Getting Started with Electroluminescent (EL) Wire

Contributors: Joel_E_B, bboyho
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How EL Chasing Wire Works

EL chasing wires work in a similar fashion to standard EL wire. Instead of one core wire, there are three thin wires coated in phosphor. Basically, you can think of three strands of standard EL wire smashed into one EL chasing wire. As a result, EL chasing wire requires 4x connections: three for each strand and one for common ground. By sequencing each strand inside by turning them on and off, we have a cascading or "chasing" effect.

EL Chasing Wire Lit Up

Let's take a look at the anatomy of EL chasing wire.

  • Colored, Clear PVC Sleeve -- On the outside is a colored PVC sleeve. Depending on the manufacturer and color, this may be clear or translucent.
  • Clear PVC Sleeve -- A second layer is yet another PVC sleeve. This sleeve is not as thick as the outer layer and is also clear.
  • Corona Wires -- There are two thin wires that wrap around and extend to the end of the EL wire. These are very fine and can sometimes be referred to as angle wires. The wire pair is isolated from the center core wires.
  • Phosphor Coating -- Applying AC power around the coating creates that nice glowing effect from the phosphor being excited. It also separates the corona wires and core wires.
  • Core Wires -- At the center of EL chasing wire are three thin wires coated and twisted at the center.

Labeled EL Chasing Wire Close Up

If you compare the size of EL standard wire and chasing wire, you will not notice the difference until you are modifying and repairing the core wire. As you can see, EL chasing wire uses three thin wires at the core.

Comparison of Standard EL Wire and EL Chasing Wire