24

As many of you know, computers cases and their accessories come with all flavors of LED lights these days. When I was in high school, they were all the rave. Now, they very specifically annoy me, especially when I run my computer at night or with lights off mid day (as many of us cave-dwellers do!). I find almost all of these to actually be really annoying and in many cases, too bright (see below for a semi-close example):

Bright LED

What are some good ways you guys know to hide and or cover them? Keep in mind, not all of them are inside the case, where you can just keep the side panel on, but some of them are on various external drives, modems, routers, and headphone volume buttons.

I have tried a few things such as permanent marker over the top, with and without tape, for the accessories, but without much luck. So tried-and-true ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  • I have no experience on dimming LEDs but there doesn't seem to be another way to achieve this than sticking something over them or messing with the electronics. I'm looking forward to LED-dimming-experts answering. But if all else fails, these stickers seem to be kinda handy. – Alex Mar 12 '15 at 7:50
  • @Alex - whoever invented those stickers should make their money. I can't imagine what posesses electronics manufacturers to stick ultra bright leds into every peice of consumer electronics, particularly those used in TV's and media equipment that you end up staring at in a dark room. – frumbert Nov 17 '15 at 20:23
18

I know these two tricks - one of them to cover any light, and the other to turn off the motherboard lights, specifically.

Nail Polish

Yes, nail polish. Just grab one with a dark color (black, deep blue, or alike), and put a little over the LED... That will probably dim the light a bit, but if you keep adding layers over layers of nail polish, you can completely turn it off after 3-4 polish applications. The good thing about it is that is super easy to apply, it dries out really quick, and you can remove it later using nail polish remover.

Motherboard's BIOS settings

If you are lucky, there might be an option in your motherboard's BIOS settings to turn off the LEDs. I know it depends on the manufacturer to put those options in there, but I think it's worth a shot to check the settings and find out. Some examples out there: How do I remove/stop an LED on the motherboard?, New motherboard, led lights always on, Turning off the onboard LEDs.

  • 1
    +1 for being removable and not likely to cause problems with the motherboard. I would be very wary of the conductive nature of anything close to circuitry. Also, removing tape, or pulling it off the roll initially, causes static electricity to build up, causing an amount of ESD which could potentially fry a motherboard. – Doug Watkins Mar 13 '15 at 4:38
  • 1
    I do like this solution the best, both for ease of application and potential removal. Looking forward to trying it! – VP. Apr 28 '15 at 14:41
  • 1
    +1 I've been mildly annoyed by the blue cmos light on the back of my computer (even when the computer is off) for over a year. I don't know why today was the day but I actually was annoyed enough to search for it and lo and behold I find your answer and yes there was a setting in the bios this whole time – User Oct 8 '17 at 13:55
13

Something I found out the hard way is that a layer of super glue significantly dims the brightness of the LEDs. While it won't remove the light completely, it will dim it a lot, and you could apply tape (duct or electrical tape would work the best) to completely eliminate the rest of the light.

Bear in mind that super gluing will be permanent and it will not easily come off again (possible question for life hack) so while it is a good solution it won't really be reversible.

To be honest I would have thought a layer of duct tape (a couple layers of electrical tape) would be plenty to block out all the light but I guess it depends on the shape and everything.

Another method I've thought of which I have very high hopes for is Blue Tac or any other mouldable adhesive putty. You would easily be able to press this over the light and mould it so that it covers the entire LED, make the layer thick enough so that all the light will be blocked out and you'll be laughing.

So to recap:

  • Superglue for dimming significantly
  • Duct or electrical tape - for good light blocking
  • Blue Tac for a non permanent solution that can mould to any LED shape.
    (A further advantage is that if the LED is in a sort of hole, Blue Tac will easily fill in that hole and cover the LED completely)

Note: Do not cover any vents or such things as this will lead to your device overheating and eventual death.

  • I've used the white variety of Blue Tac ( I forget who makes it) for this. If you make a tiny ball and press it down hard enough, you can create just enough light seepage to be able to tell if the LED is on or not, which is handy sometimes. – junkyardsparkle Mar 12 '15 at 16:48
5
  1. Easiest way to "block" the lights is to disable them. Just cut one of the wires leading away from each LED (keep reading).

