Ender 3 Screen Glitch / Blank (Blue) Screen – Causes & Fixes

While it’s not technically necessary for your Ender 3’s LCD controller to be operational for you to be able to use your 3D printer, a screen that isn’t working as intended can definitely become a considerable inconvenience, especially if you don’t have a 3D printing interface, such as OctoPrint, set up already.

In this guide, we will discuss the potential causes behind the screen glitching problem that can trouble your Ender 3, which practically renders its screen unusable, and go through the corresponding solutions that can help you resolve this issue to restore the functionality of your Ender 3’s screen to its original state.

Ender 3 Screen Glitch / Blank (Blue) Screen – Causes & Fixes

A glitching screen, whether it’s the appearance of artifacts on the screen or the screen showing nothing at all, is one of the more cryptic problems you can face when using your Ender 3, as it’s possible for the problem to be both hardware and software related in this case.

ender 3 screen glitch example


Below, we have listed the factors that can create the screen glitching / blank screen problem you’re experiencing on your Ender 3, along with explanations of how they can contribute to the problem’s occurrence and solutions that can help you resolve the issue based on which factor is causing it.

Incompatible or Corrupted Firmware

In a scenario where the screen glitching on your Ender 3 started happening right after you have flashed new firmware, which seems to be the case for most users, the usage of an incompatible or corrupted firmware file is the most likely factor behind the occurrence of the problem, and also the easiest to fix.

Our primary recommendation to rule out the possibility of a firmware-related problem right off the bat would be to flash the original firmware that came in the microSD card together with your Ender 3, which is the same firmware that was installed on your Ender 3 when you first bought it.

ender 3 pro firmware file example


On the other hand, if you don’t have access to the original firmware file anymore, you can easily find it in the Downloads section of the Creality website by choosing your printer’s model and the compatible firmware file from the list that appears afterward, which will include different flavors of the firmware due to differences in hardware, such as mainboard versions, high-temperature hotend upgrades, or the presence of a BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor.

For instance, if you have a stock Ender 3 Pro with a v4.2.2 mainboard, you will need to go to the Ender 3 Pro section on the Creality website first and choose the firmware that is labeled “v4.2.2” from the list to ensure that it’s compatible with your printer’s mainboard.

ender 3 pro firmware for v4.2.2 mainboard example


The version number of your Ender 3’s mainboard is written below (or next to) the Creality logo (or Creality3D text) on the mainboard itself, which you can access by removing the cover underneath the printer.

creality v4.2.2 mainboard identifying


Even if you don’t want to use the stock Creality firmware with your Ender 3, which is understandable due to the lack of features available, reverting to the original firmware for a brief moment is the best way to find out whether the firmware change was the source of your issues, as the original firmware ensures that there won’t be any incompatibility issues as long as you choose the correct Ender 3 model and mainboard version.

Alternatively, it can also be worth a try to flash another reputable Marlin fork, such as the TH3D Unified 2 Firmware, if you experience the screen glitching problem despite running the original Creality firmware of your Ender 3, as going through two different firmware will practically ensure that there can’t be any coincidences.

th3d unified 2 firmware list


Finally, while it’s unlikely for the firmware to be the problem if the issue started happening out of nowhere, with no changes to the firmware recently, re-flashing the firmware can still be worth a try before moving forward with more drastic solutions such as replacing the mainboard or the screen, considering that it won’t take much of your time.

Damaged Wiring & Loose Connectors

The second most common reason behind the occurrence of the Ender 3 screen glitching problem is wiring issues, whether it’s due to the wires that connect the two components being damaged in some way or the connectors that should fit tightly in their slots becoming loose.

Wiring issues are especially likely to be the source of the problem if you have recently done something that can affect the wires and the connectors in some way, whether it’s putting your Ender 3 together for the first time, moving your Ender 3, or making a modification that would require you to change some wiring, such as installing a BLTouch.

Regardless, our first recommendation to rule this factor out is to disconnect the ribbon cable that connects the LCD controller to the mainboard from both sides and to inspect both the cable itself and the connectors for any signs of damage, whether it’s exposed wires, loose connectors, or a sharp bend that could’ve damaged some wires inside.

ribbon cable


If no visible issues are present on the cable, the next step we recommend taking would be to make sure that both the connectors and the pins on the mainboard/screen are clean with no visible debris and plug the connectors back in their correct places while also ensuring that the connectors sit tightly in their slots without any wobble.

On the other hand, if any such issues are present on the ribbon cable, or if you seem to be running out of options with no solution in sight, our recommendation would be to replace the ribbon cable with a new one, which is a pretty standard (and relatively cheap) component that you should be able to find in any online 3D printing store.

