How to extend case wires (Power SW, Reset SW...) to reach motherboard

Discussion in 'Cases & Cooling' started by Rain Man, Jul 24, 2000.

  1. Rain Man

    Rain Man Member

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    The wire coming from the sleep button and hard drive access light in my case are both too short to reach the pins on the motherboard. I managed to use a CDROM audio cable and two broken off pins from a 2400 baud modem to make a crude extension for the hard drive access light cable. It works fine, but I'm out of broken off pins (no old worthless hardware laying around) and I'm wondering if there's a better way of doing this.
     
  2. beer

    beer Lifer

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    This will work - I believe those wires are 20 gauge wires. So, go to Ace hardware or home depot and pick up some 20 gauge wire - I believe doorbells use 20 gauge wire? Also get some wire extendors - they look like little orange cones and you screw the wires together in it, and thus you have an extension without solder or tape. Anyways go home and cut the case wires about halfway, and strip the ends. Then measure and cut/strip the wire you bought from Ace. Tie your case cables to the 20 gauge wire with it using the wire connectors (orange cones) on both ends of the wire you are extending with.

    That way, you won't need to mess with extending pins and such.

     
  3. Descend492

    Descend492 Senior member

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    Elemental, you're semi-right. Just to clarify, the wire connectors aren't always orange - they come in all sorts of colors. Also, be sure to get ones that will fit the wire you're going to be connecting. I have doubts as to whether the wire actually is 20 gauge. My guess is that it will be smaller than that (like 22 gauge), but that's not really that important, as long as you get a bigger gauge than the wires already there (unless, of course, you have problems fitting the wires into the connector at the end (that attaches to the pins in the motherboard). In that case, you might have to get the same gauge wire. If you're POSITIVE you're going to do this, you can cut a small length of wire (maybe an inch or so) from the wires already there and bring it to a hardware store, and they can tell you the gauge (or you could compare it to the wires already there). So you've got your wire. You're going to need to look at the connectors at the ends of the preexisting wires (the ones that go into the motherboard) and see if they can be dissassembled, then reassembled. If not, you're out of luck, and will need to find some other way of lengthening the wires without cutting them. IF they can be reassembled, then take the preexisting wires (the old ones will now be wire 1 and the new wire will be wire 2) and strip the ends (for the LEDs, make sure you keep track of which wire goes in which side of the connector, because one is ground and it must not be messed up - power switches and reset buttons don't matter) Now, twist the ends of 1 and 2 together WELL. YOu don't want them coming apart later, it will suck the big one. Then stick them into the wire connector (the cone thing) and twist it until it's quite tight (not until you're straining, but snug) Do this for all the wires. Now you've got your extended wires. Figure out a way to attach the new wires into the old connectors (that go into the mobo), because this is probably specific to your connectors, it's not always the same. Then you're done. congrats
     
  4. beer

    beer Lifer

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    Actually I am about 95% sure that it is 20 gauge. The smallest wire I have seen available just by walking into the store is 20 gauge.
     
  5. Descend492

    Descend492 Senior member

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    It's just that the typical wire you see coming from a lamp (called lamp wire, suprisingly) is 18 gauge, and that's much larger than the wires in my case. I've never seen 20 gauge wire (and knowing that it was 20 gauge), but the wires in the case just seem too small. YOu could very well be right, though, this is just my opinion.
     
  6. beer

    beer Lifer

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    I believe lamp wire is 18 gauge x2 with two wires tied together.

    I am 95% sure 20 gauge is the correct size.
     
  7. Ulysses

    Ulysses Platinum Member

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    Screw the hardware store - go to Radio Shark - you got questions, they got answers - or so I've heard. They also sell PC's and will know what you're talking about.

     
  8. cautery

    cautery Senior member

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    My recommendation would be to do the following:

    First: The wire is probably smaller than 20 AWG.... likely 24 AWG or even 28 AWG..... No matter really, but same size or larger (smaller AWG number) will work. Same size looks neater... ;)

    Use STRANDED wire not solid, as stranded is more durable and easier to route in this application.

    Buy a small roll of the stranded wire and some 3/32" heatshrink. Cut the existing wires in a convenient place (at least an inch or two fom the connector, preferably in the center). Strip 1/8" insulation from both ends of cuts. Cut a length of stranded wire of the desired lenght and strip it at both ends as well (1/8"). Cut the necessary number or 1/4" or longer heatshrink sections and thread them onto the new extension (two per wire). Now either twist the wire ends together or "merge" the strands. Merging the strands will provide a smoother, more aesthetically pleasing splice, but twisting is easier.

    Using a 15-25 Watt soldering iron (tip properly tinned) and small diameter, rosin core solder, solder each of the connections. When soldering, place the iron's tip on the wire junction to heat it up. Then place the solder on the wire junction, NOT the iron... When the connection is at the proper temp, the solder will flow into the connection. When the connection is adequately "filled" with solder, remove the solder first, and then the iron, or the solder will stick to the connection. Heat it too much and the insulation will melt back from the connection.... Too little and you risk a cold solder joint. Practice soldering lengths of your stranded wire together first to get the hang of it.

    After al connections are soldered, straighten out the connections if necessary/fold the solder tail parallel with the wire (if necesary). Then, making sure the connections are cool first, slide the heatshrink over each of the connections. Heat the shrink tubing until it shrinks tightly over the connections. A heat gun is preferable for this, though you can also use a hair dryer. Even a BIC lighter will work, if you are careful not to burn the tubing.

    Re-install....

    Verbose explanation, but it is easier than it sounds, and provides a much better appearance, and permanent connection. And if you are going to be playing around with computers, cooling, fans, etc, you are going to need a soldering iron, strippers, wire cutters, solder, etc eventually anyway....

    Hope this helps,
     
  9. Ulysses

    Ulysses Platinum Member

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  10. Rain Man

    Rain Man Member

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    Found out it's 28 AWG.
     
  11. Jhhnn

    Jhhnn Lifer

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    EXCELLENT how-to from Cautery! Applause!