System panel connector

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Computer system panel cable and connectorAlternatively referred to as the fpanel or front panel connector, the system panel connector or system panel header controls a computer power button, reset button, and LED's. The System panel cables, as shown in the picture are two wire cables that are color coded to help identify where they connect to the motherboard system panel connector. The black or white wire is the ground (GND) wire and the colored wire is the powered wire. The cables, colors, and connections vary depending on the computer case and motherboard you have, however, generally include the cables mentioned below.

Types of system panel cables

  • HDD LED (IDE LED) - The LED activity light for the hard drive. This indicator is the light that flashes as information is being written to and read from the hard drive.
  • Power LED (PLED) - The LED power light, which indicates when the computer is on, off, or in Standby.
  • Power SW (PWRSW) - Controls the power button that allows you to turn on and off the computer.
  • Reset SW - Handles the reset button to restart the computer.
  • Speaker - The internal speaker used to sound the beep noises you hear from your computer when it is booting.

With most computer motherboards, the system panel cables are connected directly to the motherboard. However, some motherboard manufacturers such as ASUS include a Q-Connector with the motherboard. With a Q-Connector, the user can connect the system panel cables away from the motherboard and then connect the Q-Connector to the motherboard.

Which direction do the system panel cables connect?

The system panel cables are not keyed so can be plugged in any direction. With the exception of the LED cables, the system panel connector cables can be plugged in any direction. If the LED cables are plugged in backward, the LED light will not work. Usually with most modern motherboards you can identify what cable goes where by looking at the motherboard for a + and a - symbol. The colored wire (powered wire) would connect to the + symbol and a white or black cable (ground) would connect to the - symbol.

System panel connector diagram

In the above diagram example, copied from a motherboard manual, you can clearly see how each of these cables connects to the motherboard. For example, in the top left portion for the Power LED (PLED) the first pin is PLED+, which indicates the colored wire side of the connector connects to this pin. Keep in mind that how these cables connect vary depending on your motherboard.

Bezel, Motherboard, Motherboard terms