My Book 250Gb Mod: Customized LED Color

Intro: My Book 250Gb Mod: Customized LED Color

This is my first instructable. Actually, it is my first soldering project since 8th grade and my first attempt ever at soldering with SMT components (as may be apparent). As such, it is not overly complicated or difficult. Good fun though.

My motivation was fairly simple. A good friend of mine bought both a green and a blue My Book because they just look cool. He really wanted a third one, but Western Digital only makes two colors. His birthday was coming up and they were on sale at Best Buy, so I figured what the heck. I grabbed a green one, took it home, and ripped it apart.

Step 1: Getting to the Inards

Getting the cover of this thing is a major pain. No screws, just some really long, annoying L-flanges keep it in place. There are also some tabs that catch on some of the vent holes, but these are easily depressed.

The easiest way to separate the flanges is to gently pry the cover away with one screwdriver and push the flange down with another. Using this method I was able open the enclosure with minimal damage to the plastic.

Step 2: Remove LED's

Before removing the LEDs, I took quick measurements while the drive was on with my trusty multimeter to get the voltage. I then ordered some suitable red replacements that would fit the leads on the board.

Removing the LEDs was not that hard. I tried a hot air "pencil" that I made from an air pump and a desoldering iron, but the solder failed to flow completely. Because of this and my lack of patience, the first two LEDs I took off brought one the leads from the board with them. I switched to a real soldering iron (WESD51) and had no problems thereafter.

Step 3: Installing the New LED's

Putting the new LEDs on was not that big of a deal, either. My procedure:

1. Tested and marked the LEDs to know which end is which (anode / cathode).
2. Tinned the LEDs and the leads on the board.
3. Flowed the solder on one of the board leads and slid the LED into place.
4. Heated the opposite side of the LED until the solder flowed together with the solder on the board.

As you can see, my job is far from perfect - even on the two mounts I did not rip the leads off the board. I think most of my problems stemmed from using too much solder, especially when tinning the board.

On the two mounts that lost a lead to my carelessness, I simply used a wire to jump over to the resistor. I then used hot glue to minimize the wires getting stuck on anything and coming off when I put the cover back on. Besides, I was going to have to ship it to my friend, so the more stable the better.

Step 4: Small Finish

Then I tested it to be sure everything was functional, and slid the cover back on. Voila, a red My Book.

Input and comments are most, most welcome.



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    9 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    you can also find old white ones in cellphones and mp3 players(that dont work mind you).


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Very nice instructional. I have been thinking about swapping the LEDs in my 250 for a set of blue ones. I am also going to throw a 750 in it at the same time. Where did you order the LEDs from?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I ordered my LED's from Mouser. There is a link to the exact ones I got in a comment below.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    VERY cool. Good how you explained the problems that arose in your project, and how you got over them. Keep up the good work :)


    I wonder if mine would be the same then, since I have the clear kind and not the ring :-S. I'm sure it would be similar,though. I might try this sometime and add green instead of blue :D Thanks :D


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I'd actually like to know if there is a way to play with the visualization thing that the LEDs do. its like when you process information on your computer and the mouse pointer goes to the hour-glass, the front of the my book has like 4 different patterns that it does when processing info. I wonder if there is a way to have that constantly flashing... it would go well with music


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm thinking about buying a My Book as well, waiting for them to go on sale. Could you post what kind of LEDs are needed? That would save a lot of work, thanks.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Cute. I didn't even realize they came in different colors. I like the fact that you documented the things that went wrong, and your fixes for them...