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EL Wire - Amazing and unique light source

WizardG

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Yeah, it's a bit tricky to get the PMMA stuph sanded just the right amount to give even illumination without overdoing it, but it's cheap and fun to play with. I've found you can wrap the PMMA fiber around a form and bake it and it will adopt the shape permanently. Wrap it around a cylinder, cook, and tada! Fiber optic slinky :cool: I'd definitely like to play with some of the Fibrance fiber though. Thinner appeals to me. I wonder how tight a radius you can bend that to and still have it carry the light.
 



Bionic-Badger

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EL wire does look pretty cool. Still, after using EL wire a bit, I just don't like it very much, at least for costume lighting and stuff. It's expensive; it's fragile; it eats through batteries (when portable); it needs a specialized driver that sometimes has an annoying ring. Worst of all, the EL wire fades in brightness over time, so you can't just invest once and forget about it.

And yet, it's still pretty cool looking. I just wish it didn't have all those negatives.

I'd like to get some of the Corning Fibrance wire, but it's really expensive. It's laser-driven so it's really bright, but more than that, the fiber is probably designed to emit light uniformly unlike those sparkle fibers you can get online.
 

Benm

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I guess the uniform brightness is what makes the stuff expensive, it's essentially a flexible lightpipe.
 

Bionic-Badger

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Plus, the laser light source is probably pretty efficient. Even those regular fiber optics look pretty good with a laser compared to other light sources.
 

Benm

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Probably, although i'm kinda curious what they use as the light source for the white variant. Pricing seems equal to that of just red green or blue, but there must be some trick to get white light... 2 lasers combined?
 

Bionic-Badger

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Hmm, I was wondering about that too. I did a little poking around and according to this they're "doping" the wire itself, and the blue laser excites it. I guess it's kind of like the white LEDs.
 

Benm

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That'd actually make some sense :)
 

Seoul_lasers

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Sorry. Just realized how vague that was. :p

You can do that. It's when the outer insulation gets broken or the ends leak and the phosphor gets a little wet that you get problems.
Most of the Phosphors used in commercial El wire are either ZnS:Cu or ZnS:Mn The first dopant (Cu) is more common and is quite sensitive to moisture which degrades it quickly.
 

Benm

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Moisture is a problem indeed. It might be an idea to put the entire wire in some transparent adhesive heat shrink tubing and use and end stop at the unconnected side.

The output will probably still degrade over time, nothing can be done about that, but at least that will happen evenly.
 

ElectricPlasma

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Moisture is a problem indeed. It might be an idea to put the entire wire in some transparent adhesive heat shrink tubing and use and end stop at the unconnected side.
it actually includes an extra layer of transparent tubing on the outside, my guess is for that exact reason.
 

Benm

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Surely it does, but when you cut it to length you will break that layer. You could just try to seal the end you cut, but putting the whole thing in an extra layer of heatshrink adds a lot of protection, also against abrasion since the outer layer of EL wire is not that thick to begin with. It will be a bit less flexible and have a larger bend radius overall, but that could be worth it.
 




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