upgrade again, I probably wouldn’t get this board. I would probably get one of the higher quality 32-bit boards available out there. But when I ordered this board, I was less comfortable with messing around with the printer. Now, just a few months later, I have no problems adjusting or replacing parts on this printer.