Introduction: Build Your Own EL Wire Power Supply

As I promised in my video "EL Wire Made at Home" I came up with a few circuits for building your own power supply for electroluminescent wire. The first one is very similar to the "tickler" style 1908 Ford Model T spark coil


TallTexun (author)2015-05-28

I've read some of the instructables (and other tips) on quieting down noisy EL wire power supplies. Will building my own help in this regard? Meaning, would using a different circuit or with "better" components alleviate the high pitched whine of the cheaper supplies. The 12v little cube I have (from Chinese ebay seller) appears already expoxied/sealed but still noisy (I'm running 12v LED strips as well as EL, thus needing the 12v version).

cfidafid (author)2015-02-24

We made a working version that goes from 9v to about 150v, driving a meter of wire nicely. We got most of the parts from an old clock radio. It's tough to read the schematic in the video, but the following worked for us:

Resistor at the bottom (on the base leg of the transistor): 33 ohms

Resistor in parallel with the capacitor (left of drawing): 1 K ohms

Capacitor: 10uF (I think the drawing shows 6.3)

Transistor: NPN - unknown harvested part, but an NTE 123AP also worked.

For the transformer, we reversed the step-down from the clock, which had a single primary winding (700ohms) and a pair of secondaries (5 and 8 ohms). We bridged the two secondaries together and applied the + voltage in the middle. We found that the secondaries were wound in opposite directions, so we had to crossover the leads or it wouldn't work.

dmalish (author)cfidafid2015-04-22

is it posible for you to post the cercet. I have a hard time seeing hers and would like to have it right in front of me when working. if you can do that, that would be great.

dmalish (author)dmalish2015-04-22

rofl idk what I was trying rofl spell there.

cfidafid (author)dmalish2015-05-10

Here's a schematic, as we built it.

popoloamsdown (author)2015-05-06

Thanks for the info. Great explanation of how EL works.

djgriff0001 (author)2015-02-20

love the video, I was wondering if you could put up a schematic. its really hard to see. all in all very nice!!

green_screen (author)2015-01-24

Hopefully you didn't already address this, but do you have this circuit posted somewhere? I want to try and take a closer look at it before I take the plunge and try to build it. BTW - Great video!

john.obrien.52438174 (author)2014-08-20


I'm working on a new project which will use about 200mm (8") of EL wire. In Ireland we have 220v ac. Can I just use this supply to power the wire or should I use an inverter of some sort?

pdub77 (author)2012-10-07

This video is helpful and has even inspired me in a new project. Thanks so much!

Ihatetechnology (author)2012-05-30

Thanks for the EL instructable. I'm interested in EL and now you have saved me some time in researching EL.

You should try improv acting.

neronix (author)2011-11-14

Nice video tutorial. Is that a 2N2222 NPN transistor? I'd really appreciate if you could post a detailed schematic.

GENERALCHAOS (author)2011-04-30

that sic yo something new to learn

-max- (author)2011-03-09

can you use a modified flash unit from a disposable camera?

konsumer (author)2010-12-06

Very good info. Thanks!

NeuroPulse: this is one of those plugin night-lights. you can get them at home depot, etc

DIY-Guy (author)2010-11-17

Can we use a Compact Fluorescent Light circuit from a cheap "silly straw(R)" bulb to drive an EL display?

robot797 (author)2010-11-16

your camera has a death pixel

Roj Blake (author)2010-10-26

Nice. I've used a variety of similar circuits to light fluorescent tubes. I think it's time I made some of this 'EL Wire'.

NeuroPulse (author)2010-10-18

Yay! Glad to see more posts to Instructables!

Is that an electroluminescent panel or is it just EL wire in a flat box? I would love to know how to make EL panels.

Thanks :-)

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Bio: My Kickstarter is live! Pledge now before they're all gone! Self taught electrical engineer, ex-race car driver ... More »
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