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Description: EL wire, or electroluminescent wire, is a flexible wire coated in phosphor. Apply the appropriate voltage and it lights up! It looks a lot like a thin flexible neon tube. They come in many bright colors (check below for other colors) and can be driven pretty easily with an inverter. Check below for compatible inverters as well.

This particular wire glows white and is 3m (almost 10 feet) in length, 2.3mm in diameter and is terminated with a JST PH connector. This connector works directly with our two driver boards, the El Escudo and the EL Sequencer. Or, you can wire them directly into the output of an inverter.


(The video states they are 6 foot in length, but they are actually 10 feet in length)

Documents:

Comments 20 comments

  • is there thicker wires ?

    • They exist - at least up to 5mm diameter - but SFE doesn’t carry them. Note that the thickness of these wires comes largely from the transparent sheathing around the glowing ‘core’ and is generally intended to increase the physical ruggedness of the wire especially for more permanent outdoor use. If you want a wider glow, consider EL Tape instead.

  • Heads up: EL Inverters recommended below, like COM-10469, have the same sex connector as the EL wire I now own. Apparently not meant to be used without some kind of bridge circuit between. Could have used a note to that effect.

    I eventually need 1/10 sec or so of DC. Can the wires take it?

  • What is the color temp and lumen output on each color EL?

  • In the datasheet:
    1. Operating Voltage Range:20~220V optimum operating voltage:120V
    2.Frequency of Operation:50~5000Hz OWF:1500-2000Hz
    It shows the frequency from 50Hz to 5000Hz. Does this mean it will work on normal household AC? Does OWF mean “Optimum Working Frequency”?
    I would like to use it to light up an area under the kitchen cabinets that is really shallow and will not fit a larger fixture. el wire would fit easily. If I can just run normal AC to it from a switch that would be really nice.
    The purpose would be a night lite function and not for lighting for being able to read or function with.
    Can you test this for us?

    • Okay, never mind. I checked Lytec which is the IP holder of this technology. It will run on mains just fine, but with reduced brightness. It will last longer at lower frequencies too. At 60Hz it will last for 25K hours of continuous use. At 2000Hz it will last 1000 hours.
      They have a FAQ here:
      http://www.lytec.nl/

  • FYI: The “yellow” that you say last, is actually more of a green color. The real yellow one comes next in the sequence, and you can see it during the quick cycle through all colors.

  • any thoughts on using this as a lightweight light source for camping, inside or outside of a tent? can 2 wires be driven directly from the 3V inverter? what kind of power consumption are we looking at?

  • Girls finally approach me at bars now that I have sewn it into my messenger bag. I suspected it was magic, but now I know that it really is.

  • How many hours run time does this EL wire have? Last I read it decays overtime :( or have they overcome this issue?

  • Can this stuff run underwater? Interested in using it in an aquarium.

    • I would maybe seal the tip a bit with caulking, just to make sure it’s water proof, if I was going to do that. It’s isolated so should not be a problem… make sure not to get the other end wet though as it’s only heat shrinked.

  • Questions:
    1) Can EL wire be cut to length by the end user?
    2) Can your control the brightness – perhaps via PWM? If so, what kind of limitations apply?

    • It can be cut to length but doing so is rather difficult. You have to deal with tiny wires.

      • What’s involving in cutting EL wire? Are there any special tools required, or is it just fiddly work?
        High voltage? Volts don’t kill you – amps kill you! (A comment from a power systems engineering professor I had a long time ago. He’s still alive, at least the last I heard…. )

        • That’s why most tasers run off 7600 (standard 9-volt) batteries.

        • Volts may not kill but they still can hurt.

        • You should also look at the Adafruil EL wire tutorial. It answers questions you have not even asked yet. :-)
          http://www.ladyada.net/learn/el-wire/

        • El Wire is fairly simple in design. It’s laid out a lot like a mono headphone wire. You have an insulation wrapper, some times 2 (depending on if elwire is colored) you then have a uncoated wire that is wrapper around another wire that is insulated. The glow comes from the field generated between the 2 wires as high voltage high frequency passes through the wire exciting the phosphorus. Hope that helps!


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