Instructables

Illuminated Keyboard Hack

Featured
Picture of Illuminated Keyboard Hack
Turn your ordinary keyboard into an illuminated one for under $5. This is an easy keyboard mod that takes about 1/2 hour to do. Watch the video to see the test results and then follow the Instructable for more details. Enjoy!


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What You Need...

1. A Keyboard. Any keyboard will work.
2. 2 LED's. I used 5mm High-Brightness White LED (2-Pack) $1.99
Radio Shack # 276-017
3. Telephone wire. This needs to be solid core wire.
4. Heatshrink tubing. I had some in my parts bin.
5. Soldering iron and solder.
6. Wire strippers and snips.
7. Drill and small drill bit.

Step 2: Disassemble the keyboard

Picture of Disassemble the keyboard
Illuminated Keyboard_004.bmp
Remove all the screws on the bottom of the case and remove the top. You will be looking for a small circuit board that comes from the connector.

Step 3: Modify the Circuit Board

Picture of Modify the Circuit Board
I decided to use the Scroll Lock key since that is pretty much a useless key on most PC keyboards. Locate the LED that identifies it as the Scroll Lock LED. If your keyboard does not hace a Scroll Lock key you can just as easily use the Num Lock key. De-solder the existing LED and remove it. Save it because you can never have enough LED's.

Step 4: Wire the Circuit Board

Using your telephone wire, remove two strands from the outside shielding. I chose Red and Black for Positive and Negative. Solder two red wires to the + LED position on the circuit board. It should be marked which one is +. Solder two black wires to the negative contact.

Step 5: Finish the Wiring

Picture of Finish the Wiring
Illuminated Keyboard_015.bmp
After drilling two small holes in the top of the keyboard, run a black and red wire through each hole and after attaching the circuit board, close up the case and screw it shut. Now twist the wires together to give them added strength.
1-40 of 90Next »
ishan udyoga2 months ago

i made some desktop button for this you can on/off this light any time on desktop. http://fav.me/d7jprkc if you don't have Rainmeter installed. just copy paste this code in to notepad and save it .vbs format -

set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

WshShell.SendKeys "{NUMLOCK}"

hamzahshahid6 months ago

HI. This project is amazing. You did great work. I appreciate your working. At this site I saw the homemade USB keyboard light it is also easy and handy..

http://scienceandinfotech.blogspot.com/2014/01/usb-keyboard-light-for-laptop.html#.UuI16hAcDIU

Berkin5 years ago
Can anybody tell me what the backwards "R" and the "U"connected together mean? I see that symbol on almost all circuit boards and electronics I have.
kclewis Berkin1 year ago
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognized_Component_Mark
worleyll6 years ago
Instead of putting the lights on top, drill the holes in the back an during the day, fold them down
I like your idea. I was thinking more on the sides like wi-fi router antennae.

