Annoying Blinking LED Lights

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 27, 2009
Updated • May 21, 2018
Mobile Computing

Hardware devices that I buy seem to come quite frequently with annoying blinking LED lights that cannot be turned off. The first device that made use of a bright blue LED was the Nokia N73 cell phone that I purchased about 2 years ago.

The blue light was automatically turned on when the cell phone entered sleep mode, and initially without the possibility to turn it off. Well that was not entirely correct. Turning off sleep mode, and therefore reducing the power of the battery faster was a possibility. There was however no way to turn off the light without disabling sleep mode.

The light was that bright that I had to turn the N73 so that the LED was on the bottom before going to sleep or working because of the distraction by that light.

Blinking LED Lights

My next purchase was the Razer Arctosa gaming keyboard which uses one ultra bright white LED on the top left corner of the computer keyboard. And guess what; It is not possible to turn off that light either.

Now I'm no expert when it comes to usability and quality control but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm overly sensitive to LED lights, or if the manufacturer's quality control fails big time.

The only working way of dimming down those bright LED lights was to use - preferably black - tape placed directly over the light. Do you know of other devices that have annoying blinking LED lights that cannot be turned off?

Another option to get rid of the light is to use a black pen to paint over the LED light so that it does not shine through at all, or is dimmed enough that it is not hurting the eyes any more.

While you may use tape, permanent marker or stickers to reduce the impact of LED lights on your electronic devices, or even blank those out completely, you may lose functionality in the process as well depending on the purpose of these lights.

This may not be a big deal always, especially if the LED lights are just there for visual appeal and not for functionality. Anyway, I'd like to ask companies to consider adding turn off switches at the very least to their devices with permanent LED lights to give users control over the functionality.

Update: It is 2014 now and my most recent smartphone, the Motorola Moto G, is making use of a notification LED as well. Thankfully though it is possible to turn it off this time, but only by downloading a widget to your device to do so.

Article Name
Annoying Blinking LED Lights
A little rant about annoying blinking or permanently on LED lights on electronic devices such as smartphones, computer keyboards and other devices.
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  1. lampk said on April 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

    That is the problem which caused by LED driver inside the LED light.

  2. Keith said on March 6, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I too am annoyed by my new, otherwise fantastic Moto G. Could you please tell me what is the widget to fix it. Thanks, Keith.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 6, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Just click on the last link in the article, there you find the download link for the widget.

  3. Phil said on March 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I hate when devices have blinking/pulsing lights when they’re sleeping. It’s as if the device is yelling “I’M SLEEPING!!! …….. I’M SLEEPING!!! ……. I’M SLEEPING!!! …..”

  4. led lights said on March 17, 2010 at 7:47 am

    My next purchase was the Razer Arctosa gaming keyboard which uses one ultra bright white LED in the top left corner of the computer keyboard.

  5. Thraxy said on March 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Yeah, I have a USB headset that flashes it’s super ultra bright blue light every time sound is coming in or going out. I mean… this thing is BRIGHT! You can see a clear blue spot on the ceiling 2m away. It’s insane.

    My netbook has bright lights on the front too, which are extremely annoying when I lie back with it on my belly. I’m currently in the process of dimming them out with a marker and stickers and what not.

  6. Anonymous said on December 2, 2009 at 5:40 am


  7. sleepy said on July 28, 2009 at 3:12 am

    I don’t mind lights all that much, but when I’m trying to sleep I want complete darkness, and the blinking blue light of my monitor lights up the room just enough to annoy. I’m thinking of dismanteling the monitor and replacing the led with a resistor or something.

  8. Kevin said on March 29, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Oops… Also, my old Palm Tungsten C sits on a charger in the hallway at night, makes a great night light for our dark interior hallway, with bright green LED.

  9. Kevin said on March 29, 2009 at 7:33 am

    My Blackberry Curve 8310 lights a bright green LED when it’s asleep and fully charged, but it also blinks as it charges. And green is the color the human eye is most sensitive to, according to the experts. My wife gets annoyed because the charger is in the bedroom, where I dress in the morning, to help me remember to take it with me. (A cell phone sitting at home or on a desk is a waste of money.)

