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Backlighted keyboard mod..

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I'm looking to mod a old compaq presario c500 laptop, thats running osx..

I'm working on visualizing what I'd like to do before I start the chopping and painting...

but I am having some difficulty visualizing how i'd do a backlit keyboard.. I've seen some examples of mods but they dont seem to have a macbook pro style backlit keyboard in any of the guides i've seen.


currently I'm looking to modify it into looking like a macbook/macbook pro..


1.I Saw this guide for making the apple backlight lcd logo mod that looks good, I'm going to do my own modified version but this seemed to be a decent general guide



2.I'm also planning on laying down some black paint, I'm thinking the krylon stuff, i've used it on abs plastic in the past it worked very well, to help adquire that macbook look.


3.... for the Backlit Keyboard mod im picturing printing out letters, on stickers and carefully with a dremel and file, removing the letters out. then tape over key surface and flip face down and add a few layers of varnish to fill cut out.. file smooth.. and run some el wire.. under the keys.. and reassemble

I looked for aftermarket type items to make this part of the conversion easier but I seem to be lacking and good results.. I know the keyboard uses a 24 pin ribbin cable, Id consider a keyboard swap even if the physical size was different(smaller), worse case I could internally solder into my usb jack.. and suggestions would be good thank you

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Some PC notebooks are now equipped with backlighted KBDS (such as Dell). You could probably use one in one way or another.

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Some PC notebooks are now equipped with backlighted KBDS (such as Dell). You could probably use one in one way or another.

I've spent some more time digging into the topic, it seems that keyboards in laptops lack any kind of standard.. so if you have 2 different keyboards with the same pin count and press the same key you may get different results


it seems on wire gets 5v and when a key is pressed 2 corresponding pins also get 5v, leaving a microcontroller in the laptop to decode... its signals

it seems likely that time with a ohm meter, and programming a 100pin atmel can 100% guarantee a functional conversion.. next time I crack the case open ill check for available space to stash such a monster..

I've also seen reports of just needing to swap some wires around in the ribbon..


I was checking the stock keyboard for room for el wire.. I'm seeing now that it will never fit under the keys...

unless i cut the keys with a side affect of more visibility of el wire, or adding some material under the keys causing increased sensitivity of keys, which would be a unwanted side affect

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There are LED ribbons used for decorative lighting applications like:




These are quite small, but still may not fit in the little free space a notebook could provide. Just a random guess...

those might be my best option yet compared to what others have used.. I'm going to buy a spare keyboard to mess with as this mod will take some time, and I need to further disassemble the keyboard then it was designed for a repair tech to do. The keyboard stock, doesn't register a key press till the bottom of the key is snug to the surface under the key leaving not much room for other options.. Im thinking fiber optics, and searching for areas I can drill through to add light right under the keys... Thanks for the advice, I'm going to order a keyboard now off ebay, so I can further evaluate my options when it arrives...

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