Let's get a backlight on the 2.0 GHz Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by johndatserakis, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. johndatserakis macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Hey guys, I've been lurking here for a while and I must say it's a great community. I just bought the Aluminum Macbook 2.0 GHz like 3 weeks ago at best buy (100 bucks off) and I love it. It still was a pretty expensive at $1200, but I bit the bullet because I loved the design and I wanted to have a notebook that I actually liked using and looking at, while not losing any of the productiveness.

    The one thing I would LOVE to have though, is the backlit keyboard. Now, I know I could have gone and spent $300 more to get it, but I know that I can't justify a $1500 notebook, especially if it was just mainly for the backlight. (The specs on the 2.0 are completely perfect for me, and I'm a college student so I can't just work overtime next week or something.)

    This thread is for all the people scouring the internet looking for some type of solution to this problem. I am going to update this whenever I find any information on how to actually do it.

    Right now there are a couple of leads:

    Buy a USB light

    This is definitely a solution that a lot of people are going to go with, especially because there's no hacking involved. If someone knows about a good USB light and can recommend it that would be awesome.

    Hack the LED lights into the actual keyboard

    This looks like it's going to be hard, but definitely possible see how both macbook are basically the same machine. When iFixit.com comes out with more information I'll update this section, right now their Aluminum Macbook section is empty.

    Applying some type of glow gunk / place something on the keyboard to help visiblity

    I did a little research and one site came up that had glow in the dark stickers to apply to the keyboard....I know, it sounds like a bad idea. If anyone has any insight on this please let us know.

    If anyone has any other ideas or anything that would be awesome, as I'm sure that we can do something about this. Oh and please, don't just tell me to spend the $300, it's out of the question. Thanks!
  2. tibi08 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2007
    Brighton, UK
    You missed a solution - turn on the lights in the room you're in.
  3. hmai18 macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2008
  4. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Whatever you decide to do, it's gonna cost you a lot of money, not to mention labor and your warranty will be void. You have to replace the keys, get the LEDs, get a power source for the LEDs, somehow manage to get that into the computer and close it again, et al.
  5. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    Yes, use it as an opportunity to improve your touch typing.

    Learning to touch type is pretty easy with software tutors ( fun )
  6. johndatserakis thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    any recommendations on typing tutor freeware or software?
  7. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    Not freeware

    But I used Mavis Beacon years ago (like about 8 yrs) .

    Was loads of fun.

    There's not a lot to them. But I learned how to touch type rather well in about three weeks with it. Not even spending much time.

    They are fantastic.
  8. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    You beat me to it. I learned with Mavis Beacon too, except mine was about 13ish years ago. All the little mini games it had made learning fun, so I picked it up rather quickly.
  9. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Touch typing is like getting good at the piano, you just have to do it a lot. I didn't use a program, I just typed/posted a lot to friends through emails, forums, instant messengers and such.

    Work on accuracy first. Start by looking down only when you make a typo or a mistake. Then evolve to correcting your mistakes without looking down. Working with words is much easier than just letters. If you asked me where a certain letter was on the keyboard I might hesitate, but if you asked me to type a sentence there is no hesitation since muscle memory from your fingers kicks in and you know where to press the keys without even thinking about it.

    If you get really desperate and can't find a key in the dark, a simple trick is to just tilt your screen forward until the monitor lights up your keys.
  10. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I was at the dollar store the other day, and they had some of those LED reading lights that clip onto books for $1. I bought a couple, and while I don't use them to see my keyboard, I did clip them to my Blackbook so see if they would work, and they were perfect.
  11. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Just learn how to type, it's a much cheaper solution. Really, school taught my how to type, I had to type 1-2 papers a day in High School, college I was doing stuff for it just about every day, here I am now and can type around 100 words per minute.

    Use home-row and it will come naturally.
  12. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Looks like you can switch the topcase for a 2.4 and get the lighting.

    But I'm sure it is just a plug in somehwhere on the logic board. If you can isolate the light on the 2.4 top case and part number, you probably can do it the Apple way. But i'm just guessing, not 100 percent sure.
  13. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    A top case would probably cost about $200. It costs just about that much more to upgrade in the first place. Is it really worth losing AppleCare for that?
  14. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I am touch typing right now. It is a good skill to learn and really really helps with productivity. Back in Elementary school We had a program on our Apple IIs that was "Mickey Mouse teaches typing" or something like that.

    Don't get me wrong I do like the back light, even when I am not really looking at the keyboard. The problem I have is the light sensor can be a very goofy sometimes and does not always act as it should. On my MBP the sensor is next to the power button on the right side of the keyboard. When typing if I go to hit "enter" or "delete" sometime my hand will hit the sensor and the back light will turn on or off. Kind of frustrating.

    Best part about touch typing is that this whole time I have been watching a couple of ladies at the coffee shop. I spy!:D
  15. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    the backlit keyboard is more of a looks thing than providing light to see the keys in the dark. even in a pitch black room i can see the keys on my MacBook Pro with the brightness of the screen below to middle setting.

    but if someone where to hack the 2.4 GHz keyboard into the 2.0 GHz model that would be awesome and again would be more of a looks factor that people would like.
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Pretty much any solution will not be worth the time/effort you put into it. Learn to touch type. Or just suck up the extra bucks for a backlit keyboard.
  17. VSMacOne macrumors 601


    Oct 18, 2008
    Obviously you haven't seen the new MB/Pro... The ink on the keys is NOT reflective at all, so you can't see the keys in the dark very well. I used to be able to on my old Toshiba, so at first i just bought the 2.0 Ghz. But that didn't work so much. So i got the 2.4 with the lit keys (not for the looks, mind you, but for the LIGHT) and it works like a champ. Wouldn't like it any other way now. :D

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