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Razer Anansi LED Case Mod

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been theorizing about this project for some time now, and I finally got the hardware( and guts ) to try it. So far it has all worked out perfectly with very few hang ups.

Since I know most don't care, I'm going to add the backstory behind the project and how I got the keyboard to a spoiler, so you don't have to read it if you don't want to. tongue.gif basically a chronicle of my oddly good luck.thumb.gif
Project Back-story (Click to show)
So as I started looking at building a gaming rig a few months ago, I decided that, because I already had some Razer products, I wanted my Desktop to have lights too. I had gotten a brand new Razer Mamba for Christmas and was loving the idea of RGB lighting, because, let's face it, who wants to look at the same dumb color forever? Any who, the first product I saw was the NZXT HUE, and was pretty set on using it, however I wasn't really happy with its volume of light, the spaces between the LEDs and the fact it was only hardware controlled. This got me looking at other products like the standard IR controlled RGB LED strips. They were much brighter, had higher light-per-inch counts, and came in greater lengths. The problem was I didn't want to pass another power cable out the back of my case, nor did I really want the IR control. What I really wanted was for all my hardware to match. This is when I started looking into using Razer products themselves as the controllers. If I used a razer mouse or keyboard to control my lighting, I could setup profiles like my Mamba and have my Desktop lighting change with my mouse. The most important feature is the automatic switching between program tied profiles. The problem I realized is that USB, and subsequently peripherals, run off of a 5V circuit. This wouldn't work for standard RGB Strips which work off of 12V. I went out on a limb and found a RGB signal amplifier for $9 on Amazon, and it just happened to work perfectly and be very high quality. I also found video's on how to modify a MOLEX to supply the power I need for a LED Strip.
Keyboard Back-story (Click to show)
So, at this point I had decided that the only way to get the effect I desired would be to open up a razer product. Not looking forward to hacking open expencive gaming gear, I decided to go small and buy something really cheap off of ebay. After a lot of searching for every Razer product with RGB lights, I finally found a broken Razer Naga Epic for only $10. I took a chance(being that it didn't actually say "Epic") and decided to spend the $10 to see if I could fix it. When it arrived a couple days later, I was pleased to find that it was the right mouse and in very good condition, despite missing accessories and being "broken." I decided to plug it in and see what happened. The computer stated it was not a recognized device, but I was excited because it recognized a device at all. I tried swapping out the usb cable and the lights turned on. You can imagine my surprise! It still didn't recognize the mouse however, so I downloaded the Razer firmware updater and all software, and when it was all said and done, the mouse worked perfectly. Well... It was awesome, except for one small detail. I didn't need it as a mouse.(First-world problems, I know.) I decided it wasn't worth hacking open just as a LED controller, and since I had just gotten a Mamba, I went ahead and resold it on Ebay. Being that it goes for ~$120 new I easily sold it for $50, missing accessories.

So that was all great, but I still needed a LED controller. I was already planning on getting a RGB backlit keyboard to go with my setup in the future, and I knew there weren't many options for that, especially from Razer. Unfortunately, I had to go with the Anansi. I only say 'unfortunate' because there is no such thing as a RGB back-lit mechanical keyboard.sadsmiley.gif Other than that, it is a great keyboard, and I managed to win a bid on a used one for $40. When I got it in the mail, it was from a professional electronics reseller, not a consumer, so it was in perfect condition. From the looks of it, it had never even been used(matte finish and all). So the if you do the math... -$10 mouse + $50 mouse - $40 keyboard = $0! So far, I hadn't actually spent any money and had a nice gaming keyboard out of the ordeal.
Material List (Click to show)
Materials used:

Razer Anansi Keyboard - Used, $0. (see backstory)
Razer Naga Epic USB cable - broken, $0. "
Generic USB extension - Used, ~(already had)
RGB LED Signal Amplifier - New, $8.95. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A46UAQO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
RGB LED Strip, 5M 300cnt - New, $14.98. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A33BDRS/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Wrong one.
RGB LED Strip, 5m 300cnt - New, $15.97. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006LW2NJM/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Build Log (Click to show)
So first, I want to show some pictures of me opening up the Anansi. For anyone who ever wants to open up this keyboard in the future, note that there are three additional screws to the ones visible on the bottom. Two under each of the bottom rubber pads, and one underneath the center sticker. I believe it is impossible to loosen this one without damaging the sticker, but you can easily do it better than I did. I had to find it first. rolleyes.gif I also took some pictures of the insides, but I didn't do more than take the back plate off.







