I admit it: I'm a total geek. I love electronics, programming, 3D art, vintage Apple hardware, and whisky. I'm always juggling half a dozen projects. I also enjoy documenting it all: my successes, my failures, my experiences... and everything geeky along the way.

Seeed Studio Fusion - $9.90 for 10pcs 2 layer 10x10cm boards


I'm so over blue LEDs | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

Geek Extraordinaire. Yeh, I said it.

I'm so over blue LEDs

I remember a few years ago when blue LEDs became all the rage. Back in my day it was amber and green; red was just old school. Listen to me, I sound like my old man.

When I built my Xeon rig back in ‘05, I was all about pulling the amber hard drive LED out of the case and swapping it with a blue one. It made my PC look just like my Playstation 2, which was also hot with its first-on-the-scene blue/green LED combo.

It seems that every “high-end” consumer product has been fitted with a blue LED. Now, blue just seems so....overwhelming. The blue LED on the drive lights up the entire living room at night. It’s kind of annoying.

I remember when I first bought my MacBook Pro, I was impressed with the white LED they chose for the suspend light. I thought, “A white LED? Really?” I have never in all my years seen a white LED in a computer. Actually, have I seen one anywhere? TV? Stereo? I don’t think I have. The white LED against the brush-finished aluminum looks surprisingly good. Subtle.

I sold my MacBook Pro and bought a MacBook. Again, white LED. I really like the subtle look. I can’t image how bad an amber, red, or green LED would look on a white laptop. Other than white, blue is probably the only other color that makes a good match. I guess that explains the industry-overkill.

This brings me back to the FireWire drive that I bought. The obligatory blue LED is killing me. I decided to rummage though my electronics parts for a white LED. I’m always ripping the good looking components off anything that goes in the trash, or that’s found in the trash for that matter. Luckily, out of the hundred or so LEDs that I’ve hoarded I had one white LED.

Time to mod. Here’s the workflow:

I opened up the enclosure and disconnected the LED. It is on the right with the black and red wire.

White LED Mod

I cut off the blue LED and soldered on the white one.

White LED Mod

I then reconnected the LED and powered on the drive as a test before screwing the lid back on.

White LED Mod

Quickest mod ever. I was done in 10 minutes.

By the way, the LED doesn’t even show activity. It’s just a power on LED. So it doesn’t need to be a beacon of light. It just needs to tell me that I left the drive on.

Here’s a before-and-after comparison. Of course, the flash washes it out, and taking pictures with the flash off doesn’t do it any justice. Hopefully you can tell that the white LED is not as bright and as obnoxious as the blue one. It just looks better. Trust me.

White LED Mod


White LED Mod