Guide for choosing the correct EL wire

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EL wire kit's.

EL wire is short for Electro Luminescent wire. It is like a Neon glow around the wire. The wire lights up 360º.
Often used on clothing for safety or fun and also around outlines of objects like speakers pictures etc.
Most EL wires are sold as complete kits, that includes a length of EL wire and suitable inverter.
Most common length are 3m and 5m in kit form.

 

EL wire by the meter.

If you need shorter or longer length you would buy the EL wire by the meter, and a suitable inverter for the chosen length. (Or buy a kit and shorten it by just cutting it to desired length.)
The only problem with buying by the meter is that you either have to solder a cable with connector to the EL wire yourself (to connect to your inverter), or ask the supplier to do it for you (it is a simple task but very fiddly to solder unless you done it before) .

 

Inverters.

The wire does require a power supply called an inverter. It supplies aproximatly 100v AC at about 1000Hz for the wire to light up. Very small current needed.
It is very important to use the correct inverter for the chosen length of wire. If using an inverter designed for 5-10m of EL wire, and using longer length will lower the brightness (i.e. the voltage output will drop) because more current needed!
If using too short wire the inverter could produce too high voltage and self destruct.

 


EL wire sizes.

EL wires comes in a variety of sizes and colours. Some sizes available: 0.9mm, 1.3mm, 2.3mm (most common and cheapest), 3.2mm, 4.3mm and 5mm. The larger ones can also be supplied in 'dual core', which gives a brighter light. There is also flat ribbon EL wire available in 5 & 10mm width. Normally only 1m long as they use more current than the round one.

The EL wires normally has an 'end-cap' in one end to stop moisture getting inside the wire and the other end has a cable soldered (with heat shrink to stop moisture from this end) to the EL wire with a connector attached to be connected to the inverter.
The brightest colours is white, Lime Green and Ice Blue. The darkest is red & purple.
To make it even more confusing, different manufacturer has different name for the same colour.
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