Before You Swap Your Control Board
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
TIP Take a "before" photo of your stock board and connections before unplugging cables. I also suggest putting a piece of tape on the Hot End thermistor to tell it apart from the Bed thermistor later.
Hex Key Wrenches, you will need them to remove the hex screws on the stock board
I used Mini Chain Nose Pliers to help pull out some of the connectors and grab those pesky screws when I dropped them. They also came in handy for securing the connectors
Mini Flat Head Screwdriver is used for the power connections
The stock board on my Creality Ender 3 had lots of glue. Almost every connection had a dab of glue on it. The glue made it slightly challenging to get the connectors off. Be careful removing the connectors, and clean off all the glue before reconnecting to your new board.
Short Cables, Small Space
The cables are bundled together, but there isn't much length to pull them out. The small space where the board is installed, combined with the lack of cable length, made getting the main power cables installed difficult.
After you have everything connected to the new board, power it up. If it boots up and seems promising, the next step is to heat your Hot End and the Bed to the temperatures you usually use.
When I started heating the Hot End, I quickly realized that I had something wrong, as the Bed Temperature was rising on the display - not the Hot End! The printer errored out, and I shut it down. Luckily this was a quick fix. I swapped the white connectors (shown in the bottom left of the photo). These are the connectors for your thermistors. I just got them mixed up.
Odds are the new board comes with outdated firmware on it. You will need to get the new firmware.
The video below from Chris Riley was an excellent resource for the firmware update.
TIP Install the software in this order if you do not already have it:
I did not have Python installed before Platform IO, and I couldn't get Platform IO to work.
I use Octoprint for my printer, and it wouldn't connect after installing the new board. I tried all combinations of plugging in and powering things on, and it wouldn't work. Many suggestions online went from super complicated (making changes in the firmware) to simple.
I like simple solutions the best.
Go into Octoprint Settings and uncheck "Request exclusive access to the serial port," and everything connected beautifully after that.
Maybe I am paranoid, but after I make any changes to the printer, especially something major like replacing the control board, I want to make sure everything is configured correctly.