Retrofitting a backlit keyboard on a Unibody Macbook (Alu, late 2008)
I've been using my unibody MacBook 2Ghz much more than usual lately as my iMac was being repaired and I was lamenting the absence of backlit keys on it.
As I was looking into the iFixit guide on how to remove the logic board for an unrelated reason, I happened onto this post where I learned that I could just buy a backlight sheet and add it into my Macbook without having to replace the whole upper case. It was also much cheaper than I expected; only 10€ delivered (took a couple of weeks from HK). You can find it on ebay searching for the part number or just the part name.
It took a couple of week for the original, new part to arrive from Hong-Kong, I then proceeded to test it quickly to check if everything was working as expected:
After plugging it in with the laptop powered down (obviously), I started it, logged in remotely and used Labtick to manually switch the backlight on.
The blue fringe around the sheet is the adhesive cover, there is a tab to remove it prior installation.
Installation was fairly straightforward, even if it involves removing pretty much all the internals, it's not difficult to do on a unibody. Using iFixit Guide it's just a matter of following the instructions. I also used this occasion to give the radiator and fan a good cleaning.
So here is it, even if this is mostly a cosmetic hack that needs a fair amount of time to install, I hope that some people here will find this interesting. This also might be applicable to other Macbook that have a backlit keyboard as an option.