We have made a number of wearable/rideable EL Wire sculptures of Aus animals.
Each of these contains from about 10 up to about 40 lengths of EL Wire which we are currently running with 1 x double AA battery inverter / strip. When we have tried splitting them (to run more than one per inverter) there is such a marked drop in luminescence that the maximum we can split is 2 wires / inverter & even this is a downgrade in visual quality.
I am looking for a way to possibly run multiple lengths of EL Wire from one power source - eg. a 12v battery (or even 2) worn by the performer in a satchel or similar.
Can anyone recommend the absolute best way to achieve this result?
I’ve never used EL Wire myself before, but I always find the best way to get something to do what you want is to start off by understanding how it works. Adafruit and Sparkfun have some really good articles:
One of the sparkfun guys does a great run down of making an EL Wire sign for burning man in a video here:
And a couple of other good articles from Sparkfun:
I’ve also found some other excellent articles after a bit of googling that go into a lot more detail:
For us I think the key take homes are:
EL wire brightness increases with both increasing voltage and frequency.
EL Wire lifespan decreases with increasing voltage and frequency
The more EL wire you have, the dimmer it will be
The only EL wire colour that’s really available is pale blue. Other colours are made by wrapping the phosphor in coloured plastic.
EL wire is also a very capacitive load, so large amounts of it really clamp down the voltage (and hence brightness) if you have too much of it - which is what’s happening when you try to run two strips from the one small inverter. I suspect you’ll also find that it’ll get dimmer towards the end of a very long run of EL wire (I might be wrong about this).
So there’s a few options:
More powerful inverter (more voltage and frequency)
Sequencing using Persistence of Vision - ie only having some on at once, but very briefly so it looks like they’re all on.
Stick with blue/green or pale colours
Here’s some good parts that might help:
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