Printers known to have backpowering issues

Printers that show backpowering issues try to draw their 5v power from devices connected via USB. In the case of a connected Raspberry Pi, that can cause undervoltage issues and thus negatively affect stability and performance - we've seen crashing Pis, vanishing WiFi and so on. There's a simple fix that involves putting electric tape or otherwise disconnecting the 5v line in your USB connector.

Here's a list of printer models currently identified to exhibit this electrical design flaw in their stock electronics:

  • Creality:
    • CR-6 SE (apparently even seems to put 24v on the 5v pin for some?!)
    • CR-10 V2
    • CR-10S Pro V2
    • CR-30
    • Ender 3 Pro (8-bit board)
    • Ender 3 Pro V2
    • Ender 5 Plus
    • Ender 5 Pro
  • Geeetech Aluminum i3 Pro
  • Tenlog Hands 2
  • Vivendo T-Rex 3
  • Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus/Monoprice Selector Plus/Cocoon Create

Please note: This list is not exhaustive. Just because your printer isn't listed here doesn't mean it has no backpowering issues, it just means nobody has yet tried and added their experiences here. So please test and update accordingly with your results to help others in the future, thanks :slight_smile:

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I've been having the wifi issues on a Creality CR10S Pro V2 with a Pi4 4GB, which was partially fixed with the wifi sleep issue, but still very slow responding camera when monitoring via wifi.

Thought I'd give this a go and the camera (PiV2.1) response through wifi is night and day. WAY better.
Such a simple thing to do and a facepalm to myself that I should have done this earlier, seeing the way each device reacted (i.e. strangely) when the other was powered on first.

Not sure about what the voltages are on the pins, but if I get a chance will check and post.
Thanks for this!

@cods69 Thanks for that report, I've added that printer to the list as well.

Creality Ender 3 V2 has the same issue - the LCD will turn on with the printer off if Octoprint is connected. Fixed with the electrical tape trick.

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The question is whether there are additional issues besides powering the LCD. If it's only the backlight that's usually fine, but if it's more that gets backpowered, it can cause issues.

The tape on the USB does not work for me. What other can I do besides forgetting about controlling my Ender 3 Pro over wifi with the Raspberry Pi? At wits end and hate to through more money at this problem. Wish someone had told me before hand that it is hit or miss on this functionality.

Please open a new topic so we can try to help you :slight_smile:

Interesting that you just wrote about this issue, I saw it only after spending a couple of hours trouble shooting serial timeout issues between a newly setup Octopi and old refurbished 3D printer.

Beside the backwards powering, there is an issue of voltage / level differences if devices are not grounded properly or are running of different power sources.

In my case, I removed the printer PSU from the printer it self, to house it external. With that the grounding of the metal parts of the printer it self was removed. I havent thought much of it at the time of doing it - its all just low voltage @ 24V that feeds the motherboard etc !?

Well the USB chassis is in contact among other PCB parts with the printers ground - but not mains supply ground !
I was measuring up to 80VAC differential, that somehow travelled to the Raspi, from there I was able to measure the same different from Raspi ground to mains ground.

Now one more curious thing was, that 2 out of 3 USB-A to USB-mini had shield not connected from one end to the other, even worse the cheap wall wart I used to power the Raspi was floating without ground connection to shield components or GND of the PSU.

Wiring / Grounding everything properly, replacing bad USB cables and using a more decent Raspi PSU solved the serial time-out / drop out issues so far (fingers crossed).

It seems some Raspi models / iterations are more prone then others, even within the same model series.

It does work - maybe not in your ideal world, but technically it does.

You can also use nail polish, just make sure you isolate the pin all the way to the back and up a bit on the rear, apply more then one coat.

Alternatively you can slice the cable length wise for about 2-3cm, then peal the wires out, take a part of the red / black wire out (insulate the endings) and peal it back into the cable.

I did this in multiple instances over the years, everytime with success.

I have an ender 3 v2. the LCD powered but also the webcam stream stopped working (all black) from time to time when switching the printer on off.
I resolved this by carefully stripping my USB cable and cutting the RED wire. As we all know from hollywood its the RED wire that causes the bomb to go off. But its also international standard choice for the 'vcc' or 'power'. If course your cable could be different, but I bet its not. Also cut a few mm away otherwise it might grow back.
Bit of electrical tape to tidy up afterwards

This worked 100%.

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Does anyone know if this backpowering problem can cause static shock when touching the printer ?
I did not implement the tape trick yet, but i'm gonna do it as soon as my current print is over.

Usually not. We are dealing with low voltages here. Depending on the Printer up to 24V. For the USB line it's just 5V

You may have static issues if you have a less quality power supply for the Pi with a improper isolation between mains and the low voltage side.

I've got a brand new Ender 3 Pro with MeanWell PSU (or at least it's supposed to be, didn't open it yet).
My Pi is a 3B Rev2 with the official power supply i got a that time. I'm beggining to wonder if that's not just my SecretLab gaming chair which is charging me up (it's got that "SoftWeave" Fabric and not the usual fake leather). But i didn't got that much static before getting the printer.

The latter one could be the cause. The printer should be earthed via the power supply and further on the Pi via the USB cable.

The printer has some bare metal parts that are grounded, so the possibility to get discharged at the printer is there. I assume you don't get that static shock when you come right into the room?

I must admit i didn't pay attention to when i was coming back into the room. I just taped the 5v pin and i'm gonna be more aware of those static shock if they still happen.

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CR10 V2 (the V2.5.2 board) backpowers, but it still runs. (I'm running one now that's not connected to the printer, it's being powered by a Pi 4.)

Running Cura on the computer that connects to the server has a problem, though. The developer evidently isn't aware that you should open a serial port only when you have to communicate with it. After that, it should be closed.)

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geeetech aluminum i3 pro
sanguinololu card

if the power supply is off the fans and the display remain on because there is power from the USB cable connected to the rasberry

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USB on/off hubs or switches work as well. Many of them only cut the 5v but allow the data lanes through.

i can add the creality cr30 as well, but am using one of the usb power blocking adapters

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