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Motherboard Power Switch Pins: How To Connect Them

Learn about the functionality, location, and configuration of motherboard power switch pins.

Understanding how the motherboard’s power switch pins work is essential, whether building your personal computer or fixing problems with an existing one. You must learn about the specific functionality of each pin on the motherboard power switch to connect the accurate wires. 

Key Takeaways

  • The motherboard power switch pins connect to and control the computer’s power button. Your computer’s power button completes the circuit and tells the motherboard whether to turn on or off.
  • The power switch pins are located on a section of the motherboard known as F_Panel, Front Header, or Front Panel Header.
  • You can consult your motherboard’s user manual to identify the power switch pins. Alternatively, you can also look for labels such as SW_PW or POWER SW on the motherboard.
  • You can turn jump start your motherboard using a tiny conductive device, such as a screwdriver, to briefly short the motherboard’s two power switch pins.

Understanding The Terminology

For this guide, it is crucial to understand how the following terms are defined:

Electrical Pins

A motherboard is made up of a variety of pins with diverse purposes. These pins may link to motherboard fans, USB port connectors, and other components. In this instance, the SW_PW or Power Switch pins responsible for the power button are particularly significant.

Electrical pins
Electrical pins – (Image By Tech4Gamers)

A header is a group of male pins that act as connectors on a computer’s motherboard. Usually, each pin on the header has a specific function. The Front Panel Header contains the Power Switch pins.

Header – (Image By Quora)

Also Read: Motherboard RGB Header

What Are Motherboard Power Switch Pins?

When building or repairing a desktop computer, it is crucial to have a complete understanding of the motherboard pins power switch. These connectors make it simple to turn on and off the electricity using an external physical switch, removing the need to unhook cables or adjust power supply switches. 

Front panel connectors – (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Pins on the motherboard power switch are crucial components in computer systems. In most cases, the motherboard has 2-pin-connectors or 3-pin-connectors that enable users to turn on and off the machine using the power button on the PC casing.


These power switch pins give users direct control over the power cycling of their computer by providing a direct link to the motherboard. These pins perform more than just turning the system on and off; they can also start a system reset when necessary.

Similar Article: How To Connect Power Button To Motherboard

Without power switch pins, the system must be manually turned off by unplugging the power source from the wall socket. Hence, this adds a lot of danger to the user and increases the risk of electric shock. The availability of these pins also makes it possible to do pin tests to identify potential hardware problems.

Let’s go over the functionality of some of the important pins on the motherboard.

Power SW (Power Switch)

This connector is for the power button on your computer case, which signals the computer to turn on.

power switch connector
Power switch connector – (Image by Youtube – Gamers Nexus)

Reset SW (Reset Switch)

This connector is for the reset button on your case, allowing you to reset your computer physically. You can also do this in Windows, but you must plug in the reset switch if you want the physical button to work.

reset switch connector
Reset switch connector – (Image by Youtube – Gamers Nexus)

If your reset switch cable has three pins instead of two, don’t worry. The middle pin is usually inactive; hence you can connect it to the last three pins at the bottom.

Power LED

This connector is split into two parts, labeled negative and positive. It provides power to the LED light that indicates whether your computer is on or off. Correct polarity of these connectors is important. So, if the LED is not working, chances are you have reversed the polarity of the connectors while connecting them to the pins.

Also Check: Orange Light On Motherboard

It’s important to note that none of these connectors is technically required for a fully functioning computer besides the “Power SW.” However, they provide valuable indicators and functionality, so it’s recommended to connect them if possible.


The terminals, typically a duo of pins, are usually located on the part of the motherboard called the “Front Panel Header.” There are two possible ways of finding the Front Panel header.

Front Panel Header
Front Panel Header – (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Use The Motherboard’s Manual

To locate the Front Panel header using the motherboard’s manual, follow these steps:

  1. You can find the user manual for your motherboard by looking through the paperwork that came with it. Alternatively, you can conduct an online manual search using the make and model of your motherboard as a guide.
  2. Locate the section that deals with the configuration and connections of the motherboard in the manual. The front panel header placement is typically shown in a diagram in the handbook.
    User Manual
    User Manual – (Image by Tech4Gamers)
  3. Pay close attention to the word “front header,” “front panel header,” or “F_Panel.” This portion, which consists of a small group of connectors, is usually found close to the motherboard’s front. The pins for the power switch, reset button, speaker, and HDD status LED lights are all included in this header. The motherboard’s Front Panel Headers, frequently called JFP1 connectors, are directly connected to the power switch pins.

Also Check: How To Fix DRAM Light On Motherboard?

Visual Inspection

You can find the motherboard pins power switch visually by first identifying the motherboard’s front side.

