The Anet A8 is a very popular 3D printer, being both affordable and customizable, two fantastic selling points. With it being open source, there are many modifications and upgrades out there to make the 3D printer exactly as you want it. And this extends to the Anet A8 firmware.
The firmware of the Anet A8 is based on Marlin. The manufacturer usually ships this 3D printer with an outdated version of Marlin’s firmware. Your 3D printer will work just fine, but one of the most important features is missing: a security check on the heating elements.
Why should you care? Well, imagine the temperature sensor stops working or drops out of the heating element. The firmware without a security check on the heating elements will have the wrong temperature input (usually lower than the real one, or even no temperature input at all). Because it knows what the temperature the hot end should be, it will try to heat the nozzle or bed to achieve the printing temperature. It will keep the heaters on, but the sensor temperature read will not rise. With this continuous heating, the hot end will inevitably over-heat, melt your 3D printer, or worse set the whole thing (and everything around it) on fire!
By upgrading the firmware to include the security check on the heating element, it will “know” that if the temperature is not rising while the heaters are on, something is wrong. It will shut down the heaters and the printing process.
There are some other advantages in upgrading your Anet’s firmware like customizing the auto-leveling function and adding the Filament Runout Sensor, but the security of your heating elements is the most important one. This is why we think you should upgrade your Anet A8 firmware.
In the next sections, we will show you just how to do so.