Too bright lights on Motorola 6141 cable modem

New things. New problems.

I’d been having trouble with my old combination cable modem/wireless router for a while. It needed to be reset a few times a week and I wasn’t seeing the download speeds I should have.

Based on online reviews and recommendations from The Wirecutter I purchased an ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and an ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router. In the few days they’ve been up and running I’ve been really happy with the Asus Router. It has some advanced features I wasn’t expecting and I saw a bump in download speed from 8Mbps to 16Mbps. Not bad. But while the Motorola modem appears to function fine the lights on the stupid thing are so insanely bright it’s as if the engineers had the clever idea that it should double as a lamp. In your office in the daytime this might be OK. But the only cable line in my house runs to my bedroom, and the flashing blue lights from this innocent plastic box were terribly annoying. A dumb flaw in an otherwise fine modem.

Poking around online I saw a lot of complaints about the brightness of the lights. Part of the problem is that the design lets a lot of light leak through the vents in the case so that the normal fix for this sort of problem — covering the front panel with tape — is ineffective.

Helpfully, a fix was posted on This Does Not Compute. It involves cracking open the case and some tape and probably voids your warranty. The instructions and photos posted there were helpful, but I thought a few additional tips and photos might help someone else out.

The sticker on the bottom of the device runs across the seam in the case. I used a razor to slice through it so that I didn’t have to remove or damage the sticker. You’re probably going to need the MAC address on it sometime in the future so don’t just rip it apart.

The two halves of the case came apart easily enough using a small flathead screwdriver to pry at the location of the clips.

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The hardest part for me was removing the front panel with the lights. Here are is a photo of the clips to give you a sense of how they work.
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I decided I didn’t need the lights at all so I covered the LEDs with black electrical tape to cut the light off completely. You might not want to do this, but I figure if the router is reporting an Internet connection I can assume the modem is working.

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The case snapped back together easily and now it doesn’t emit any light at all. Ahhhhhhhh.

One thought on “Too bright lights on Motorola 6141 cable modem

  1. ICI2I

    I see a lot of people getting reflective tape, using other types of tape that will eventually come off from the heat or will shrink and fall off. I found a simple solution.. get a bottle of “white out” aka “liquid paper” and brush on the LED’s of choice, letting dry between application,. The brush allows exact amount and is localized ON THE LED.

    Dry time is almost instantly. Since the “blue” is like a spotlight, dab a bit more as needed, check when room is not well lit. Once applied, will not chip, peel or come off, just filters the light and looks clean from the outside.

    Before I modified the LED’s lit up the room, after has the brightness of a SB51XX only with the original colors. Can also be easily seen in a well lit room.

    Reply

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