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(To the un-nerd: "EL" is short for "electroluminescent". Its basically a giant, somewhat flexible LED. The hard part is its powered like a fluorescent bulb: with a high voltage high frequency transformer. It comes in wires, tapes, and panels. Its what made costumes light up in the latest Tron movie. The costume's batteries and transformers were hidden in the disk mounts and the library buzzing sounds were edited out.)

So I'm tinkering around with a 3-volt 2-circuit battery powered EL-wire set of fairy wings for my daughter's Halloween costume, and I'm thinking Tron'ing up an old black launch mission jacket for myself and....light bulb <evil grin>

My car has a 12 volt system (duh!)...a 12 volt inverter and this cheap Arduino ($20) controller shield (another $20) can run 8 EL circuits full-on, with possibilities of animation and PWM fading... EL wire and tape is reasonably cheap for a car mod ($10/meter, once you have the power supply (uh...your car battery!), inverter ($15), and controller (the aforementioned $40 kit) squared away) and WAY cooler...Has anybody done anything exterior with EL tape or panels as in a Tron'ed-out racing stripe?

Issues I can thunk up:

-Securing EL tape and panels to exterior body panels without damaging the paint or getting too thick. 3M automotive tape?

-Wiring all the power lines from the controller without drilling holes in body panels. I'm thinking all circuits must wrap over body panel edges for wiring contacts on the back-side...

-Keeping high voltage solder joints dry and isolated from grounded body panels. I'm thinking double-up shrink wrap for starters, then some kind of calking over that...

-Keeping all the Arduino boards clean, dry, and cooled. I'm thinking small aluminum project boxes, electrician style all-around...

-Where in the wiring harness to tap in the power circuit for 12 volts DC? What about multiple taps, say 1 inverter/controller pair per body panel (I count 10 panels total, including the spoiler). They're low wattage draw, but need full 12v DC rail voltage to drive them...

-Running all that new 5 volt and 12 volt wiring harness all over everywhere. Interior body panels are easy to remove, but my modded rear posts are a rhinoceros wrestle to re-install.

-Where in the wiring harness to tap in for 5 volts DC for the Arduinos and controller power? I might run them all on Li battery packs and just run USB cable for both charging and central control, as USB is cheap and comes insulated. Still need heavy insulated speaker wire for the inverter power lines...

-What kind of control hardware and software scheme to use? Where to mount it? Bluetooth shield from an Android control app?

My inspiration:
EL Escudo Dos - SparkFun Electronics

And yes, my iQ is Black Sand Pearl, perfect for Tron-style lighting mods. (license plate "HAQED", so go figure).

Thoughts?
 

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If you use el wire....be sure to seal any raw ends.....leaving the tubing open lets in crap (air water ect) and fades out the glow....
 

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I've worked with EL wire before. The results can be stunning. I'm looking forward to seeing what your imagination comes up with.
 

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I used it to light a Nitro RC heli in the late 90's ....and was one of the first to do EL on one....looked great ...Here is one of the first ones I did....Later I used the rope to outline the canopy and tail fin and it looked allot better

 

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