Description: We’ve heard you, and made a number of improvements to our EL Sequencer. The new version adds zero-crossing optoisolated triacs for noise-free operation and full isolation between the AC and DC sides, and includes a 1.5A adjustable linear regulator to supply regulated DC to an external inverter (not included).
The SparkFun EL Sequencer is a board that contains an Arduino-compatible microcontroller, and circuitry for controlling up to eight strands of electroluminescent wire. EL wire is flexible plastic cord that glows brightly when high-voltage AC is applied to it. It’s available in numerous colors (see the related products below), runs cool, and requires very little current, but can be difficult to work with because of the high-voltage requirements. The EL Sequencer can safely switch high-voltage AC on and off, allowing you to easily create animated displays or whatever else your imagination can come up with.
In addition to this board, you will need an inverter (a component that generates the high-voltage AC needed by EL wire), EL wire/tape/panels, and a 5V FTDI BOB or cable to load your own programs. The board also has headers for XBee and NRF24L01+ radio modules for wireless projects. SparkFun carries two inverters, a 3V-input version that can drive a few feet of EL wire, and a 12V-input version capable of driving dozens of feet of EL wire. Choose the one appropriate to your power source and driving requirements. See the tutorial below.
Note: The initial run of the board contains a silkscreen error; the FTDI “black” and “green” labels are reversed. If you’re plugging an FTDI BOB into the board, it goes in right-side-up as you’d expect.
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The documentation on this product isn’t great about how often it can switch the outputs. I don’t want to burn it out, but I’d also like my display to look a bit more impressive than just cycling the lights every second.
The documentation is also very clearly written for the Escuido Dos, and while it’s almost directly applicable, there are a few differences and I found I was browsing both of the schematics to try to make a good guess of which setup would work and which wouldn’t.
The default code is very simple, and works to test all the outputs, but I’m definitely going to need to reprogram the chip, and given I’m just making a light-show that’s a bit disappointing.
The good news is that everything wrong with this board could be fixed with a website and default code update, so this could be easily improved.
I got it working with parts only from sparkfun: this board a 12V inverter (with a JST pigtail soldered in) a JST to barrel jack converter, a 12V DC Wall wart and EL wire
Hi, Sorry for the troubles. I will be posting your comments up into a revision review request. We’re always trying to improve our documentation. Maybe we can get things cleaned up a bit to help future users avoid similar issues. Thanks for the feedback!