DIY Illuminated Keyboard

Written by wendy morgan
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DIY Illuminated Keyboard
Make your own illuminated keyboard (keyboard #5 image by Adam Borkowski from

An illuminated computer keyboard may come in handy for those who do computer work in lowlight conditions, or perhaps for college students who may want to do a little work at night without waking up a roommate by turning on lights. Purchasing an illuminated keyboard from a manufacturer could be costly, but with just a few tools, some wire and light-emitting diode, or LED, lights, making one of your own can be inexpensive.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Keyboard
  • Screwdriver
  • Two 16-inch lengths of solid cord telephone wire
  • Soldering iron
  • Pliers
  • Drill
  • Two pieces of heat shrink tubing
  • Two 5mm white LED lights
  • Electrical tape

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  1. 1

    Flip the keyboard over and remove all screws.

  2. 2

    Remove the back cover from the keyboard and locate the circuit board. Remove screws holding the circuit board in place and flip it over.

  3. 3

    Identify the light-emitting diode, or LED, component that is connected to the keyboard's "Scroll Lock" key. Using a soldering iron, desolder this LED. Remove the LED and set it aside.

  4. 4

    Take the two lengths of telephone wire and, using the pliers, remove the red and black wires from inside the wire coating.

  5. 5

    Following the circuit board polarity markings for the LED, carefully solder two red and two black wires into each hole of the LED connection.

  6. 6

    Drill two small holes into the top of the keyboard, at each end above the main keys.

  7. 7

    Place the circuit board in its proper slot, pulling a red and black wire each through the two holes. When this step is complete, there should be both a red and black wire coming up through the top of the keyboard from the two drilled holes.

  8. 8

    Reassemble the keyboard by replacing the back cover and screwing in place. Taking the red and black wires coming out of the first hole, twist the two together until they are completely entwined. Do the same with the second set.

  9. 9

    Take heat shrink tubing and slide the tube down, over the top of each set of twisted wire. Strip the two wires at the end of the heat shrink tubing and carefully solder on the 5mm LED components, covering any exposed wire with electrical tape.

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