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3D Printer Not Turning On? 6 Common Causes

If your 3D printer isn’t turning on, there’s not always cause for panic, as the root of the problem may be as simple as a faulty outlet or a system jam.

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If your 3D printer isn’t turning on, there’s not always cause for panic, as the root of the problem may be as simple as a faulty outlet or a system jam. In any case, knowing how to troubleshoot your device is essential when it comes to taking adequate care of it and foreshadowing more severe problems before they occur.

A 3D printer may not be turning because it has a faulty connection or the wires aren’t positioned correctly. A power draw that is too high or too low can also affect the printer’s functionality. Other common causes include a system crash, an internal jam, overheating, or a mechanical failure. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the nature of these problems, how they occur, and how you can efficiently solve them. Keep reading to learn more.

Why a 3D Printer Isn’t Turning On: 6 Common Causes

A 3D printer may not be turning on because it has faulty external connections or is experiencing an internal error. Fortunately, most of these issues are easily detectable and solvable. 

However, you may need to seek professional help in some cases if the problem is more severe. 

Here are some of the most common reasons a 3D printer may not be turning on: 

1. Faulty Connections

Although checking for faulty connections might seem like overkill, making sure that your printer receives energy is crucial before moving on to any subsequent steps. Imagine spending hours researching and stressing over your device not working, only to find out that the connector wasn’t transmitting power. 

For this reason, not skipping this often overlooked step can save you a lot of time and headache. 

Before even checking the actual connections, make sure that your 3D printer is plugged in. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but we often tend to go through the motions without paying much attention to details like this that may seem redundant, but in reality, are not. 

Afterward, confirm that the device is turned on and running as usual. This includes looking for any visual indicators of a problem or listening closely to pick up any unusual sounds.

If everything seems in place, it might be time to test your power socket. Although the last time you printed, it may have worked just fine, with time passing, many problems can occur, which will affect the socket’s usability. 

Take a lamp, phone charger, or blow drier and plug it into the socket. Check to see if your device of choice responds as it usually should, determining whether or not the socket is transmitting electricity. If so, move on to other checkups, go ahead and change the power source of your printer.

If the power source is working as it should, you may want to look into how the power cable is working. The complexity of this process depends on your specific circumstances. If your printer’s power cable fits any other electrical device around your house, then all you need to do is test it on the secondary device to see if it turns on. 

On the other hand, if the cable only fits the 3D printer, you will need access to a multimeter to check whether it’s working correctly. You always need to be very careful with working with a multimeter, as it can be dangerous when misused. If you’re not sure whether you know how to use this tool safely, you can check out this video.

If the power cable is working normally, there are other connections you will need to troubleshoot. If not, it might be time to go shopping for a new, functioning alternative.

If you’re using an extension cord to plug in the printer, test them with other devices as well, as they often can overheat. Furthermore, any other connection should be thoroughly checked, including surge protectors. There’s always a chance that these devices may crash or draw too much power when operating, which will result in a complete shutdown. 

2. Power Draw Is Too High (or Low)

The 3D printer’s plug and your socket must be compatible in many ways, not only size and dimensions. If the bed takes more power than the supply is capable of transmitting, the fuse will blow right off without giving any immediately visible sign of failure. For this reason, after ruling out any of the previous options, you want to check the outlet’s fuse for any sign of damage.

This process is fairly straightforward, as, at this point, you open the lid found in your power outlet covering the fuse and check to see for any signs that may indicate a blown fuse. Most commonly, if there is a visible gap separating the wire, or you spot a dark smear inside this space, you will need to replace your fuse. 

If so, you will need to further look into the problem to decide whether it’s contained and you’ll only need to replace the damaged wires, or, as it often happens in more severe cases, you will need to replace the whole outlet. 

A power draw that’s too high can cause a short circuit to happen inside any of the individual parts or devices included in turning on your 3D printer. Therefore, if you suspect this is the problem that you’re dealing with, you’ll need to disconnect different parts of your printer one by one and check how it’s functioning. This will help you pinpoint the problem source, allowing you to solve it much quicker.

You can use a multimeter to check whether the switch you’re using can consistently provide adequate voltage for your 3D printer. These devices are powerful and often require more energy supply than you might think, so always make sure that your power source is compatible with these electricity needs.

Make sure also to inspect the switch itself, as its wiring can also malfunction. This means that electricity won’t be able to travel through the socket even if the button is placed in the “ON” position. Therefore, always check the switch before throwing out the whole structure.

Too much power isn’t the only extreme that can cease your printer from working. Low voltages in the drivers can lead to a lack of power in your device’s motor, causing it to stop working. Having a multimeter on hand, in this case, would be immensely helpful, as it would allow you to figure out the problem with ease and efficiency.

