El Wire 4 Beginners

El Wire 4 Beginners

Postby BRC Fairy Godmother » Sun May 23, 2010 8:55 am

I've been to several Burns but have never learned about el-wire. The little bit of online shopping I've done makes me think I'm missing out on some important factual info. It can't be THAT expensive! Can anyone recommend a good source of info or products? Much Grass!
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun May 23, 2010 11:23 am

You can Google up a lot of great online El wire tutorial. I'd love to use a bunch on my mutant vehicle. But... it IS that expensive!
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Re: El Wire 4 Beginners

Postby bm_cricket » Sun May 23, 2010 10:09 pm

BRC Fairy Godmother wrote:I've been to several Burns but have never learned about el-wire. The little bit of online shopping I've done makes me think I'm missing out on some important factual info. It can't be THAT expensive! Can anyone recommend a good source of info or products? Much Grass!


It really is that expensive. Only slightly cheaper if you buy it by the full spindle but then you have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a single color of a single type of el wire...
)'(
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Postby pinemom » Mon May 24, 2010 7:15 am

yup...it really is that expensive!
And wanna know whats worse, if your new to el wire and dont have the soldering experience it gets more expensive...cause you need to purchase plug n play!


No really!

PLUG N PLAY!

Takes all the knowledge needed out of the equation.

Then you can decorate or sew it on without having to wait to put it all together!!!!


Other wise you will also need...(for put it together yourself) and you dont save much unless your talking over 50 ft.
Shrink tubing, a solderer, solder wire,magnifying glass set up so you can see that small stuff, steady hand,electrical tape.


anything else Im missing gang?
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Postby Snow » Mon May 24, 2010 7:36 am

a heat gun or lighter to shrnk the heat shrink
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Postby pinemom » Mon May 24, 2010 7:38 am

hahhaa thank ya Snowlover! I knew I was forgetting SOMETHING???haha
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Postby BRC Fairy Godmother » Tue May 25, 2010 9:45 am

Here, I thought it was pretty straight forward stuff and that I was just out of the loop....

I sure do appreciate the input. Now the next question(s) - what are the other alternatives (to getting run over by a bike in the middle of the night), and just how hard is it to learn how to make yer own?
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue May 25, 2010 9:49 am

LED light strings with aaa batteries are cheap and easy.
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Postby oscillator » Tue May 25, 2010 8:39 pm

pinemom wrote:anything else Im missing gang?


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Postby illy dilly » Tue May 25, 2010 10:35 pm

It seems that eBay is the best place to get El Wire. Though of course you might not get the same quality product.
Thought I doubt there are many people actually manufacturing EL wire. Most of the web sites seems to be retailers not manufacturers. So I think there is a very good chance that the Chinese companies that you get EL wire from off ebay are probably the same Chinese companies that wholesale to the American retailers.

But what I'm still not understanding about the connectors. Since its pretty much just a power connector you could use any sort of low resistance connector right?
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Postby bm_cricket » Tue May 25, 2010 10:53 pm

illy dilly wrote:It seems that eBay is the best place to get El Wire. Though of course you might not get the same quality product.
Thought I doubt there are many people actually manufacturing EL wire. Most of the web sites seems to be retailers not manufacturers. So I think there is a very good chance that the Chinese companies that you get EL wire from off ebay are probably the same Chinese companies that wholesale to the American retailers.

But what I'm still not understanding about the connectors. Since its pretty much just a power connector you could use any sort of low resistance connector right?


You need a special inverter box. You need the actual EL wire. You can connect them in almost any way you want to, even hard wire them together if you want to (I don't recommend it). Be warned, I've had the portable inverter boxes fail on me. Get a spare. And as for Ebay, ... I'm pretty sure you are right. I doubt there are more than a few people making this stuff. There can't be that big of a market for it. I've purchased the "good" cable and the cable that doesn't make any claim to it's quality and the "good" cable is better... However I also got different sizes so it's hard to say what caused the difference.

All around, I say to avoid it unless you need it on your art car or bicycle. Using it on clothing is a chore and doesn't look all that impressive... personally...
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Postby Snow » Wed May 26, 2010 12:03 am

The plug and play stuff is super simple. Call one of the stores in the US and they are most helpful in getting you started. PM me if you want a specific reference.

I always add a connector just after the driver. They sometimes fail, usually due to too much dust. I carry spares for the various size toys I've made.
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Postby dr.placebo » Wed May 26, 2010 12:41 am

I've had good luck with coolneon (I'm not at all affiliated with them). In 2007 I used about 400 feet of EL wire (see below) to light up a playa installation. EL wire actually has a pretty good per-foot cost compared to a lot of other lighting, although the light output is not very intense, and you need drivers and batteries besides.

Image

For small stuff you can get pre-made EL wire stuff or easy kits.

On the other hand, for personal lighting I've switched over to LEDs, since I really want to visible enough to be safe.
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Postby pinemom » Wed May 26, 2010 7:27 am

Ya Doc, we also went with Coolneon.....in 2007. Still have all our el wire and controllers and guess what, they all still work!
and we've accidentally cut the 50 ft'r on the Booby doorway. and hooked up the other end...still works! hahaaaa

I like it cause i can pull it off older costumes and re-attach it to new ones!

