Changing your Case & Drive LEDs

drive-led

Introduction

Making your case unique and looking cooler than it is when you buy it is what case modding is all about. Almost all cases, CDROM, DVD, CDRW, floppy drives, etc… come with green, amber, or red LEDs. In some cases these colors that come stock are the colors that you want, however if you want to have them match your case color scheme you will have to change them. Your case will look much better if all the LEDs match the colors of your paint or lighting. I recently painted my girlfriends case red and black so while I was at it I changed all of her LEDs to red to match the paint. I also did the same thing to the case which I did the painting guide on. Just to let you know changing the LEDs on your drives, floppy, and case will in most cases void the warrantee. Before we being I must again say that I take no responsibility for any damage to yourself or your components which may happen due to this guide.

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what you will need:

  • The correct size and color LEDs
  • screwdriver
  • wire cutters
  • Soldering iron & solder
  • Hot glue gun (optional)

A LED is made up of an anode (positive) and a cathode (negative). This is important to remember when you put your new LED in. Later it will need to be aligned the same way as the stock one. If you get the polarity wrong when you solder the new LED on, it will not light up and you will have to desolder it and redo it.

I picked up a pack of assorted LEDs from Radio Shack for only $2.50 it has all the LEDs that I will need. Before you head out and buy LEDs you should open up your case, CDROM and floppy drive to see what size and shape you will need. The case LEDs I need are rectangle, the one for my CDROM is a 5mm circular and the one for my floppy is a 3mm circular. Not all cases and drives have the same size and shape LEDs so be sure before you go out and buy new ones.

The first thing that I will be changing is the case LEDs, they are the easiest to do and will get you warmed up if you will for the harder soldering. The LEDs that come stock in the case are green and amber, not very good looking are they?

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You will need to cut off the LEDs from the jumper wires, just use your wire cutters and snip them off. After you cut the LEDs off the jumper wires go ahead and strip about 1 cm off of the wire.

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Like I mentioned before I will be changing all the LEDs to red, here are the 2 LEDs which are going to replace the stock ones. To make your job easier when soldering the new LEDs back on to the jumper wires you will probably want to cut the leads to a smaller size. You will also want to crimp the leads into a “J” shape so that it can hold onto the jumper wire.

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After you have the LEDs prepared you can now begin soldering, if you have a soldering station your job will be much easier. I crimped the end of the jumper wires into a “J” shape like I did with the LEDs and hooked the two segments together. Use the solder station if you have one to hold the pieces so that you can solder them together. If you do not have a solder station you can still do it but it will be a little harder. You can also add heatshrink to cover the leads from the LEDs, I decided not to. After you have soldered one side of the wire to the LED do the same thing to the other side. Now that you have one LED finished repeat the process with the other.