Introduction: Control EL Wire With an Arduino

Picture of Control EL Wire With an Arduino

In this instructable I will show you how to control EL Wire with an Arduino. 
What you will need:
EL Wire and Inverter - I recommend http://ez-el.com/ez-el-wire/10ft-ez-el-wire-3v-inverter-kit/
A
rduino or any micro controller that can control a relay
SPDT Micromini Relay 5V - I recommend Radio Shack 275-0240
Wire
Heat Shrink Tubing or Electrical Tape
General Purpose PC Board
Tools:
Soldering Iron and Solder
Wire Cutters and Strippers 

Step 1: Schematic

Picture of Schematic

This is how to hook the circuit up:

Step 2: Wire Up the EL Wire

Picture of Wire Up the EL Wire

First you need to disconnect the power wires from the inverter leading to the EL Wire like shown in the picture. 
Next solder the ground wires together. 
Now connect the voltage wires to the relay as shown in the schematic. 
You might want to solder the wires and the relay together on a small PCB. 

Step 3: Connect the Relay to the Microcontroller

Picture of Connect the Relay to the Microcontroller

Lastly, connect the coil wires to the Arduino, just like you would connect an LED. Refer to the schematic for help connecting. 
Before you use this be sure to power on the EL Wire inverter. Make sure is is in a non blinking mode.  
Any code that works with an LED will work with this hack. 

Comments

JamesG141 (author)2017-09-13

You needed to add a diode across the relay coil to prevent reverse voltage damage. Other than that, looks good!

MichaelB320 (author)2015-12-16

I'm trying to keep my power consumption and real estate down to a bare minimum. Could I use a 1.5Vrelay with a 3V teensy arduino and a 1.5V EL transformer? I need a small backlight in a battery powered electronic device.

SideTracked350 (author)2015-04-28

I did this in a similar fashion but an led chaser board was used to sequentially switch the relays (instead of blinking leds). still working out the intermittent bugs though.

LeadW (author)2014-08-18

Thanks. That was cool but I never saw any pictures of the strippers!

The Electrodog Show (author)2013-10-08

Thanks for your suggestions. As far asi know you can't dim the EL Wire or do PWM.

Actually you can do both, see this incomplete and abandoned ( pretty much ) page for the pic 877. Code is C so should be understandable. Electronically the relay is replaced by a triac.

witchdr (author)2013-10-08

I think you need a reverse current protection diode in there as the relay is inductive.

audreyobscura (author)2013-10-07

How does this handle dimming of the EL wire?

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