EL (electroluminescent) wires require inverters to light up. Sometimes connecting them to the inverter is tricky because the wires to solder are extremely thin and they break very easily. This instructable tells you how to avoid this problem.
You will need:
- EL wire
- inverter (chose one for the length of the wire you are going to connect)
- wire stripper
- cutter or scissors
- solder iron with fine tip
- shrink tube
- hair drier
- uninsulated ferrules
Step 1: Prepare EL wire
EL wire is made like a coaxial cable, so there is one inner copper conductor covered with a phosphorus paint and one external conductor made of two fine wires. Everything is then covered by an external plastic colored cover. Proceed by stripping approximately 8 mm - 10 mm (0.3") of the external plastic cover. Do it gently, so the two small wires are not damaged.
At this point you will be able to see the inner conductor covered by the phosphorus layer and the outer conductors, the two fine wires.
Using the cutter blade scratch the phosphorus paint out of the inner copper conductor for approximately 4 mm (0.16"). Be careful to remove it completely or welding will result difficult. Be careful not to cut the two fine wires. The EL wire must look approximately like the one in the last picture.
Step 2: Placing uninsulated ferrule and crimping
Now you can proceed by depositating some solder on the inner conductor, maybe using some solder paste.
Get a uninsulated ferrule and place it on the EL wire, so that the two small wires remain inside the ferrule. Slide it on the EL wire as indicated in the pictures.
Using a pair of pliers crimp the ferrule around the EL wire as shown in the picture. If the diameter of the ferrule is correct the two fine wires will be kept in good contact with the ferrule. The ferrule will also be sturdily attached to the EL wire external PVC sleeve.
Step 3: Soldering
Place shrinking tube (two different diameters) on EL and on inverter wires.
Proceed by soldering one of the inverter wires to the external side of the ferrule, and the other one to the innner EL wire copper wire. It is not important which inverter wire you solder to the EL wire inner copper conductor.
Step 4: Insulating
Slide the smaller shrink tube over the copper wire connection and shrink the tube with an air drier. Then slide the larger shrink tube over both connections and shrink it with the air drier.
You can buy uninsulated ferrules for 1.2 mm EL wires and inverters on www.plugandwear.com