Step 1 – Before identifying and connecting any of the control panel wiring, check to see if you can thread it through any cable management holes straight away. It might well be better to wait and see where on the motherboard it needs to reach to. The front panel is usually at the top of the case, so the wiring will normally need to run the full height of the case.
Step 2 – Apart from possibly the case fan connection, connections for front USB, audio in and out sockets and the power and reset switches are normally positioned along the bottom edge of the motherboard. Each connection socket will be labelled on the motherboard but this is sometimes hard to see. Check the motherboard manual if unsure.
Step 3 – Once you have worked out where things need to connect, you can use the cable management holes to thread the cables around the back of the case to where they need to go. Most of the connections can only attach one way. They will either have guides on the plastic connector housing or one of the pins on the connector will be missing.
Step 4 – The front USB, audio jacks and case fan connectors are fairly simple to find and connect. The wiring for the power switch, HDD LED and the reset switch might seem a bit more confusing for the first time builder. All of these wires fit onto a single connection on the motherboard; this is just a double row of pins.
Step 5 – You can see where the power switch etc. needs to be connected by the labels printed on the motherboard. You can also check in the motherboard manual to see the correct positions. You will notice that the pins are marked as positive and negative, which will also be marked on the wiring connectors. Always connected positive to positive and negative to negative.
Header Panel Labels
The way the front header panel connections are labelled varies between motherboard manufacturers. It is important that you are confident about how your front header panel is connected, as incorrectly connected wires will lead to first boot problems.
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