Step 12: Done(?)

Well, it works now and looks very cool -- but the photos can't show what it really looks like in operation. I'll try to add some video clips..... Some of the chase patterns are really hypnotic. For example, at one point, as the wires spiral up, the lit wires shift downwards at about the same apparent speed, so that it looks like a single wire flashing through the whole range of colors while remaining motionless.

Watching the "drain" end of the tube is also interesting.... the angle of the wires decreases (with respect to the tube end) near the ends, so there is sort of a (difficult to describe) "trailing" effect as the glowing wires reach the end of the spinning tube. It might also be an optical illusion; I can't tell for sure.

The tube wobbles substantially while spinning up to speed, but then settles down to a tolerable level. I don't think I can eliminate all wobble.

One possible direction for future development would be to add a magnet to the motor and a magnetic pickup to the top support rod, so that I can time the sequencer changes to the rotation of the pipe. Any suggestions?

The sequencer itself could be improved by adding a serial port so that it could be programmed without having to remove the Basic Stamp from the board.....

There are a few quicktime videos attached that give some idea of how this looks.
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What an awesome picture and effect. We have found if you are a person who understands el wire and can do all the work then ThatsCoolWire.com is the absolute best place we have found. What is even better this company has every kind of kit available which are already built for those of you who do not want to solder and all that. It gets better these guys will help you design your project for free over the phone.
nice.. pic 4 from step 8 offers a cool and interesting light effect.
To eliminate the woble, create a counterweight on the opposite side of the seam, by gluing a length of copper wire from top to bottom... and get rid of your counter weight system. Obviously you will need to try different gages of wire until you have something with the same weight as the seam. Your woble is caused by the fact your counterbalance does not properly counter the seam, and whatever other off-centered loads in the tube. Another method would be to add a counter balance at the top AND the bottom.... or a single countebalance at the center of gravity (making it hard to tune). Obviously if there are several off-center loads, you will have to counter each one to completely damp the vibrations... but once you do this, it will be in balance at all speeds.
This is a VERY interesting decoration. You should add some sort of VU meter circuit and sync it with the EL lights. That would be dazzling!!!
That's awesome!
Can you tell me more about programing your microcontroller? What kind of board do you use for programing? THX
For this project I used a homemade board that a friend of mine put together. You don't really need much, just an IC socket for the stamp, voltage regulator if necessary, serial connector and power supply. www.parallax.com has schematics. They also sell programming boards for $50 or more.
in your original design with 45 ft or so of EL wire, what sort of life were you getting on (1) 9 Volt battery? Enough for over night? Is that why you went to (2)? Also, regarding your sequencer, why did you build a custom sequencer as opposed to the pre-hatched ones on Coolight? Were there some effecrs you wanted to do that the Coolight ones could not do? Thanks, /mario
Hmm, i never tried it with only one battery -- I always used two of them in parallel, figuring they would last longer. The two batteries are good for about 8-10 hours, after that you get some serious dimming. As for the sequencer -- the "store-bought" versions generally either have predefined patterns, or a limited number of channels, or both. I wanted something programmable so I could use it for other projects. There are programmable multichannel sequencers for sale at various EL wire vendors, but they are often fairly expensive and/or bulky. Finally, I had a basic stamp and wanted to learn how to use it....
OK I just added some short quicktime videos of the light (or whatever it is) in action.... Of course it looks much better in person.....
how didi you make the power supply, i can never find plans for something like that...... i've been trying to make one like that and one that gets in excess of 300kv....if anyone has any plans or knows of any can you please inform me?
if you're talking about the power supply that runs the motor, that's just a converted PC power supply. There are numerous how-tos on doing that, including at least one on this site, if I'm not mistaken. If you mean the high voltage for the EL wire, it's 2 9v batteries connected to a small AC inverter. check out step #2 for the details. I don't know how you'd get 300KV & frankly I wouldn't want to......
Very nice effect :D on a side note, since we're talking newb to newb, what did you use to drill the holes in your PCB? Did you have a dripp press?
no, i just used a #60 gauge drill bit -- the smallest they sell at my local hardware store -- in a collet on my dremel tool. sounds like it won't work, but I have a special technique. See my instructable <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/ex/i/4D89184E277C1029BC6B001143E7E506/">here</a> and check out step #10.<br/>
seriously. this is probably THE coolest instructable i've seen yet. awesome
Nice... ;) i was following your progress on flickr and i'm glad to see it here too anyway to find this el-wire? Did you buy it via internet or a local shop?
I got it from coolight.com several years ago. They seem to have the best prices, but other places sell it too. Just search for "EL wire" on google. Avoid the cheap chinese knockoffs.

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