SAITEK ECLIPSE BLUE
LED BACKLIT KEYBOARD



Saitek Eclipse Blue LED Backlit Keyboard, retail $43.40, (www.amazon.com...)
Manufactured by Saitek (www.saitekusa.com...)
Last updated 05-04-12


LED Keyboard


Are you one of those guys who has everything? You know, the web-enabled cell phone, messaging beeper, palm pilot, violet laser pointer, and a zillion other things hanging off your belt or stuffed in your pockets? Your computer case is lit up like a Christmas tree and looks like it was ripped off a Borg cube, and you spend more time fussing with your CPU cooler than you do playing with the dog. Your computer room came off the set of Star Trek DS9. You haven't seen the cat in several months and you're wondering what that funny smell is coming from the microwave oven.

If this describes you, then I have just the thing: A 104-key computer keyboard with 8 or so SMD blue LEDs shining into an acrylic backplane that illuminates every key! Forget about those electroluminescent mods that just don't work, and that burn out after a couple of thousand hours. For less than you pay for a good sheet of EL material & a driver, you can have a complete, ready-to-use keyboard that plugs right in to your computer's USB port, and that you may even end up passing on to your children when you're about to kick the bucket.

The keyboard features ~8 LEDs and 2 brightness levels plus off, and you can adjust the brightness of the LEDs right from the keyboard without interfering with whatever app you have running. It would be perfectly at home on a cluttered desktop, lab bench, or even in your lap. Never again will you need to hold a flashlight in your mouth or struggle & fuss with one of those funky USB lights to play games or do serious work on your computer after dark.


size comparison
My hand over the keyboard so you can kinda judge the size.



If you're using Windows XP, start by plugging the LED keyboard into any free USB port, and unplug your old keyboard if it is in a USB port. Turn your computer off first if your old keyboard is not plugged into a USB port. Then boot up as you normally do. The Windows hardware detection wizard will automatically see the new device and load the appropriate driver for it - and then you're good to go.

To adjust the brightness of the LEDs, press & release the button with the light blub above it - see the photograph directly below.

LED Keyboard

Press and release this button once for low, a second time for off, and a third time for high. Yes, this keyboard starts with its LEDs on high mode.

The three buttons to the left of that decrease the sound volume, increase the sound volume, and mute/unmute the sound, respectively.

The keys do all the things a regular keyboard is supposed to do. It includes a full set of function keys (F1 through F12), print screen, pause/break, page manipulation, and cursor manipulation keys, just like your regular keyboard.

Let me check some of the ALT-key combinations that work on a regular keyboard just for {vulgar term for multiple feces} and giggles...

Yup, works fine thankyouverymuch.



The Eclipse LED Backlit Keyboard is designed to be a computer peripheral, so I won't try to stomp on it with spiked golf shoes, drown it in the commode, slam it against a steel rod, run over it with a 400lb electric wheelchair, smack it with the golf putter I purchased late last year (to practise the game "Hole in One or Two" on The Price is Right), let my housemate's kitty cat's ghost go potty on it, or subject it to any other indecencies that a regular flashlight may have to endure.

The keys themselves are standard sized (0.75" x 0.75"), full-travel computer keys, just like the ones you're probably typing on right now.

The keytops come off, but you can no longer type the character represented by that key without using a ballpoint pen or similar instrument.

I removed the (-) key on the numeric keypad to test this (a ballpoint pen point-end down fits the open receptacle exposed by removing the keytop and allows you to type the character) and furnish you with that answer.


LED Keyboard
Keyboard shown in subdued lighting.


LED Keyboard
Closeup of a number of keys.


LED Keyboard
Keyboard installed on my desk as I would normally use it.


LED Keyboard
Photograph showing the poor contrast between the legends & keytops.
The angle here is how the keyboard might be viewed by the average computer user.


LED Keyboard
Keyboard once again in subdued lightimng.


LED Keyboard
Photograph of an image on the box, showing you how it's *SUPPOSED* to look.
But nobody uses a keyboard looking straight down at it.


LED Keyboard
Photograph of the front of the box.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this keyboard.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this keyboard; newer software & settings used.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this keyboard; yet newer software & settings used.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this keyboard; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 450nm and 490nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 467.622nm.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.



TEST NOTES:
Test unit was purchased on Amazon.com on 03-08-06, and was received on the afternoon of 03-28-06.

Product was almost certainly made in Hong Kong. A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.


UPDATE: 03-29-06
I have come to note that this keyboard is somewhat difficult to type on if you are not a true touch-typist because the characters are rather difficult to see when an overhead (desk) lamp is turned on over it. This is because the characters on each keytop have very poor contrast to the keytop itself; better results were obtained by turning the desk lamp off and the keyboard's LEDs on and typing in near-total darkness.


UPDATE: 03-30-06
I have decided to remove this keyboard from active duty and replace it with my original, because the Eclipse was just too difficult to see and type on during the daytime.


UPDATE: 04-08-06
I really, REALLY, REALLY wanted to like this keyboard.
No really, I did.
It is very unique in that it has BLUE LEDs under each key.
But the poor contrast between the legends & keytops makes it virtually unusable, and therefore, I can't rate it as highly as it might deserve.


UPDATE: 06-11-06
I have tried this keyboard again at my new home in Sacramento, and because the keyboard is positioned significantly lower, the legends on the keys are *SUBSTANTIALLY* easier to see. Because of this, I'll increase the rating I gave it.

The keytops felt somewhat sticky when I connected it today; the movers must have sprayed it with something or douched it with something. Glass cleaner sprayed onto a washrag took care of that rather handily though; now it feels like new once again.


UPDATE: 12-27-06
I installed the new computer I received for Christmas where my Dell used to be; the Dell was placed to my right, and the Eclipse keyboard was an important part of that installation!
This installation *does* place the keyboard two or three inches higher than its previous location, but it is *FAR* from useless - if it was, I'd have placed the original Dell keyboard there.


UPDATE: 01-01-07
From an email I received from a user of this product, comes the following:

...Anyway the keyboard has a acrylic (I'm guessing) panel beneath the whole keyboard plane of buttons, and is edge lit from the bottom with about eight or so blue smd leds. I took my Eclipse keyboard apart to wash all the buttons...



UPDATE: 08-14-10
I have replaced the keyboard on my work computer with this one; I also took the time to perform repeat spectroscopy of its blue LEDs.





PROS:
Adjustable brightness LEDs
Blue LEDs make this product unique


CONS:
Legends on keytops have very poor contrast, making the keyboard very difficult to use in daylight if you aren't a touch-typist (see 06-11-06 update above)


    MANUFACTURER: Saitek
    PRODUCT TYPE: Computer keyboard with illuminated keys
    LAMP TYPE: Blue SMD LED
    No. OF LAMPS: ~11
    BEAM TYPE: N/A
    SWITCH TYPE: Hardware-transparent brightness adjustment
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: N/A
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure/not stated
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: No
    SUBMERSIBLE: NO WAY HOZAY!!!
    ACCESSORIES: Wrist rest
    WARRANTY: 2 years

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating









Saitek Eclipse Blue LED Backlit Keyboard * www.amazon.com...







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