    Yeah, I still call it “cell phone” and not that new cheesy marketing term “wireless phone.”

  10. Aggressive Prefector said on March 28, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Everything in my room has those lights. my monitor Envision LCD 22″. My amp Insignia 600watts. my DVD player Apex AD-1200. My power control box. My VCRs. My mice. my router 3com. my modem verizon. my network switch. my sub woofer. my heater.

    So far I have almost used a roll of electrical tape. I do not need a LED to tell me what is on/off.

    1. Martin said on March 28, 2009 at 10:14 am

      Seems that I’m not the only one that gets annoyed by LED lights. I do not have a problem if they either use a dim light that is not disturbing my concentration or have an option to turn that light off. My US Robotics router for one makes use of LEDs to display connectivity and activity in the network and the lights are not obtrusive at all. The keyboard and N73 on the other hand are a huge distraction. I had problems writing text while the keyboard light was not concealed. It was simply to bright.

  11. Thinker said on March 27, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Black marker is the best way to deal with it :)

  12. Rupert said on March 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    When I go to bed at night, my sitting room is like a Circus with all the glowing standby lights left on :(

    But I am a fan of glowing lights, especially the ones showing network activity on my router, switch and network cards.

    The only light i have a problem with is on my Shuttle XPC, it has such a bright blue light it is rediculous, I had to stick a piece of white paper, and still it is well bright.

    Oh, and Martin, upgrade to an N82 -it is like the N73 but with a better 5 MP camera and no silly blue light, also much faster as it has more RAM, oh yeah, it also has GPS built it, it is essentially an N95 without the slideyness.

    Just don’t get an iPhone, please please dont join the darkside. I mean, what kinda company forces uses to PAY for an upgrade to activate a pre-built in hardware feature (namely bluetooth).

  13. Enigma said on March 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I got 5 blinking lights on my router, my mouse has a bright green glow coming from the sides and middle mouse button, my n73 has the blinking blue light, my modem has 6 constantly blinking green lights my monitor has a standby light my pc has 2 lights that blink. this is with out my TV/set top box/360

    I do not need to turn lights on at night at all.

    I would like to thank you Martin for the excellent article on the N73 unbranding article.

  14. Paul(us). said on March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    My (Wanadoo) router has a ferry (ferry) bright light (about 20-40 what)on the top and every 2 seconds, the light lights up and projects the Wanadoo name. Teribel.

  15. joe said on March 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    i just cut a little piece of black electrical tape, and put a pinhole in it if i still need some indicator for the light

    i have taped lights on my speakers, my pc case, and my keyboard

  16. Krish said on March 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    When i go for sleep, i keep my N73 on table with that light facing the table.

  17. iampriteshdesai said on March 27, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I remember you blogged about this problem before.

  18. Fips said on March 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I can think of plenty of devices that I’ve had or used that feature unnecessary and distracting LEDs. Quite honestly a lot of the time I wonder why designers and developers put them in. Sure, a little LED that indicates something is running is probably quite useful, and I’ve seen them used on phones to indicate when there’s a missed call or text message, fair enough. But a blinking light for ‘sleep’ mode? Almost as stupid as the TV I had which popped an LED on when it was turned *off*.

    1. Martin said on March 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm

      Apparently they designed it that way to show that the phone was still turned on and not turned off. Must not be thinking that highly about the memory of their customers.

  19. Dani said on March 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Yes. My DSL modem (3 LEDs), router (9 LEDs), switch (5 LEDs), HDD and LAN activity LEDs on my PC, and 2 servers. That’s 23.
    But I, for one, do like these blinking little green LEDs and I can’t really explain why. I just do.

  20. tapedd said on March 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    You can also use a pernament marker (again preferably black)to paint over the light. That takes care of the problem and doesn’t come off as easily as the tape.

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