Tutorial: How to install LED backlit keyboard to Asus U36

Discussion in 'Asus' started by hanime, Dec 19, 2011.

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  1. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    Want an awesome mod for your Asus U36? This tutorial will guide you through installing an LED backlit keyboard to your U36 laptop, also known as the backlit keyboard mod. I applied this mod to my U36JC, but this can be applied to both U36JC and U36SD models, as they share the same keyboard.

    This tutorial was inspired by LucifurFox's original thread: http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/623020-potential-u36-mods.html

    DISCLAIMER: I will not take any responsibility for any actions you take here and within. By following this guide and attempting this mod, you take full responsibility and liability for anything that may happen to you, your laptop, etc.

    With that said, let's begin shall we? :D

    LEVEL OF DIFFULTY: 6/10

    TIME TO FINISH: Approx. 2-3hrs, depending on experience. It took me 7hrs total to figure everything out!

    YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING (BUT NOT LIMITED TO):


    • Asus U80 LED backlit keyboard* (I got it for $36.99 from eBay)
    • Mini screwdriver kit
    • Multimeter
    • Thin gauge wires (from a phone line or Cat5/6 ethernet cords)
    • Solder kit
    • Electric tape
    • X-acto knife w/ drill bits
    • A lot of patience (very important!!!)

    Photo of tools can be found here.

    *I have to say the keyboard looks and feels way better than the original. Instead of the rough/sandy keys, the backlit keys feel like the aluminum magnesium alloy chassis--smooth, rigid, and not cheap! It feels like it is meant to be on this laptop. The only difference between this backlit keyboard and the original keyboard are the A, F3, and F4 keys. The backlit keyboard have extra function (FN) labels on those keys.

    PROCEDURE


    1. First, open up your laptop by following this YouTube video guide: U36SD - How to open it up! - YouTube


    2. Take off the keyboard chassis and you will see this:
      [​IMG]

      The keyboard chassis, from under:
      [​IMG]


    3. Slowly peel the silver heat shield sheet from the keyboard. You don't have to peel all of it, like so:
      [​IMG]


    4. Take out 12 (I had 13) super super tiny screws (marked with the X's--yours may be different) and separate the keyboard from the keyboard chassis.
      [​IMG]

      The original keyboard. Note, the holes between the keys:
      [​IMG]

      What's left of the keyboard chassis frame. Note, the red dots indicate the many holes for the 12 screws to go in. These holes should match exactly to the ones on the original keyboard.
      [​IMG]


    5. Now, take the backlit keyboard out of the package. I will split this keyboard into five layers (from bottom to top):

      1. Metal plate
      2. Black sheet (it's white on the other side; this is the one with LEDs)
      3. Clear plastic sheet (this is what the LEDs shine through and project upwards onto the keyboard)
      4. Keyboard
      5. Black bezel (on top of keyboard)

      The front of the keyboard:
      [​IMG]


    6. Remove the black bezel that is lying on top of the keyboard--if not removed, this bezel will not let your keyboard sit flush with the keyboard chassis. It is attached to the keyboard really well by many plastic welds. You will need to pry and then snap it out with your hands very carefully:

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]


    7. Turn the keyboard to its backside. Note the extra golden strip--this is the one to power your LED backlit. There are 8 screws holding the metal plate to the back of the keyboard. Take these out and then remove the plate from the keyboard:
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      The black sheet is revealed:
      [​IMG]


    8. With care, begin peeling off the black sheet from the back of the keyboard. Be careful, there are LEDs attached to the white side of the black sheet. Then peel the clear plastic sheet along with it. It is best to peel both at the same time and leave them back to back with one another. In essence, you want to peel the clear plastic sheet, and the black sheet will go with it. DO NOT separate the two! Use a blow dryer to make things easier and start at a corner.

      Once removed, the backlit keyboard should be bare, like the original keyboard:
      [​IMG]


    9. This is the longest part, milling out the holes on the backlit keyboard to the keyboard chassis. Lay the backlit keyboard against the keyboard chassis. We have to make sure to match the holes with the ones on the chassis. Not all holes line up, so you may need to create new holes too. Use the X-acto knife with a drill bit and mill out the necessary holes. Be patient with this step. Take a look at the following image (or higher resolution image HERE). The backlit keyboard is the one on top. Note the green dots indicate matching holes to both the original keyboard and the keyboard chassis:
      [​IMG]

      I milled out the necessary holes, indicated by the X's:
      [​IMG]


