EL Inverter - 3v

EL inverters allow you to drive EL wires. This particular EL inverter accepts 3V input and outputs 110VAC to drive EL wire. The wires both terminated with JST PH connectors. These are designed to plug directly into our EL Escudo or EL Sequencer. You can drive EL wires with them directly, but you may need to re-terminate them.

These work well because they accept anywhere from 2.7-4.2V, so you can use them with batteries quite easily.

Note: The inverters that we are currently shipping are not labeled input/output on the body. Instead, the new units have a red/black pair (supply voltage) and a black/black pair (output voltage). New pictures are forthcoming.

Note: Some real world testing revealed that this inverter can easily drive a 3m length of EL wire. When adding a second 3m length, the two get a bit dimmer, but still close to full brightness. At 3 3m lengths, you can only tell all three wires are on if the room is dark. The inverter can light up 4 strands, but they are barely visible in normal light and very dim in the dark as well.

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

EL Inverter - 3v Product Help and Resources

Heartbeat Straight Jacket

June 4, 2009

An EL project that displays one person's heartbeat on another person's costume.

EL Sequencer/Escudo Dos Hookup Guide

December 3, 2015

A basic guide to getting started with the SparkFun EL Sequencer and Escudo Dos to control electroluminescence (EL) wire, panels, and strips.

Getting Started with Electroluminescent (EL) Wire

July 13, 2018

This guide will help you get started with electroluminescent (EL) wire, tape, panel, chasing wire, and bendable wire to let your project glow!

EL Wire Light-Up Dog Harness

October 30, 2015

Learn how to create a light-up dog harness using EL wire for when you need to take your four-legged friend for a walk in the dark.

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

1 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #9324 / about 7 years ago / 1

    Can this inverter drive the SparkFun 10x10cm EL Panels? Or is that too much of a load for these?

  • PhilHarlow / about 13 years ago / 5

    To anyone searching:
    The black pair of wires is the OUTPUT of the inverter and the side you plug into your EL wire.
    The red/black pair of wires is the INPUT. This is the side you hook to your 3v source.
    I couldn't find any help online until I found the image on the link below, and have confirmed that it works:

  • Rami / about 13 years ago / 3

    When does it is going to be in stock again?

  • TheGreat837 / about 14 years ago / 3


    • alfmar / about 13 years ago / 2

      Tried it at 2.5V (two NiMH batteries). Not much light on the EL wire (but excellent effect in a barely illuminated room), and not much "beep". You shouldn't wear it in when in the classroom or in the church.
      Tried it at 3.7V (three NiMH batteries). Quite more light on the EL wire, and much more audible beep.
      Oops, I measured 110 milliamps at 3.7V !

    • Member #213885 / about 13 years ago / 1

      Are these really that loud? Is it the manufacturing that makes it so loud?

  • mikebc / about 13 years ago / 2

    noob question: I want to use the EL Sequencer to light EL wire in a pattern that might have up to 10 meters (3 strands) of EL wire on at the same time. From the test results described above, a single inverter might not be enough to light more than 20 feet at maximum brightness. So my question is, how would I go about increasing the power to the EL wire--do I use more than one inverter? If so, would I also need 2 sequencers? Or is there a way to connect 2 inverters to 1 sequencer (without destroying the sequencer), and, if so, how would I do that? Thanks in advance for any help.

  • Member #131855 / about 13 years ago / 2

    When is it going to be in stock again? :-)

  • jmgr / about 13 years ago / 2

    When does it is going to be in stock again?

  • Member #713541 / about 9 years ago / 1

    What is the range of lengths that can be used with this EL wire? can 1 meter length be used???Does it depend on the diameter ?? Some one please help....

  • Member #713541 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Can we use this to power a 1 metre length EL wire?? What is the range of lengths that can be used??Does it depend on the diameter of the wire???

  • Member #651217 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Hi! Can we connect 4 El-wires on a 3V DC battery (2 AA's) instead of 1 EL-wire to 3V DC. I mean, does it glow or doesn't it even light?

