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How EL Wire UK Works?

By Ewan Fisher Subscribe to RSS | January 11th 2012 | Views:

EL wire UK is shorthand for electro luminescent wire (UK). This is a rather neat electric application sometimes referred to as cool neon, because it glows in a manner similar to neon but does not heat up in the process.

The luminosity of EL wire is caused by phosphor, which is excited by the passing of an alternating current between a solid copper wire core and a thin fine winding of copper wire – separated by the coating of phosphor. The two wires flip a powerful alternating current between each other and the charging and discharging of the thin wound copper wire (which acts as a capacitor, coaxially) causes the phosphor molecules to emit their phosphorescent glow.

The natural colouring of EL wire UK, when it is glowing, is a kind of bluish green – similar to the illumination seen on the surface of the sea at night in the tropics. This is a remarkable colour in its own right and is highly effective when seen “in the flesh” – but the industrial and commercial applications of El wire UK obviously require more than just one colour at their disposal.

The problem is solved by creating dyed sheaths, which are placed over the clear protective sheath that surrounds the thin copper wire winding, the phosphor and the solid copper wire core. The coloured sheath is injected with an organic dye that reacts with the blue and green colour of the phosphor light to deliver a range of colours including purple; orange; yellow; red; and pink.

The current required by EL wire UK demands an inverter. Normally the EL wire is attached to a pocket inverter powered by a pair of AA batteries. The wire has a massively high efficiency rating and can be driven for a long time on this paltry power source – making it ideal for mobile and “novelty” applications including clothing (you will see EL wire in action in the recent remake of Tron) and tricking out cars. It’s also a good alternative to rope lighting when used in the home or on commercial premises.

EL wire UK requires an alternating current potential of something like 90 to 120 volts, at a Hz rating of around 1,000. The high voltage signal required to drive the EL wire is commonly generated by a resonant oscillator, used in conjunction with a coiled transformer to turn the driver itself into a tuned LC oscillator. This is the reason for the efficiency of EL wire UK (noted above) and its ability to run for many hours on a very small power supply.

To gain an effect of movement (as in flashing signs outside bars, or signs that appear to write letters one after the other) an EL wire sequencer may be used. The sequencer flashes the EL wire UK in sequential patterns to create the desired effect.

Ewan Fisher - About Author:
Proto-PIC is a popular source of electronic components for electronics enthusiasts. Their range of elctronic components is unbeatable which includes El wire UK.

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