    10. Screw the backlit keyboard to the keyboard chassis with the 12 tiny screws you have. Then put the black sheet and clear sheet back to its original place:
      [​IMG]


    11. Put the silver heat shield back to its original place:
      [​IMG]


    12. Now it's time to wire up the power source to the backlit keyboard. There are many places you can wire it up to including the CPU fan wires, SATA power, USB, etc. I like to wire mine to the CPU fan wires because it is easy to do, and it also shuts down with sleep, hibernate, and power off. Solder a wire to the +5v and another wire to the ground on the ribbon:
      [​IMG]

      CPU fan wires. Click HERE for USB alternative power source:
      [​IMG]


    13. Wire the +5v wire to the red wire on the CPU fan wires. Use black tape to cover all connections to avoid shorts:
      [​IMG]


    14. Wire the ground wire (green) to one of the chasis screw:
      [​IMG]


    15. Reverse steps to put back your laptop.

    RESULT

    And here is the final product!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    MORE MODS


    • I noticed some parts of the motherboard gives out +9V. This made me wonder, what if I wire it to the keyboard? Will this give it a brighter light? Will it blow the LEDs?

    • Changing the color of the LEDs. There is a line of LEDs attached to the black sheet underneath the keyboard. I am thinking about covering it with a transparent PVC film like these:

      [​IMG]
     
  2. LucifurFox

    LucifurFox Notebook Enthusiast

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  3. tijo

    tijo Sacred Blame Super Moderator

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    Nice guide, added to the Asus info booth and + rep.
     
  4. King_Khan

    King_Khan Notebook Consultant

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    perfect just in time. My keyboard arrived today, but i think i already messed up mine. I started to poke holes through the black part to line up the holes for the screws(fail). Hopfully mine will be ok as well. Also great idea to hook it up to the cpu fan. This means no soldering to the board :)
     
  5. King_Khan

    King_Khan Notebook Consultant

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    ok guys i officially had my 1st f*** up. i took off my original keyboard and then started to put the u80 keyboard on by poking holes through the led lights on that keyboard (fail once again). Obviously this got me no where and i decided to put my original keyboard in again and to post here about my experience. Everything was going well until my screws or the keyboard did not seem to go back in (they just spinned) i guess the threads are really weak? Anyways using my genius brain i tried to put the screw in an unorignal hole. This worked except now i cant get the screw out! I tried pulling on my original keyboard (another stupid idea) and now the original keyboard is slightly bent(but still works thank god) Anyways am i out of luck? I really want to install the other keyboard even without the backlight. Can anyone suggest any ideas to get the scew out?
     
  6. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    King_Khan, I think precision pliers might be your best bet to get that out. Other than that, just have to destroy it. Instead of using a precision philips screwdriver to screw those tiny screws in, I used the flat screwdriver so that I won't mess up the tiny screws. Those screws are very fragile, and I don't think you can find them anywhere.

    From your previous post in LucifurFox's thread, I remember you bought the Arabic version of the keyboard, and it was $15 cheaper. Have you thought about buying another one? If I were you, I'd start over with another one. A working LED keyboard just looks much cooler. :D
     
  7. King_Khan

    King_Khan Notebook Consultant

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    thanks for the suggestions. Im not exactly sure that i have messed the lights up as i havent powered them on. im gonna try to get the screw out one last time, but i still need a working laptop. I dont want to risk absolutely destroying my orginal keyboard and chasis to get that one screw out. Btw does anyone know where i can actully get a replacement chassis if that does happen? I have already done some damage to the original keyboard like i have said in my previous post. My ctrl, fn, windows, and alt keys are on a slope now :(
     
  8. King_Khan

    King_Khan Notebook Consultant

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    ok i tried to get the scew out again, but no luck. I guess ill just have to stick with my warped original keyboard. The screw is so tiny i dont have any bits that will fit it properly. I went to the dollar store today looking for an eyeglasses repair kit but no luck. I just wish i saw this guide before i started. Either that or i order a whole new upper case which i cant even find online.
     
  9. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes, I noticed it is very hard to find the keyboard chassis, unless you buy a parts only or a brand new U36. Try to save your keyboard chassis as much as you can--you might not be able to find another one. But a keyboard, you can.

    One thing left to do for the stuck screw, drill it out. Either with a precision drill or a combination of an X-acto knife and drill bit. Good luck!
     
  10. link101ooh

    link101ooh Notebook Enthusiast

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    If you have to get a replacement you can order the upper case from here:

    Asusparts

    I ordered the U36 slim battery from them and got it in less than 2weeks.
     
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