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Building Step 5

Front panel Connections

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Introduction

This video shows you how to connect the case's front panel ports, switches and LEDs (the power/reset switch and LED, as well as the audio and USB ports) to the motherboard. This can be fiddly, so it's important to know exactly where you need to plug each one before attempting to connect them. In order to do this you must find the diagrams in your motherboards manual which will tell you exactly where each set of pins on the motherboard are.

Your case may have connections on its front panel that your motherboard does not support, such as IE1394 (Firewire). If you cannot find pins on your motherboard to connect certain ports on your front panel, just tuck the unused cables away somewhere inside the case that will not get in the way of any other components.

Notes

+ and -

The coloured side of the cables are the + ends and the black or white side is the - end. In order for the front panel to work correctly you will need to make sure the + and - are connected the right way round. This will be noted on the diagram in your motherboard manual (example below).

Explanations

Front Panel Header

You will find the diagram of your front panel headers in the motherboard manual.

You will find the diagram of your front panel headers in the motherboard manual.

The front panel connectors connect the Power Switch and LED, the Reset Switch, the Hard Drive activity LED and the (beeping) speaker from the case to the motherboard. Below is listed the possible shorthand names for these which will be written on the connectors themselves.

PWR-SW, PW SW, PW = Power Switch

PWR-LED, P-LED, MSG = Power LED

RES-SW, R-SW, RES = Reset Switch

HDD-LED, HD = Hard Disk Drive LED

SPK, SPKR, SPEAK = Speaker

USB Header

USB 'headers' are recognizable by their missing pin in one corner (see left). However you will need to double check their positions on the motherboard diagram which will be in the motherboards manual, because IE1394 (firewire) connections also have this pin configuration.

Audio Header

Audio 'Headers' have 2 columns of 5 pins, with one pin missing in the 4th row (see left). Usually they will have 2 'Jumpers' (plastic clips covering 2 pins) on the third and fifth rows. These need to be removed before the cases audio cable is connected. If you are using a separate sound card then this cable will need to be connected to the same pins on the sound card, rather than the motherboard.

Video Steps

  • First Look up the front panel diagram in your motherboards manual. Locate the pins that you will need to plug your cases front panel connectors into.

  • One by one plug the connectors into their respective pins making sure the + and - ends are connected the right way around.

  • Locate the front audio connectors. Before connecting them you will need to remove 2 jumpers from the audio header. Notice the missing pin in the second row which corresponds to the filled hole on the bottom of the audio connector.

  • Repeat this for the USB front panel connector. Note the missing pin on the first row of the header which corresponds to the filled hole on the bottom of the USB connector.

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