I bought a little drive from a flea market which is able to read various memory cards. I was interested because in my job I need from time to time to read such devices for various reasons (data transfer, recovery, etc)

I realized too late that the drive wasn't USB because it was all packed in duct tape (shame on me) and the cable ends in a 9-pin connector which needs to be attached directly to the motherboard. In all honesty, I've never understood anything about those conenctors and I would like to turn it into a USB portable drive instrad of a fixed motherboard drive.

On the bottom I’ve put some photos to help you having a clear idea of what it’s like.

Is possible to convert or plug/convey those cables into an USB plug and how to do so?

Instructions showing the connectors Pictures of the hardware

  • Wait. Is that connector on/to your card reader?
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 9, 2014 at 0:38
  • @Ramhound What if you have a computer that does not have a standard motherboard or easy access to USB connections on the motherboard? Like a Mac Mini or a laptop? Dec 9, 2014 at 0:38
  • For future use, here are all the images of the thread if anyone needs them and they get removed: mega.co.nz/… Dec 11, 2014 at 1:04

3 Answers 3


Possibly yes. That IDC connector is basically just the same electrical connections but just in a compact connector for motherboard connection use. Just look at this image taken from this Amazon listing for a, StarTech USB A to USB Motherboard 4-Pin Header F/F 2.0 Cable, 6" (USBMBADAPT):

enter image description here

Note the exposed wires as well as the text on the motherboard header connector. That’s your big clue! So basically if you wanted to clip off the connectors on your device and wire them to a male USB that could be done as long as you match data and power wires correctly.

And if you are afraid of doing that yourself, you could purchase this: “Adapter Cable, USB 2.0, IDC 5 Male (single row) to USB A Male”:

enter image description here

And as the description for the product states:

Used to connect devices designed to plug into USB motherboard header pins to an external USB 2.0 connector

That’s actually a neat tool because you can now use the device as you wish without having to mangle the cable; just plug the female IDC connector into the male IDC connector and bingo! You have a USB device.

But since your device has 10 connectors you would need two of those cables to make that reader fully work. It could be that one connector has certain media reader slots and the other handles others; so maybe scoring one cable and experimenting might be the way to go.

EDIT: An addition, but here is a cool image of how someone was able to use one of those male male IDC motherboard header connector cables to connect to a USB flash drive with a broken connector. This shows clearly what all 5 connectors are: 2 are data, 2 are power and 1 is for the grounding/shielding.

enter image description here

  • I just realised we both misread the question. He actually does need a male connector.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 9, 2014 at 0:40
  • 1
    @JourneymanGeek Hey! I think I got the question right. And check out the new cable I found. Hot stuff! Dec 9, 2014 at 0:43
  • Ugh... ok so there I see a 4 pin connector already connected to a cable which ends on an usb. Now how I do with my 9-pin connector? Does an usb has at least 9 pins inside? How do I know where I attach every wire? Dec 9, 2014 at 0:48
  • 1
    No you don't. You get a pair of those and plug them in in the right orientation - the header it connects to is essentially 2 usb ports. And ugh, this is a surprisingly hard question to grok ;p
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 9, 2014 at 0:50
  • 1
    @JakeGould I'm extremely tempted by my geeky nature to try to do it myself, but I'm scared to break it and not be able to use it anymore... I think I'll buy the adapter. Thanks for all the info, and take a look at this, might be useful ;) reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/19t98m/… Dec 9, 2014 at 2:04

Just for anyone looking for a way to do it:

Thanks to

I managed to get the cables right. As soon as I plugged windows started installing various generic drivers... YAY!!! Here's what I got:


But now Usb doesn't work and I cannot find the right slot for Mini Usb....


You don´t need a new cable connector or a normal usb, you just need to connect the cable which comes with your device into the USB2 or USB3 male connectors in your Motherboard

Cesar Caracas

  • 2
    And how do you do that?
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 20, 2016 at 12:32

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