3. System Crash or Jam

A crash can occur when the printer’s operating systems stop functioning properly. In most cases, system crashes or jams are normal and bound to happen occasionally, as the system tends to get overworked after a long time of use.

The majority of crashes result from various software bugs. These bugs can trigger a chain of malfunctions, which may cause the entire system to shut down in some cases. So if you’ve ruled out the previous causes, then a system crash is likely the reason why your 3D printer won’t turn on. 

The solution for most system crashes is straightforward: power cycling. Power cycling is the simple act of restarting your device in order to reset it to factory settings and correct any possible malfunctions in the process.

A power cycle can help repair the minor problems and bugs that have caused the crash in the first place. So, if your device isn’t working because of a false command or internal glitch, restarting it per the manufacturer’s instructions is bound to remove the bug and return the system to its initial state.

In most cases, after shutting down or disconnecting your device, you will need to wait about 30 seconds or more before restarting it again. You may think that the waiting time seems like a procedural hassle more than a necessity, but in reality, it serves a multitude of purposes. Not only does it allow the system to cease working entirely, but it also gives it enough time to cool down and reach an ideal temperature. 

As I mentioned, power cycling can help you solve minor issues and bugs, but it won’t work on more severe problems. Having said that, it is a necessary first option that can help you save a lot of time and energy in some cases. If you are still having issues after this procedure, try resetting your printer to factory settings before moving to the next alternative.

4. Excessive Temperature

Every 3D printer has an ideal range of temperature in which it is designed to work perfectly. The device is made to function with these conditions in mind; therefore, problems are bound to happen when working in temperatures outside of this range. 

Overworking your printer may lead to overheating, which will increase the temperature to the degree that will make it harder for it to maintain normal functions. Although the system may support temperature increases for a short period of time, if you continue to use an overheated printer, it is bound to stop working sooner or later.

Feel the device with your hand to see if you can detect any notable changes in temperatures. If the printer that isn’t turning on feels warmer than usual to the touch, try letting it cool for an hour or two before attempting to switch it on again.

5. Faulty Wires

Working with a 3D printer means dealing with dozens of wires that need to be handled, connected, and working properly. Sometimes you can be so busy trying to figure out what is going on with the device itself; you may forget that it’s possible that the issue is external. As you will see, this is not always the case, as cables can often disrupt the well-functioning of the device.

Firstly, take a close look at the power supply board. When doing so, always make sure the power is unplugged; otherwise, you may risk an electric shock. When inspecting the board, see if the wires are all entirely plugged into their respective outlets. Two switched wires, or a loosely-plugged one, are some of the most common causes for printers that just won’t start working. 

Damaged wires cannot transmit electric currents properly, which may be the reason why your 3D printer isn’t working. Therefore, before looking for expensive professional advice, make sure your problem doesn’t stem from faulty wire positioning that can be fixed within seconds. If the positioning is correct, try to look for any damage and tear signs on the wire itself.

More importantly, a malfunctioning wire can quickly become a safety hazard, so never ignore early signs of wear and make sure to frequently conduct these inspections whether your printer is properly working or not.

6. Mechanical Failure

If, after going through these five possible causes, you still haven’t figured out the cause of your problem, chances are it’s probably a more significant issue outside of your control. Mechanical issues can often happen when working with a relatively fragile device, such as the 3D printer.

Adding pressure or a single wrong movement can cause shifts and displacements that make it impossible for the printer to function correctly. Whether it is a broken belt tooth or a piece of debris that causes a blockage and subsequent jams on your device, mechanical failures are serious issues that need to be addressed immediately.

At this point, you may proceed to open up the device in an attempt to make out the problem area and possibly its cause. If possible, always try to troubleshoot as efficiently as possible, as it helps the restoring process immensely.

If the problem isn’t a simple and easily fixable shift or misplacement, chances are you will need to take your printer to be looked at by a professional at this point. This will be the inevitable next step, as considering none of the previous possible causes turned out to be the root of the problem, chances are the problem itself is more complex than you may have initially thought. If this is the case, give your provider’s technicians a call, and they will be able to proceed.

Final Thoughts

Several possible issues may be causing your 3D printer not to turn on. These issues are:

  • Faulty connections that include outlets, power cables, and wires
  • Incompatibility in power transition between the bar and the device
  • Simple system crashes 
  • Temperatures that aren’t ideal for your printer to be working in
  • Misplaced, damaged, or worn-down wires
  • Internal mechanical failures of the system

Most of these issues are easily solvable, but if at any moment you feel like you don’t have the adequate knowledge to proceed, don’t hesitate to give a call to your provider’s technicians or other specialists. 

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About Ben

I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.