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What exactly is EL wire?

What is EL Wire?

Fun Answer: EL wire is a bright glowing wire that comes in 10 different colors.  The glow wire is very thin, flexible, and highly visible. It is great for parties, music festivals, Halloween costumes, sprucing up the ol' bicycle, and for art projects.

Long Answer: EL Wire (short for electroluminescent wire) is a thin copper wire coated in a phosphor that will glow when powered by a 'driver'. There are two smaller 'corona' wires surrounding the copper wire that carry the electricity back and allow it to glow. The inner wire is covered in a PVC casing that gives the wire its color, and the cover also protects the inside from the elements and protects you from the electricity. Below is a picture of typical colors that are available.






EL Wire is very efficient when compared to other types of lighting and 100's of feet can be powered for hours off of small batteries.  Smaller drivers will use 2 AA (3 volt) batteries while larger portable drivers will use 8 AA batteries (12 volt). The size and weight of the drivers typically increase as the length they are able to power increases. Most drivers will have an on/off switch, while upgraded drivers can add flashing, sound sensitivity, or more.  EL wire sequencers are also available, to power different lengths of wire in a sequence.  For more information on drivers please click here for another of my posts on drivers.

EL Wire is available in many lengths to suit your needs, the only limitation being the max output of the driver. Each driver/inverter is designed to power up to a certain length of wire.  Exceeding that length will greatly diminish the brightness of the wire, and drain the batteries much faster.  Using a length much shorter than the driver was designed will result in a brighter glow, but shorter lifespan for the wire.

EL Wire is pronounced "L wire" the majority of the time, and sometimes "E L Wire" to prevent confusion while spelling it out.  Also known as glow wire, neon wire, and light wire.

The thing to remember with EL wire is that your imagination is the only limit when it comes to what it can be used for.  I will make future posts about all the different ways it can be used.

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