Introduction: The Easiest EL Sequencer
Electroluminescent lights (Els) are everywhere these days, from the city to the playa. And EL wire, panels and shapes are available in lots of sizes and colors. But if you want to build animated sequences of multiple lights, you either use an inverter with a few basic blink patterns, or perhaps an Arduino or a Pi which might be overkill for a simple costume or display.
But the SignBoard uses a simple and easy Windows GUI to streamline the process. And your EL lights update in realtime with no compiling or uploading of code.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: SignBoard
The SignBoard EL sequencer is a dedicated dual purpose board. Because it was designed as a signage platform, it includes a USB port to power an iBeacon dongle. But it comes with a link to download a small Windows GUI for controlling up to eight channels of EL wire, shapes and panels. A 12V supply powers up to 1000 sq. in. or 200' depending on inverter size used, with an 1.2A maximum.
Step 2: GUI Sequencing
The SignBoard connects to a Windows machine by way of a USB to serial connection using a device driver. The trickiest part of all this may be getting the connection established. But when that works, launching the app opens the utilitarian interface. The eight EL channels are represented by rows of eight check boxes and a time duration. Sequences are made by clicking a box to turn the light on or off, and can be composed of up to 512 time slices. Feedback is instantaneous as the lights respond in real time. When you're done, click to download the sequence to the SignBoard. The pattern remains in the chip even when unpowered.
Step 3: Get Aboard
I only produced a few boards, but if there's interest, perhaps I'll get more made. The project is currently on Tindie.