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I'm working on building a computer (first time for me). There are several plugs that I need to connect to the motherboard (Power LED, reset switch, etc). Of the two wires, they are either:

  1. Color and white (reset switch, power LED, HDD LED)
  2. red and black (speaker, power switch)

The manual for the motherboard has a nice diagram of where to plug them in, but has them labeled + or -. Which colors are positive, and which are negative?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

For reset swtich and power switch, it does not matter.

By electrical convention, red is positive, black is negative. For the others, generally I think colour is positive, white is negative.

For the connections you have listed, you will not damage your system if you connect them up backwards; the lights simply won't work.

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Thanks! It's good to know this won't damage anything. Being new to computer building, it's hard to know what parts I need to be really careful with, and I can relax about. – David Oneill May 3 '10 at 13:58

In most motherboard cables there is a little triangle that marks the positive side. See the picture below:

Motherboard cable positive side

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Ah, that's good to know. It's likely this is a new thing, since I would have noticed those. A lot can change in motherboard design in 4 years! – David Oneill Oct 7 '14 at 21:16
Just a general thought, why didn't they just use a plus sign instead of a triangle? – Hind-D Oct 14 '15 at 20:23
@Hind-D yes indeed, I have a Thermaltake F31 Supressor (great case btw) and most connectors have + / - on them, except the PW and RESET switches that oddly have the triangles - well we learn something everyday ! – MemeDeveloper Apr 6 at 15:41

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