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Feb 21, 2016
For anyone who wants to use standard switches and have them fit correctly, it is actually relatively easy to remove the LEDs. For the TKL version, at least.
I bought the TKL CIY from Banggood around the same time as the first drop for these, and didn't really care about having the LEDs. Unfortunately, as I expected, normal switches don't fit quite right on the PCB. They still work correctly and are useable, but they don't sit completely flush and might be a bit unstable. I mostly just got it out of curiosity, so I initially just put it away until I had the time and means of working on it.
Recently, I got a new soldering iron and decided to try removing them. Overall, it wasn't terribly difficult. The lights desolder easily, and usually just fall off if you apply heat to one side for long enough (I found a chisel tip works well for this). The only real annoyance was that the plastic casing on top of the LEDs melts quickly and is a pain to constantly clean off of the soldering tip.
After removing the LEDs, the loose Cherry MX switches I had on hand sit flush with the PCB and snap snugly into the plate. The board seems to be working normally with the switches I tested, and no annoying LEDs. If you just don't want any LEDs, and don't care about how the switches sit, keep in mind that the closest to turning backlighting completely off will still leave the Win key on if it isn't disabled. In this case, you could probably just remove that one LED.
If anyone else wants to try it, I'd say go ahead. Just keep in mind, I'm no expert, and I only did it because it wouldn't have really been a big loss to me if I had broken it. If you're planning on using it a lot, and don't care about minor defects, it is still fully functional with regular MX switches.
Feb 21, 2016
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