Electromagnetic Interference

While we can consider it rarer compared to the factors we have mentioned in the list so far, electromagnetic interference is something we definitely cannot rule out when thinking about the factors that can cause the screen glitching problem on an Ender 3.

If you have recently moved your Ender 3 to a new area in your home, added new electrical devices in close proximity to your Ender 3 (such as LED lights), or changed the positioning of the LCD controller (or the ribbon cable that connects it), it’s a whole lot more likely for electromagnetic interference to be causing the issue in your case.

Regardless, our primary recommendation to rule out the possibility of electromagnetic interference causing the screen glitching problem on your Ender 3 would be to set your printer up in an empty area of your home for a temporary testing period, where it’s the only plugged-in electrical device in the close proximity, with the screen detached from the printer’s frame.

In the specific case where the screen glitching only takes place during printing, it’s likely for the stepper motors to be causing the interference, meaning that you should aim to keep the cable/screen away from them to see if it changes things.

If this resolves the issue and you would like to use your Ender 3 at its original spot, the next step is to find the source of the interference. Alternatively, if you have another place for your Ender 3, you can move it there and call it a day.

While it can be a bit of a process, especially if there are many devices around, finding the source is usually possible through actions such as moving or deactivating the devices in close proximity one-by-one, and observing the behavior of the screen at the same time, as the behavior of the glitching will change as you shuffle things around.

Some examples to this process would be to try placing the screen in different spots (as much as the cable’s length allows), re-routing the cable, turning your Ender 3 around, and unplugging devices in the close proximity, which should prompt the screen glitching to behave in different ways.

Additionally, shielding the screen cable with a material that would reduce the interference, such as a flat ferrite sleeve or aluminum foil, can come in pretty handy to resolve the problem without having to move things around too much, which is something to keep in mind in cases where your options are limited.

Defective or Damaged Screen

Considering that the problem is occurring on the screen, an issue regarding the screen itself, whether due to an error in production or damage that occurred during usage, is another potential factor that comes to mind regarding the screen glitching problem.

If the issue started happening as soon as you set your Ender 3 up for the first time or after a scenario that could have physically damaged the screen in some way, such as dropping it, a screen-related problem causing the screen glitching in your case is especially likely.

Considering that you have tried every other solution we have mentioned so far but couldn’t solve the problem you’re experiencing, replacing the screen with a new one will be a necessary step moving forward (unless you can borrow a spare screen to test whether the issue is screen-related), as it’s the only way to rule this possibility out of the equation.

That being said, please note that we can’t guarantee the screen replacement will solve your problem at this point, as it’s still possible for the problem to be mainboard-related (discussed in the upcoming section).

To gather more information about the nature of the problem, we highly recommend connecting your Ender 3 to your computer through USB and sending G-code commands through a terminal (such as Pronterface or OctoPrint), such as heating up the hotend or moving the printhead and observing the results.

While a scenario where the commands go through without issues won’t give you any extra insight regarding where the problem is, the printer not registering the actions or not behaving as intended is a clear sign that there’s something wrong with the mainboard, in which case you can avoid replacing the screen.

Malfunctioning Mainboard

Similar to a defective screen, a malfunctioning mainboard can also create the screen glitching problem you’re experiencing on your Ender 3 in rare cases, as the data displayed on the screen comes from the mainboard at the end of the day.

While a mainboard malfunction makes more sense if the issue started occurring after you’ve been making hardware modifications, whether it’s swapping out some wires, installing an automatic bed leveling sensor, or changing the stepper motors, as it’s entirely possible to cause a short circuit if you aren’t careful, it’s not impossible for a mainboard to suddenly cease functioning for no apparent reason either.

So, if you have gone through every other possible culprit we have mentioned so far and applied the corresponding solutions; but still haven’t been able to resolve the screen glitching problem of your Ender 3, a mainboard-related issue is practically the only thing left.

In the case of a mainboard failure, the only solution, unfortunately, is to replace it, whether with the same exact mainboard, which you should be able to get directly from Creality’s store page, or a third-party mainboard if you’re looking for an upgrade over the majority of Creality mainboards, such as the highly popular SKR Mini E3 from BigTreeTech.

Conclusion

Even though the screen of your Ender 3 glitching and displaying artifacts (or nothing at all) is definitely an irritating problem to both come across and also solve, the good news is that you won’t have to throw your Ender 3 out for a new one, as even in the worst case of mainboard failure, you can solve the issue by replacing the problematic component alone.

On the other hand, if you don’t think you can solve the problem or don’t have the time for it, there is still hope, as you can always set up a 3D printing interface such as OctoPrint or Pronterface (Printrun) and continue using your Ender 3 as usual by controlling it from your PC instead of the LCD controller.