Anyone used EL wire?

Hi guys,

I was hoping anyone had any experience using EL wire.

I want to make a indoor neon sign, hopefully operated via mains than battery.

I had some experience with it but I get confused what kind of driver unit to buy in comparison to length of wire.

Anyone have good place to go for the wire, any advice on achieving this project would be welcomed!

Thanks again


The wire typically specifies a mA rating per meter, and you would then pick a driver of that rating or higher.

i.e. 3 meters of 100mA / per meter = 300mA so a 500mA driver would be more than adequate.

I’ve always used elwirecraft. Good price, and everything comes pre-soldered with plug/socket connectors. Soldering the stuff is very fiddly business, so it’s worth paying someone else to do to for you!

Thanks guys,

I was going to do the text in a hand writing font but I was planning to put breaks in the EL wire and join them with normal wire so that I get to have parts that don’t light up rather than a continuous line. Do you think it’s possible also would this effect what type of driver unit I would need?

Thanks guys

@RichM did some signs IIRC

You could of course just put insulation tape over the sections you don’t want lit

Indoor neon should be plenty bright with EL, be aware the drivers buzz veeeery slightly, if you’re going to use it in a quiet environment.

I used heat shrink tubing

1 Like

One think to remember. There is good reason why all sale photos are being taken in dark. For you to see it glowing during the day, I’d say you need to run 3 or 4 strands, specially if it’s other them phosphor original color (for the colored ones the outer sleeve is semi translucent colored plastic where you loose light)

When I did Wonder Women’s lasso I braided 4.

also worth making sure that your power supply is fairly smoothly regulated, or you get a slightly disappointing initial burst of lovely lovely glow, which fades dramatically to something barely perceptable…

There’s also this stuff - led based, way, way brighter but much bigger.

LED Strip 12V SMD2835 Neon Light Round Line Low Voltage Flexible Indoor Outdoor Waterproof Soft Light Strip Car Ambilight Lights

Those are great slightly large for my project but definitely worth thinking up an excuse to use them next.

Your Atari sign you did is exactly what I was looking to do, what size EL did you use there I was thinking of 3mm. When you said you used usb ones, does this mean your sign can run off a USB port or a 5v phone charger?

Thanks again

How can I test to find out if the drivers are smooth? Would you know a good supplier?
Thanks again!

As far as I know there are only two sizes of wire, and the thicker one isn’t as bright as the thinner anyway. The thinner wire is about 2.7mm in diameter so fits nicely into a slot in 3mm acrylic.

Yes, the inverter I used has a USB connector on the end so plugs into a phone charger or usb port or power pack.

Get some EL wire and play with it before you do too much work on this. It isn’t really terribly bright, especially in daylight.

One other thing to bear in mind is that UV degrades it. So even if it’s indoors but sunlight can get to it, it will fade over time.

Hi tom, where did you order your el wire kit with the usb from?

Thanks again

Hi do you mind telling me where you got your EL wire kit with the usb from