Backlit keyboards are keyboards where the keys are illuminated for better visibility in dim or completely dark environments or for your personal taste. Currently, those keyboards are popular among gaming, design, etc. They are used to view the keys in the dark. The keyboard we will be making has blue LED lights. Here you'll know how to make your very own backlit keyboard from your regular old boring keyboard.
Why blue you ask? Because that’s the only color we had.
- A plain old boring keyboard
- LED Strips (blue)
- 9V Battery or 12V DC Adapter
- Male Female DC connector
- Push button switch
OPTIONAL: (For Brightness Control)
- Potentiometer (variable resistor)
- Glue Gun
- Solder machine
- Wire cutter
- Super Glue
- Acto knife
OPTIONAL: (If you have)
- Drill Machine (To make neat holes, otherwise a heated screwdriver works just fine)
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Starting Off.
- Take a photo of your keyboard to know the key positions.
- Then plug out all the keys.
Cut small/big pieces of LED strips and arrange them according to your keyboard layout covering the base and edges.
Once you’re satisfied with the arrangements stick one LED strips from one edge and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Interconnecting the Led Strips and Soldering.
- After sticking the 1st strip, look for ‘+’ and ’-’ signs marked on either ends of the led strips and solder 2 pieces of wires on each end (+ and -). Next align the wires to the end of the next nearest LED strip and solder them in such a way that the ‘+’ aligns with ‘+’ and ‘-‘ aligns with ‘-‘ . Once done with soldering, paste it according to your layout. Now, repeat this process until all the edges of the compartment are covered.
- Now for the base, take a single key(plucked out earlier) and try placing it at several places to make sure that the key presses over the LED strip properly… If not try replacing the LED strips or cut out small portions of the key using acto knife.
- Once that’s done paste the base strips into place. Now make use of the same step of end to end connection of aligning + to + and – to – sign. And continue doing the same throughout the whole keyboard compartment-wise. When moving the wires from one compartment to the other drill out small holes on the sides of each nearby compartment.
- For easier outcomes follow this path for the wiring : join out all the led strips on the compartment containing letters and then move the + and – wire to the arrow key compartment and finish the wiring there, from there move the wires to the numpad section and after that the home key section and following that the function key section.
- With each proceeding step make sure to test the led for various defects such as soldering faults, detachments, or burnt LED's which break the connections.
- Follow out the circuit diagram for better understanding.
Step 3: Inside Connections.
- Disassemble the keyboard by removing the screws and the internal hardware gently.
- Now take out the last set of wires from the last compartment (case point scenario – the function key compartment) via a small drill hole to inside of the keyboard.
- Make 2 medium sized holes of diameter 5mm, 1 on the top and 1 to the side of the usb outlet(if you want to do the optional step drill out 1 more hole beside the top one).
- Now mount the push button switch into the hole and solder the positive wire onto it while letting the negative wire directly connect to the negative end of the female DC jack. The positive end of the DC jack is connected to the switch itself.
Step 4: Optional Step.
- If you want to add brightness controlling element in your DIY keyboard add a 100k to 500k potentiometer to the switch circuit or simply follow the circuit diagram from the previous step.
- The two terminals which needs to be connected are the top terminal and either of the bottom terminals.
Step 5: Finishing Up.
- Now that everything is done and the internal circuit is soldered to the outer circuit (potentiometer - switch) and tested for the last time.
- The DC female port is put into place while keeping a distance of about 8 cm from the USB outlet. Give a protective coating over the whole outer setup with glue gun. (p.s Glue gun is also to be used to cover the exposed ends of the wires to prevent damage to them).
- Now assemble the keyboard back. Put a custom switch with a minus insert port to stick it inside the potentiometer to adjust the brightness or just use a damn screw driver and test the keyboard with the adapter for the final time.
Step 6: Powering Up.
- For providing power to the circuit, either use a 9V battery(portable version) or a 12V DC adapter(Non portable but powerful version).
- When using a 9V battery use a male DC jack.
Step 7: Testing.
Now that the keyboard is working beautifully, you are ready with your very own DIY backlit keyboard from that old boring keyboard you had.
Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest