Illuminated Keyboard Hack

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Introduction: Illuminated Keyboard Hack

About: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kipkayvideos/ Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
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!


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

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

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

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.

Step 6: Final Steps

Take a length of heat shrink tubing and just slide it over each of your wired pairs. You can heat it up if you want to but I didn't because it looks better. The heatshrink tubing is strictly to make a cleaner final product. Now strip the two ends of your wiring and solder on your LED's paying attention to polarity. Plug in the keyboard and illuminate it by pressing the Scroll Lock key on or off! You can easily adjust the wires because they bend in any shape or position you need. Let there be light!

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    89 Comments

    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}"

    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

    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.

    1 reply

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognized_Component_Mark

    Instead of putting the lights on top, drill the holes in the back an during the day, fold them down

    1 reply

    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.

    Cool idea, though I seriously doubt I'll ever need to use my computer in the dark.

    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

    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.

    Awesome hack, I loved this. Gonna do this soon

    Newer Mac laptops coome with illuminated keyboards. But how do you do this with laptops with non-illuminated keyboards?

    1 reply

    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 :)

    Great instructable...about to go make mine

    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

    Excellent instructable, Nice Job and CLEVER!!! 5/5

    Mine works! Took 15 minutes, super big, blue LEDs and they look GREAT. Thanks for sharing!

    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

    i bet you could try just putting the LEDs in the keyboard instead of looping up like that