Hey guys, this is Will, and I'm a huge fan of mechanical keyboards. I enjoy the tactile feeling of the keyboards, it's as wonderful as doing yourself a "finger massage". Also, a mechanical keyboard could be a practical and useful tool in your real life for gaming, coding and typing. In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to make a Back-lit Keyboard by yourself.
My keyboard is a Rapoo V500, originally around $30. And my keyboard is not back-lit. If you have enough money, you can buy one with back-lit, but it will cost you around $100. From my perspective, this is a good choice for the ones who doesn't want to spend a ton of money on a mechanical keyboard. Plus, make a back-lit keyboard by yourself is a lot of fun! Isn't it?
Step 1: Materials That You Need
1: LED lights (The lights are entirely up to you, and you can select any color that you want. For me, I have selected yellow lights).
2: Electric iron or solder paste (You are going to need something to wire the LED lights together, you can simply buy one on Amazon Link of solder paste on Amazon).
3: Tweezers and wires. (You can also buy from Amazon or the convenient stores nearby, it's used to connect the wires).
These tools could cost you a little bit of money, but compared to the price of a backlit keyboard, it's nothing.
Step 2: Remove the Key Caps and Screws
1. Remove all the key caps, you don't need to worry about the screws on the back of the keyboard at this point.
2. Now, after you've successful remove all the key caps, remove the four screws on the yellow front plate. After you've done that, you can take out the motherboard, which is black as shown in the pictures.
3. Remove all the switches. You have to be patient with this step. Otherwise, the switches of your mechanical keyboard could be broken by not doing properly. Also, if you remove your switches too hard, it may cause damage to your motherboard.
After you've successfully remove all your key caps, screws and switches of your keyboard, you should have your motherboard looking similar to the pictures that I've shown. The Black panel is the motherboard, and the orange one is your keyboard.
Step 3: Identify Where to Install the LEDs
If you have made it to this step, Congratulations! You've done half of your job!
In this step, you have to find the right place to locate your LED lights. As shown in the picture, this is the bottom side of your keyboard. As you can see, there are two pins on each key on top; and four holes on the bottom.
Your LED lights should be located at these holes on the bottom. (select 2 out of 4 holes).
Step 4: Installing LEDs
Insert the LED lights into the key holes on the front side of the keyboard. Please note that the positive and negative electrode could make a huge difference to the circuit. Here's a simple way to identify the positive and negative electrodes of the LED lights:
The positive electrode should always be the long one, and the negative electrode should always be the short one. If you follow this rule strictly, it will save you a lot of time. Please note: Do not randomly insert the LED lights.
If you can't follow, here's a circuit diagram that I drew to explain my point. As you can see in the diagram, the directions of all the LED lights should be the same.
Step 5: Connect All the LEDs to the Power Source
Now you've finished installing all the LED lights into your keyboard, the next thing to do is to wire these LED lights together and then connect them to the power source.
It's time to use your solder paste and wires to connect all the LED lights together. If you don't know how connect the wires using solder paste, Check out the user manual from the link that I've given you in Step 1.
It's better for you to conduct connecting and testing at the same time, which allows you to know the situation of your LED lights immediately. If anything goes wrong, you can fix it now. Don't wait until you've wired all your lights to do your examination.
At this point, you should be able to see the lights working just as the picture shows.
Step 6: Adjust the Position of the Wires
After the completion of connecting the lights, you need to adjust the position of the wires, so as to avoid touching the motherboard. Otherwise, you can't close the motherboard because of the wires. You can tape them if necessary.
Step 7: Final Adjustment
Use your screws to close your motherboard, and then adjust the final position of your keyboard. Make it look nice as much as possible.
The wires shown in the pictures should be concealed into the case just to make it look nicer.
If the lights are too strong, you can adjust them by changing your power source. Please remember this is your own keyboard, you can make it anything you like. You can also attach some kind of paint to it to make it look cool.
Step 8: Completed! Enjoy It!
Now your keyboard is completed! Enjoy your coding, gaming and typing using this keyboard!
Hopefully this is not a hard lesson for you, and I've tried my best to show you the process as simple as I can. If there are some places that you don't understand, please feel free to message me and I'll get back to you. It's really fun that you can use your knowledge to actually build something that you like, and now my keyboard looks really cool at dark, the back-lighting has really made the keyboard nicer. Often times, my friends would be surprised that I only spent $30 to have a keyboard like this.
All in all, this is a nice tutorial on how to DIY a back-lit keyboard, and I can't find anything else about this topic on "Instructables.com", so I'm delighted to share my thoughts, my hobby with all you guys. Hopefully you guys could actually make one of these by yourself, and I'll feel proud of sharing my thoughts to those who likes mechanical keyboards around the world.