EL (Electroluminescent) Wire FAQs
What is EL WIRE?View Answer.
EL WIRE is an electroluminescent wire - a copper wire coated with a phosphorus material and wrapped with two tiny transmitter wires. It is then sealed in a water resistant casing. EL WIRE looks very similar to neon when powered, although it is not as bright.
What makes EL WIRE glow?View Answer.
EL WIRE must be powered by a driver (inverter) in order to glow. Some power supplies/drivers take a DC input voltage and provide an AC output voltage of approximately 120 volts. We also have AC power supplies for longer length runs. The output causes a charge which makes the wire glow.
Does EL WIRE require a power supply/inverter in order to work?View Answer.
Yes. It is not possible to light up EL Wire with DC such as batteries or a wall-wart adapter! The output of the inverter must be a sine-wave with no DC component. All of our power supplies come with Pre-wired connectors. This allows you to easily connect any of our power supplies to our EL Wire product without ever having to do any soldering.
NOTE: It is normal for some power supplies to make a slight high pitched hum.
How do I know which power supply/driver to use?View Answer.
You need to determine the length of EL WIRE you want to run and the type of power source you will be using. Each power supply/driver has a range of EL WIRE it will power. Running longer sections of wire than the recommended amount will decrease the brightness. Using a significantly shorter length than recommended will damage the driver and cause dark spots to develop in the wire. The maximum length of EL wire with our power supplies/drivers is 98.43 feet (69-ELD30). All of the power supply/drivers can be used with any diameter of EL Wire. The capacitance 'load' of the EL is required to stabilize the inverter so never run the inverter without at least 1 foot of EL attached!
How is EL WIRE used?View Answer.
The uses of EL WIRE are limited only by your imagination. Some of the most common uses are for RC models, Robotics, car interiors, costumes, safety equipment, decorations, art projects, backlighting or mood lighting, signs, and model trains. The list goes on and on.
Does EL Wire come in different colors?View Answer.
Yes. All diameters of our EL WIRE come in 7 different colors: red, blue, transparent blue, green, transparent white, yellow green and orange.
What is the difference between general purpose and heavy duty EL WIRE?View Answer.
General purpose EL WIRE has a diameter of 2.3mm, and heavy duty EL WIRE has a diameter of 3.2mm. The differences in diameter is due to added layers of PVC protection. The more abuse the wire may endure, the higher the diameter of wire you will need.
Does EL WIRE ever burn out?View Answer.
Although EL WIRE never burns out, it will become dimmer over time.
Can EL WIRE be cut?View Answer.
Yes, EL WIRE can easily be cut with sharp wire cutters. The cut end needs to be properly terminated to prevent moisture damage and prevent the wire from shorting out. EL WIRE runs on a parallel circuit, therefore there does not have to be a return path. The end will need to be sealed and you can use our end caps (69-ELEC2.3 or 69-ELEC3.2) which we offer in bulk or 10 pcs/bag. Or you may seal it with heat shrink tubing, super glue, epoxy, silicone, etc. to make certain that no moisture will enter the wire.
Can EL WIRE be spliced with other wire?View Answer.
Yes, you can add as much hook up wire as needed. Warning: Don't remove the phosphor with your teeth. There are many types of phosphor. Some are toxic, most are luminescent. This can make you sick.
Is EL WIRE flexible?View Answer.
Yes, EL Wire is very flexible. It can be looped, bent, and knotted loosely. Care must be takes to not be too rough with the wire as the transmitter wires inside can be broken causing the wire to be dead from the point of the break on. If the wire is bent excessively in one place or rubbed against frequently the phosphorus coating may begin to break up causing dark spots in the wire. We recommend looping the wire no more tightly than you would around a pencil.
How do you install EL WIRE?View Answer.
EL WIRE is very easy to install. If you want a permanent application you can glue it to most surfaces with vinyl glue or super glue. For a temporary application clear tape, tie wraps, or plastic wraps can be used.
How do the splitters affect performance?View Answer.
If you 'split' and connect more than one piece of EL Wire to an inverter, count the total length of all the pieces to determine the proper power supply/driver.
Is EL WIRE waterproof?View Answer.
EL WIRE is water resistant but should not be submersed in water or be used in high humidity applications. Although the casing is plastic, after long periods of time water can be absorbed into the wire causing it to turn black. The drivers/power supplies are NOT waterproof. Extreme caution should be used when using near water or splash. You could, however, slide clear heat shrink tubing over the EL Wire for waterproof applications.
Does EL Wire ever get warm or hot?View Answer.
No, it is always cool to the touch.