USB 3.0 to USB 1.1/2.0

OK, so I got a new Motherboard that has two USB 3.0 ports on it but no headers and a case with USB 3.0 headers that I can't plug into the ports I have. . . What to do??

 

Well look up the pinout information and make it work, that's what.

 

First of all the USB 3.0 spec is backwards compatible with USB2.0/1.1 it does have some more pins but the original four are still there in the same configuration.  Since I have a couple USB 3.0 ports on the back I am not extremely worried that the ones on the front will only function at the USB 2.0 speeds.  In fact as of setting this up I do not have any USB 3.0 devices and generally I only plug in a keyboard, mouse and a flash drive to my PC on a regular basis.  I have all hard drives hooked into another PC that I use as a file server on my network so the USB 3.0 ports are likely going to go to waste but why should I not be able to at least plug a flash drive into the front of my nice new case.  So I looked up the pinout for the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/1.1 headers and used a few breadboard wires to jump between them and give my front ports some life.

 

Here is what I did and I do not imply or express any warranty should you do the same.  So if you fry your board or devices it's all on you, if you plug things into the wrong spot bad things CAN happen.

 

 

First of all I have a USB 2.0 header on the MoBo and it actually came with little blocks that extend the pins should you choose to use them, these blocks have the data + as well as data - marked along with the power and ground.  They are supposed to be used when you have a connector that has separate pins so that you can use them with a non standard header and then unplug and replug the connector with little hassle.  I used this block along with some nulls that I have in a little parts box.  A null is the little jumper that can be used to connect two pins together and make a connection, and I actually had some ganged ones that are able to connect multiple pairs of pins together so they do not slop around.  I then took my breadboard wires and plugged the end into the corresponding null to the pin I wanted to connect and then plugged the other end into the corresponding port on the USB 3.0 Connector.  Eight connections later I plugged the jumper in and for less than 30 cents I had bridged the gap from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 and made my front ports work!

 

Below is a graphic showing the pins on both the headers and connectors:

For my situation I connected a USB 2.0/1.1 header to the USB 3.0 connector but the pinout is really simple.

 

  • Header pin 1 to connector pin 1
  • Header pin 2 to connector pin 19
  • Header pin 3 to connector pin 8
  • Header pin 5 to connector pin 9
  • Header pin 4 to connector pin 11
  • Header pin 6 to connector pin 12
  • Header pin 7 and 8 to connector pins 4, 7, 13, or 16

Once those connections are made my front ports work perfectly and though they are USB 3.0 ports they will only act as a USB 2.0 port.

 

Now I could have bought an adapter for about 10.00 to 20.00 online and waited a week for it to get here but since I already ad the parts on hand I had to ask myself why I would even do that.

 

So anyway I hope that this helps a few people out and saves a little money. . . and if this was helpful maybe you can drop a little bit of your savings in the tip jar?