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I recently bought an ASUS N56VM which is suppose to ship with a backlit keyboard. However on startup and when dark there is no backlit keyboard. When pressing the Fn+F3/F4 buttons, the animation for increasing/decreasing the brightness of the keyboard does appear. How do I fix this problem. Its an ASUS N56VM-S4034V.

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Mine also does this - I have a Dell Inspiron 7250 SE and my keys are also ineffective. Do you have Windows installed on another partition or even OS X? – Mochan Sep 25 '12 at 11:57
Have you tried to set the brightness as maximum? The same result? – AliNa Feb 12 '13 at 21:41

I have recently corresponded with Asus Support on this subject and they have confirmed that

“…there are no UK N56VM models that have a backlit keyboard. …” – “…the backlight feature … is normally enabled by press FN + F$ to illuminate. …” – “…the key will have an image of a keyboard and sunlight … if it does not have that, then this unit will not have that function. …”

Trust that assists

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If your keyboard lights flash on when you turn it on, then there is a problem with the firmware. If you use Winflash to update to 214, you will lose the lights. To do it without losing the lights, make sure the keyboard lights are set to off and then update from inside the BIOS using EasyFlash.

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In Ubuntu, all keys are programmed and controlled by X windows, keyboard drivers, Window Managers etc. So all functions keys which behaved in certain ways (eg, to dimmer the backlit) as documented for Windows OS, have to be reprogrammed for Ubuntu.

Reading this for details:

Executing this as root:

echo 3 > /sys/class/leds/asus::kbd_backlight/brightness

I managed to get the keys all lighted up. And here is to off the light completely:

echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/asus::kbd_backlight/brightness

Values in between will have different brightness.

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