  • benvyates / about 10 years ago / 1

    Why is this inverter double the price of the battery operated one? They both take three volts and seem to drive 2x 3m wires just fine.

  • Jeremy Brockman / about 10 years ago / 1

    Can this be run safely off of a Fully charged 3.7v LiPo? Datasheet says max is 3.5v, description says 4.2v is the max. What is the current draw per meter of EL wire?

  • c.burgess.7 / about 10 years ago * / 1

    quite interesting, takes 3 volts up to 110 vac, is the 60hz? if so, you can drive a very very light weight thingy that runs on mains voltage, and get lots and lots of 3 volt batteries in parallel to make quite the inverter. how many amperages can that thing support? EDIT: Some quick research proves if i tried to use this to power say a box fan, it would prove fatal, well to the transformer atleast. 110 volts ac with a typical 2khz.

  • Member #401881 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Just to confirm, the EL inverter - 3V is just the inverter nothing else? That is if I want to control it (on/off, blinking, hypno-toad setting) I will require addition components.

  • Au70Pi1337 / about 10 years ago / 1

    So this would probably explode if I attached it to a 5V USB power supply, yes?

  • Katscan / about 10 years ago / 1

    Is there a minimum wire length to use this inverter? I got this, and the El Sequencer and I'm wanting to run at least 2 El wires around 6 inches (about 15cm) in length each. Do I run a risk of burning the inverter out? I ask because I have seen other inverters on other sites that talk about recommended minimum wire length.

  • Member #518823 / about 10 years ago / 1

    With this inverter Can I control eight circular panels of 2 cms diameter each one?

  • Member #470287 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Can I connect 1 3v EL wire inverter to 2 separate EL wires?

  • therealadrian / about 11 years ago / 1

    I was interested in looking into ways to control the brightness of EL wire. After realizing that I could not PWM the triacs on the EL Escudo Dos, and then looking at the data sheet for this device it seemed pretty clear that by modulating the input voltage, I could control the AC output voltage and thus the brightness of the wire. Worked great with the bench supply. However, I now find myself trying to figure out the best way to get from the PWM output on a 3V Arduino to analog control of the voltage on the input of the inverter. Given that the inverter is a bit of a load, does anyone have any suggestions on how I could approach this? (Its too much power for an RC filter and an opamp, as the peak draw is a couple of Watts.)

    • MikeGrusin / about 11 years ago / 2

      The EL Escudo Dos and the EL Sequencer include a linear regulator that can be used to power the inverter. This regulator uses resistors to control the output voltage; you could conceivably replace one of these resistors with a "digital pot" that will give the Arduino a mechanism to control the DC voltage to the inverter.

      Note that you can still PWM the triacs on the Escudo / Sequencer; you won't get smooth dimming from off to full-on, but you'll get a bunch of steps (some stable, some flickering) which might suffice for what you want.

  • khoyt / about 11 years ago / 1

    If you are looking for screws to mount this to your project, I found that 2-56 steel machine screws/nuts from your local Radio Shack (or what have you) work great.

  • Member #423565 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Hi, I have been looking at all the sizes of inverters for el wire and wondered what the smallest might be to power a small length such as maximum 1m but more like 50cm? I want to put it on some accessories but the inverter and battery needs to as thin and as small as possible but I'm not sure if this exists - saw your forum and thought you might be able to help? Is it possible to make compact inverters to carry a CR2032 lithium battery (or equivalent frequency of 500-100 Htz for 100v).

    All the best


  • Member #405711 / about 11 years ago / 1

    How bad for the part would it be if I were to supply this inverter with 5V from an Arduino?

  • Member #402657 / about 12 years ago / 1

    What are the dimensions of the inverter?

    • MikeGrusin / about 12 years ago / 1

      The body is 1.15" long, 0.75" wide, and 0.92" high. Including the flange it's 1.56" long. The mounting hole centers are 1.32" apart and are approximately 3/32" diameter.

  • Member #323784 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Does the EL Inverter - 3v make the LED lights similarly strong in lighting like in the ending of the video?

