I have this 10ft EZ-EL Wire with the 3V Inverter that has three modes. it has an always on, and two flash modes. I wanted more control with a simple push and release button to turn it on and off. So for no real reason, just for something to do I decided to hack the inverter and I ended up sticking it on my bike to play with it. It is a crude hack, and can be improved on.
Submitted by Mobile Makerspace
for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
Step 1: Removing the Inverter Case
I started by removing the case. There are two screws - be careful not to loose the button.
Step 2: Inspection Time
On closer inspection and a few tests, we decided the new switch should need to interrupt the main power at the battery. If we selected a flash mode and disconnected the wire, then reconnected it, the inverter would reset itself and go back to an off state.
Step 3: Desolder Battery Clip
Desolder the positive battery terminal from the circuit board and bend the tab so it will no longer come in contact with the board when you reinstall it back into the battery compartment. Then solder a 6 inch or longer piece of wire on the back of the battery tab.
Step 4: Power Bypass
Solder a 6 inch or longer piece of wire to the spot where you desoldered the battery tab.
Step 5: Bridge Solder Points
Bridge the two solder points to allow the inverter to remain in the on mode without resetting when the power is disrupted. When the power is returned, it will go back to a solid mode.
Step 6: Melt or Cut a Hole
Melt or cut a small hole in the side of the case to allow the two wires to come out from the side of the case once it is reassembled.
Step 7: Reassemble
Reinstall the circuit board and battery tab making sure the battery tab does not touch the circuit board. Assemble the case allowing the two wires to come out of the side of the case.
Step 8: Construct a Button
Build a button so that when it is pressed, the button will activate the EZ-EL Light. I used about 6 feet of wire and twisted it together to keep it from coming apart.
Step 9: Solder the Button to the Inverter
Solder the ends of the wire from the button to the wires coming from the button. it does not matter which order you use, the button simply acts as a bridge and completes the circuit. There is no positive or negative. Tape or heat shrink your connections.
Step 10: Test the Connections
With all of your connections made, place some batteries in the inverter and press the button. You should see the lights light up. If not, check all of your solder points.
Step 11: Secure the Wires
Secure the wires so they do not pull out of the inverter. I used a bit of electricians tape around the inverter where the old button is as it no longer works.
Step 12: Make a Hole in the Water Bottle
I decided to wrap the light around a bike just to have some fun. It took about 5 mins and really does not look very special but I wanted to put it on something. This instructable was to document the hack, and not really intended to include the bike but I thought I should include it to demonstrate it. I will be providing another Instructable to light up a bike trailer with the word STOP when ever your pull the brake leaver. But that will be in a few weeks from this one.
Melt or cut a hole in a water bottle. I melted a hole in the lid so I could still close it and get a good seal.
Step 13: Pack It All Up
I wrapped the inverter up in a bit of knitting to keep it from rattling around in the bottle and slid it down inside the bottle. The wires easily stuck out from the top and the lid snapped shut.
Step 14: Wrap the Wires and Have Fun!
Wrap the power wire around the frame of the bike up to the handle bars allowing enough slack so you don't pull the wire when you turn the handle bars. Secure the button with zip ties close to a location where you can press it when riding.
Wrap the EZ-EL wire around your bike in any fashion you wish giving you any type of lighting effect you want. - Enjoy!