Review: 4M EL Wire Flexible (2xAA)

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 30 min 8 sec ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 779
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Review: 4M EL Wire Flexible (2xAA)

Note to mods: as there isn’t an electroluminescent wire forum, I’ve put this under multiple AA flashlights. Please move to another appropriate forum if required.

Disclaimer

The EL wire was purchased by myself, from GearBest.
http://www.gearbest.com/led-strips/pp_216727.html

This review is of the (cool) white version. Colours available are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, fluorescent green, light green.

Overview

Electro-luminescent (EL) wire is flexible copper wire surrounded by phosphor which glows when it has an AC electrical current run through it. It is popular for light painting (mist effect) and for decorating purposes (e.g. costumes, party effects, interior decoration).

Product Evaluation

The product comes with the EL wire, and battery/inverter/controller box. There is a connection between the two allowing for swapping between either the wire or box.

4m of wire is supplied. The wire is just 2.3mm thick.It can be cut down in length with scissors without affecting functionality. However increasing length is extremely difficult and not advisable. A plastic end cap is included, and can be replaced when the wire is cut down in length (I cut mine to 2m).

The controller box contains batteries (2xAA), inverter (as the wire requires AC current), and the control button. The UI is rather basic, with modes being Off>On>Fast Strobe>Slow Strobe>Off. You have to cycle through all modes to get to off. The controller box weighs just 30g (excluding batteries). A whining noise is emitted, but only noticeable indoors with no ambient noise.

A red light indicator lights when the EL wire is on, which needs to be hidden if using this for light painting (I used black duct tape).

The light is reasonably dim compared to other light sources and is this only useful in low light or dark situations. I have found that approximately ISO400 and f/8 for long exposure photography gives the white EL wire a nice blue glow, with the exposure time dependant upon for how long you are waving it around in front of the camera.

I did not perform a runtime test. However, given that after around 60 minutes of use, my Eneloops terminated charge in less than 1 hour on the BQ-CC17 charger, then I would expect that the runtime would be at least 6 hours or more.

The EL wire was purchased for less than AU$5, and is thus good value for money given the lighting fun it can be used for. It is also low enough in cost for once off use (e.g. a costume). I intend on purchasing the same product in other colours in the near future.

Edited by: stephenk on 12/07/2016 - 15:08
Angler
Angler's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 07/21/2014 - 21:30
Posts: 510
Location: South Carolina

Awesome photography! I would like to add some of these to my bike for night rides.

Wow! Such bright! Many collection! Very torch! Amaze.

djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 10018
Location: Amsterdam

I have bought a lue one in the Gearbest deal too, I believe it was even under 1 dollar. It is great stuff, looks cool and the technology is cool too, and this Gearbest version works fine, although the controller emits a loud enough two-tone whine to prevent using it indoors.

Great pics!

stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 30 min 8 sec ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 779
Location: Brisbane, Australia

djozz wrote:
I have bought a lue one in the Gearbest deal too, I believe it was even under 1 dollar. It is great stuff, looks cool and the technology is cool too, and this Gearbest version works fine, although the controller emits a loud enough two-tone whine to prevent using it indoors.

Great pics!


Yes, the noise is noticeable indoors. However outdoors, or with background ambient noise (e.g. at a party) it is barely noticeable.
hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 23 min ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 6749
Location: California

Got one of these
http://m.banggood.com/index.php?com=detail&t=showWriteReview&products_id... — looks exactly like the picture above, except it has an empty hole on the case below the switch instead of a power-indicator LED.

On the BG page, you can see the LED on some of the pictures.
Other pictures show a case without the hole for the power LED.
What I got is in between — just an empty hole on the case next to the switch.

A penny saved is a penny not spent making the product, sigh.

This one’s “yellow” — seems to be an orange plastic tube with a bluish-white emitter inside it.
I guess it has a boost driver in it, since it’s using 2x NiMH AA cells.

‘oogled, there are a lot of different EL high voltage boost drivers out there: https://www.google.com/search?q=electroluminescent+driver+voltage

So why is it so hard to make a boost driver for a flashlight?

stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 30 min 8 sec ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 779
Location: Brisbane, Australia

hank wrote:
Got one of these
http://m.banggood.com/index.php?com=detail&t=showWriteReview&products_id... — looks exactly like the picture above, except it has an empty hole on the case below the switch instead of a power-indicator LED.

On the BG page, you can see the LED on some of the pictures.
Other pictures show a case without the hole for the power LED.
What I got is in between — just an empty hole on the case next to the switch.

A penny saved is a penny not spent making the product, sigh.

This one’s “yellow” — seems to be an orange plastic tube with a yellow-white emitter inside it.
I guess it has a boost driver in it, since it’s using 2x NiMH AA cells.

‘oogled, there are a lot of different EL high voltage boost drivers out there: https://www.google.com/search?q=electroluminescent+driver+voltage

So why is it so hard to make a boost driver for a flashlight?

EL wire requires AC power, and thus the driver requires an inverter. However, I would have thought that would increase the cost compared to a DC driver?

ImA4Wheelr
ImA4Wheelr's picture
Offline
Last seen: 13 hours 55 min ago
Joined: 02/03/2013 - 14:51
Posts: 7319
Location: SC

Dude!  Your pictures rock. Congrats big time.  Smile

". . . You realize that wasn't really a loss for me in Africa — it was a gain that I didn't appreciate."

- George Foreman 2017

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 23 min ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 6749
Location: California

Why is the end of the cut wire supposed to be sealed? Does moisture degrade the EL emitter?
(I see the cap on the end in the pictures of the EL from GB above; the EL material I bought from BG isn’t sealed at the cut end, just raggedly chopped off)

And who understands EL? Is it always a blue-white light source with colored phosphors in the surrounding tube? That’s what I seem to have from BG.