Thanks Kipkay, for contributing this simple and effective instructable.
Maxaxle2 years ago
Cool idea, though I seriously doubt I'll ever need to use my computer in the dark.
Bartboy6 years ago
cool! one problem, if u have the light on and dont want scroll lock on.
Kipkay (author)  Bartboy6 years ago
What do you use the scroll lock for? Have you EVER used it? I know I haven't. In fact if you ask most people, most have no idea what it does.
xc1024 Kipkay3 years ago
I use scroll lock a lot, every day. I've assigned it to show and hide a scroll-down terminal (Linux).
Whats does scroll lock do? Also, what voltage are the LED's?
scroll lock alows you to scroll through a long page using the arrow keys. it was a handy tool during the DOS era.
AT Yerboogieman6 years ago
Not much! But it is used in a few applications. If you go way back, it was common to use it in a spreadsheet program (Lotus 123 or Excel) to move the spreadsheet around without moving out of the cell with focus. Try it next time you are in Excel. Turn on Scroll Lock and use the arrow keys and the whole spreadsheet will move but the cell with focus will keep focus.
Kipkay (author)  AT6 years ago
Key words "go way back". LOL! Thanks for the info!
Kipkay (author)  Yerboogieman6 years ago
Standard voltage. 3.3V.
ummm...... what does scroll lock do????
REA cormac30505 years ago
Wiki entry: "Scroll lock is a key (often with an associated status light) on most modern computer keyboards. The behavior of the key depends on the particular software in use. The scroll lock key is a remnant from the original IBM PC keyboard. In the original design, scroll lock was intended to modify the behavior of the arrow keys. When the scroll lock mode was on, the arrow keys would scroll the contents of a text window instead of moving the cursor. In this usage, scroll lock is a modifier key like Alt and Shift (which modify the function of other keys) and, more specifically, a toggling lock key like Num Lock or Caps Lock, which have a state that persists after the key is released. Today, this particular use of scroll lock is rare. Only a few modern programs still honor this behavior, such as Microsoft Excel (in the behavior of arrows — when scroll lock is on, the selection does not move), Lotus Notes and Forté Agent. In modern GUI environments, scrolling is usually accomplished using means such as scrollbars or scroll wheels. Therefore scroll lock can be regarded as a defunct feature in almost all modern programs and operating systems; some keyboards lack scroll lock altogether. Scroll lock has fallen into such extremely infrequent use that some of the lighter-weight Linux desktop environments don't even support it at all, such as Xfce."
Xial Kipkay6 years ago
It's used in FL Studio, actually, to control scrolling of a play area. Because of that, I would have to use my NumLock light instead of the Scroll Lock, since I always have NumLock on at night. :)
Bartboy Kipkay6 years ago
Yeah, you're right, but surely it does something? Maybe?
I would use my scroll lock but I figured out that my mouse changes profiles every time that I press it. so I think I'll just use the useless f-lock key.
Nice work,I love that keyboard all these newage ones stink. I'm going to do this to my netbook (when I get it after thanksgiving) but with blue :D
eyerobot4 years ago
Iv'e been trying to think of a better way to illuminate my keyboard, Than by using a scanner bulb, And this is exactly what I needed. Thank you.
DrCoolSanta4 years ago
Awesome hack, I loved this. Gonna do this soon
Mr. Squishy5 years ago
Newer Mac laptops coome with illuminated keyboards. But how do you do this with laptops with non-illuminated keyboards?
You could connect 2 LED's with a USB but you'll need a USB port aviable. If you won't some extra information just send me a message :)
dowd955 years ago
Great instructable...about to go make mine
steimel3865 years ago
I'm going to give this a try but instead of on top of the keyboard I'll see if there is enough room under/around the keys to give it a more stock look. ... I wonder if I could use spacers or something to produce more room under the keys
cool what lse u can do is take the front of a key board a its like touch screen
agis685 years ago
Excellent instructable, Nice Job and CLEVER!!! 5/5
Mine works! Took 15 minutes, super big, blue LEDs and they look GREAT. Thanks for sharing!
j2020j09085 years ago
Sorry for posting an irrelevant comment but I think you'll find my question interesting none the less... Doesn't he sound just like Christian Bale from the movie American Psycho? LOL
ctoon65 years ago
i bet you could try just putting the LEDs in the keyboard instead of looping up like that
nitrox0275 years ago
I used blue leds because when playing games there less distracting and i used paperclips instead of the wires because they are nice and clean and kind of modern looking
Derin5 years ago
Interesting idea,detailed instructable.Good job Kipkay!
I guess i would try it if i didn't already own a Logitech g15 gaming keyboard. But i bet you spent allot less money then i did.
Rikasu5 years ago
You're my hero. You're the reason I joined this site (and all the cool stuff.)Only one word can describe you: Brilliant. One day I hope to be as creative as you.
cool!6 years ago
Great idea. Another cool thing would be to iluminate a clear keyboard from the inside.
dashman94 cool!6 years ago
It would be great if someone could find a way to wire each (or just maybe a few) specific key to where whenever you pressthat individual key it lights up, how all the wiring would still fit inside the clear keyboard, I have no idea.
lol that would be sick, but i doubt we have the technology to do that, unless the keaboard was like 2ft deep lol
1-40 of 90Next »