View Full Version : [ubuntu] Luxeed LED Keyboards - review I guess

December 7th, 2010, 10:50 AM
This is copypasta from the other, now closed, Luxeed thread.

On other forums I'm on, you usually get a quick banning for spuriously opening new threads, but it seems backwards m'ereh.

Anyway, this is an expensive keyboard, so I thought someone else might find this handy to read before laying out a wad on one.

I just got one as an early christmas present for myself.

Turned up in the post this morning. I plugged it in to check it was actually functioning at a basic level then got on with tiling the bathroom.

Came back, forgot I'd bought it, it'd gone dark, opened the door and went "oooooooooooOOooo!"

I got the one with a black surround, as I'm constantly covered in muck from DIY and figured the white / silver / silver & black ones would be caked in no time.

I've seen the LCD per key one, but like this one and it's pretty, bright colours. I don't really 'get' the LCD one. I rarely look at the keyboard in detail, and it's A LOT of money to change the font of the keys or stick a picture of fox on your internet key. This one is real expensive compared to a budget board, but it creates an equally massive impact as well.

I thought the constant patterns would be way too distracting, but it's not if you switch them to others or turn the brightness down. I have it on rainbow at the moment and all the way up, and it's not too bad.

This is the U7 keyboard, which is supposed to be MAC and Linux compatible. It can also pick up what you're listening to through the soundcard and dance the patterns. I think the U5 is MAC and Linux compatible too, but has now been phased out.

The box includes a little microfibre cloth to clean it and (more importantly for this mucky boy) a protective skin to keep the dot and dab off it.

The board can either operate in P&P mode, where you use a control button and the F keys to changes the patterns, or you can do it from the desktop software.

Most of the F key options are just solid colours. Then there's one for sparkle, wherein the keys should change colour as you type. And one for all the presets to cycle. The most impressive is rainbow as far as the built in options are concerned. But again, most of the presents are just solid colours, which you can get far more readily from a cheaper keyboard.

The keys are really nice to type on, and have good positive, squishyness to them.

Doesn't have a num pad, not a problem for me. It makes it look cute and small. Mechanical build quality seems fine.

First problem!

Unless I'm missing something, or those keys just need redefining, most of the F keys don't work as far as the main LEDs are concerned. The light showing the pattern is active comes on and changes colour as I swap through the defaults, but the board stays one colour.

Also, the box doesn't include any form of software for the board, so you're stuck with the P&P options as is.

The software is about $12-13 if you buy both the normal U7 and the MuSkins (the music thing) from their site.

I decided to buy the software as well.

Paypaled the money through the site and it gave me download links for word documents, with a link in those for the software.

Got the software and it's a DOS / Windows executable with nothing else. Wine starts up, then gives me an error.

These may be two problems that are quite minor.

I'm a bit bothered a bunch of the F keys (that should be working without being redefined if they're not going to ship it with the software) aren't F.unctioning. Thats a problem for people who don't want to buy the software and it's a problem if I can't get it going in Ubuntu. It says in the manual to visit the Luxeed site and download the latest firmware update when you get it. But.... if you visit the site, the only thing that looks like a download is the support section. And, other than the manuals, the only thing in there is the U7 and MuSkins software (which you pay for), there's no firmware update as far as I can tell. It may be that the update would have solved the F.unction key complaints before I made them.

Secondly, I found this thread thinking "wonder if someone else has already put some advice up on getting it going in Ubuntu". It's going to need a bit of fiddling around with I suspect (no CD, no easy software link, no instructions on Linux in the box or on the site).

I've only been playing with it for a few minutes, so it may be fine.

I wanted an illuminated one as I like turning the lights down at night to help me fall asleep later. Also, the dimmer light interferes with the wireless.

It needs all the patterns to work though, as the main reason for me choosing this over the way cheaper solid colour keyboards was that it could do the amazing patterns. I want to be tripping my balls off every time I look at it. No amazing patterns, not worth it.

I have emailed Luxeed about this, as I've been typing, and will see how long it takes to get a reply and if it helps; then let you know.

I may also make a fancy video of it for yarz! But for now, here's a picture of it rainbowing with the forum in the background.




I have solved some of the P&P key functions, the next morning.

The first set of F keys are not supposed to turn the entire board one colour, they're more like selecting a colour to paint with.

So.... F1 -> F7 are all just colours.

Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta and White.

You hit Colour Control, then pick a colour and press the buttons you want in that colour - so.... AWSD if you play loads of games (the forward / back strafe keys).

You can pick up another colour at anytime and then highlight others however you like, then store that layout in one of the four built in memory positions. These are four buttons over the control keys labeled P1 -> P4.

I also have the sparkle function working and just needed to exit the colour control with it switched on, it won't work with the control open (unlike the others).

Sparkle, the keyboard stays unlight and only the keys you hit flash - and they flash in whatever skin you've laid out for the board.

The 'All' button I have also worked out. It doesn't mean all effects, it means light all keys in one colour. You can leave it at that or, I suspect, most people would use it to create a solid colour to then highlight other keys within - because it's quicker than setting each key individually.


