Nicole A. Wolfersberger and I, with support from Prof. Kylie Peppler at Indiana University, made a LilyPad Arduino-controlled EL-wire dress.  With a few extra components we were able to control the blink frequency of the EL wire.  This introduces the new possibility of controlling the EL wire via sensor (button, touch, temp, light, etc.).  Now the EL wire doesn't simply have to be either on or off--it's ready to be programmed!

The LilyPad Electronic Platform is an electronic platform designed to be easily sewn into fabric using conductive thread, which provides designers freedom from the traditional construction method of soldering.  

EL wire (electroluminescent wire) is a thin wire the glows when an AC voltage is applied.  The wire is often wrapped in a colored transparent tube and is quite pliable.  Many people often outline clothing (hats, pants, jackets, etc.) with EL wire, giving the garment an interesting colored glow.  We, however, want to not only outline a garment but also control when the EL wire is lit.  

Controlling the EL wire is not difficult but it does require some electronic pieces that everyday crafters may not be familiar with. 

Step 1: EL-Wire Difficulties

As mentioned before, the EL wire is only illuminated when an AC voltage is applied. Most, if not all, suppliers of EL wire also sell inverters necessary for this task. The inverter has a DC input and an AC output.

This is the beginning of our problem: how can we use the LilyPad to turn the EL wire on and off if the EL wire is controlled by an AC signal and the LilyPad uses DC? And the problem is often even more difficult, because the LilyPad board can be powered between 2.7-5.5 V. Inverters often have input DC voltages of 1.5V, 3.0V, and 12V, though input voltages range between 1.5V and 18V. Furthermore, if there is a spike or surge with the inverter it may damage the LilyPad.
Hi, This instructable is GREAT! I have an art project that uses a light source with an inverter, and, on the side, had been playing with the LilyPad. I had been wondering whether there might be a way to control my light source via the LilyPad, and this is the answer. I have a couple questions:<br> <br> <em>FIRST QUESTION.</em> Sorry, but it's really hard to look at the bunches of wire and soldering connections on the bottom of the perf board. Especially helpful is the diagram in your pics for Step 6, second picture from the left (the one with white background that shows the connection layout of the components). What I need to know, that isn't labeled in that diagram, is the&nbsp;purple and black lines going to the TRIAC---which is MT1 and which MT2 (assuming the center one is gate?)---and also the wires on the EL wire---which one is the purple line, the copper core or the angel? And is the bronze/brown-colored rectangle between the Lilypad and pin 1 of the optoisolator denoting the resistor? Sorry, this was a complicated first question!<br> <br> <em>SECOND QUESTION </em>is how would you modify this project if the inverter takes a 12-volt power source instead of 3 volts? Any idea how to do that? Would the optoisolator and/or TRIAC have to be a different ones, or just set differently?&nbsp;Right now I&nbsp;am using a 12-volt 500 mA transformer, your basic wall wart, to provide power, rather than using batteries. I have the power going into a mini-plug jack (switched). Thanks for any help!
Hey,<br><br>FIRST ANSWER:<br>Looking at the triac with the flat side facing you the pins outs are:<br>1) MT1<br>2) G<br>3) MT2<br>Therefore, the black line, which is the the ground of the battery connected to the inverter is connected to MT1<br><br>It doesn't matter which lines go to to the copper core or the angle wire. One line will be grounded and the other will be alternating. That's the great thing about AC!<br><br>Yes, the bronze/brown colored rectangle is suppose to denote the resistor. See pic 3 on Step 6. I believe it's a 330 Ohm resistor. <br><br>SECOND ANSWER:<br>You may not need to change anything. For the optoisolator you need to make sure that you are getting around or above 2.0V from the emitter (pin 4) to get the triac to switch on. I would suggest putting in a resistor to limit the current. The first thing I would do is set up the circuit and measure the voltage coming from the emitter relative to ground of the wall wart. <br><br><br>Give me a few days I and will have a more proper answer for you.
<p>Nice..... any fire risk?</p>
Looks like this could be adapted for an awesome looking hoodie with multiple displays. Can this be washed?
dry cling only , eeerrrrr dry clean only. or fabreeze the hell out it, after u wear it.
I am not sure if it could be washed. I will test it out!<br><br>I just finished another instructable on controlling EL wire with new boards I have design: https://www.instructables.com/id/EL-Driver-Board/
Could you make one of these with two diodes and an extra lead on one side, because the schematic looks the same?
Sorry, but no. you can't make a Triac only with diodes.
Thanks so much for the explanations, and for looking up the info on the 12-volt source. I'm looking forward to having a project to work on!<br> <br> The reason for the 12-volt supply is that I bought these lights as computer case-modding supplies, and have been cutting off the molex connectors. Power from the 12v/500 mA transformer goes to a mini-jack, then plus-side goes to SPST rocker switch.<br> <br> I'll have to do some thinking about how to power the LilyPad. My project is inside a case, which will make the LilyPad power supply hard to access...

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