2-pin 3-pin Power LEDs?

So last night, I finally got enough motivation to figure out how to get my Power LEDs working in all my computer cases. All my computer cases have a 3-pin connector for the Power LED, while all my motherboards have only 2-pins for the power LED. What’s interesting is that there’s really only 2 sockets inside the 3-pin connector that are used? I always thought it was a new convention that new motherboards will be using, but the last 2 motherboards I got (one last summer: ECS P4M800PRO-M, and one just a month or 2 ago: abit IL9 Pro) both have only 2 pins for the Power LED.

I actually started searching online to see where I can buy a 2-pin to 3-pin converter for the Power LED and found this at Directron: 3-Pin Female to 2-Pin Male Power LED Adapter/Connector:
2-pin 3-pin power led adapter

Unfortunately it’s out of stock, but most importantly, it’s not the correct adapter. I have a 3-pin connector and 2-pins poking out on the motherboard. What I need is:
2-pin 3-pin power led adapter

The adapter that Directron was selling was converting cases that have only 2 pins for its Power LED connector to have 3 sockets. What is the purpose of the 3rd pin/socket anyway? A quick search online didn’t result in anything that provided a reasoning. It’s also unclear to me if the 2-pin connector is newer or the 3-pin connector.

Anyway I ended up on this thread: Case LED power indicator connector 3 pin, mobo 2 pin? which redirected me to this page: REWIRING A MOTHERBOARD HEADER CONNECTOR.

Don’t let those pictures intimidate you. It’s in fact quite easy to rewire these connectors. The only tool you need is a very thin and firm tool and a pair of hands. I ended up using a razor blade. Initially I tried it with a small flat head screw driver, but it was still too big. On the connector, there are these little tabs that hold the wires preventing them from sliding out of the connector. Use the razor blade and slightly lift up the tab that is keeping it from sliding out. Do be careful as I didn’t know how flimsy these tabs were and managed to snap one of them.

Anyway, you should also make sure you know which wire you want to move where. One end of this connector will be sticking out and the reversing the cables is not an option. My first try was a failure which ended up with my Power LED blinking when the system was off and the Power LED completely off when the system was on.

I hope this helps! Now all 3 of my computer cases have a functional working Power LED. I couldn’t believe the solution was so simple.

While I was working on one of file server box, I noticed that the 2 hard drives which are currently ghetto-rigged into the system were very hot. I had swapped out some 80mm fans because they were starting to make noise in my main box and thought I’d be able to use one of the less nosier fans with these hard drives. The final result is:

ghetto rigged hard drives with fans

They were originally stacked one on top of another and I was actually trying to stick pens in between them to allow air flow. But then I got to thinking what if the fan goes out? Would these pen melt? So instead, I have it set up like how my Lian Li case does it where they sit sideways and have the fan blowing at it from the front.

17 thoughts on “2-pin 3-pin Power LEDs?

  1. Great info on rewiring the PLED connector. I had the same problem as you and was just about ready to just cut it into two pieces, removing the empty middle socket. I like your solution better!! Thanks!!!!

  2. Thanks alot, a lifesaver! One of those things you google in desperation, and guys like you bring salvation. Kudose!

  3. Great article… found this page via Google and your link to the Antec article was exactly what was needed. Thanks!

  4. I don’t know what the big deal is. I fixed the problem by cutting the HDD LED out of an old case, stripping the wires, twisting them and then squeezing them into the corresponding holes in the 3 pin plug. Under half and hour of work.

  5. Thx – the razorblade worked great for me. I knew there had to be a little trick to do it! Took me 30 seconds to use a razor blade and gently remove one pin and put it into the center pin holder.

  6. If the Power LED connectors sit at the edge, just tear off the wire from the third socket and put it into the second. That’s a 10 second fix which worked for me! 😉

  7. thanks so much for this guide, i needed this and it took me less than 10 min from the beginning of reading this to the time i rebooted my PC with the light working. thanks.

  8. Great job , but how about the reverse case , when you have a 2 pin PLED mother connector and you need to place it on the specific 3 pin socket on the MB (in fact it is really 1st pin – space – 3d pin , the one in the middle is a fake).
    I guess I have to do what Derek Seabrooke did

  9. Been working on computer hardware for over 20 years…and never knew this. My shame is mixed with gratitude – thanks for the help!

  10. This article answers the question right on! I was at a stand still on completing a build because of this 3 pin to two pin dilema. I’ve built many systems and just now came across this using a thermaltake case.
    Now all is good….
    Thanks!

Leave a Reply