EL Wire Bicycle Rim Light




About: Civil Engineer, Designer, Enthusiastic! From Rhodes, Greece

Check out this guide that shows how i made my El wire Bicycle Rim Lights!

Step 1: The Idea

Hi guys,

I was thinking how to make my bicycle rims illuminated, shinny and cool during the night,

and all the projects i could find were by using leds.

So i started working on this, but the result was a little bit disappointing. When the bicycle was moving fast

everything was fine, but in low speeds, and while stopped, my rim was looking like a Christmas tree...

So i decided to work with something with more smooth and continuous light through the rim.

So i decided to work with some EL wire and attach it in my bicycle rim.

Step 2: Preparing the Rim

When i unpacked my EL wire, i removed the first rim from the bike and i started gluing my el wire byusing

transparent adhesive tape, as seen in the third picture. After that, i knew exactly where i had to cut the wire.

Step 3: Cutting and Soldering the EL Wire

The process of doing that is the same as all the el wire projects.

Strip off the colored PVC sleeve covering.

Cut the inner clear PVC sleeve off, but be very careful not to cut too deep and damage the two angel wires.

Now you will notice that there is phosphor coating on the thicker center wire. Carefully scratch it off with some razor blade.

Now, slip a piece of heat shrink tubing over the end of your EL wire and push it back a few inches form the tip.

Next, wrap your copper tape around the colored PVC sleeve.

Next, pull the angel wires back and solder onto the copper tape. Make sure you melt the solder against the hot copper tape, not by simply pushing it onto the tip of the hot soldering iron. Make sure you hold the angel wires down with the tip of the solder as the liquid solder dries so that the wires stay fused to the copper tape.

Now you have to twist the core wire from the EL wire with the shorter
wire from the black driver wire.

Next, you will need to solder the connecting wires for the driver to the inner core wire of the EL wire cable.

Now you have to solder the longer lead from the battery pack wire to the copper tape.

Isolate these wires with another small piece of heat shrink tubing.

This instructable is very helpful


Step 4: Glow the Wire to the Rim

After finishing the cutting and soldering, you can start glowing the wire to the rim.

I used some transparent silicon adhesive.

So, you can start by removing one adhesive tape piece, put some glue in the point that you can see in the photos, and repeat this step until you have made a full circle.

Step 5: Attach the Battery and the Cables to the Rim

After finishing glowing the wire to the rim you should attach the battery to the rim also.

I used some black cable ties, so it would be easy to remove the battery when i need to.

Try to attach the battery as close to the centre of the rim, as shown in the picture above.

Step 6: Have Fun!!!

You are ready to have fun and impress your friends with your lights :D

Here you can see one video of me, biking in the night, unfortunately the video quality sucks, but

trust me, the result is fantastic!!!



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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting project.

    I have done a few things with EL wire and its fun stuff to work with.

    I have heard / read that it's lifetime is affected by exposure to strong light like daylight. You now have an experiment in place where you can test that. What you should do is keep a piece of the same wire someplace dark, like in a box in a drawer and maybe every month pull it out and compare it to the ones you have in place. Make a chart that shows any changes in brightness. This way you can find out, using a control, if it really does deteriorate due to sunlight. This would make it possible for you to give an estimate on the longevity of your project. You could also try getting something like a UV blocking finish and put that on a section to see if it will prevent fading. If it does then it might be possible to selective let sections fade while keeping others bright. if you can do that you could code in a secret Morise code message that would show up as it ages.