Connecting Your Ender 3 (V2 & Neo & Pro & S1) to Your PC with the USB Port

Even though using the LCD controller of your Ender 3 and an SD card is the most common way of starting prints and modifying configuration, utilizing the USB port to connect your Ender 3 to your PC and using your PC to perform these tasks instead is usually much more convenient in comparison.

In this guide, we will take you through the process of connecting your Ender 3 to your PC with the built-in USB port your Ender 3 comes with, explain how you can start a print and control your Ender 3 through the USB connection, and take a glance at the potential issues you can face while getting your PC to recognize your Ender 3.

Connecting Your Ender 3 (V2 & Neo & Pro & S1) to Your PC with the USB Port

While connecting your Ender 3 to your PC is technically as straightforward as plugging a USB cable into the ports on your printer and your PC, there are some nuances to be aware of to ensure that you can establish the connection successfully.

Starting out, the first factor you will need to pay attention to is the type of USB cable you’ll need, as the USB port of an Ender 3 varies based on its model, with the standard Ender 3 models (not V2 or S1) having a Mini USB port, the Ender 3 V2 models having a Micro USB port, and the Ender 3 S1 models having a USB-C port.

So, for instance, if you have an Ender 3 V2 Neo, you’ll need a USB-A to Micro USB cable; if you have an Ender 3 Pro, you’ll need a USB-A to Mini USB cable, and if you have an Ender 3 S1, you’ll need a USB-A to USB-C cable.

mini usb micro usb and usb-c comparison

If your PC doesn’t have a USB-A port, we still recommend purchasing a cable where one side is USB-A, along with an adapter that will allow you to use it with the ports on your PC (such as a USB-A to USB-C adapter), as it will be necessary for one of the next steps in our guide.

usb connectors diagram
Source: Milos634 @ Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Next, the USB cable you’re using needs to be a data cable and not a charge-only one, as charge-only cables only have the necessary wires to transmit power and can’t be used to establish a connection between your PC and your Ender 3.

While whether a USB cable is a data or charge-only one should be mentioned on the product page or the packaging, there is no reliable way to tell if a cable you have already had for a while has data transfer capabilities without testing (or disassembling) it, as most manufacturers don’t follow the guidelines for correct identification.

That being said, if you have a lot of cables to go through, one thing you can look for to quickly sort them, even though it doesn’t always apply, is the thinner cables being charge-only; and thicker ones having data transfer capabilities in most cases.

micro usb data cable vs. charging cable comparison

Once you have the correct cable at hand, the next step is to prevent the USB cable from transferring power from your PC to your Ender 3 (backpowering), and even though this isn’t a complete necessity, it’s something we highly recommend doing for convenience and safety.

When power flows through the cable, you’ll notice that your PC powers your Ender 3 through the USB connection, which, most commonly, creates the problem of your Ender 3’s fan and screen staying on due to the power coming in from the USB connection, even when the power supply is off.

Aside from this annoyance, which you can resolve to an extent by unplugging the USB cable when you shut your 3D printer off, it’s also possible to find online discussion about this problem potentially causing damage to the components of the Ender 3, which we believe is a good enough reason on its own to apply this fix.

While there are a few different ways to prevent your PC from powering your Ender 3 through the USB connection, we highly recommend using the electrical tape method, as it’s both a convenient and non-permanent way of getting the job done without purchasing any extra parts.

For this method, all you will need to do is to cut a thin strip of electrical tape and stick it to the 1st pin from the right (the +5V pin) on the USB-A connector (tweezers will come in very handy here!); which will practically turn the cable into a data-only one where power does not flow through anymore.

usb a and usb b pin configuration
Source: Simon Eugster @ Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

One thing to specifically pay attention to when applying this method is to ensure that the 2nd pin is not blocked in the process, as this is one of the two data pins necessary for your PC to establish a connection with your Ender 3.

As taping the wrong pin by accident won’t cause any permanent damage to the cable, your PC, or your Ender 3, you can feel free to test the connection out if you think you got it right, even if the taping is not perfect, and if it doesn’t work, you can remove the tape and try again without issues.

electrical tape on usb-a 5v pin connector

Once you have your cable ready, it’s finally time to plug it into your PC and your Ender 3, which, hopefully, should establish the connection between the two devices without any unexpected issues.

