Solar El wire

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HandyGar
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Solar El wire

Post by HandyGar » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:31 pm

I'm trying to wire some flags with el wire letters. I want it to work off a solar panel and turn off/on with the dark- like a string of solar led lights, but I'm having no luck- no you can't just cut the wires and rewire them together( I've tried that in a few configurations).
Does anybody know where I can get a solar el wire inverter?
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Monkeystyle
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by Monkeystyle » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:39 pm

you cant just connect the inverter to a solar powered battery pack?
where the batteries would normally go in the inverter just wire them into a solar pack...?

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Monkeystyle
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by Monkeystyle » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:45 pm

something like this then cut the lights off and wire into the inverter on the elwire http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40266111/

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HandyGar
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by HandyGar » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:58 pm

I have tried that with two different panels. The power goes all the way to the wires that would go to the rope light( but now go to the el inverter) and there is NO love for the el wire. I'm thinking the board that is attached to the solar panel has an inverter on it that either ups or downs the v. Like the rope light needs either more or less power than the el wire. Unfortunately, I don't know how to read the om meter.. so I don't know what's coming out of the wires.
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HandyGar
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by HandyGar » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:59 pm

Why isn't this already a thing!?
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HandyGar
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by HandyGar » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:15 pm

I can go from the battery in the solar pack straight to the el wire pack( pos wire clipped to poss terminal, neg to neg) and that worked. That would just run all the time, I think. Not using the light sensor in the panel. I guess it will take a day or two to see if it charges the battery AND runs the el wire.
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GreyCoyote
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by GreyCoyote » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:30 pm

Not sure I'm following your connections, but here is the deal: EL wire isn't driven with DC. It's driven with about 200v AC at around 1000 hz via a solid state inverter. Feed it DC and it does nothing (until it hits the flashover voltage, at which point it self-destructs rather spectacularly). The higher the freq and voltage you feed it, the brighter the wire glows. You trade-off brightness for lifespan.

Your solar panel has a DC output and only works during the day. So it has to drive a rechargable battery, and this battery gets connected to the inverter that drives the EL wire. All you need to design is a simple photocell circuit to power-up the inverter when the sun sets. You can find a similar circuit here: http://www.theprojectasylum.com/electro ... 6-116.html

For about $10 in components from Radio Shack, you can build exactly what you're asking for. :mrgreen:
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:54 pm

Everything GreyCoyote said... but also, it may be more practical to just run the EL wire from batteries and forget the hassle and expense of the solar setup. Unless you have a lot of EL wire, you don't have that much power draw.
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Just_Joe
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by Just_Joe » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:14 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:.....Unless you have a lot of EL wire, you don't have that much power draw.
and if you do have a lot of draw, grab one or more 12V EL inverters (cheap) and connect it to a small SLA 12V battery.

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BBadger
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by BBadger » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:19 pm

HandyGar wrote:I have tried that with two different panels. The power goes all the way to the wires that would go to the rope light( but now go to the el inverter) and there is NO love for the el wire. I'm thinking the board that is attached to the solar panel has an inverter on it that either ups or downs the v. Like the rope light needs either more or less power than the el wire. Unfortunately, I don't know how to read the om meter.. so I don't know what's coming out of the wires.
Ahem, you could, you know, learn how to use a multimeter? You have 2.5 months.

Also, these questions read like you bought some EL wire, didn't even do a search on Google (second link) to see how it works, and thought you could just connect a battery to the ends. You need to do some legwork if you want to take on a project like this. There is love for EL wire. The information is all over the place. You just have to spend some of your time learning how it works. Solar powered chargers are the same way. The info is everywhere. The same with light sensors to turn off stuff. If worst comes to worst, you could just charge your batteries via solar and swap them out at night.

This doesn't mean you won't receive help, but meet us half-way here. Hand-holding means that when something breaks you don't know how to fix it yourself.

On another note, I don't like EL wire. It's too expensive for the small amount of light it produces, eats up batteries too quickly, and has a limited lifespan if you want to drive it harder.
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HandyGar
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by HandyGar » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:35 pm

Yeah. GreyCoyote has nailed it. I need to build it myself.
I was hoping it already existed and I just couldn't find it (in my googling, thank you very much). OR that I could just build it with components I have.
I get to learn something! Oh. Joy.
Thanks Guys!
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Lloyd
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by Lloyd » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:36 pm

I just today thought of it and i have an idea
There is just 1 small problem i would be feeding the inverter 3.6v insted of the normal 3v

My test is comprised of the following
3 nimh 2000ma batteries 1.2v in serie
A solar unit charig it at 35mah, this is in the safe range trikel charge
Then i found a circuit that would startup the lights if the panel drop below a threshold


U would charge almost double the time thab discharge so you would break even at about 50 maybe 60ma usage of el wire
If u use to much it will eat in the 2000ma that you had at the start

But it is just an idea i am sourcing the componments now and hope to test in my next free week
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BBadger
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Re: Solar El wire

Post by BBadger » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:32 pm

Even though you're replying to a 4-year-old thread, a better idea is to not bother using power-hungry EL wire at all and to use something that will last all week on few batteries, like copper fairy lights. EL wire is really dim too, and for the price of it, you could just buy a bigger battery for your lights.
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