  • botzi / about 12 years ago / 1

    Hi, I have a 3m EL wire connected to this inverter which is connected to a triac and 330ohm resister then to the Arduino pin 13. To test it I ran the blink tutorial. It worked great for about 2 minutes, was blinking on and off. Then it stopped blinking. The EL wire just stays on. Pin 13 LED does continue to blink. I'm wondering if something went wrong with the inverter. Does anybody know how to test these? Yes, I am a newbie.

  • jairus / about 13 years ago / 1

    ISSUE SOLVED********* Inverter Issue is related to the Ground wire, Ground on the board needs to be tied to the ground of the inverter source or the TRIACS will not work correctly. Hope this helps, I found this out accidentally when I was probing with my voltmeter the lights would come on. Its a little frustrating I burned out 2 EL wires due to arcing in the traces I induced by tapping the grounds together while troubleshotting.

  • cjenkins / about 13 years ago / 1

    The description say 2.7-4.2V, but the datasheet say 2.5-3.5V. Which do I choose?

    • Short answer, try to power it as close to 3v as possible. 2.5-3.5v is most accurate, but can be used at the other range as well. It's an inverter, so it's less important. Just try to be close to 3v.

    • Member #213885 / about 13 years ago / 1

      Are their any dangers to be aware of... ie, when using this as a costume accessory... for example
      * rain on it or on the EL wire
      * dog biting it
      * if the wire is bent too far and cracks
      * cold (above freezing)

  • fluidic / about 13 years ago / 1

    Nominal current is 0.667 A at 3V. Not sure how this will work if underpowered but you probably want to take a pass on the 500 mA supplies.

  • jazczy / about 13 years ago / 1

    i had problem in the connection, i have 2 black wires and in the other side i have red and black.
    which one should i connect to the battery and the same for the EL wire?

    • MikeGrusin / about 13 years ago / 1

      The red and black wires are the 3V DC input to the inverter (red is positive, black is ground). The black wires are the 100V AC output from the inverter (since it's AC, the output wires are interchangeable).

  • Member #117948 / about 13 years ago / 1

    What is the weight etc. Very poor spec sheets.

  • Fate6900 / about 13 years ago * / 1

    Hmmm, PC Mods anyone?

  • Member #57957 / about 13 years ago / 1

    What is the procedure for shortening the wire? Since the inverters are specified according to wire length do I need to change anything when using 1.5m or .5m of EL wire?

  • frank26080115 / about 13 years ago / 1

    These things hurt, don't touch the output wires while it's on!

  • Sacman / about 13 years ago / 1

    Hate to beat a dead horse but it looks like this has been out of stock for at least a month and a half. I would really like to add this to a prop I'm working on for a local indie film but without the abilty to be mobile, I'm sunk!!!
    Any word on stocking issues. I am on a pretty tight deadline and my history of shipments from SFE has been seven calendar days from order to delivery. Need some help here!

    • We have some on order, but no word on an ETA yet. We've only been out of stock for about 2 weeks actually. We got 200 in, but they went very quickly. Make sure you have a backorder in the system or else they could go away again.

  • kozy / about 13 years ago / 1

    ...and great to keep mosquitoes at a distance! :)

  • Member #96951 / about 13 years ago / 1

    I found this chip on Digikey. It has an application diagram as well which looks straight forward. I am going to order the parts this week and should have something by the weekend

  • hey guys why wait for this component
    lets design out own im trying to make it myself i think im really close :) if anyone find any useful thing post it here

  • Member #30702 / about 13 years ago / 1

    When will there be stock of this again?

    • we've received other shipments from this supplier, but are still waiting on the inverter. We don't have an ETA right now, sorry.

  • nutz4hs / about 13 years ago / 1

    any chance you know when these are gonna be in stock? i put in an order a month ago with still no advance

  • Member #188227 / about 14 years ago / 1

    What is the output of this device? I know that many el wire drivers range from 1-4khz. Also, what is the current draw?

