Motherboard Jumpers and Connectors – CompTIA A+ 220-901 – 1.2

The connectivity from the computer case to the motherboard consists of many wires and connectors. In this video, you’ll learn about the motherboard jumpers and connectors.

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If we start looking at the detailed connectors on our motherboards we can see there are many different connections. In fact, on this motherboard I have spots for hard drives to plug in. There are connections for the fan that’s cooling the chassis. There’s another fan that’s set up for a blower for a CPU. There’s power connections. There’s a reset button. I’ve got network interface card connections, hard drive, power lights. All of these are on the motherboard themselves.

And if you look at the cases that you’re using, there’s probably a set of wires that is correlating back to these connectors. This is a good example of this. There’s a reset switch, hard drive lights, power LEDs, and these are going to the buttons that are on my case. So by taking my case wires and plugging them into the correct spot on the motherboard, I can now have lights flash on my case. I can use those reset buttons to be able to reset the computer without having to get into the motherboard itself to perform that reset.

And we can see that if we wanted to plug in things like a speaker, there’s probably a speaker connection on there. And you would plug the wires that connects to that external speaker on your case. This is something where when you’re putting together a computer and you’re buying the case, that you’re going to have these connections for the power connection. There’s going to be lights on the front of it. There’s the reset button. You can see USB connections and audio connections. All of the speakers are on this case. That’s where you’re making the connection between what’s inside of that computer and these interfaces you need as a human being to be able to push on the outside of the computer.

Every motherboard has a similar set of connectors like this. And if you’re trying to find where yours is, most motherboards manuals will have a nice block diagram. So you’ll be able to look at a picture like this and your manual will diagram that there is a memory connection up here at the top. There’s a power connection. You’ve got a section for interface cards. Here’s a lot of those other connectors that are on the motherboard that are set up for your speaker and your reset button and status lights that are on the outside. And of course you have the interfaces that are connecting to the other external components to the computer itself.

Here’s another motherboard. And although the layout is a little bit different, you can tell the components are exactly the same. You still have power connections and memory. You’ve got interfaces for hard drives and CPUs. And a lot of different pin connectors that are on the side to plug in for power and for status lights in those other pieces. Every motherboard is going to be very similar in how they operate, in how they have connectors for all of those different connections on your case.

Another type of connection you may find on the motherboard is a jumper. On this motherboard we even have one up here at the upper left. We’re not connecting anything externally from our case into these jumper connections. This jumper is here to be able to enable or disable certain features of the motherboard. And again, your motherboard documentation will tell you what it means to put a jumper on a couple of connectors and what it means to remove the jumper from those connectors.

Here’s a jumper that’s on my motherboard. In fact, you’ll even see that it might have the letters JP or jumper next to it. This is jumper 13. And you can see it’s just two pins sticking out of the motherboard. You might also see this same thing with a single plastic jumper on the outside of it. There’s a metal pin inside of it. And when it’s only around one of those pins, it’s effectively the same as if you didn’t have a jumper on there at all, because they’re not connecting the two pins together. It’s just a way that you can keep that in a single place and not lose it.

If you didn’t want to jumper it, you would pull it off of the motherboard and then place it over both pins. And at that point, you’re connecting those pins together with the jumper, and it’s enabling or disabling a certain feature from the motherboard. If you look at your motherboard details, it might be enabling or disabling a port. Maybe it sets the particular speed of a bus on the motherboard when it’s jumpered and when it’s not jumpered. Or this may be a way to reset a BIOS if you ever need to make a change to BIOS configurations by simply adding a jumper, restarting your computer, and then removing the jumper to be able to reset everything that’s inside of that computers BIOS.