  1.  The motherboard’s front side often faces the computer case’s inside and is closest to the front panel connectors.
  2. Locate a small collection of connectors close to the motherboard’s front. A series of abbreviated markings, such as “PWR,” “RESET,” “HDD LED,” or similar markings, are frequently used to identify the front header. Other names for it include “front panel header,” “front header,” or “F_Panel.
    Labels on the motherboard – (Image by Youtube – Gamers Nexus)
  3. If you are still having trouble finding the front header, look for the connectors that connect to the buttons and indicators on the front panel of your computer case. These connectors frequently include those for the hard drive activity LED, reset button, power button, and others.
  4. Once the front header has been discovered, use the labels on the front panel wires from your computer case to identify the motherboard connectors to which they should be connected. The labels on the wires should match the relevant connectors on the motherboard when you connect the cables.

(Note: F_PANEL connectors must be handled carefully because they are sensitive and have electrical functionality.)


Even though F_PANEL cables come in various shapes and designs, there is often a pattern to finding the correct ports to connect a motherboard’s power switch.

After identifying the Front Panel Header, the next step is determining the precise pins allotted for the power button. It takes a closer look to find the right combination because the header has pairs of pins serving different purposes.

Also Check: PC Stuck On Motherboard Screen

An 8-pin terminal with four sets of two pins usually makes up the Front Panel Header. Some motherboards can also have a 9-pin terminal. It is significant to remember that the 20-pin or 24-pin connector is for the power supply, not the power button.

Front Panel Header
Front Panel Header – (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Each header’s function is usually marked on the motherboard in a diagram, which makes it easier to distinguish between them. To identify the terminal for the power switch, look for labels like SW_PW or POWER SW. Although the reset switch may look similar, it will be clearly marked as RESET SW.

Connecting The Headers

First, you’ll need to find the diagram in your motherboard manual or look at the board for labels indicating which pins are for each connector. You may notice a small arrow or triangle on the right or left side of the connectors.

This arrow indicates the positive end that needs to be correctly aligned with the motherboard pin. All these front panel connectors connect to the pins present on the F_PANEL on the motherboard.

Each connector has one positive tip and one negative. If you happen to plug them in backward, don’t worry. Nothing will be damaged, but you must swap them once you realize they’re not working.

Connections – (Image by Youtube – HealMyTech)

I recommend starting with the back row of pins to make the connection process easier, as it won’t block your vision of the front row pins once they’re plugged in. 

Jumping A Motherboard Without A Power Button

Usually, you’ve got two pins that connect to a power switch on the case. You hit the power button, and the computer turns on. If the power connectors are broken, or you can’t turn on your computer because of some trouble with the power button, don’t worry. There is a way to jump-start your computer if you face such difficulties.

Also Read: How To Turn On PC Motherboard Without Power Button

Now, I’ll show you how to jump the motherboard without using a power switch from the case. To do this, you must take a screwdriver and touch the screwdriver’s tip with the two power pins in the F_Panel. In other words, jump the positive and negative pins on the board.

By doing this, we’re eliminating the need for a power button to turn on the computer, which can be helpful in certain situations. 

jumping a motherboard
Jumping a motherboard – (Image by Youtube – HealMyTech)


If the motherboard won’t turn on or doesn’t show any indication of activity, chances are that there is a problem with one of the pins. Depending on the type of motherboard, the precise pin numbering may change. Frequent issues include connector misalignment or an accumulation of dust.

Also Read: How To Fix The CPU Fan Error In ASUS Motherboards

Start by physically inspecting the pins. Ensure they are correctly aligned and free of any apparent markings or damage before troubleshooting. Additionally, remove any dust or debris that may have been amassed while being careful not to use too much force while handling the pins to prevent lasting damage.

Finally, carefully ensure that all required ports are appropriately connected and powered on, as the problem may occasionally have origins in an ignored connection.


Keeping the power switch pins on your motherboard in excellent shape is essential to guarantee optimal efficiency. Apart from that, regular cleaning procedures must be incorporated into your maintenance schedule.

Also Read: How To Clean A Motherboard?

Before handling any components, turn off all power sources and wear an anti-static wristband as a safety precaution. Then, start the cleaning process. Avoid washing with soap and water as they may corrode the pins.

Instead, use a specialized contact spray cleaner created especially for electronic components. Use a paper towel to gently wipe each pin after carefully applying the cleanser.

contact spray
Cleaning with contact spray – (Image by Chemtronics)

These techniques will help you effectively clean the power switch pins on your motherboard. Moreover, they will also help preserve their best performance.

Final Words

Don’t be intimidated by the motherboard power switch pins, or for that matter, any of the front panel connectors. You’ll realize it’s not as difficult once you have learned to identify and connect them correctly. This skill is essential for troubleshooting, as improper connections can prevent your computer from turning on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do motherboard power switch pins do?

The motherboard contains a set of pins for connecting to and controlling the computer’s power switch.

Can I turn on my computer by any other method other than using the power switch?

Yes. One typical technique is to use a screwdriver to short the motherboard’s two power switch pins briefly. This turns on the computer as it replicates the action of pressing the computer’s power button.

What must I do if I can’t find or distinguish the proper pins or connectors on the motherboard?

Consult your motherboard’s user manual if you have trouble identifying the proper pins or connectors. Alternatively, you can also search for manuals or tutorials online.

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