I got an email back from Luxeed this morning saying both the U7 and MuSkins software is not Linux compatible.


Have a look at what their site has to say;

"The newest line of LUXEED keyboards supports the latest versions of Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Just plug and play !"

Note them using the phrase Just plug and play! not to mean, it's simple, but... it only works in plug and play with the others. As it would with anything with a USB port since all it needs is power.

"Easy Crossover Ability
The LUXEED U7 can toggle between two modes: Plug & Play (P&P) for onboard color control, or Software Controlled (SWC) for more advanced functions like MuSkins™. Note: Both the U7 program and MuSkins™ software are sold separately."

Easy Crossover? Again, I could light the keyboard up by just plugging it into a battery.

The real balls is if you go to http://luxeed.com/products/u7/ and scroll down to the table of information.

If you look at OS, it says;

"You can crossover between P&P and SWC modes."

There is no ambiguity there, that cleary states SWC (software control mode) works on the other OS's.

They've said the Linux software will be available, or I can have a refund.

I've asked how long it will be.

More to follow when they reply.

June 20th, 2011, 10:19 PM
Any luck getting a driver to work? I've found two but unable to get either to work.

This one fails to compile for me, I think it's due to my x64 kernel.

sudo gcc -Wall -g control.c -o control ./lib/libluxeed.a -lusb-1.0 -lm `pkg-config --cflags gtk+-2.0` `pkg-config --libs gtk+-2.0`
[sudo] password for:
/usr/bin/ld: i386 architecture of input file `./lib/libluxeed.a(keyboard.o)' is incompatible with i386:x86-64 output
/tmp/ccZE8dW0.o: In function `initWindows':
/home/kristyn/Downloads/Luxeed/GUI/control.c:120: undefined reference to `initializeFade'
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

This one also errors on compile. I don't know enough about the gcc compiler to fix it. Got lots of reading to do..

cc -g -O2 -Wall -I/opt/local/include -o luxeed_test luxeed_test.c -L. -lluxeed -L/opt/local/lib -lusb -levent -largp
/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -largp
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [luxeed_test] Error 1

June 21st, 2011, 01:12 PM
I haven't no, I tend to leave it on rainbow. I can lock the keys to certain colours if I wanted to highlight those, and save them as profiles directly in the keyboard's own four memory spaces. The main thing I was interested in with the driver was being able to make it respond to music, which it won't do over the USB and hardware alone.

Maybe it's possible to get the Windows driver working through Wine?

The space bar is still a slight issue with this keyboard. I've gotten more used to it and it's not causing many problems, but for the amount it cost it should really have a better space bar.

If I hit it too far from the centre, it sometimes won't register it as a key press.

It still looks neat to come in at night and see all the different colours, it it should really be about half the price. Maybe they have some kind of design or patent against it.

They said Linux compatible drivers would be coming out eventually, but they're still not up on the site.

"[Note] The U7 program is compatible with Windos only including XP, Vista and 7."

Think they may have added that note after I complained.

June 21st, 2011, 02:49 PM
well I tried compiling that first driver on my 32 bit laptop and got a different error..

I've had the keyboard less than a week, so I haven't really noticed any issues with the spacebar yet, still don't understand why it doesn't light up.

It really should be half the price, I wouldn't have paid that much for it, but I received it as a gift.

The music effect would be cool, but I would just like to be able to setup different animation effects. It'd also be nice to create more than 4 saved skins and apply those to the slideshow and be able to tweak the timing.

June 21st, 2011, 04:23 PM
Lol yeah, the space bar not being light is odd as well.

You not noticing the space bar issue might be because you're more used to hitting them dead on in the centre. Quite often my thumbs are towards the sides, so it sometimes doesn't register the tap because the bar pivots around the sensor in the middle rather than triggering it. They could have solved that by using two sensors in parallel and spreading them out a bit.

Lucky you getting it as a present. I bought it myself for chrimbo because I like really colourful things. I also like sitting with the lights turned down at night so it's easier to go to bed, but that made reading a none light board real tricky. So I got the luxeed thinking, that's nice and colourful and I'll be able to see it as well.

It being illuminated has been nice, and the colours are nice, but since it isn't on display anywhere, the colours are wasted.

It wouldn't be complicated for another manufacturer to produce a similar board, and the micro LEDs are neither expensive nor complicated to control.

I think I'd only buy it again if it was going in a room where it could be seen more often, or if it was a lot cheaper. Otherwise, I'd stick with the single colour board. Quite often I reset the computer, it starts up in solid colour mode and I don't even bother swapping it.

Considering I have a pair of tie dyed boxers, I expect others would be even less bothered.

The OLED versions are stupid expensive. I doubt I'd buy one even if I owned some fashion house and won the lottery. How often do people need to change the layout of Qwerty board anyway!? :P It does my nut in just having the or @ symbol move, never mind the rest of it.

The only use I could see for the OLEDs is if I had a company where I frequently had foreign visitors in. Then they could swap the board to whatever language they like. Other that that... it's a huge amount of cash to have Duke Nukem's face on the use key and the fox on the Internet browser.