How to Fix LED Lighting Issues on Mechanical Keyboards

May 3, 2024

Mechanical keyboards with LED backlighting are the rave! They're attractive, durable, and customizable---everything that you would want in a computer peripheral. No wonder they're popular among gamers, computer hobbyists, and professionals.

However, like any electronic device, LED-lit mechanical keyboards are susceptible to issues that can negatively impact their functionality and performance. That includes the thing that gives a mechanical keyboard its characteristic beauty---LED backlighting.

But don't worry. We'll pinpoint the common causes of LED issues in mechanical keyboards. We will also provide tips on how to troubleshoot and take care of your mechanical keyboards so your LEDs will continue to dazzle!

Usual Causes of LED Issues in Mechanical Keyboards

Flickering LEDs. LEDs not lighting up. LEDs acting crazy. LED issues in mechanical keyboards can occur due to various factors, including:

  1. Faulty LEDs: The LEDs themselves may be already defective or damaged during manufacturing. This can result in a lot of problems such as flickering, dimming, or complete failure of individual LEDs.
  2. Poor Soldering: Poor soldering during the manufacturing process can lead to unreliable connections between the LEDs and the keyboard's circuitry, causing intermittent lighting issues or complete LED failure.
  3. Physical Damage: Physical damage to the keyboard caused by drops, impacts, or spills can damage the LEDs or their connections. 
  4. Overheating: Excessive heat buildup within the keyboard can damage the LEDs over time. Poor ventilation, prolonged use at high brightness levels, or inadequate thermal management can overheat the LEDs.
  5. Electrical Issues: Power surges, fluctuations, and other power issues can damage the LEDs or other components of the keyboard's lighting system. Using incompatible power adapters or connecting the keyboard to an unreliable power source can increase the risk of electrical damage.
  6. Software Glitches: Occasionally, software glitches or firmware bugs may cause LED issues in RGB mechanical keyboards. This can manifest as incorrect lighting effects, unresponsive LEDs, or synchronization problems between the keyboard and accompanying software.
  7. Moisture or Corrosion: Spills and exposure to moisture, humidity, or corrosive substances can damage the LEDs or corrode the connections, leading to lighting issues. 
  8. Wear and Tear: Normal wear and tear can degrade the performance of LEDs in mechanical keyboards. Continuous use, frequent key presses, and exposure to dust or debris can contribute to the deterioration of LED components.

Troubleshooting LED Lighting Issues on Mechanical Keyboards

Fortunately, many of the LED issues discussed above can be fixed without requiring a lot of skill or the services of a computer repairman.  

1. LED Not Lighting Up

  • Check the connection: Check if the keyboard is properly connected to the computer or power source. Try plugging it into a different USB port or using a different cable.
  • Inspect the LED: Examine the non-functional LED for physical damage or loose connections. Gently reseat the LED or solder any loose connections.

2. Flickering or Intermittent Lighting

  • Check the power source: Check if the keyboard is receiving stable power from the USB port or power adapter. Avoid using USB hubs or extension cables because they may cause power fluctuations.
  • Update the firmware/software: Ensure that the keyboard's firmware and any associated software are updated. Updates address performance issues and bugs.

3. Inconsistent Lighting Across Keys

  • Inspect the solder joints: Examine the solder joints connecting the LEDs to the keyboard's circuit board. Look for any signs of damage or poor connections. Re-solder any loose joints.
  • Reset the keyboard: Perform a factory reset on the keyboard to restore default settings. This boots the keyboard and helps resolve software-related issues that may be causing the lighting problem.

4. Uneven Brightness or Color

  • Adjust the settings: Use the keyboard's software or firmware settings to adjust brightness and color settings. Set all LEDs to the same brightness level and color intensity.
  • Clean the keyboard: Dust or debris on the LED lenses can cause uneven lighting. Gently clean the keyboard with a soft brush to remove any dirt.

5. LEDs Stuck on a Single Color

  • Check software settings: Reset the lighting effects to default settings and reconfigure them as needed.
  • Inspect LEDs: Examine the LEDs for signs of damage or malfunction. If a particular LED is stuck on a single color, it may be defective and require replacement.

6. LEDs Not Synchronizing with Software

  • Restart the software: Close then reopen the keyboard's software application to reset the connection between the keyboard and the computer to fix synchronization problems.
  • Update drivers: Make sure that your computer's operating system has the latest drivers installed for the keyboard. Updating drivers improves compatibility and performance.