    Unless one has plans to get real fancy later on, it doesn't matter which one; just one leading away from each LED> Some wires are connected to the motherboard in a way they can be pulled and put back using a sharp nosed pliers... no cutting needed and one can put it back later.

  2. Secure each loose end separately. One can use black electrical tape or a very small wire nut. If it was a pulled connector, secure exposed metal with electrical tape.

  3. There are variations that depend on one's skill/knowledge of electricity. All things equal, no fancy plans in the future (but wanting to leave options open) and assuming lower skill, I would say the best place to cut is half-way between the longer wire.

                                                     ________________
                       ______________________________________________D 
                                                |
                                                |
                                  Cut half way between longer wire.
    

    This is just a judgement call and conditions may dictate otherwise. There are pros and cons with where to cut. People will comment below on considerations and alternatives to this and other points.

  4. A good idea for the future, (maybe you want to sell it one day and the buyer wants pretty lights), is to label each wire. An easy way to label is cut a strip of paper slightly narrower than scotch tape, write down whatever, place it on tape a little larger on all sides and extending on the ends, and then fold over the wire:

                        Wire
                         ||
            _____________||_____________
    Tape   |               LED Wire A1  |  (Text is written on thin piece of paper and stuck
           |____________________________|   on tape. Tape shown sticky side shown down.)
                         ||
                         ||
        Fold tape over wire, sticking to itself.
    

Of course, unplug everything first.

Disclaimer: Electricity can kill you. Unplug everything first. Take to a licensed repair shop already opened up with wires identified, and let them cut the wires. A nice repair shop will do it for next to nothing. And by "next to nothing", if it only takes them a minute, I would estimate the cost to be about $0.00. At that price, insist on a $5 tip. (But depending on where you take it and the culture, they could charge more, of course. I wouldn't.)

  • +1, Good, I will become Electrical&Electronics Engineer when doing this Method :) – Joachin Joseph Mar 13 '15 at 12:42
  • FYI on using wirenuts. If there's enough slack in a wire, the advantage to using these is it's then easy to reconnect the wires. – CoolHandLouis Mar 13 '15 at 20:27
  • Most of the utterly annoying ultra bright LEDS I want to remove are surface mounts. Know a trick for these? – frumbert Nov 17 '15 at 20:25
  • @frumbert I think the other answers apply here. Another option might be to remove the LED with a soldering iron. I'm not sure if you would have to replace it with a jumper wire, but that's outside my professional knowledge domain. – CoolHandLouis Nov 22 '15 at 5:18
4

Aluminum foil, works nicely on the outside. It blocks the light completely and can be molded around leds that stick out. Use regular tape (like scotch tape) for easy removal, in case you need to check if the appliance is still working properly. You could tidy up by covering the whole (foil + tape) with tape matching the colour of the appliace.

Do not use it inside computers (accessories) or where electrical components are bare!

Doesnt work so well around small children as the shiny stuff arouses their curiosity and they want to pry it loose.

1

To dim LED lamps which are inside electrical devices such as a surface mount or discrete component on a motherboard, use PTFE (teflon) plumbing thread sealer. PTFE is an extremely good insulator and is resistant to fire and in the suggested tape form of extremely low density, cheap and very easy to obtain.

PTFE is a great insulator and is opaque, it is very thin, for example in my region 0.075mm ( 0.00295276 inches) is the common thickness for water pipe.

You can obtain different thickness/density variations of the tape, which will be more effective in completely blocking the light without applying may turns of the tape. Though being extremely thin, it is very easy to use a lot and it take little space up.

To use, simply try keep it flat and wrap it around the LED and keep some tension on the tape flat and stick it back to itself after a few turns.

The advantage of using this is the lack of adhesive and electrical insulation properties. So you can use it to safely cover directly items attached to PCBs and over light channels without little worry it becomes displaced causing a short.

See picture below for what it looks like and how it is used in its sealant role.

PTFE Pipe Seal Tape

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