non destructive grid mod to change LED colors

I’ve always been partial to the warm/amber LED color of the grid dating back from the walnut days, unfortunately while the latest grid model is superb in every way, the cold white LEDs are not my favorite. I initially thought about swapping it out for a older model but i wanted to keep all the modern conveniences that the new model offered.

eventually i had an idea, what if we just added a color mask to the LED? enter Kapton tape. I’m not sure if there’s another name for this but it’s that translucent electronic tape that people sometimes use for projects.

I figured this could give the LEDs the nice warm-ish hue that i was hoping it would. and be 100% reversible. so i ordered a thin roll and today i put it together.

Image album of the process and results:

end result is mixed, while the entire process went flawlessly, the end result color was not what i expected it to be. came out much more of a greenish yellow than i anticipated. (more like a tennis ball yellow or a mountain dew yellow, not the warm yellow i was hoping for)

thought this would be something interesting to share with the community. although be warned that if you do attempt to do this, you move forward on your own, assume no warranty and anything that breaks is your responsibility.

let me know what you think?


that is so frickin cool


The kapton tape seems to have worked well! (I dig the green-yellow vibe).

Another thing that could be used are lighting filters. Make a jig to cut it into strips, some patience, and a little adhesive (watch those contacts!). Now you have just about any color you want. R15 and G930 would be cool.

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yeah lighting filters was the first idea i had, then i quickly thought about kapton instead since it seemed like a similar solution but with the adhesive pre-installed and no need for finicky cutting.

it’s definitely something that can be explore more in the future, in the norns discord there were also a few ideas being thrown around about laser cutting some filters to put in the pads.

for now i think i’ll revert it back to white :smiley: i don’t like this color as much.

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Very nice work even though it didn’t necessarily produce the desired result. It reminds me of this Casio watch mod project here:

In the video demo, they discuss layering kapton or similar to achieve desired colors so perhaps that could be an approach too…

Would be interested to see if this improves visibility outside/in sunlight. The newer grid seems worse in this regard after using mine a few times outdoors…

good question, i’ll test this out today.

just did a quick test in both direct sunlight and non direct sunlight.

in direct sunlight pretty much nothing is showing. it’s like it’s turned off. but i guess this is to be expected. an LED can’t compete with direct sunlight. any pad or even screen will disapear in direct sunlight.

as for non direct sunlight, visibility seems good, it’s hard to tell if it’s better or worse than stock since i haven’t really thought about it before nor did i make note of how it was beforehand. the ideal would be to split it back open, remove half the tape and then compare it. OR just get another grid next to it.

I’ll take a few photos and then remove the tape and compare. just for science

Thanks so much! It’s more indirect sunlight and there was definitely a difference when I was jamming with a friend who had the previous gen grid. Theirs was more visible for sure in indirect light.

Just in case it helps someone the generic name for kapton tape is polyimide tape.


Brilliant thread. Just wondering, has there been any further development on this experiment? Not a fan of cold colors here either…

nothing much to develop on further. what are you curious about?

If you had found ways to reproduce that sort of amber color used in previous Monome editions…

ahh, no sadly I couldn’t find a feasible solution. your best bet is just to buy the older warm grid tbh. and don’t even think about desoldering SMD LEDs, that’s just a recipe for a dead grid.

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