Electroluminescent (EL) Panel Starter Pack - 10cm x 10cm Aqua (ADA627)

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Get glowing in seconds with Adafruit’s Electroluminescent (EL) Panel Starter Pack! This pack contains everything you need for your first EL panel project, even the batteries!

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Hi there, is this EL panel same as Adafruit EL panel 10 cm x 10 cm? What is its panel lifetime? What is its operating voltage range? Can it be used below 60V AC? I am looking for EL panels that can be operated below 60V AC for restoring vintage Sony Walkmans. I will cut it into a small rectangular shape (2.5 cm X 6.5 cm and 3.1 cm x 6.3 cm) and connect it to a circuit board which provides AC output ranging from below 50V to 86V. Has anyone done measurements to check its operating voltage range?

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Good morning Hiroshi,

Excellent questions! Unfortunately, Adafruit doesn’t seem to have any of that information on their datasheets for that particular kit. However, there are some other panels that we supply from Adafruit that are extremely similar you would have seen on the site, and I’d expect that their specifications should be nearly identical, for example, ADA623 has the following specs that I’d expect to match with this one (being the same dimensions and materials from the same OEM):


  • Glow Size: 10 cm x 10 cm (3.95" x 3.95")
  • Plastic Size: 10.4 cm x 10.4 cm (4.1" x 4.1"), about 0.5mm thick
  • Panel lifetime: >25000 hours
  • Operating voltage: 60-250VAC
  • Operating Frequency: 50-5000HZ
  • Current Draw: 0.14mA/cm2 (max) @ 110V / 400Hz
  • Initial Brightness: 85 cd/m2
  • Operating Temperature: -50 C / 65 C
  • 45 nF per panel

That’s an interesting idea using these panels to restore a Walkman. I’d expect that the AC voltage output would depend on the particular model you’ve got, there should be some datasheets specifying it online. Unfortunately, there’s a voltage cutoff with EL materials where the luminosity drops greatly, similarly to LED, so you will need to be within that voltage rating (as well as the appropriate frequency, although the range is pretty good on these ones) to light up your panel. If you’ve got some space in the Walkman, is there any way you can fit an inverter inside and power it from the same battery as the Walkman itself in parallel after the switch? That way we can be certain that the voltage being supplied to the panel is appropriate rather than depending on the Walkmans supply. Make sure to let us know how you go! I’m looking forward to seeing what this looks like. Have a Merry Christmas!

Thanks for your reply. Those Sony Walkmans have built in inveters which produce between AC 40 to 86 volts. Because they are vintage Sony Walkmans, nearly 30 years old, I can not find specific inverters as spare parts. They are quite small (1 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm). They convert around 6 V DC into 40 to 100 V AC. If Adafruit can produce EL panels with lower operating voltage, that would be great.

Hi Hiroshi,

That would be useful yes, maybe it’d be worth writing a suggestion to their team. As for the inverters that we supply they’re 29mmx23.8mmx19.6mm if you’re able to fit that into your Walkman, they also take 6V in and output an appropriate voltage for the EL.

Hi guys.
There is an old story which did the rounds when the Walkman was first invented. yes like this:
The guy who owned Sony picked up a prototype and threw it into a bowl of water. When bubbles came out of the case his statement: " There is still space inside. Make it smaller".
Good luck with trying to fit something extra.
The Walkman was a marvellous piece of kit in its day. Revolutionised portable music reproduction and really was the forerunner to the modern day iPods etc.
Cheers Bob


Hi Bob,

I agree it will be close to impossible to fit anything in without performing some serious modifications, but that should make it even more interesting, which is probably exactly what their engineers would have been thinking :grin: another interesting modification I’d love to see someone try is to fit one of the new tiny Bluetooth breakouts inside so you can use it as a set of Bluetooth headphones as well as a cassette player.

The Walkman was a CD player
Cheers Bob

Hi Robert,

I believe the original walkman was a cassette player?

Are you talking about the Discman?

Egg on face. I stand corrected. I was referring to the disc player. I thought that was called a Walkman too. I was not totally aware of the cassette unit. I was not really into that sort of thing during those times but of course knew of them if not the finer details.
During my working life in the field I had almost nothing to do with what was termed at the time “consumer products”. My excuse anyway.
Thanks for pointing out my blunder. Goes to show one should check before opening one’s mouth.
Cheers Bob

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Hi all. Sony Walkmans that I am servicing and restoring are actually Sony DAT Walkmans. They were produced from 1991 to 1997.

The first one is Sony TCD-D8, the second one is Sony TCD-D3. They have EL backlight for their LCD screens. Some Walkmans have very dim EL backlight panels which need to be replaced. As for inverters, there is no extra room for adding larger inverters. The original inverter for Sony TCD-D8 is very small, measuring only 1cm x 1cm x 1cm.

