Glowing USB Mousemat





Introduction: Glowing USB Mousemat

While taking a broken LCD screen to bits, (which is very interesting) I was thinking about what I could do with some of the pieces, the things that caught my eye were the plastic backing, used to back-light the screen, and a white sheet, that sits behind it, making all the light go forward.

Using these two pieces and some other stuff, I made a mousemat, that would work best with a non-optical mouse.

Step 1: Ingredients:

1x LCD monitor (broken) OR find the bits you need, but most can be found in an LCD screen..
1x USB cable, old camera cable etc, with the end cut off..
1 or 2x Blue/ green LED (ones that work on 5volts.)
1x White insulating tape
1x File
1x Soldering iron (OPTIONAL)
1x multimeter, optional, but really useful..

Step 2: Secure the Backing

Use white insulating tape and line the edge(pictured), this makes the light reflect, and not glow through the sides of the plastic.

Along with the plastic/ glass backing, there should be a flexible plastic white sheet, using the white insulating tape to stick this to the back of the plastic, this stops light escaping the back, and lets light only through the top.

Step 3: Wire Up the LED/s

Take your cable, cut the end that isn't USB, the one that  connected to your printer, camera, phone, etc
so you should be left with a cable with four wires on one end, and a USB end on the other.
find the red and black wires, they should be positive and negative wires, use the multimeter to double check.
Attach your LED/s either by soldering or wrapping the wires around each other. Remember to check polarity! If you have more than one, wire them up in parallel (for more information about parallel circuits, read this instructable)

Attach the LED/s to the corner/s of your board, making them face in, if there are more than one, put them on different corners, facing into the center on the side opposite to it.

Step 4: Fin.

There! finished.
Please be prepared for the LED/s to max out/ blow up/ short/ explode/ etc.
Especially if you are using 3volt ones(like I did on my first attempt..)
You should be able to plug it into the USB port and marvel at the amazing glow!

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Questions & Answers


Does it work at all with an optical-mouse?


Yes, if you use the plastic from the screen, because it has a matte side, but I'm not sure if it would work on a sheet of glass, etc.

It may also depend on the lighting, (if the only light was the mat/ desktop lamp/ etc)

Tried and tested?
It's a nice use of a screen (and a popular question is "what can I do with (that)?")
I'd be interested to know if you used an optical-mouse 'cos they're about as common as floppies or am I too far in the future?


If you're using normal glass, a normal optical mouse won't work (there's some special logitech mouses that can do that)
Though a matte side should work (it must reflect light and have imperfections)

The other mousepad that's linked does work because of the layer above it. 

I use a non-optical mouse, because it is what I can get my hands on! looks
Not very tried or tested.. but this one looks as though it would work with an optical mouse, but is probably harder to make..

 You need to wire some resistors in to avoid the whole current overload situation.

That would be a good idea!
But a 3volt LED running on 5volts is REALLY bright! (until they blow up)

 Thats the point of the resistor is to make it so they wont blow up, your creating a fire hazard.