The Ender 5 is a pretty unique 3D printer. Very few printers in 2019 have an H-bot design, something typically found in higher end printers, are around $300, and are not a kit. One thing that that is not unique is the noise it makes.
That almost dot-matrix printer-like sound may be endearing to some, but with large prints taking days to complete, the noise is not exactly ideal. While some printers, like the Anycubic i3 Mega, have user upgradeable boards, Creality ones do not for cost saving measures. Luckily Creality has thought of this and makes a complete board swap to bring TMC2208 goodness to the Ender 3 and Ender 5. At $50, is it all upgrade?
I’m not going to go too deep into the installation of this part, seeing as it is literally unplugging everything in one place and plugging it in somewhere else. No changes, no surprises. I moved each cable one at a time to ensure I put them all in the right place, but you don’t have to.
If you have an Ender 3 then you are done, installation complete, enjoy your new motherboard. With an Ender 5, time to flash the motherboard. Unfortunately this is not a streamlined process, and the internet wasn’t much help. Creality does host the file you need to flash, but it does not make the software to flash it. All the tutorials for flashing the Ender 3 and 5 all require you purchase additional hardware, something the new motherboard doesn’t need.
So what will you need? First you’ll need the file from Creality, the drivers from gogotronics, and AVRDude. Links to everything below. Once you install the driver, plug in your printer to the computer using the USB cable, and install AVRDude, you are ready to flash your printer. I renamed the creality firmware as ender5.hex and put it in the root folder for AVRDude. Then load up CMD Prompt to the AVRdude location and type the following:
avrdude -c arduino -p m1284p -P COM3 -U flash:w:ender5.hex
My usb ended up being COM3, but yours may differ. Once that is done your printer should be ready to print.
BUT, it isn’t exactly the same. It seems like the voltages are lower for the stepper motors with the new motherboard which, while doesn’t change most things, it can no longer reliably support travel speeds above 100mm/s. This isn’t too far off the 120mm/s I was using before, and the printer is now almost silent other than the fans, but it is one downgrade to an otherwise good, if not costly, upgrade and it may ruin a few prints if you forget to change this.
Should you get the silent motherboard for your Ender 5? If you have your printer in a common area like I do, 100% yes. Is yours in a closet where you can’t hear it? Your printer is probably already silent enough.
*Yes, I know this board does offer a few more enhancements, but most of them you can add/simulate using other means if needed. Bootloader, TL Smoothers, etc.