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THE DIY DUDE
By 9 July 2010 | Categories: the diy dude

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You’ll need:

  • An old keyboard
  • Black spray paint
  • Clear green LED’s and 150 Ohm resistors
  • Thin insulated wire and a small switch
  • A soldering iron, drill and some heat shrink

The parts should be less than R50 at your local electronics (www.communica.co.za) and hardware store.

Opening the keyboard

First open up your keyboard and remove all the electronicsand buttons, the buttonspop off easily if pried with a knife or screwdriver. This is an excellent time to put yourkeyboard in the dishwasher (only the non electronic parts of course) and after you have a look at theecosystem that’s spawned inside your keyboard, I can guarantee you’ll want to.

Drill 5 mm holes where each LED should go, you want them sticking out sideways through the plastic under the keys. Drill an extra hole for the switch where it won’t be in the way. You can add as many LED’s as you want but more than 20 might anger the USB gods, you’ll need a resistor for each LED and enough wire to hook it up with.

Soldering

Solder a resistor to the shortest leg of each LED, solder a wire to the other end of the resistor and another wire to the other leg. The connection coming from the PC will have four or five wires, the opposing wires are power and ground, test with one of your LED/Resistor pairs to see which is which (if the LED lights up the pin, connected to the resistor is ground), connect this ground pin to one end of the switch and the other end of the switch to all the resistors wires. Finally connect the power pin to the other wire of all the LED’s and tidy it all up with heat shrink.

Spraying

When spray painting your keyboard try to avoid getting paint in the holes, this makes the keys stick when you put them back. Note that keys in different rows have different shapes, swapping these around at random gives you a make-shift feel that suits the theme. As an extra touch I went over my keys with a metal brush, giving it a rugged rust like feel and removing all the lettering, this might help keeping those pesky siblings away if you know your way around a blank keyboard.

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