How do I connect a USB header device?
February 8, 2010 7:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I hook up an internal card reader with USB header connection, when I don't have a USB header connection on my motherboard?

I bought a card reader and it has this connection. I believe this is 9pin USB header. I have looked ALL OVER my motherboard and there is no connection for this.

Here is the wiring configuration. What can I do to get this working? I was thinking about re-wiring to a standard USB male connector, bu they take 4 wires and this has 9...
posted by Frasermoo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
What motherboard is it?
posted by notsnot at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2010

That connector is used to provide power and data for two USB ports (2x 4pins, plus 1 unconnected and 1 blank for keying). Check out Intel's documentation on the connector here.

If your internal card reader requires both ports you'll need to wire up two USB connectors, one to each half of the header (the Intel diagram helpfully points out which pins make up the two ports).

It has been a long time since I've seen any motherboard without a USB header. It may be grouped with other pins so will not appear in the layout you're looking for. Knowing your motherboard model would help us determine where your board is hiding it!
posted by hjd at 7:36 AM on February 8, 2010

That connector is actually for two USB ports, you only need half of it (IE: The top half). The ground goes to the rectangular metal shroud on the plug. This page has a big list of assorted adaptor cables.

Easiest thing by far though if your MB doesn't have a riser for that cable is to, if you have the slot space, just install a USB port card with a header connector.
posted by Mitheral at 7:40 AM on February 8, 2010

Are you sure you dont have it? On most computers your existing internal USB ports are plugged into it. I had to remove one of my USB connections to use a card reader like this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, this is the board info I got from Belarc.

Board: IBM IBM
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: IBM 2FKT25AUS 09/06/2006
posted by Frasermoo at 11:57 AM on February 8, 2010

You want the motherboard make not the bios version. I know CPU-Z does this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:46 PM on February 8, 2010

Best answer: damn dirty ape is correct, however with some judicious googling I was able to identify that BIOS version as belonging to a Thinkcentre A51 8138-1FU. That led me to here which using the hardware replacement guide tells me that it's an intel 915G, ibm part number 39J6196, with a motherboard schematic which has no USB header onboard. This appears to be a picture of the same board, which tallies with no onboard USB header (the one in the bottom left is a com port header).

Basically, you're right Frasermoo, there's no USB port on that motherboard to plug into. Best bet is a PCI USB card with internal header, should be cheap enough. I'll have a dig around later to see if I can find one.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:01 PM on February 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all. Glad it was confirmed that I wasn't going crazy.

Yeah, the com port header has been staring me in the eye every time I go in for a look.
posted by Frasermoo at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2010

Found a couple of straight pci usb 2.0 cards with internal 9-pin headers; 1, 2. Or there's one with firewire too. Failing that, if fitting it into a PCI slot is going to be tricky, you can get a couple of USB 2.0 to male motherboard connectors, take off a backplate and feed it out to the rear usb sockets.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:25 PM on February 8, 2010

If you were feeling adventurous in wiring your own connections by say, cutting and soldering a couple of type A USB leads onto your connector, these pinout diagrams may also help. Easier to just buy em pre-made from Mitheral's link though if a pci card won't do the job ;)
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:38 PM on February 8, 2010

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