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Motherboard with no labels

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  • Motherboards
  • Power
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June 9, 2008 12:59:48 PM

Hi everyone,

I have a problem here and I hope anyone here can give me the answer.

I have a 2004 Dell Dimension 4550. I want to transfer all of the component to a new casing because the original chassis collects dust, a lot.

The problem is that I don't know where to connect the LED power, HDD Power, Reset Power, SW Power as it has no label on it. It has 15 pins.

Here's the picture :



Can anyone guide on the arrangements? thank you!

More about : motherboard labels

a b V Motherboard
June 9, 2008 1:20:43 PM

It's kind of like saying I am going to change my swimming trunks so I don't get so wet when I jump in the water.

Cannot you simply trace the routes in the old case?
June 9, 2008 1:46:23 PM

here's where things get complicated, in the dell casings, all LED power, HDD Power, Reset Power, SW Power are connected to a small chip with a single ribbon. There wasn't any single wire. The new chassis, the wires must be connected individually.
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
June 9, 2008 2:40:27 PM

Dell does not make their own motherboards, they just rebrand them and stick them in their machines. With that said, there is bound to be some other markings on the mobo indicating who the original mobo maker was and what model; specifically, there should be a serial or part number litho'd into the PCB. You can then use this info, along with some research on the net, to find a manual which usually has a pin-out diagram for the case headers.

I know this can be done as I've parted out many old Dell machines and with some effort was able to learn whatever info I needed about the mobo. As an example, the last Dell machine I ripped apart had an Asus mobo with a 965G chipset and ICH5 southbridge and was manufactured 01/2005.

Also, I've found www.motherboards.org to be a good resource when attempting to find info about OEm and generic mobos. Check out the "TOOLS" link.
June 9, 2008 2:59:34 PM

I've found stuff like that tends to be standardized.

look at another mobo with labels (or just a PDF from a manual) and see if the power correlates. if so, cances are the rest will too.
June 9, 2008 3:18:47 PM

You could remove the wires with components out of the old case and use a $10 ohm meter to measure continuity. What you do is disconnect or cut off the component on the end e.g., PWR button, HDD Led etc and label each pair of wires. Then strip the end of them one at a time and short (twist) the end together. Take your OHM/continuity meter and, using paper clips etc. check each hole in the connector until you find one that has continuity i.e., conducts electricity. Once you have found it clip the twisted end off and go to the next. Draw the pin out on paper and label each as you go.

It may seem complicated, but it's not, and it's a hell of a lot easier than tracking down the info on the mobo.

Good luck.
June 9, 2008 3:40:13 PM

Dell motherboard = not worthy of a better life in a decent case.
June 9, 2008 3:50:30 PM

actually the story goes like this...

Dell's casing collects a hell lot of dust and the ventilation is like ants will die in the casing. So I bought a new casing. The problem I've is that the pins on the motherboard are not standard. The LED power, HDD Power, Reset Power, SW Power are connected to a "Front Panel Connector" which is pictured above. My plan is to connect LED power, HDD Power, Reset Power, SW Power from the new casings to the pin above, and to connect the Front Panel Connector to the motherboard as the pins cannot be connected directly to the mother board.

I've searched this problem on the net and I've found that many people have the same problem, without any good solutions. So anyone with the answer?
June 9, 2008 3:59:11 PM

here's the front panel connector:

Front :



Back :

June 9, 2008 4:16:12 PM

why are you showing pictures of the front pannel board, and not the motherboard.

the front pannel is simple, just follow the lines.
June 9, 2008 6:45:58 PM

Trial and Error... What are the odds that you'll see blue smoke if you put the power on where the system speaker goes? Not very likely.
June 9, 2008 7:43:49 PM

How are you going to use this panel in replacement of the connections from the case? If you notice, your PWR, HDD and PWR lights are on this, which I am guessing with high probability pokes through somewhere on the Dell case, but it would not on your current case. You would have to wire up a bypass to go completely around these lights/switches if you wanted to use the case buttons and LEDs. I think you are making this harder than it should be, TBH.

Edit: I see your idea in concept, by trying to use the pins above as a relay, but if you look at the traces on the back, they don't all appear to be going to the pins below. I'm not an electrical engineer, but to me its a matter of follow the yellow brick road.
June 10, 2008 3:40:41 AM

As soon as I get a free drawing program, that will let me do Paint and text, I will lay it out for you. I know what to do. I just can't label it. Of course at your own risk, if I was on site no problem.
June 10, 2008 4:34:11 AM

thaks everyone!

I've tried to follow the lines and it made me nuts. Yes I have to bypass because I want to use the LEDs on the new casing. But I still have to know where to connect the wire to the thing above right? I dont want to solder the wires to the board above, I want to use the connector.

Hey thanks Zorg!
June 10, 2008 4:43:41 AM

I will try get you what you need. I haven't given up, be patent it is doable.
June 10, 2008 2:20:38 PM

I was spacing out, Paint has text, Duh.

I labeled the pic with the pinouts, as near as I can tell from the pic and not using a meter to verify. I believe the pins 1,3,5 &7 are ground pins. You only need to wory about the pins that go to the PWR SW, HDD LED and PWR LED. Follow the pins to the other end of the cable to get the associated mobo header pins. Technically you only need the PWR SW. I hope the pinouts on the mobo header are different because you won't be able to plug in the PWR SW. If the LEDs don't work flip the plug, they are polarity sensitive and won't work backwards, although it won't damage them. The PWR switch can go on either way. It appears that the PWR LED is a two color LED, each lead should give you a different color. Duh, the PWr LED in the new case is probably only 2 lead single color so try one + pin and then the other if the first doesn't work.

Let me know how it goes.


June 10, 2008 3:01:50 PM

thanks a lot Zorg! I'm tearing apart the components first, when I'm done, I'll surely let u know. Mm and another question pls, must I do anything with the power switch on the front panel board above cause its like I have two switches now?
June 10, 2008 3:41:55 PM

No, you are discarding the old PCB right? Are you talking about the four solder points (2 sets of 2)? If so, Ignore that. It does appear to be a DPST (double pole single throw) switch, but both poles are in parallel. Don't ask me why. Just trace back to the 2 header pins and connect the new switch. By the way I didn't see a reset switch so ignore that also.
a b V Motherboard
June 10, 2008 10:19:25 PM

Zorg how do you know so much about PSUs, and electrical stuff?
June 10, 2008 10:28:03 PM

I've been around awhile. I'm no electrical/electronics engineer, that's for sure. My brother in law really knows his stuff.
a b V Motherboard
June 10, 2008 11:01:33 PM

A while as in? 10+years? :lol: 
June 10, 2008 11:33:45 PM

Yeah, give or take a few... decades.
June 13, 2008 5:35:24 AM

q_nanotubes, did you get it working?
June 14, 2008 7:41:02 PM

Hm there seems to be another problem that is a total turn off for me. The wires of the power supply is too short and can't reach for the motherboard. Hm looks like i need to try again later cause somebody else wants to use the computer. And now my monitor is grilled to perfection. I'll try again when I have the chance and I'll surely let u know
!