Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Not Reading SD Card: Here’s A Quick Fix

If your Ender 3 is not reading an SD card, it can be frustrating. Unfortunately, the issue might stem from several issues, which can be difficult to diagnose. In addition, with numerous potential SD card problems like formatting, a bad SD card, and .gcode issues, you’ll have to troubleshoot your printer to see what’s gone wrong. 

If your Ender 3 is not reading an SD card, chances are high that it is a formatting issue. Otherwise, you can check if it’s a corrupt SD card that’s the problem. If that’s still not the issue, you can troubleshoot to check for hardware issues, .gcode issues, and software incompatibilities. 

Here’s Why Your Ender 3 is Not Reading SD Card 

Ender 3 has a built-in micro SD card reader for TF (TransFlash) cards. Normally, when you insert your Micro SD card, it shows up on the screen with an INIT TF menu. This menu should include “Print from TF” and “Change TF”. If you don’t have either, you can sometimes prompt a response by pressing Init TF or by removing and reinserting your card. 

If not, there are plenty of reasons your Ender 3 might not recognize the SD card. 

FAT32 Formatting – Ender 3 uses Fat32 formatting. If your card is formatted in any other way, the printer won’t recognize it. If you’ve used the card with your printer in the past, this is unlikely to be the issue. However, both Windows and Mac include free tooling to reformat an SD card. 

Bad SD Card – Micro SD cards use TransFlash technology to store data, which makes them small and lightweight, but also prone to degradation and corruption. If you can, test another SD card in the Ender 3. If another card works, chances are, your SD card is just corrupt. 

Bad Card Reader – Unfortunately, the Ender 3 SD card reader is prone to failing. If you have a technical failure, you can either try returning the Ender 3 or using a workaround. For example, many people use Octoprint on a Raspberry Pi or their computer to bypass the need for an SD card reader. 

Size Issues – Many users report issues with larger SD cards. So, while Ender 3 supports up to a 64GB card, it can be finicky. Try using a smaller 8 or 16GB card to see if the problem goes away. You’re always recommended to use 4 or 8 GB cards for firmware flash. 

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Other Issues – You can always experience other issues with an SD card on an Ender 3. For example, your SD card might not be properly slotted in. If it doesn’t click and click to release, it’s not properly in the slot. In addition, you have to ensure you’re using MS-DOS FAT32 formatting on a Mac. You might also want to check .gcode formatting names. For example, some setting issues might restrict .gcode to 8-character file names. Otherwise, you can always check the Allocation unit size, which should be 4096. 

How to Format SD Card for Ender 3 (Pro/V2)

The Ender 3 uses FAT32 format, which is FAT32 or MS-DOS FAT32 on a Mac. Here, you want to ensure that you’re using the standard allocation unit size of 4096. If you’re just using default settings, it should already be set to this. 

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To get started, insert your SD card into an SD card reader either on your computer/laptop or one that plugs into a USB port.

For Windows Users 


  1. Hit the Start or Windows Key.
  2. Type “Disk Manager”.
  3. Select your SD Card.
  4. Select Format.
  5. Choose FAT32 and make sure Quick Format is selected.
  6. Hit Start.


  1. Hit the Start or Windows Key.
  2. Type “Devices with Removable Storage”.
  3. Find your SD Card.
  4. Right Click the SD Card name.
  5. Select “Format”.
  6. Make sure the file format is set to FAT32 and Quick Format is selected.
  7. Click Start.

Some users do have issues with the default SD card formatting tool in Windows. If you think this might be an issue, it’s an easy fix. Here, you can go to the SD Card Foundation to download their free formatter. This should resolve any Windows format issues you have with the custom Marlin 2.0 software on the Ender 3.

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For Mac Users 

  1. Press Command-Space.
  2. Type Disk Utility.
  3. Click your SD Card on the left side of the window.
  4. Select the “Erase” tab.
  5. Click Format menu and Select MS-DOS (FAT).
  6. Click Erase.

Keep in mind that formatting your SD card will erase any data on it. Make sure you back up your files before erasing or reformatting the disc. 

Printing from SD Card for Ender 3 Users 

If your SD card is working properly, you should be able to relatively easily print from an SD card. If you’re having trouble, you can always visit “User Manual_Ender-3_EN V.2.1>User Manual_Ender-3_EN V.2.1.pdf” for the manual. 

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Press the knob to access the main menu.
  3. Scroll down to Print from TF.
  4. Clicking on any .gcode file on the printer should launch the print.

Of course, to actually use an SD card on your Ender 3, you’ll have to load files onto the SD card and in the correct format. That normally means converting STL files into .gcode. To do that, you’ll have to use a slicer. Ender 3 recommends using Cura, Slic3r, or the one on the microSD that ships with your printer. You can access this under 2. Software and Drive –> Creality Slicer_X.X.X.msi. 

  1. Download or install the slicer.
  2. Set the slicer up for your printer, specifically Creality Ender 3.
  3. Download or load the STL you want to use.
  4. Make sure the SD card is plugged into your computer.
  5. Load the STL into your slicer.
  6. Export the file to the removable card.

When finished, you can simply take the SD card out of your computer and plug it into your 3D printer. SD card files exported to the card from your slicer should be automatically formatted. 

Related Questions

If you still have questions about your Ender 3’s SD card, these related questions should help. 

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What SD card does the Ender 3 use? 

The Ender 3 uses a microSD TransFlash card. This is the smallest available memory card, or about a quarter of the size of a traditional SD card. In most cases, it supports 2-64GB cards. However, some versions don’t support over 32GB. In addition, you need 4 or 8GB cards for firmware flash. Finally, Ender 3 uses FAT32 format. 

Does Ender 3 Pro come with SD card? 

Yes. Every Ender 3 Pro ships with an SD card. In addition, the card should come pre-loaded with the user manual and the Creality Slicer. If you don’t have an SD card with your Ender 3, check the box or contact Creality. 

Is TF card the same as SD? 

A TransFlash card is a form of MicroSD card. A Secure Digital or SD card refers to the entire family of cards, which all follow the same standard. This means that any SD card is cross-compatible with another SD card of the same size and format. 


If you’re having trouble with the SD card or SD card reader on your Ender 3, it’s always a good idea to go through basic troubleshooting. For example, if you’ve never used the card on your Ender 3 before, make sure it’s formatted properly. You’ll also want to check to see if another card works in the machine. If not, you can consider resetting the firmware, using a workaround like Octoprint, or taking the time to reformat. That’s the easiest way to reset SD card for Ender 3, because it erases any corrupted files on the drive. 

Hopefully, this guide has helped you troubleshoot and fix the SD card reader on your Ender 3. If you still need more help, check our other guides for more information.

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