EL Wire can be an intimidating purchase at first, but rest assured, it is a very simple product. There are a few things you need to know to reach your glowing goal. After reading this guide, you’ll be an EL Wire pro in no time.
Let’s start at the beginning.
What Is EL Wire?
EL Wire is a thin copper wire that is wrapped in a colorful plastic coating. Inside the plastic coating is a copper wire that is dipped in the powder form of the element Phosphor. This is what makes EL Wire glow. Wrapped over the top of the EL Wire are two of the smallest wires you have ever seen. We call them “Angel Hair” wires. They are about the size of a human hair, so the term is pretty fitting.
How do I make EL Wire glow?
EL Wire does not contain its own magical powers, but once you get it up-and-running, you will see that it does create its own magic. EL Wire needs a power source to glow, and for that you have a couple different choices: ready made kits, plugging it into a wall outlet, or hooking it up to a battery pack. EL Wire doesn’t run on a common household power, because it uses a special high frequency alternating current which enables the wire to glow. The battery packs and wall adaptors, which can be found on Ellumiglow.com, provide the neccessary high frequency AC to make EL wire glow. You may notice a high pitch sound during operation as the driver creates the high frequency AC to power the EL wire. This is normal and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with the unit. You will see the following terms used throughout the site: Battery Packs, Drivers and Inverters. For the most part, these all refer to the power source (battery pack, etc), so don’t get too confused when you come across these terms. Let’s help you learn more about each of these choices.
Ready Made EL Wire Kits are the way to go if you don’t own a soldering iron, or are not the DIY (Do-It-Yourselfer) type. Ready Made kits come with everything you need to be on your glowing way, except for the batteries. Most EL Wire battery packs will either use AA, AAA or 9V Batteries.The ready made kits come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1-25 feet long. These kits come in all 10 colors of wire, and you can use this wire just as any other wire. You can sew it onto fabrics, glue it onto hard surfaces, or whatever else your heart desires. And guess what? It''s all ready to glow!
Plug-In Inverters convert household AC power into a high frequency AC which enables the wire to glow. These will be larger than most hand-held battery packs, but there’s no need to replace batteries because they use your homes electricity. These inverters use less electricity than a standard desk lamp. For larger projects, inverters can power up to about 200 feet of wire from a single unit. The larger plug-in inverters are more expensive to buy, but when compared to other lighting sources EL wire is far and away brighter, cheaper and longer lasting.
Battery Packs are the most common way to power EL wire because they tend to be less expensive than plug-in units and the batteries generally last a long time. For instance, 2 AA batteries can power an 8-foot strand of EL Wire for about 8-10 hours. Rechargeable batteries can be used in Battery Packs, however they will not last as long as most disposable batteries. Another plus? You can easily attach the battery packs to clothing, pockets, and more, as most battery packs will come with their own belt clips. Be aware that if you are planning to wear EL Wire out to an event, you will want to make sure you have backup batteries because sometimes the wire will drain your batteries faster than expected. Also, keep in mind that the longer your wire is, the more power it takes to glow.. It is also a good idea to remove the batteries from the inverter when not in use, because on occasion it is hard to tell if a battery pack is still “On” (especially when using sound activated packs).
If I choose to buy EL Wire By The Foot what do I do next?
If you want to buy a bunch of wire, and want to take the next step by making the connections on your own, here are the things you will need:
EL Wire - Ordering wire by the foot is the most cost effective way to go, however it requires more work and knowledge. For information on how to connect EL wire, see our EL Wire Knowledgebase.
Power Source (Battery Pack or Plug-in) – Make sure when you order your battery packs to keep in mind how much wire each battery pack can power. If you use more EL Wire than your battery pack can handle, the wire may not glow or it might be much dimmer than anticipated.
Connectors – One Female Connector will come with each 10 feet of wire purchased at Ellumiglow.com. This is a necessity if you plan on removing the battery pack or plug-in unit. The connector makes it easy to connect and disconnect with a simple connector.
Heat Shrink Tubing – If you are looking for the most professional way to connect the lead wire and EL Wire, heat shrink tubing keeps everything in one tightknit place and looks clean. Similar to wrapping your connection with electrical tape, heat shrink tubing slides right over the connection and makes a firm bond when heat is applied (hence the name). This stuff is seriously magic!
End Cap - End caps are an added bonus but not 100% necessary. Securing the end of your EL Wire is important so dust, water or other debris does not ruin the wire. If you choose not to purchase an end cap, you can also use glue to finish the end of the wire to act as an end cap. Use heat to warm up the end cap prior to placing it on the wire, and they will fit very snugly around the end of the wire making a more secure bond that will not fall off.
So there you have it! Those are the basics of EL Wire! I hope this guide gives you a better understanding of what is required to make your wire glow. If you have further questions about EL Wire, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877-615-6556.