Next, I found the wire that went to the Razer logo on the top-bottom of the keyboard. It was really bright already and I figured if splicing into it's circuit caused it to dim a bit, It wasn't a big deal.(It didn't end up changing anything btw) Since all the pins plugs and wires were either too small, or covered by glue, I was forced to bite the bullet and and cut the wire in half. I used a larger wire and taped the leads from the keyboard to it, and connected it to my amplifier. I then plugged the power supply, LED strip, and the keyboard in. After swapping some wires to get the color right, it worked perfectly! Again, I was super surprised by my luck because usually things don't work the first time for me. Taping those dang wires to the tiny leads off of the keyboard was the hardest part of the project...







At this point, I realized I had made a mistake in buying the wrong kind of LED strip. I meant to buy the kind where every LED is RGB, not a strip of repeating Red Green and Blue LED's. It still works, but the mixed colors are not great. I'll update some pictures when I get the new ones.

Next, I used the spare USB cable I had leftover from the Razer Naga Epic, which just had a bad head on it. I had to drill a hole in the keyboard to pass the cable through, so I did it an inch or so to the right of the original cable. Note the hole had to be made in the back plate because of how the two pieces interlock.


Note you have to run the cable through the hole before you attach it permanently.

Next I soldered the 4 wires in the USB cable to the 4 wires going to both the pins and the Razer logo. Though normally a very difficult task,( soldering the three tiny different wires together 4 times), for some reason I was super lucky again managed to do it without any hitches. I suggest twisting the wires together first and giving yourself enough exposed wire to work with, but not so much that they could touch. After they were cooled, I lightly wrapped the bundle with electrical tape, isolating each wire, and pressed it flat.




Before closing up the keyboard, I went ahead and tested the wires. I cut off the male end of the USB Extension and attached its leads to the amplifier, and plugged the female end into the recently soldered Naga cable. Thankfully, the extension and razer cables used the same color coding on the wires, so figuring out where to put the wires was easy. I tested it one more time and with the usb connection in place, it all worked fine.



Finally, I fed the razer wire through the existing wire channels and closed the case. I did have to remove a keyboard screw to do this, and it was not easy to get it lined up so the case would close, but eventually it did and I got everything closed up and screwed down.




Video Test of the right type of LEDs.



Update!

Got my computer built! Here are some pictures and a crappy video of the case and lighting. I will upload some of the closer shots of the wiring later, but for now, here is the final product!













What do you guys think?
Edited by Zaxxon - 5/27/13 at 10:04pm
post #2 of 14
embed the pics please, so we dont have to download them...
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post #3 of 14
this would have been awesomer if we could see the pictures ! biggrin.gif
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I forgot how to do it on this forum. Fixed. redface.gif
post #5 of 14
great mod thumb.gif
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Hopefully I will get the new LEDs in the mail today or tomorrow and I will be able to upload a video of them working properly. redface.gif
post #7 of 14
Very interesting! I'm thinking of buying a Sidewinder x4 (still my favorite keyboard of all time) and replacing the red LEDs with blue ones
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mingqi53 View Post

Very interesting! I'm thinking of buying a Sidewinder x4 (still my favorite keyboard of all time) and replacing the red LEDs with blue ones

Yeah, I would really like to do a project like that in the future. I want to get a used mechanical keyboard and try to add RGB led's to it, but that would require a major modification I don't have time or funds for at the moment. Still, I want to try it some day.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Alright guys, got the new lights in the mail. I took a video of it on spectrum cycling. Try to ignore the lenses flares, I"m not sure why it did that. As you can see, its transitions aren't perfect, and it seems to have a little trouble with yellow/orange, but for the most part it works great. If I manually select colors(not shown on the video) as if it were switching profiles, it matches much better to the keyboard.

It is actually so bright it makes the keyboard look like it isn't even on. redface.gif
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Updated with Pictures! Video coming soon.
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