Making EL Wire Change Color

Science Technology
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It’s not a dramatic color shift, but it turns out you can control the hue of EL wire over a narrow range by varying the frequency of the resonating driver circuit. dcroy (upper video) did it back in February using a 555, and Paul Stoffregen (lower video) unknowingly repeated the project recently, having noticed that a single fixed-frequency driver produced slightly different colors in two different lengths of wire. My guess is that EL wire manufacturers strive to minimize this variance, which for many users would count as a defect. But I wonder if you could change the phosphors or otherwise tweak the wire’s design to maximize the frequency-dependent color-shift?

4 thoughts on “Making EL Wire Change Color

  1. Phelps says:

    Now, to change it to a heartbeat shift instead of a linear fade…

  2. David Bell says:

    I was doing this in 1963±, driving EL panels (same capacitive/phosphor concept, on rigid metal plates) with the high voltage horizontal sweep output of my shop oscilloscope!
    Could get a fairly dramatic shift in color and intensity…


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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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