7. Random LED Behavior or Glitches

  • Power cycle the Keyboard: Disconnect the keyboard from the computer and power source then reconnect it after a few seconds. This resets the keyboard's internal components and helps resolve erratic behavior.
  • Check for interference: Nearby electronic devices or electromagnetic interference can disrupt the keyboard's operation. Move the keyboard away from sources of interference such as wireless routers or speakers.

8. LED Dimming Over Time

  • Check the power supply: Is your keyboard receiving sufficient power from the USB port or power adapter? Dimming LEDs may indicate a power supply issue.
  • Replace LEDs: If LEDs continue to dim over time despite stable power, they may be reaching the end of their lifespan. Consider replacing the affected LEDs with new ones.

How to Remove and Replace Faulty LEDs

an image of someone fixing a faulty LED light

Sometimes, your only option is to take out a faulty LED and replace it with a new one. Since LEDs are usually soldered to the keyboard's printed circuit board (PCB), you will need some soldering skills for this process. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to remove and replace faulty LEDs on a mechanical keyboard:

Tools and Materials Needed:

  1. Soldering iron
  2. Solder
  3. Desoldering pump or desoldering wick
  4. Replacement LEDs (ensure they are compatible with your keyboard model)
  5. Tweezers or small pliers
  6. Phillips head screwdriver (if needed to disassemble the keyboard)

Step 1: Disassemble the keyboard.

  • Remove the keycap covering the faulty LED.
  • If necessary, use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove any screws securing the keyboard's casing.
  • Gently pry open the keyboard's casing, being careful not to damage any internal components.

Step 2: Locate the faulty LED.

  • Locate the LED that needs to be replaced. It will be the one that is not lighting up, flickering, or exhibiting abnormal behavior.

Step 4: Heat the solder.

  • Plug in your soldering iron and allow it to heat up to the appropriate temperature for desoldering. This is usually around 350 to 400°C or 660 to 750°F.
  • Hold the soldering iron tip against the solder joint connecting the faulty LED to the keyboard's circuit board. Allow the solder to melt.

Step 5: Remove the faulty LED.

  • While the solder is melting, use a desoldering pump or desoldering wick to remove the excess solder from the joint.
  • After removing the excess solder, gently lift the faulty LED from the circuit board using tweezers or small pliers. Be careful not to damage the surrounding components.

Step 6: Insert the replacement LED.

  • Take the replacement LED and align its pins with the solder pads on the circuit board. Double-check the placement of the polarity (positive and negative leads); it should match the orientation of the original LED.
  • Carefully insert the replacement LED into the solder pads. It should be positioned flush against the PCB.

Step 7: Solder the replacement LED.

  • Hold the soldering iron tip against the solder joint connecting the replacement LED to the circuit board.
  • Apply a small amount of solder to the joint until it cools and forms a secure connection between the LED and the circuit board.
  • Repeat this process for all the solder joints connecting the replacement LED.

Step 8: Test the replacement LED.

  • Test the replacement LED to ensure that it lights up correctly and functions properly.
  • Double-check your soldering connections and repeat the process if necessary.

Step 9: Reassemble the keyboard.

  • If the replacement LED is working properly, reassemble the keyboard casing and secure any screws if needed.
  • Replace the keycaps that were removed during the disassembly process.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your LED-lit keyboard in optimal condition, follow these steps:

1. Regularly clean your keyboard using a soft, lint-free cloth or compressed air to remove dust, crumbs, and other particles. Dirt usually accumulates in the spaces between the keys and around the LED indicators.

2. Liquid spills can damage the internal components and electronics. Avoid placing beverages or other liquids near your keyboard to prevent accidental spills. If a spill does occur, immediately disconnect the keyboard from power and clean up the liquid as thoroughly as possible before reactivating the keyboard.

3. A keyboard cover can help protect the keyboard from dust, dirt, and accidental spills.

4. Lower the brightness level to conserve energy and extend the lifespan of the LEDs. 

5.  Manufacturers often release updates to address performance issues, add new features, and improve compatibility with different operating systems. Thus, always update your keyboard's firmware and software.

6. Handle your LED-lit keyboard with care. Avoid excessive force when typing or gaming. Be gentle when performing maintenance tasks. Treat your keyboard as a delicate electronic device to prolong its lifespan.


Just like any electronic device, LED-lit keyboards can fail. LED issues can arise due to manufacturing defects, poor soldering, physical damage, overheating, electrical issues, software glitches, moisture or corrosion, and wear and tear. But these glitches should not deter you from using a mechanical keyboard. With just a few, simple troubleshooting steps combined with regular maintenance, you can have your keyboard shining beautifully for years to come.

Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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