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Why are Shift characters not lit up?

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by Xannot, Jan 21, 2017.

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  1. polycarSandDune091

    polycarSandDune091 New Member

    I mean characters like [email protected]#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>? are not possible to light up on both BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 and BlackWidow Chroma. Why is that the case? If anything, the only characters whose position on the keyboard I don't remember are the Shift ones on 1234567890 keys, and having them lit up would be useful when sitting in the dark.
  2. bmoconno

    bmoconno Well-Known Member

    I never noticed that, I'd expect that the problem is the key would almost need two LEDs and a little wall dividing the light, that way only the relevant character would be lit up (depending on if the shift key is being pressed or not).

    While it may sound easy, I'm sure that logistically it's not. Especially when you consider how the little wall would affect the radiant glow of the light. It sounds dumb, but if the top row of keys didn't give off the same radiance as the other keys, I'm sure more people would complain about the ascetics of that than not having the [email protected]#$%^&*()_+:"<>? keys illuminated.
  3. polycarSandDune091

    polycarSandDune091 New Member

    But why can't just both characters on a key be illuminated? For example, on the numpad, both numbers and text on them are illuminated and it looks fine.
    FWD079 likes this.
  4. Jenjar

    Jenjar Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Did not notice this with the Blackwidow before. It is odd how they did not make it so they are both lit up by the same light, On my Ornata Chroma those are lit up. Bit odd, I think with the Blackwidow V2 that is coming out sometime soon will have it like the ornata, Since they seem to look the same for the most part.
  5. SirJayDee

    SirJayDee Active Member

    This is a very good question! I am far too used to type on keyboards, I don't look at the keyboard when I type, but when you mention it they should be lit up as well.
  6. pry off one of your key caps and you'll notice how the led is positioned
  7. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    This is something that has always bothered me, actually!! I am a touch-typist anyway, so I rarely look at my keys while typing. However, there are some symbols that I just never memorized and I need to look at my keys each time to remember where they are. (specifically # % ^ & * < > ) So I'd love it if they were lit up in the same way that the num-pad was illuminated. :)
  8. Skrunch

    Skrunch Active Member

    It's probably an aesthetic choice to be honest. The LED is placed at the top of the switch, not in the middle so if they allow the secondary functions to be lit up, the bottom symbol would look dull compared to the top number. The Ornata's LED is right in the middle, which is why the lighting looks even across the whole switch.

    Some companies have actually placed both symbols side by side, instead of top/bottom, so the lighting looks more even.
  9. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    Yeah, that's how it is for my num-pad numbers+symbols/words, they're sidy-by-side. I really like it, actually.
  10. polycarSandDune091

    polycarSandDune091 New Member

    Okay, thanks for your replies. Now I understand, but it seems like a cheap workaround.
  11. ARMOR_152

    ARMOR_152 Well-Known Member

    The Logitechs and Corsairs have this, I'm hoping Razer is able to redesign to light them up eventually also.
  12. Psyjin

    Psyjin Well-Known Member

    Sadly, from what we know so far this doesn't seem to be the case. The symbols may remain unlit on the BW V2.
    Hey Xannot, welcome to Insider!

    I guess it's not really a workaround. It's actually a limitation of Cherry MX (and clones) mechanical switches. Whether a keyboard uses SMDs or normal LEDs for backlight, they are usually mounted at the top of the mechanical switch. You can easily check this by removing a keycap.

    This means that if Razer laser-etched symbols onto the keycaps, the backlight would be uneven because the mechanical switch would block some of the light. For example, take a look at the F9 and F10 keys on my BW:

    The text is perfect but the symbols below (macro recording and gaming mode) are dim & uneven.

    To solve this exact problem, Cherry actually partnered with Corsair to create the Cherry MX RGB switch which has a clear housing (instead of opaque):


    This helps illuminate the entire keycap more evenly, but you get hotspots and the stem still blocks some light. So as you can see, it's a rather complicated problem. Most backlit mechanical keyboards have this issue.

    The reason why keyboards like the DeathStalker and the Ornata have fully-backlit keycaps is because they are membrane and don't use mechanical switches.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  13. bsd107

    bsd107 Member

    This too bad. I upgraded from a Blade 2014 to a Blade late-2016. The keyboard is beautiful, but it drives me NUTS that the secondary functions are not lit up. As you say, those are really the features I HAVE to look for, and they are impossible to see. My 2014 Blade (which did not have chroma) did not have this issue.

    I ordered a Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma during the CES sale, to replace the my old Blackwidow Ultimate (with blue keyboard). I didn't really they would have gimped the desktop keyboard, too....
  14. Psyjin

    Psyjin Well-Known Member

    Hi bsd107. As I covered in the post above yours, Razer didn't necessarily "gimp" their BlackWidows. Your old BlackWidow Ultimate Classic with blue backlight had the exact same issue. It looks like the BlackWidow V2 will have the same problem too.

    On a nicer note, Razer is definitely aware of this problem. Some keys like spacebar and function weren't backlit before and people complained. They fixed that for the newer models (BW X, BW Ultimate 2016, BW V2). So they're making improvements.

    But the bottom line is this will remain a problem for the BlackWidow until they either use different mechanical switches or redesign the font again by moving the symbols higher up on the keycap.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
    Xannot and Katana like this.
  15. polycarSandDune091

    polycarSandDune091 New Member

    Yeah, from the looks of the screenshots, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 still has unilluminated Shift characters. Why don't they just place them to the right instead of under the illuminated ones just like on the numpad?
    Jessop59 likes this.
  16. Jenjar

    Jenjar Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    May look a little squat together, Since there would not be much space between them on the keycaps.
  17. Psyjin

    Psyjin Well-Known Member

    Yeah unfortunately that seems to be the case. Putting the symbols next to the number is definitely one possibility but I guess whoever designed it made the call not to for some reason. Here's an example of what it would look like (the BW V2 numpad keys):

    bw v2 numpad.jpg
    FWD079 likes this.
  18. byteloadHanBlue061

    byteloadHanBlue061 New Member

    i feel like duller lights for the shift characters would still be better than no lights at all, which makes it really annoying to find the right symbol in the dark, especially when programming...

    it could even be seen as a positive aesthetically, as it visually distinguishes further between the primary key character, and the shift character.

    i tried to find an alternative laptop due largely to this potential issue, but i still ended up buying it, with the idea that i rarely program in the dark. however, as it turns out, even in just dim or indirect light, the characters are difficult to see.

    clearly Razer sees the lit keys as purely decorative, and gave little consideration to /why and how/ we use backlit keyboards in the first place.
  19. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    I actually agree with you and each of the points you've made. I realize that I am a touch typist and rare look at the keyboard, but those rare times that I do need to check my keyboard I can guarantee that it's almost always for one of the odd symbols and I just can't recall which number or F-key it's located on. So, having them illuminated, even if it was more dim or slightly "off" somehow, would still be preferable to needing to get my phone out and use the flashlight to light up my whole keyboard in order to locate which key I needed.

    I don't do programming or anything special, but I'd still like to have some sort of guide as to where all those secondary symbols are when I do want them. :)
    FWD079, howarddavidp and sagbayani like this.
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