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Electroluminescent wire is a thin copper wire coated in a phosphor, which glows when an alternating current (100V) is applied. Unlike a LED strip it’s not a series of point but an unbroken line of visible light in all 360 degrees. The brightness of this technique is sufficient for the application and because of the very flexible nature of this material it can be easily incorporated in many different applications.

In this instructable I will explain how to apply fade effects to EL-Wire.


Step 1: Possible techniques

Electroluminescent wire is not easily adjusted in brightness, therefore fading in and out is hard. Two main techniques are used to change the brightness of the electroluminescent wire, one is based on a custom build driver that actually shifts electroluminescent wire brightness by changing the alternating current frequency. The other is based on the same mechanism and uses a 555-timer component to change the current frequency, but this version is a lot simpler.

A problem with changing the frequency is the color change in the electroluminescent wire, above the 2000Hz the wire will quickly change to a lighter color, for example from dark blue to aqua blue. This behavior is not desirable in my application, but a slow fade effect to show the user the device is in progress is.


link to tutorial with 555-timer: http://hackaday.com/2011/07/13/color-changing-el-wire/

next step how does it work

<p>Hi rikkkurd<br>I'll try to build this with your instructions but for a beginner like me it would be very helpful to have a more detailed list with all parts like resistors, diodes and switches, ... Would it be possible for you to give me a more detailed list? Or do you have found a new way in the last two years to improve something?</p>
Hi claudio,<br><br>I did not find an improvement on this design yet. But it works very well. All parts are annotated in the schematic http://cdn.instructables.com/FYF/BY1S/HMMF949D/FYFBY1SHMMF949D.MEDIUM.jpg which is also in the instructable. As a beginner it can be difficult to start such a project but i definitely believe you can pull it off. If you have any questions please let me know. i believe all parts used are still easy to get an hold on. Best, rik
<p>Thank you for your response! I am really happy that you answer my beginner questions :). I'm back with some questions:</p><p>1. I can't find all components of your shopping list in your schematic:</p><p>EL Inverter - 3v / COM-10201 = ???<br>EL Wire = ???<br>TRIAC - COM-09234 - MAC97A4 = BC550?<br>Voltage Regulator COM-00527 = LM317?</p><p>2. Are the two LED's (LED1 Blue 470nm, LED2 Green 555nm) necessary? Is the exact wavelength important for the dimming function?</p><p>3. What's the difference between BS170 and BS171?</p><p>4. What changes would be necessary if I want to power the el-powercircuit with a 3.7V lipo-battery instead of the 9V battery? Like this one: <a href="https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8483" rel="nofollow">https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8483</a></p><p>I know these are maybe very idiotic questions but I hope you have some free minutes to help me out with them :D</p>
<p>Hi, ridddurd. </p><p>This tutorial is very useful and easy to implement. And also your statement is clear.</p><p>I have one question about the schematic. In the schematic, Arduino D9 is pluged into some transistor(maybe).</p><p>Please tell me about the detail of this component.</p>
it's the triac https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9234 <br>sorry I was unclear about this, the parts list is in the first step.<br><br>Hope I could help
<p>you did not mention all parts on the list, because in the schematic you are using more parts....can you show more pictures in detail about arduino pro mini?</p>
<p>@rikkkurd</p><p>Thank you for the reply. I&rsquo;m going to try to make it.</p>
Great let me know if it works out im probably going to rebuild it myself as well upcoming month
<p>can the speed of the fade effect be made slower?</p>
<p>Hi. What is the simplest way to fade-in on power ON and fade-out on power OFF? Actually I do not need any arduino compatibility, just fading on power ON/OFF. Thank you.</p>
<p>hmm interesting, A small arduino is still very simple, however what the arduino does is changing the supply voltage over time. if you have a big enough capacitor maybe it could slow down the rise of the voltage level and when powered down slowly fade out on the energy still available in the capacitor. No idea if this can work. if you do it by hand you can use a simple potmeter as a pwm output to use on the triac and switch it off by slowly turning the knob till you reach maximum brightness. Any people with other ideas?</p>
<p>Can this set-up be used on a costume? Or does it have to be hooked up to a PC in order to (slowly) fade in and out?</p>
It can be definitly be used on a costume the arduino nano will handle all the fading and a simple 9v battery will be enough to power 1 meter for a few hours.
Pulse with modulation applied on the output of the supply with a triac ( and arduino ) can give nice fade effects on multiple el wires. Perhaps I should write it up for instructables if I can find the time, but with the above hints you can probably figure it out.

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