To verify that the connection is successful, you can use the Device Manager tool on Windows, which you can open by right-clicking the Start Menu button on the taskbar and choosing the Device Manager option from the dropdown.

windows right click start menu dropdown

Provided that you don’t have any other serial devices (such as an Arduino, which also uses the CH340 chip) connected to your PC, the presence of the USB-SERIAL CH340 entry, which you can find under the Ports (COM & LPT) category, should practically confirm that Windows has indeed managed to establish a connection with your Ender 3.

finding ender 3 in device manager

Similarly, on MacOS, you can use the System Report tool, and on Linux, the lsusb command to help you verify the connection like the Device Manager tool on Windows tool does.

If the connection has been successful, with your PC now detecting your Ender 3 without issues, the next step is to utilize this USB connection to start a print or control your Ender 3 with your PC, which we will cover in the upcoming sections.

On the other hand, if your computer is not picking your Ender 3 up, we highly recommend referring to the troubleshooting section toward the end of the article instead, as you will need to solve the connectivity problem before you can move forward.

Starting a Print on Your Ender 3 (V2 & Neo & Pro & S1) Through the USB Connection

Even though there are a couple of different methods you can use for the task, we will take you through how you can start a print on your Ender 3 with Ultimaker Cura for the purposes of this guide, as it offers the most convenient solution where you can quickly initiate the printing process after slicing your model, without the need for any extra software.

Before we start, ensure you have launched Cura after connecting your Ender 3 to your PC (restart Cura if it was already open), as Cura won’t detect your Ender 3 otherwise.

ultimaker cura main window

Once Cura is up and running, click the Marketplace button on the top-right corner.

cura marketplace button

When the Marketplace window becomes visible, click the cog icon on the right, scroll down to find the USB Printing plugin, and ensure it’s enabled. If it’s disabled, enable it by clicking the Enable button.

cura usb printing plugin

Next up, close the Marketplace window and import and slice the model file of your choice, just as you usually do when you use an SD card to print.

cura slice button

After you slice the model, click on the arrow next to the Save to Disk button that comes up in the bottom-right corner, and choose Print via USB from the list.

cura print via usb dropdown

Finally, click the Print via USB button to start the print on your Ender 3.

cura monitor print tab

While some users have reported that the Cura USB Printing plugin does not play well with their 3D printers, most likely due to it not being in active development anymore, we haven’t experienced any problems on an Ender 3 V2 Neo in our tests.

That being said, if the Cura USB Printing plugin seems to be creating problems for you, we highly recommend reading the following section for an alternative method of starting a print with different software.

Controlling Your Ender 3 (V2 & Neo & Pro & S1) Through the USB Connection

Similar to starting a print, you also have a few different software options for controlling your Ender 3 with G-code commands through the USB connection, with OctoPrint being perhaps the most commonly known one.

That being said, for the purposes of this guide, we have chosen Printrun (also known as Pronterface) for the task, as it’s the most straightforward 3D printing interface to set up regardless of the operating system you’re using, which simplifies things considerably, whereas setting OctoPrint up would be a whole different topic of its own.

To start, grab the Pronterface software compatible with your operating system from the official website, and open it.

pronterface main window

If you have Cura open with the USB Printing plugin active, close it before moving forward with this guide, as having Cura on while trying to connect to your Ender 3 with Pronterface will result in Pronterface throwing the “PermissionError / Access is denied” error.

pronterface access is denied error

Next, click the Port button on the top-left corner of the Pronterface window, which will scan all the COM (serial) ports on your computer for connected devices and populate the dropdown menu next to it with the available options.

Provided that there’s only one device connected to your PC through the serial port (your Ender 3), the list should only have one option (if there’s more than one option, try both until you can connect), which should be selected by default.

pronterface port button and port selection dropdown

Next, choose 250000 from the baud rate dropdown, located next to the port dropdown, and click the Connect button.

pronterface baud rate dropdown and connect button

If the connection doesn’t go through and Pronterface gets stuck at “Connecting…” or throws an error message, select the next baud rate option and try again until you find the one that works.

pronterface log area

Once Pronterface is connected to your Ender 3, you can use the input box at the bottom-right corner to send G-code commands to your Ender 3, whether to configure your printer’s settings or print the currently active configuration on the screen, and read the response to the G-code command you have sent on the above output box.

pronterface m503 g-code command example

Additionally, if you would like to use Pronterface to start prints, whether due to the Cura method we have mentioned above not working for you or due to finding Pronterface to be more convenient, this is also a quick and easy process.

