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Most EL wire displays are static (and boring) because they use constant-on inverters. Of course, there are inverters that can flash the EL wire on and off at a fixed rate, but that's not very exciting. Another option is to use a sound activated inverter, but most of these are single channel, so they turn the wires (no matter how many colors you have) all on or all off. If you really want to make your EL projects lively you have to use an inverter with multiple output channels, but many of these cost $80 and up! Luckily, I've found that you can use an inverter taken from a "graphic equalizer" T-shirt (aka T-qualizer) to create an inexpensive five channel, sound activated EL wire display.
I've used this idea to create a musically animated gift box from EL wire, a T-qualizer inverter, portable speakers, and an MP3 player. I call this gift box an ELF box which is short for ElectroLuminescent Fun box. The ELF box is a very cool way to give someone an electronic device that plays music; just substitute it in place of the mp3 player and have the gift animate its own gift box! Of course, if you don't want to make a gift box, this instructable works equally well for making a musically driven display. Finally, an optional step gives instructions on how to modify the inverter so that it responds to an audio signal instead of sound, which will enable you to precisely control the animation with a custom audio file and make speakers unnecessary.
Materials and Tools
gift box or other suitable substrate
5 strands of EL wire (I used 20 ft for an 8x11 in box. metric: ~6.1 m for a box approx. sized 21x28 cm)
T-qualizer inverter (not exactly the same as the one I have, but similar)
7x1 ribbon cable (around 6 in or 15 cm)
7x1 crimp terminal housing
7 female crimp terminals
crimper or pliers with knurled jaws
medium phillips screwdriver (for poking holes)
knife (for removing phosphor)