Fan Functionality on the Printrbot Play

Over the course of the life of the Play, there have been a number of fan wiring configurations as well as a handful of firmware releases.  All of this iteration has begun to add up to some confusion for Play users, both new and old.  Let us consider this article a "State of the Union ...of the fans" address.  There are a few possible scenarios for fan wiring/control.  See below, to find which one applies to you.


As of 3/1/17, the most current firmware/Printrboard F6 combination gives the user control over the FAN1 connector (print cooling fan).  In other words, you can power FAN1 on/off with the M106/M107 commands as well as enable cooling at a specific Z height (Cura 15 > Advanced > Cool > Enable cooling fan > ... > Expert config).






Printrboard F6.  Two separate fan extensions. 

You have the option to run a hot end-cooling fan (FAN2) along with a print-cooling fan (FAN1).  You need two individual fan extensions to do this.  This is the current "stock" configuration for the Play.






Printrboard F6.  One fan extension, plus a Dual Fan Adapter Cable. 

If your Play came with a Rev F5 Printrboard, but you have since upgraded to F6, you may find yourself with only one fan extension.  To power both fans, you will need a Dual Fan Adapter Cable to connect to FAN1. 

You will manually control both fans at the same time. With this configuration, it is recommended to power your fans on manually (M106) as soon as you power your bot ON.  This will help prevent clogging in your hot end.  It's easy to start heating your hot end before loading a print and then get distracted.  Before you know it your hot end has been heating, uncooled for 25min.  Not ideal.  You can also include 'cool at height' controls.





Printrboard F5.  One fan extension, plus a Dual Fan Adapter Cable. 


If you are using a Printrboard F5 without header pins and a single fan extension that splits out to the two 30mm fans, your setup is similar to the one just above.  Your FAN connector controls both fans simultaneously.  

Again, with this configuration, it is recommended to power your fans on manually (M106) as soon as you power your bot ON to avoid clogging in your hot end.  You can also include 'cool at height' controls in your slicing.





Printrboard F5.  Two separate fan extensions. Header pins required.

If you have a Rev F5 Printrboard w pins, you can control your fans separately.  You will need two separate fan extensions for each 30mm fan.  With the upper fan (hot end fan) wired into the ISCP and hot end power pins, the upper fan will power ON as soon as the bot is powered ON.  You can issue M106/M107 commands to control the lower fan (print fan).  You can also include 'cool at height' controls. 


  • Solder ICSP header pins onto your Printrboard.  Click here for video instructions.  
  • Remove power wire (red) from the female end of your fan extension.
  • Plug the remaining black cable, still inside of the wire housing into ICSP1.
  • Plug the free power wire (red) into the 12v constant pin in your HOTEND connector.
  • Pics below.










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  • 2

    Good morning, 


    I just upgraded my simple metal 1403 to the new ubis hotend, removing the old ceramic model.  I have Rev F5 board and hooked up via the above article to have the hotend fan run continuously, while keeping the print fan on its separate controls.  One problem I have is that the fan will run with the above mentioned hookups.  However, the machine will not talk to the computer with the ISPC1 pin connected to the ground.  I open CURA, load a model and could not open the ponterface control window.  After trouble shooting, I removed the ground from ISPC 1 pin and viola, the computer talks to the printer.  There must be something interfering with the communication with this pin.  Is there another place I can hook up the ground to besides splicing into the other fan ground?

    Thanks for all the help.



  • 0
    Stephen Inoue

    I'm having the exact same problem as Jon. I just submitted a support ticket for my Printrbot Play 1505 assembled version.

    I even wrote a crazy Instructable documenting everything I've checked of in figuring out the Upper Fan #2's black wire ground to the ISPC was causing the problem.

    My Printrbot came assembled like this back in Dec 2015. I started having all kinds of clogging issues with the Ubis Hot End from the start and even wrote another crazy instructable on how to troubleshoot Printrbot clogs because of all these fan issues.

    I went thru hell updating the Firmware for the Printrbot Play and thought I had bricked it when it would no longer USB connect. After pulling my hair out and writing up both instructables I've nailed the culprit as the ground wire. I think this is the same problem Jon is having. I'm not sure if his F5 board has the soldering pins in place but I'm hoping for some help in getting these fans back up and running.


    Fan 1 - Upper Fan - Aimed at heat Sink Fins of the Ubis extruder. Supposed to turn on when >50C.

    Fan 2 - Lower Fan - Aimed at Printed Model to cool the top layer. Turns on/off using the M106 command to turn on and the M107 command to turn off (Pronterface UI). Can also turn on in Cura's setting at a certain Z height.

    Currently my Fan 1 is on when the power is on, but is NOT able to be seen by Cura's Print With USB function unless I unplug the Fan 1 black wire from ISPC.

    Currently Fan 2 ignores all M106 commands to turn on. I ran the Firmware update back in Jan 2017. Is there any way to see which firmware version is installed?

    I have the Rev F5 printrboard that came with my Printrbot Play 1505 assembled white in Dec 2015.

  • 0
    Eric - PB Support Team

    Hi Stephen,

    There was a previous version of play firmware which removed control of the fan via gcode, instead opting to automatically turn the fans on whenever the hotend was heated above 50c.  This was done because a large number of Plays are wired with the fans wired together and powered from the filament fan port.  If people have long duration first layers (which typically don't have the fan enabled) this could cause clogging.  Therefore, the fan code was switched to that automatically controlled version.  I believe the latest version of the firmware restores gcode control.

  • 0

    Hello all, 

    I have fixed my problem, but wanted to post the information and hopefully help others who may be having the same problem.  Please go past Ian's suggestion to see my solution.

    First, I received this response from Ian:

    hey Jon

    How are you actually connecting it to the pin? is it still in the plastic connector? I found with mine, there was just enough play in the plug for it to be pulled into the next pin, causing the disconnection. What I did was remove the plastic, slide over some heat shrink tubing and shrink it up, then plug it directly onto the pin.

    See if that helps


    Ian Lewis
    European Printrbot Support

    I tried Ian's suggestion and had the same issue with not being able to connect to Ponterface with the negative lead of the hot end fan plugged into the ICSP1 pin.  As soon as I removed the negative lead from the ICSP1 pin, and the fan stopped, I was able to connect to Ponterface ( I also checked and rechecked to make sure that I was going into the correct pin).  Therefore I left the positive lead connected to the 12V constant power, as described above, and took a spare negative lead from my psu and wired the negative directly to it.  

    So, when the psu is powered on, the hot end fan runs.  I also kept control of my print fan to turn on/off during prints when needed.  (Therefore, they are both not running at the same time with the Y connector that was suggested in another article).  I've had very good luck with the new Ubis hot end that I upgraded with on my Simple Metal Black, Heated Bed, Board rev f5.

    --Jon (sorry, tried and can't seem to the get the first two images the correct orientation)



    Edited by Jonnoeldner
  • 0
    Antonio Salotti Neto

    Hi all, hope this finds you well.

    This was very very hard to find but I'm thankful for posting this up -- I just recently got a second-handed Smalls with the Rev F5 board and I could not cope with the idea of not having my hotted fan come up automatically.

    I wanted to tell you, section 'Printrboard F5.  Two separate fan extensions. Header pins required.' works like a charm for my printer and setup.

    I'm still up for wiring the part-cooling fan back to the FAN pins but I don't see how that's not going to work.

    More to come!



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