El Wire Tutorial – Play With It – Solder It – Power It

Looking for a great tutorial on how to use EL Wire, solder it and more? Check out this great tutorial by LadyAya over at Adafruit.


She starts off with a great FAQ, I will share some of the highlights below and then it moves on to soldering el wire and more.

  • EL Wire does not generate heat
  • EL wire needs a driver/inverter that can provide 400-2000 Hz, 60-120VAC (not peak-to-peak!)
  • Having a higher frequency/voltage results in a brighter wire
  • The brighter you run it will result in a shorter lifetime of the EL Wire
  • Our high-brightness/long-life EL wire can be driven at 100V/2000Hz for 3000 hours before it is half the original brightness
  • EL wire is not easily dimmable
  • The more wire you connect to an inverter, the more ‘loaded’ it is and the dimmer it will be
  • The AA inverter works best with fresh batteries.  Rechargeable batteries will be dimmer because the input voltage is lower
  • Never run the inverter without at least 1 foot of EL attached

The tutorial also goes on to Soldering EL Wire and EL Wire projects.

When I am working with EL Wire and doing a lot of cutting and splicing, I usually will not solder the connections.  I will strip it, expose the electrodes and bend them backwards over the plastic sleeve, I will then strip some of the phosphorus.

I will then just wrap wire around the electrodes / corona wires (there should be 2) and use heat shrink tubing to cover and hold everything together.  I will wrap the other wire around the center conductor wire and heat shrink this in place.  I will then cover both with some more heat shrink tubing and test.

Do this only for temporary jobs, definitely not on anything that will be moving, like clothing, etc…