Even though the Tron movies have been out for a while, electroluminescence is still the coolest thing since sliced bread. The only downer is carrying around a battery pack and bulky external inverter. Good news, we've found a slim battery-powered inverter for your next small EL project! This little black box takes two AA batteries and has two JST connectors for your EL wire/panel/tape. There are two modes: continuous on and flashing and it even has a belt clip!
We got a chance to play with these inverters and you can easily hack these to work with our Li-Po batteries (yep, at the fully charged 4.2V). To get inside, you'll need to remove a pair of screws (one is hiding under the CE sticker) and afterwards you'll want to wrap things up with electrical tape to avoid getting shocked (it just tingles a little).
The following current readings were taken while the pack was connected to one or more of our 3m EL wire:
Two strands blinking: ~150mA
Different color strands were used but the lengths were identical. Your mileage may vary. If you need to pick up some Li-Po batteries, electrical tape or EL wire to hack your own battery pack, check the related items below!
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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One of the connectors broke after 30min of light use. I haven't tried to solder it back together since the other connector still works.
As everyone notes, these emit an annoying high-frequency whine.
Pack isn't small but it's not hard to hide within a costume. Emits a high whine but it's very quiet compared to models I've bought from other suppliers.
I bought this to provide AC power to the El Sequencer for a portable application with limited USB DC power available (not suitable to use a separate inverter with the sequencer's DC out). Unfortunately what the description doesn't convey is that it has a "power save" mode where it will turn itself off if it's not actively loaded. This means that if your El sequence ever has a phase where no channel is active, it will shut off. It doesn't seem like this can be disabled. The only hack I've figured out is to connect a static resistor load to one of the unused JST headers which isn't ideal :(
I used this for bike lighting. After maybe 150 miles, it failed. I thought it was the connector, but when I took it apart I found that the vibration had caused the traces to the connectors to separate from the PC board. Furthermore, when I tried to fix it by adding a new connector, the force of pushing the case back together caused the traces to the battery connector to fail.
Worked fine, but the EL wire and tape were only just bright enough. Might have been brighter if they had been driven harder.