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(Guide) Fractal Design R4 Power LED Change

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ever since I picked up my Fractal Design R4 I have wanted to change the red power LED. I finally got around to doing it and wanted to record the steps it took to get this done for possible future use. It is a very easy mod to do and it allows for the use of any color lighting inside the case if you like to color coordinate like I do.

Here is the tools I used during the process:

Soldering Gun
Solder
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Cutters
Lighter (or Heatgun)
Small Heatshrink (or Electrical Tape)
Sharpie (Optional)

You will also need:

3mm LED Bulb (any color of your choice)

This is the LED that I chose.

Now onto the process. I will include the picture related to the step below the step.



First, remove both sides of the case to be able to have access to the clips for the front panel.

Next, remove all of the cables that run to the front panel (USB, Audio, I/O, etc..). This will allow for enough room for the front pannel to be removed to gain access to the power LED. This will also prevent any unnecessary stress to the wires or connectors.



Next locate the SIX clips that hold the front panel/door to the case chassis. I found it easiest to undo the clips from the bottom up, one side at a time. Simply release one clip at a time and apply gentle pressure to pull the front panel/door away from the case chassis. Once all of the clips are free begin to gently pull the front pannel/door and the cables attached to it away from the case chassis. Put enough slack in the cables to allow you to work comfortably.



Next look inside of the top of the pannel/door and locate the wire that leads to the power LED.



Next use the needle nose pliers to gently pull the LED out of its plastic socket. Take your time with this because it is easy to break the wires free from the LED bulb which will leave the bulb in the socket and make for a tedious removal. I ended up breaking the wires free from the bulb and getting it stuck in the socket. If this happens it will take some time and possibly a smaller set of needle nose pliers to remove the bulb. Try your best to get a grip on the bulb and gently pull downwards which will free the bulb. Once the bulb is free, begin to pull the power LED cable out and away from the case so you can take it to your work area.

Try your best to avoid this. But don't feel bad if it happens, it is not the end of the world.



Once you have the cable in your work area you will notice there is black heat shrink preventing access to the wires attached to the LED. This is simple to remove with a razor blade. Simply use your razor blade to gently make an incision along the entire piece of heat shrink. Use a light touch with the razor blade and allow it to do the work, not much pressure is needed to cut through the heat shrink. Once it its cut, begin to peel away the heat shrink.



Once you peel away the black heat shrink you will notice the wires beneath have white heat shrink to prevent the bare wires from contacting.



Simply take your razor blade and cut the white heat shrink just as you did with the black. Remove the white heat shrink to expose the soldered connection between the wires and the LED prongs.



Now that the heat shrink is gone the old LED can be removed. It is easiest to touch the soldered connection to remove the LED rather than cut it away. You should have two exposed wires disconnected from the LED bulb now.

Next, take the heat shrink that you have and cut them around the length of the old white heat shrink and slip them over the red and black wires. Make sure to push them as far away from the exposed wire as possible to prevent the heat from the soldering gun from shrinking the heat shrink. If you dont have heat shrink this small, just move on to the next step.



Next is an optional step. This is something I usually do with my LED's just in case I drop them. I will take the blub and identify the negative side, which is usually the shorter prong, and I will color the prong in with a sharpie so I know which is negative when I shorten the prongs.




Next, cut the prongs down with wire cutters so that they can be soldered to the wires and fit back in the case. Be careful no to leave the prongs to long because this may not leave enough clearance for the LED and cable to be put back into the socket on the front pannel/door.




Next, you can begin soldering. Solder the negative prong to the black wire, and the positive prong to the red wire. There may be enough solder remaining from the previous LED to simply heat up the wire and connect the LED. I personally used more solder just in case. If you are going to add solder, make sure to not add too much so that the heat shrink will not be able to fit over it. Once you are done soldering, allow for the wires to cool down before moving onto the next step.



Next, slide the heat shrink up over the soldered connections and far enough up so that there is no place for either the positive or negative to come into contact. Once you have them in place, a lighter or heat gun can be used to shrink the heat shrink so that it will not move. If you don't have heat shrink and are using electrical tape, then use the same concept. Put enough on so that neither the positive or negative can contact each other.



Next, take the newly soldered LED and cable back over to the case and gently insert the LED back into the socket on the front panel/door. You will more than likely need to use the needle nose pliers to reinsert the LED into the socket and apply very light pressure to ensure a snug fit.

Now, begin to reassemble the case. Start running the wires back into the case so that they will not become pinched or bent when reinstalling the front panel/door. Plug all of the cables in when the door is back on. Finally reinstall the case doors and press power to enjoy your newly installed LED power light. smile.gif


This is my first guide for anything so I hope it was understandable. I tried to include as much information and as many pictures as I possibly could. I really hope this can help some fellow OCN'ers out! thumb.gif

Here are some before and after pictures. If you try this mod yourself, be sure to add some before and afters of your own!

Before:




After:




Edited by mxfreek09 - 12/11/13 at 9:58pm
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post #2 of 17
Good guide thumb.gif

I'm lazy though so I bought one of these instead:

http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/Phobya-Prewired-3mm-LED-with-2-Pin-Connection--Red-pid-18514.html

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post #3 of 17
Double post.

Sorry.
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by VulgarDisplay88 View Post

Good guide thumb.gif

I'm lazy though so I bought one of these instead:

http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/Phobya-Prewired-3mm-LED-with-2-Pin-Connection--Red-pid-18514.html


Thats also good a good option smile.gif

If you wanna go that route, the guide can help at least get the front pannel off. tongue.gif
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post #5 of 17
Nice job
post #6 of 17
I'm a noob wild soldering and all of that jazz, so if I buy a pre wired 3mm led to 2 pin then how would I go about installing it in the R4?
post #7 of 17
Here's my end result smile.gif

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGComputerInc View Post

I'm a noob wild soldering and all of that jazz, so if I buy a pre wired 3mm led to 2 pin then how would I go about installing it in the R4?

You may be able to just clip the old wire so you can use the old connectors then strip them far enough and crimp them together.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SneakyJared View Post

Here's my end result smile.gif


Looks Great! thumb.gif
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post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGComputerInc View Post

I'm a noob wild soldering and all of that jazz, so if I buy a pre wired 3mm led to 2 pin then how would I go about installing it in the R4?

If you use the pre-wired you just pull out the old led from the housing and replace it with the new one. It's really simple. Have done this about 5 times on different rigs.
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well that was a fail on my part, I fr some reason was thinking that the pre wired meant to get an led with just wires attached and no connectors (derp). I completely didn't think that someone mentioned the there was a ready to use led plus cable setup availible. Sorry about the confusion.
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