To start a print with Pronterface, click the Load file button on the top-middle of the window, and choose the G-code file you want to print.

pronterface load file button

Once the file is loaded, you should see the model you have chosen in the visualization section of Pronterface, which means that we are ready to print.

pronterface g-code visualization

Finally, to start the print, click the Print button on the top-middle section of the window, which, provided that there are no issues, should get your Ender 3 going.

pronterface print button

PC Not Recognizing Ender 3 (V2 & Neo & Pro & S1) – How to Fix It?

Don’t panic if your PC is not recognizing your Ender 3 just yet, as this problem is usually fixable with some troubleshooting steps that won’t be too technically demanding and won’t take too much of your time.

Restart Your Ender 3 and Your PC

The first thing we recommend doing if you can’t get your PC to recognize your Ender 3 is to power your Ender 3 off and back on, which refreshes the USB connection between the two devices and usually solves detection problems.

Additionally, after the restart, it’s also worth trying to unplug the cable and plug it back on, which, once again, can be helpful for the same reason.

If that doesn’t solve things, restarting your PC is the next thing we recommend doing (while your Ender 3 is still plugged in), as this can sometimes be necessary to complete the automatic installation of the drivers required for your PC to detect your Ender 3.

Finally, unplugging the USB cable and plugging it back on once again before moving on to the following solution is something to try if detection problems are still present.

Install USB Controller Drivers Manually

As the Ender 3 uses the CH340 chip as its serial-to-USB converter, it’s necessary for the CH340 drivers to be present on your computer for it to be able to communicate with your Ender 3.

While Windows has automatically installed these drivers (on both Windows 10 and 11) for us whenever we plugged the Ender 3 in for the first time on a fresh installation, we had to install the drivers manually on macOS Ventura, which clearly shows us that it would be wrong to assume every version of every operating system handles the driver installation on its own.

Fortunately, manually installing the CH340 drivers on your computer, regardless of which operating system you’re using, is a breeze, as all you will need to do is grab the official drivers from the manufacturer’s website and follow the instructions listed.

windows ch340 driver installation

Once installation is complete, restart your computer, verify that the driver has been installed successfully by following the steps outlined below for the three major operating systems, and try connecting your Ender 3 again.

On Windows, you can verify the presence of the CH340 driver by opening Device Manager, switching the view to “Devices by driver” (from the View menu), and finding the ch341ser.inf entry in the list.

finding the ch340 driver in device manager

On macOS, you can navigate to the /Library/Extensions/ folder and look for the CH34xVCPDriver.kext file for verification purposes.

Last but not least, on Linux, you can use the lsmod | grep ch34 command to see if the CH340 driver is in the list of installed modules.

Change the USB Cable

Last but not least, changing the USB cable can be what fixes the detection problem for you, as there are quite a few things that can go wrong regarding the cable you’re using for the connection.

Before we move on to changing the USB cable, something we first recommend doing is to remove the electrical tape from the pin to confirm that the problem doesn’t stem from one of the data pins on the connector being blocked physically, provided that you have applied this fix to prevent the backpowering problem as mentioned earlier.

Due to the usage of charge-only USB cables creating this problem in most cases, and due to there being no reliable process of finding out whether a USB cable is charge-only or not (other than testing it with another device), our primary recommendation for ruling out any uncertainty would be to buy a new USB cable where the packaging clearly states that it has data transfer capabilities.

On the other hand, if this is not an option for you at the moment, our following best recommendation would be to find a way to test the cables at hand, such as using the cables you have to connect an external hard drive, your phone, or any other device that you can transfer data to, and see whether your PC detects them, which will allow you to find out whether the cable can transfer data.


Now that you know how to utilize your Ender 3’s USB port to establish a connection between your PC and your printer, you can start your prints or even configure your Ender 3 without needing to get up from your desk and enjoy 3D printing in a more convenient way.

While sending G-code commands instead of using the LCD controller for configuration can feel like it’s not exactly user-friendly due to it becoming necessary to manually find the G-code command that corresponds to the action you would like to take, you’ll find that it’s a much more convenient method once you familiarize yourself with G-code.