Dont ever wash it! Not that I have, but just from looking at it, I know it would be bad.
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Postby Snow » Wed May 26, 2010 8:48 am

yes coolneon is who i use as well
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Postby bm_cricket » Wed May 26, 2010 2:05 pm

Snow wrote:yes coolneon is who i use as well


I got mine from WorldAglow. Don't buy from them, they are idiots! Naturally the product is just the same as everyone else's but the people who run the store managed to screw up my shipping label twice.. twice! Once on the order and then when I had an inverter die it took them 2 months to realize they sent the replacement to the wrong address!!

I'm not sure where our camp buys the bulk for our art cars. If you can go in on purchases with a few people you'll probably save a substantial wad of cash.
)'(
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Postby Orchid » Sat May 29, 2010 7:36 am

I've used coolneon several times and can attest to their amazingness. The first order I placed, I was kind of guessing on some things (translation: didn't know what the heck I was doing) and they actually called me and said "Hey, your order looks a little funky to us. Can we offer you some advice?" and got me all straightened out. I've never, ever experienced such excellent customer service anywhere else.

So yeah, my vote goes to coolneon, especially if you're a newb. Good luck :)
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Postby gyre » Mon May 31, 2010 2:33 am

There is a good article posted on here on using LEDs with fibre optics on clothing.
This approach can be used anywhere.
LEDs continue to improve and have tremendous color advantages over elwire.
Elwire does appear to be very efficient, but it is hard to compare without lumens ratings.

The good material is an israeli brand and I think there is a difference.

The heavy elwire can self support for aerial runs.
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Postby swampdog » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:54 am

CoolNeon is good, and they're burners. Live Wire Neon is also run by burners. Google "EL wire" and you'll find lots of choices. "Lytec" is the name brand of the main manufacturer, they make a pretty convincing case that if it's not Lytec it's not reliable (I think that's from the Lytec site). If I were starting an EL wire project I'd shop by price.

How expensive it is of course relates to what you want to do with it. If you want to run hundreds of feet, well, it'll be hundreds of dollars. You can stick a relatively small amount on a hat, bike, or clothes for not too much - depends on your budget.

It runs from about a buck a foot up to a buck and a half. Inverters aren't that expensive either, I think you can get a basic one for under $10. They will be rated for length of wire to run, and whether they are steady, strobe, or sequence. (or some combination thereof)

Having done some moderately involved stuff on clothes - well, as someone already said, it's not as cool as I'd hoped. Plus, it's kinda passe. what was cool in 2005 isn't so cool in 2010. IMHO. I think the cool kids are doing fiber optic, color changing LEDs or something.

I was easily able to figure out how to solder EL wire and I'm a klutz. I did learn that you really really don't want to pick up the soldering iron by the pointy end. I also learned that when you smell your flesh burning before you feel it, it's gonna hurt awhile. Plug n play takes way more planning than I could ever muster.
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EL wire on Art Car

Postby nader128 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:19 pm

What is the best way to mount this stuff on a aluminum square tubing surface. Where it will stay put. Wire ties ? I want to mount it once and not have to worry about it.
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Postby Elliot » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:28 pm

:D
Have not done it, but I know some people use a hot glue gun.
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Postby SilverOrange » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:38 am

I can't say enough good stuff about Cool Neon. They will take the time to work with you to ensure that you get what you need. They also offer a burner discount if you call and ask.
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Postby kman » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:54 am

Elliot wrote::D
Have not done it, but I know some people use a hot glue gun.

Hot glue has a nasty tendency to melt in the heat of BRC... especially on a hot metal aluminum surface that soaks up heat like crazy. You can easily reach the glue's melting point.

I'd look at RTV silicon adhesive/sealant instead.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:14 pm

:D
Ah.... Thank you! Makes sense.
:D
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Postby kman » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:22 pm

This is an old-ish post, I know, but for anyone looking to work with raw EL wire on their own, I threw together a web page with detailed instructions after I attended a CoolNeon workshop (I echo the kudos to CoolNeon, btw, great peeps!):

Soldering EL Wire

(It's quite possible that there are better pages out there since I created the page, but at the time I made it in 2002, it was the best thing out there!)
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:23 pm

How about cable and wire holders?

They have stick on and screw on.
Even clip on.
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Postby swampdog » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:21 pm

Goop is from the gods. It holds on the playa, it's transparent, it sticks to anything, and yet you can also pull it off after it's dry.

zip ties are fine. Anything that holds firmly yet somewhat gently and doesn't interfer with/cover your art is fine.

On clothing, you can use the Buttoneer - a Ronco like thing that locks a little plastic loop onto the fabric. Not as good as it sounds, and if you want to do complex shapes it's best supplemented by goop.
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Cool Neon

Postby Coastburner » Sat Aug 14, 2010 11:46 am

I too second using Cool Neon. They screwed up my order in a different way and sent me the same thing twice. They didn't charge me for it and probably didn't know they did it but good karma being what it is.....I called them to let them know. Sure enough, they had no idea they sent it out. I was going to send it back to them but he cut me a deal instead, charged my credit card and we were all good. The stuff I do have is still working 3-4 years later but I gifted so many to a lot of darkwads I need to order some more.

Light up the playa --- or get run over ;)

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