Dimming the insanely bright LED’s on a Motorola SB6141 cable modem

Motorola SB6141 cable modem
Blinding LED’s which fill the room with cool blue light.

A few weeks ago I decided to upgrade an aging
Motorola SB5101 cable modem to a new Motorola SURFboard 400 Series SB6141. After the obligatory call to Comcast to register the new MAC address everything was going swimmingly until I turned off the lights and suddenly landed in the world of TRON. The entire room was basked in cool blue light from the “stupidly, ridiculously, blindingly bright” LED’s. Seriously, they’re that bad and more, blinking incessantly and with a case full of holes it nearly filled the room. For several weeks I’ve debated taking the time to solve the problem until this evening when after everyone went to bed I decided to Google it. Of course, turns out I’m not alone, lots of people have reported this problem and as you can tell from the link above posted their solutions. The first few posts I found involved “cracking” the case open which I wasn’t too fond of given both mentioned it was difficult. I did find a review from Amazon where a guy mentions an alternative which I used and thought I would share a few photos.

Step 1:

Plastic front cover SB6141
Remove the hard plastic cover.

Using a utility knife I carefully pryed the front plastic cover off of the modem. It adhesive was fairly strong but it’s easily doable. I then dawned sunglasses for the remainder of the work.

Step 2:

SB6141 front coverThanks in large part to an image from this post of the back side of the front cover I was able to see a translucent plastic bar that made up the front facing lights. It’s held in place by a few small plastic clips which I figured I could work loose in order to apply some electric tape. Using a small screwdriver I was able to pry the bottom edge of the translucent plastic out from the clip and bend it back exposing the LED’s.


Taping the LED's
Applying electrical tape to the LED lights.

With the translucent plastic bend back I was able to use tweezers and apply small squares of army green Scotch Vinyl Electrical Tape 35 to each blue LED. The top one was the most difficult because the translucent bar could only bend so much so I used a longer piece of tape as I didn’t want to completely dislodge it as that would have meant cracking the case open to re-seat it.

Step 4:

Dimmed LEDs for an SB6141
Blue LED’s dimmed to a reasonable level

Next, I clicked the bottom end of the translucent plastic bar back into place and restored the front plastic cover using it’s original adhesive backing and as you can see the icons are actually legible now that the brightness has been toned down.
Finally, I replaced the original electrical tape I had on the front cover which was completely ineffective but now works great.

Of course the last test was to turn out all of the lights and test again. Fortunately, the green LED’s are a sensible brightness and the blue is now essentially gone.
No cracking the case, no ripped labels on the bottom of the modem. This approach required a bit of finessing the tape but all in all it took only 20-25 minutes to do including gathering the tools and tape.
Btw, an unrelated tidbit I learned about this modem is that if you own one you can reach it locally here: