Front USB Case Mod Guide

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Introduction

With USB becoming used more and more with the passing of each day it’s not far off until the serial port is killed off by USB completely. Most new motherboards come with 2 USB ports that are mounted onto the back over the motherboard. However I find it to be quite an inconvenient to have to get down on the ground, crawl behind my computer and fumble around trying to plug, or unplug a device.

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When you buy a new motherboard these days it usually comes with a USB header, which provides you with 2 additional USB ports that can be mounted in the back plane of your computer. With the extra 2 ports being on the back of the computer you still have to crawl around on the ground reaching around. This guide will change all of that.

What You Need

  • USB headers
  • 3.5 or 5.25 drive bay cover
  • Drill & bits
  • Wire cutters
  • Soldering Iron & solder
  • Heatshrink or electrical tape
  • Dremel or other cutting tool
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Philips head screwdriver

This is what your USB header should look like…The first thing you will want to do is to remove the metal plate, make sure to hold onto the plate and the screws you will be using them again later.After you have removed the plates you will need to remove the tie wrap and heatshrink that are on the cable.

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Now go ahead and cut off the plug part of the cable so that you have 3 different pieces try to cut it so you have an equal amount on each side. Also if you need to you can always remove some of the insulation on the cable.

Now you are going to have to extend the USB header that came with your motherboard because it is probably not going to be able to reach all the way up to the front of your case so that you can mount it into a drive bay, if however yours will reach then you can skip the extension part of this guide. Take your USB header and put the front of it where you are going to mount it on your case and have the other end by the jumpers on your motherboard, from this you can see how much you will need to extend it, be sure to extend it enough.

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After you have measured, you will need to get some wire and cut it to the length you will need to make the USB cable the length you want it. It is best if you use a matching color for each wire and a different color for the second black wire.


After you have cut all of your wires, go ahead and strip both sides of each one and crimp them so they look like hooks.

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After you have all your wires stripped and crimped you will need to do the same with the USB header than you cut apart earlier. Take one of the headers, strip the wires and crimp them just as you did with the wire as shown on the right header.

After you have finished one do the same thing to the other side and the plug part that you cut off so it looks something like this.

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Now its time to break out that soldering iron and solder away you have 20 different places to solder. Don’t forget to put the heatshink on before you solder otherwise you will have to redo it or use electrical tape. Start by soldering the extensions onto the first header.

After you have soldered all of the extensions onto the end of the first header slide the heatshrink over the solder points and shrink it down onto it. When you have finish doing this do the same to the other header. Here is a picture of one soldered with heatshrink.

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When you have finished doing both headers you will need to solder then both back onto the plug. Be sure that you solder the right wire on the header to the right wire on the plug so that it works correctly. Also be sure to put heatshrink on before you solder the plug back on.

Now that you have soldered your plug back on you should have an extended USB header that looks like this. It is a good idea to go test it on your motherboard now to make sure it works, if not you may have to re-solder.

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