  • TheGreat837 / about 14 years ago / 1

    Which set of wires take in 3 volts and which ones put out 100v+?
    Because on one set of wires i have a 3 v and on the other set they are not labeled.
    I guess the wires labeled 3v means they are the input?

  • HissingRoachParty / about 14 years ago / 1

    What kind of interference does this inverter throw off? I used one a few years ago that made all kinds of noise on radios, TVs and monitors.

  • Kenta / about 14 years ago / 1

    I actually have two questions about this item. First, why is it listed under LEDs? Perhaps you should create a category 'optoelectronics' to cover all light-emitting products. Second, does this output a sine wave or pulsed DC?

  • Jorge-EE / about 14 years ago / 1

    This would have been so nice to have a few months ago. I did a big El Wire project for Halloween and my inverter was less then spectacular.

  • Robert, is the inverter that you showed in the video that plugs into the wall going to be for sale?

    • Yeah, check the comments on the video, it says 'coming soon'. that's no lie. Maybe next week?

  • MoriFi / about 14 years ago / 1

    What is the "amps" for this inverter.

  • Brian W Evans / about 14 years ago / 1

    Definitely need to know the rated feet but also 2 other questions: how noisy is this guy and if I run it at 5v is the magic smoke going to escape?

    • The noise level depends on how quickly you switch wires, how many wires you drive, and what voltage you drive them with. With 1 3m length of wire, driven properly, there is a small buzz coming from it, but nothing TOO noticeable.
      It is possible to drive with 5v (we programmed the demo with a 5v FTDI basic), but the buzzing increases a bit.

  • EliTheIceMan / about 14 years ago / 1

    How many feet is this capable of driving?

  • REDACTED-GDPR / about 14 years ago / 1

    Does this inverter output ac with the same frequency as a vall outlet or a higher frequency.

    • jairus / about 13 years ago / 1

      ISSUE SOLVED********* Inverter Issue is related to the Ground wire, Ground on the board needs to be tied to the ground of the inverter source or the TRIACS will not work correctly. Hope this helps, I found this out accidentally when I was probing with my voltmeter the lights would come on. Its a little frustrating I burned out 2 EL wires due to arcing in the traces I induced by tapping the grounds together while troubleshotting.

    • MoriFi / about 14 years ago / 1

      On avrage it is 1000hz, 940 more than what a (us/japan/canada/caribbean) outlet

    • It's a higher frequency:

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5

Based on 7 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Works great! Perfect for small projects.

I am using two strips of EL tape to light the nacelles on a 1/350th scale model of the refit Enterprise - A. The small size and lower input power made the inverter a cinch to use with an Arduino mini which controls the complete lighting harness and a couple of other special effects. I'll definitely be using these in other projects.

Awesome little bit of electrical genius!

I used it on a portable project that required 110V AC to run a string of Christmas tree lights. Used 4 AA's and it's been running like a champ. It always seems like Sparkfun has just the thing to get my mad scientist projects done.

Try flipping it!

For a beginner, I found the instructions for input/output confusing. While troubleshooting with the EL Sequencer I used red/black in "DC out" and black/black for "AC in" because I originally had the wires switched, if anyone else is confused! Once I had it the right way around, the inverter worked like a dream.

Does what I need it to do.

Easy set up, but it does have a slight humming noise, which I worked out by dampening the unit.

Very handy device

We're putting on a dance show that includes a number with costumes and musical instruments lit by EL wire. Rather than requiring the non-techie dancers to remember to turn on both a power supply for their EL Sequencer board and a battery powered inverter, I opted to spend a little extra and use one of these inverters for each dance setup. It was a good choice and simplified the design greatly. We did our first run-through last night, and the choreographer was thrilled. There's still some tweaking to be done on the software, but now I don't have to worry about the hardware anymore.

Works Great, Sounds Horrible

It works as advertised, but the screeching noise this thing makes, gave me a headache after a few minutes.

If you don't mind the noise

It works as expected, the only thing that I wasn't expecting is the noise but meh. Can live with it.