Perhaps one on the best free upgrades for the Anet A8 is to update your firmware. Since Anet does not provide the source code for the firmware, it's hard to tell what version of (probably Marlin) firmware they have installed on your printer.
But why would you need to update the firmware ? One giant glaring reason is for thermal protection runaway. This feature is TURNED OFF in the Anet A8 firmware. If the feature is in fact present in the firmware, they didn't activate it. The firmware they actually ship with your printer may even be old enough that the feature was not even available in Marlin yet.
The scary images of the heatbed connectors melting and even speculation of the Anet burning down houses is enough reason to upgrade to 1.1.8 for thermal protection.
- Back up your existing firmware. If for any reason you run into an issue with the new firmware, your stock firmware will be erased once you attempt an upload of the new firmware. Currently, there is only one way to back up your existing firmware. We show you how here.
- Download Marlin 1.1.8 here (automatically downloads).
Copy the two files named Configuration.h and Configuration_adv.h from the folder
Marlin-1.1.8\Marlin\example_configurations\Anet\A8 as shown in the image below.
- Navigate back to the main Marlin folder. It will look like identical to the folder below. Notice that there are already two files named Configuration.h and Configuration_adv.h. You will be overwriting these in the next steps.
- Click in the empty space and paste the two files named Configuration.h and Configuration_adv.h that you copied from above into this folder. When prompted, click overwrite. You know have the A8 configuration files in place.
- Next, if you dont have the Arduino IDE with the Anet board type installed, visit this page. Clear instructions and download link for both Instructions here.
- Once you have Arduino IDE installed, open it and select File>Open then navigate to the Marlin folder where you pasted the two configurations files. Scroll down until you find Marlin.ino. Select Marlin.ino then click open.
- Once you have the Marlin.ino file selected, go to tools and select the Anet V1.0 board type as seen below. Once that is selected Click the check mark where the blue arrow is pointing to compile the Marlin.ino.
- You should see the file finish compiling. Plug in your PC to the Anet with a USB cord. Now, go to your device manager and see what COM port your printer is on. This one happened to be on COM7. Yours will be different.
- Now in Arduino IDE, select tools and make sure that COM port is selected.
- Now click the right arrow as shown below to compile and upload Marlin 1.1.8.