A basic rundown on EL Wire
This Buying guide for EL Wire is suited to the novice user of Electroluminescent Products
EL wire has a wire running thru the centre of it with phosphor coating around it. There is a second wire wrapped around the phosphor layer that acts as a coil that energisers the phosphor via an electrical current that illuminates the EL wire. There is an insulator layer around the outside of the EL wire.
EL wire is a very flexible wire that is powered by a DC inverter and or a battery holder. The invertors that power EL wire can be normal on and off switch invertors or sound activated invertors that have a sensitivity adjuster wheel that makes the EL Wire flash to the sound of music.
Some other types of EL Wire are EL running wire which is a new type of EL Wire that appears to run along its own length. EL Tape is a tape with EL properties (lights up).
EL Wire is very popular for use on clothing. Some people attach EL Wire to clothing or costumes for parties and raves and others use the EL wire for stage performances and music videos. The costumes you can make with EL Wire are only limited to your imagination.
EL Wire is also used for signage in shop windows, for Christmas and Halloween decorations, and for a number of other creative projects. You may have seen EL technologies in use before like on EL T-shirts and EL car equalizers. The EL wire battery packs convert the low DC power of the batteries into around 115 volt AC power. Sometimes when you turn off energy efficient lights bulbs you can see the phosphor light up green inside the light bulb. Some of our EL wire will also fluoresce/glow under black light.
How to select a good quality EL Wire
A good EL wire should be nice and flexible and not break when bent. The full length of EL wire should light up neon coloured when switched on.
Frequently asked questions about EL Wire
Q) How do I attach EL Wire to clothing?
A) You can stitch the EL wire onto clothing with thick fishing line. This method works well because fishing line is clear and it’s hard to see in the dark when using the EL Wire. Another option is to attach the EL wire with an adhesive that bonds well with fabric. Keep in mind that if using an adhesive it needs to be flexible so you can still move freely. Don’t use an adhesive that will eat into plastic.
Q) Can I cut EL Wire to length?
A) Yes you can but once you do the end of the EL Wire with the clear cap cannot be used again unless you know how to solder and have worked with electronics before. If you do cut the EL Wire you will need to put a sealer cap on the end of the wire where you have cut or use some glue to seal the end of the EL Wire.
Q) What battery back and or invertors do I need to powder my EL Wire?
A) If you are running 1m to 3m length of EL Wire you will need a 3 volt DC battery pack. This battery pack holds 2 x AA batteries. This battery pack is light weight and good for using with EL wire that is going to be attached to clothing or a costume. The functions of this battery pack is on/flashing/off controlled by a small button on the front of the battery pack. This battery pack has a clip on the back so the battery pack can be placed in a pocket. Does not require an additional battery holder.
If you are running 1m to 5m length of EL Wire and you want your EL Wire to be sound activated you will need a 6 volt sound activated battery pack. This battery pack holds 4 x AA batteries. This battery is also very light weight but is a little bit bigger than the 3 volt battery packs. This battery pack is also good for use on EL Wire that is going to be attached to clothing or a costume. The functions of this battery is on/sound activated function/ off. Note that the EL wire only works when it senses a sound or music. You can adjust the sensitivity by the control wheel on the side of the battery pack. To switch on there is an on/off switch on the side of the battery pack. Does not require an additional battery holder.
For running longer lengths of EL Wire up to 10m you can use a 12 volt inverter. Note that for running up to a 10m length of wire you will also need a 12 volt battery holder which holds 8 x 1.5 volt batteries. If you know what you are doing this battery pack is easy to wire up if you do not know electronics seek help from a professional. You can use electrical tape to protect the wires connecting the inverter to the battery holder or you can solder the wires together if you know how to use a solder.
You will also need to select the required amount of plugs/ports needed to connect the EL wire to the inverter.
If using EL Running Wire you can only run one length per battery pack unless you have EL Running Wire plugs/ports with multiple plugs/ports you can use. Follow the same methods above for EL running wire but keep in mind the plugs/ports are not the same as normal EL Wire.
It’s recommended that you always used fully charged rechargeable batteries to powder EL Wire.
DO NOT PLUG EL WIRE INTO 240V AC MAINS POWER.
Because EL wire is flexible it’s easy to work with and has many applications from Personal use to advertising to visual safety aids.
Author Jason Housegp
(c) Copyright Glow Paint Industries Queensland Australia, 06/08/2014