Fully Backlit AlphaSmart NEO2 Lights Up The Night

The AlphaSmart NEO and NEO2 are great little word processors for distraction-free writing anywhere you want to go, but they lack the backlight of the later Dana model. Well, [starboyk] has done what many thought impossible and added a backlight to a NEO2. Experience gained from a ton of console mods and repairs led to the question of whether the NEO2’s LCD is similar to a Game Boy’s.

[starboyk] started with a fresh NEO2 from ebay, then swapped out the reflective polarizer for a translucent polarizer and added a trio of LED backlights meant for the original Game Boy across the back of the screen. The best part is that the backlight has its own power switch and a brightness control pot. It sounds easy enough, but this mod is not for the faint of heart as it sounds like a really tight fit in the end. Apparently we only need 500 orders to get a custom backlight manufactured, but barring that does anyone know of a backlight that’s 157mm x 44mm?

You can always stick with the mod where you power the USB-A port and use a USB reading light like I did with my NEO.

5 thoughts on “Fully Backlit AlphaSmart NEO2 Lights Up The Night

  1. I did this to an old Motorola paging terminal. Why they didn’t add a backlight at the factory puzzles me. I took the Seiko EL backlight and its inverter out of an old AT&T/Ultratec folding TTY unit which was in not too good of shape, as the character LCD used was the same size.

  2. Thanks very much for sharing how you did this. When you say you used a “translucent polarizer,” are you talking about something like this?


    Please let me know. I really want to do this to my Neo.

    Also, for anyone who’s interested, I think you could use this for the backlight rather than the lights for the Gameboy:


    I bought one, and it’s pretty bright.

    Thanks for your help.

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