Question about EL wire drivers & power sources

Question about EL wire drivers & power sources

Postby mk-ultra » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:54 pm

I'm putting a bunch of EL wire on various things this year (oh, how original -- I know -- I'll pre-emptively snark myself, thank you).

Pretty much every driver I've seen has some sorta loose input voltage spec like 9-14v DC.

I'm not a big fan of using a crapload of AA's or 9v batteries, rechargeable or not.

What I'd like to use are a few rechargeable MiMH and NiCad RC battery packs I've got.

I'm thinking about wiring a pair of 7.2v, 2K ma/h packs in series to power all my stuff (for 14.4v output).

Anyone know how much fudge factor I can count on with drivers? Will I bake them by doing this?
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Postby Dork » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:21 pm

What is the no load voltage of those packs right after charging? I'm guessing it's a little higher than 7.2. I'd get that number and send an email to coolneon.

My guess is it would be ok, but the 14v number is likely designed to give a little fudge factor when using 12v batteries, which are closer to 13 when fully charged.
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Re: Question about EL wire drivers & power sources

Postby ZaphodBurner » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:26 pm

mk-ultra wrote:I'm thinking about wiring a pair of 7.2v, 2K ma/h packs in series to power all my stuff (for 14.4v output).

Anyone know how much fudge factor I can count on with drivers? Will I bake them by doing this?


The guy from ThatsCoolWire was really helpful when I e-mailed him. From my own experience, the length of the wire is a factor; if you don't use enough wire for the load, you'll cook the wire and possibly the driver. For example, I plugged six feet of 2mm elwire through a 12v driver into a car battery and had to resolder the wire braid. I cooked an inverter somehow, I think by using too much voltage.

As far as snark, elwire was so 2004, yeahwhatever. Anybody who's ever clocked some darkwad on the middle of the playa or tried to figure out which dust-white bike among the thousands is theirs will appreciate elwire.

Plus, it's way better than disposable glowsticks which are so, what, 1990?
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Postby capjbadger » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:24 pm

Actually no, the lenght of the wire does not matter for the voltage, though it does matter for how many amps it will pull.

Two things you must follow or else you'll blow out the inverter. 1) Stay within the voltage range, and 2) never reverse the polarity for the power going into the inverter. It will fry instantly.

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