How to Connect Power Button to Motherboard?

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Connecting the case power button to the motherboard is a fairly simple processor. You will certainly need your motherboard’s manual for this though.

Basically, to connect power button to motherboard, you need to locate the correct pair of pins (aka terminals) on the motherboard that are intended for power switch.

These pins are often located on a block called the “Front Panel Header”. The front panel header not only has the pins for the Power Switch but also for Reset, Power LED, motherboard Speaker etc.

If all this sounds to confusing to you, do not fret as the following text will detail how to connect power button to motherboard.

Learning Some Preliminary Jargon

I recommend that you keep the definition of the following two term in mind for this article

1. Electrical Pins

A typical motherboard has several pins for different purposes. For instance, you may find pins for USB ports, pins for motherboard fans etc. For the purpose of power button, we are interested in the SW_PW or Power Switch pins.

2. Header

Pin Header
Pin Header

Header is a basically another name for connectors for motherboards that have several male pins. Often, different pins on a header serve a different purpose.

The Power Switch pins are located on the Front Panel Header. 

Also Read: What are Motherboard Standoffs?

How to Connect Power Button to Motherboard

Connecting the power button involves the following few simple steps

1. Locate the Front Panel Header

As mentioned earlier, the pins for the power switch can be found on the motherboard Front Panel Header.

You can locate the Front Panel Header by:

  1. Using the Motherboards Manual
  2. Physically Inspecting the Motherboard

Using the Motherboard Manual

The following shows the location of the Front Panel Header according to the manual of my motherboard.

Motherboard-manual-power-switch w
Location of Power Switch Jumpers on Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3

According to this, the Front Panel Header is located on the bottom right of the motherboard.

Physically Inspecting Motherboard

You can also find the location of the front panel header by physical inspection. Most of the headers have labels for their intended purpose.

The label for the Front Panel Header on a motherboard is often F_Panel

How to Connect Power Button to Motherboard 2 w

Also Read: How to Connect Extra Fans to Motherboard?

2. Determine the PINs Intended for Power On Switch

There are many pins on a Front Panel Header for different purposes such as:

  • Power On Switch
  • Reset Switch
  • Power LED
  • Hard Disk LED
  • Beep Core Speaker

Therefore, once you have located the Front Panel Header, then you want to determine the pins that correspond to Power On switch.

The Power Switch pins are always in pair i.e 2 pins.

The easiest way to figure out the right pins is through the labels next to the Front Panel Header on the motherboard itself.

In the following image I have highlighted the label that corresponds to the Power On pins.

Basically, the third and fourth pins from the left one the first row correspond to the power switch.

How to Connect Power Button to Motherboard w

The following shows the power switch pins location for my motherboard:

power swtich front panel header

3. Connect the Jumper to The Pins

Finally, you need to connect the Power Switch jumper to the Power Switch pins on the Front Panel Header.

The Power Switch jumper cable comes with the PC case and it originates from the Case’s front panel along with myriad of other jumpers for different purposes.

power switch connector
Power Switch Jumper from the CASE plugs into the two Power Switch Pins on the motherboard F_Panel

Does the Polarity (+/-) Matter Here

While the labels on the motherboard read as +PW- indicating that the 3rd pin in the first row is positive and the 4th pin is negative, for a switch, the polarity does not matter here.

You can connect the jumper either way i.e on any terminals as long as it completes the circuit.

For LED lights for Hard Disk and Power, the polarity does matter whereby you have to make sure that you connect the negative jumper in the negative pin and the positive jumper in the positive pin.

Also Read: Do Motherboards Come with Cables?

Other Ways to Turn on a Motherboard

There also a couple of other methods to turn on your motherboard. These methods may come in handy particularly where you PC Case’s power button or the jumper cable is damaged:

Using the Standalone Power Switch Cables

Standalone Motherboard Power On Switches

These are pretty straight forward to use.

On one end, you connect the jumpers to the Power Switch pins on the Front Header Panel just as you would normally do. On the other end, you have a push button that works just like the button on the PC case.

This can come in handy particularly if you are bench testing your motherboard i.e testing motherboard outside the case.

Manually Jump Starting Your Motherboard

If you do not have a power on switch at all. You can jump start your motherboard with a simple precision screw driver.

Basically you take the screw driver and with it touch the 2 Power Switch pins on the Front Panel Header.

jump start motherboard
Use a small precise screw driver to jump the pins of the Power On Switch

It would be wise to make sure that the screw drive does not touch any other pins here. Hence it is advisable to use a precision or a small flat screw driver.

Also Read: How to Test Motherboard Without CPU?

FAQ

How Can I Turn On My Motherboard Without Power Button?

As mentioned earlier, you can jump start you motherboard by closing the circuit on the two power pins located in the Front Header Panel. This can be done with a precision screw driver.

Is There a Power Button On a Motherboard?

Most motherboard do not come with a power button located on the motherboard. Instead, the only come with the Power Switch pins we discussed above.

However, on some premium motherboards, you may find a dedicated push button for powering it on.

PC Does Not Turn on After Connecting the Jumper Cable

If your PC does NOT turn on even after you have connected the jumper cable to the right pins, then you can look into the following

  • Make sure the 24 pin ATX connector from the Power Supply Unit is connected to the motherboard
  • Make sure the 8 pin CPU connector is also connected to the motherboard from PSU.
  • Inspect if the button on the PC case is damaged or not.
  • Inspect whether the Power Switch Jumper cable from PC case is damaged or not.
  • Inspect whether the Power Switch pin on the Front Header Panel are damaged or not.

Also Read: How to Use Motherboard HDMI with Graphics Card?

Final Words

Connecting power button to motherboard is fairly straight forward once you understand the Front Panel Header on your motherboard and its pin configuration.

You simply have to identify the pins that correspond to the Power On Switch on the Front Panel Header and then plug the Power Switch Jumper cable from your PC case onto them.

Photo of author

Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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