Here is the spec of a small inverter for Sony TCD-D8 (and D7) DAT Walkmans.

The original inverter was manufactured by TDK which stopped making it a while ago. So I am looking for similar inverters that can fit into a small space in the Walkman. Please let me know if Core Electronics can source something similar?

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Good afternoon Hiroshi,

They look amazing! What a classic pair of machines! Unfortunately, we don’t appear to supply any other inverters I was able to find that matched the appropriate specifications in similar dimensions for your project. Have you been able to find the exact output from the inverters, I saw last time you said that they were 40-100V but the minimum for the EL we’ve been looking at is 60V. If we knew it matched up you can probably give it a go with the EL panel directly onto the inverter from the Walkmans themselves. Have a Merry Christmas!

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Yes, they are quite amazing. Sony TCD-D3 was the first DAT Walkman produced in 1991 and it has the best analog audio output. When you listen to uncompressed digital audio, its sound is so sweet, expansive and clear. I often listen to Jazz, and you feel like your in the middle a Jazz session. Sony TCD-D8 is built like a tank with very thick metal casing and very reliable tape transport mechanisms. Mind you that DAT machines use a rotary head and taple loading/ unloading mechanisms just like video recorders. So naturally, their mechanisms are more complex than analog cassette tape transport mechanisms, but when maintained properly, the DAT machines are just incredible. In regards to inverters, due their age, nearly 30 years old, AC outputs from Sony DAT Walkmans can vary from 40 to 90 V. There could be false readings due to old EL panels nearly dying (very dim). I would love to try your EL panel, but your panel cannot be cut into multiple small panels, and install them in multiple Sony DAT Walkmans for repair. Your EL panel has only one connector and if I cut a panel into a small size, 2.5cm x 6.5cm, I need to cut it so that the connector is intakt. That means that the rest of this EL panel gets wasted. Do you have a 10cm x 10cm EL panel that can be cut inot multipe small panels?

In regards to the connector and cutting into multiple small panels, if there are two separate metal terminals (one at the front side and one at the back side), then an EL panel can be used. I do not need the original connector that comes with this panel, as it won’t fit in a Walkman. I only need two separate terminal that can be soldered. If this panel has a thin metal terminal across the edge of the front side, then I should be able to cut into multiple small panels. Would you be able to upload high resolution images of this product, so I can check how a thin metal terminal is attached at the front side?

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Awesome tape players. I remember getting both my first Walkman and discman. My brother had one with auto seek for skipping songs, same as in some larger stereos and PA equipment!

It is possible to cut and resize EL panels. I believe the Corona wire is actually in a grid layout. The key thing when cutting EL is to make sure you seal the edges very well - any moisture ingress and it’ll fail quickly.

You might actually be better off switching out the El backlight for some blue COB led panel, for future servicability.

Thanks for your suggestion, Oliver. I ordered 2 EL panels with a copper tape. In regards to creating an air tight seal, what is the best material? I am thinking of using UV curing glue. Is epoxy glue better?

There is something about mechanical audio systems. As DAT Walkmans are like a miniture video recorder, they have complex mechanisms. Watching a tape move forward and backward, it is just amazing how those complex mechanisms work seamlesly.

In regards to using LED backlight, it needs to be extremely thin (less than 0.5 mm thick). There is no room for anything thicker than this, as DAT Walkmans are portable devices.

Refer my earlier reply, 4 days ago.

Cheers Bob

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Well, I just found a DC terminal which can supply 5.5 V DC from a display circuit board. Can a LED backlight panel run on 5.5 V? What is the thickness of a LED backlight? Can it be cut into a desired size?

Also, if I can connect the LED backlight, I need to decide whether it will be turned on permanently or it can switch on/ off. A light switch is a small thin circular (6mm) pressure sensitive button. I need have a separate button for the LED backlight DC power source.

I also need new screws with 2mm head (Phillip) 1mm screw hole and 4 to 5mm in length. Here is apicture of the display circuit board.

If the LED backlight is on for several hours, does it get warm?

Here are pics for successfully installing a smal white EL panel in a Sony DAT Walkman. When turned off, it has a blood orange colour. When turned on, it has soft white glow, thought not as bright as an aqua EL panel. Pealing off a thin plastic cover was challenging and I used copper adhesive taps to creat two terminals to connect to a display circuit board. Adafruit needs to make a cuttable EL panel with many termination points so that you can cut a large EL panel in to multiple small panels with differen shapes.

Once I get aqua EL panels I will try on Sony DAT Walkmans with lower AC voltage (coming from their inverters). I tried using a small white EL panel and it worked for a while, but when I had to adjust its position, it must have shorted and now it’s not working!!!


Super neat! looks awesome, would be keen to see what the aqua looks like