Instructables
Picture of EL Driver Board
Previously, I made a homebrew EL wire driver to be used with a LilyPad Arduino  (http://www.instructables.com/id/Programmable-LilyPad-EL-Wire-Dress/).  We at Electric Stitches (and with the help of iNMOJO) designed and made a pretty snappy looking sewable EL Driver available here: http://bit.ly/q4DnXP.  The board, used in tandem with the LilyPad, will give you control of the EL wire and allow you to flash and fade the strands of light in response to any input to the LilyPad.  And, with a bit of code, you can create beautiful patterns and illuminated lines as you strut your wearable down the street!

As this is an OSHW board please feel free to download the designs from: http://electricstitches.com/



EL Wire can be dangerous and can give you a mild shock. We have taken an extra step and added conformal epoxy coating to help prevent unintended shocks
 
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Step 1: Materials

For this project you will need:
Total Cost: $40

Step 2: EL Driver Board

SEW_EL_DRIVER.jpg
el-pad-brd.png
el-pad-schematic.png
The EL Driver Board is an open source hardware project and you should feel free to download the eagle files from electricstitches.com. The board has 5 JST housing and 5 holes large enough for several loops of conductive thread.  Each hole and JST housing is labeled in blue.  AC-O is the JST housing where you should connect the AC Output of the inverter and DC-I is the JST housing where you should connect the DC Input of the inverter.  Additionally, you will sew plus to plus and minus to minus from the LilyPad Arduino to the EL Driver Board; the EL Driver Board shares power with the LilyPad and can thus power the inverter.

The circuit for the board is quite straightforward.  The triac switches power between the JST housing/EL Wire and the inverter.  When the gate of the triac is pulled, high current can flow and the EL Wire is powered.

Additionally, we have added a conformal epoxy coating on the board to help prevent unintended shocks.
stagr.lee3 years ago
I have this experiment repeated. Biggest debug I had to do was unplug the EL Wire power inverter while the USB is hooked up to get the program uploaded. With the inverter hooked up to the circuit and the USB computer link hooked up, the computer and the Arduino wouldn't talk.

THANKS! Looks great.

Reading your code, I've noticed a few things. First, there is never a state where all the EL Wires are off (except between the square wave flashes) . 2nd, there is never a state where there are more than one EL Wire on. Was this done for electronic reasons or artistic reasons? I'm wondering if there is a limitation of the EL Wire power inverter or the Triac driver board. The design I'm at will have a lot of all on states and all off states.

Look forward to your thoughts Quasiben.
quasiben (author)  stagr.lee3 years ago
Many inverters that are designed with EL wire in mind usually come rated with the specific length (1-5ft,5-10ft, 10-20ft...). Usually, as the length of el wire increases the inverter power output and size of the inverter increase as well.

So what if you want a small inverter (1-5ft) and have more than 5 ft of el wire connected to the Sewable EL Driver board? You could "fake" all the lines being on by switching on and off each line in succession. This is a common solution and one that i wanted to demonstrate.
Clever! Should I worry about all off? I'm running the same 3V 5-15' inverter you have linked to Coolight.com and my sequence will have 5 seconds of all off. Making essentially a Smiley Cheshire Spider that disappears.

Using 3 AAA batteries at 4.5V. Looks good...
Eddy Dean3 years ago
Great, but, can this be washed?
quasiben (author)  Eddy Dean3 years ago
I will try washing later this week