El Escudo Shield Using 5volt inverter

I am using the Sparkfun El Escudo shield for an Arduino duemilanove to drive 8 lengths of El Wire. Currently i am waiting for the El Escudo to arrive, but my El Wire and inverter has. I had trouble sourcing the inverter suggested in the El Escudo Guide ( i live in the UK) but found one similair that runs from 5 volts.

My problem, is that i have just noticed that the El Escudo shield takes its power from the arduino's regulated Vin pin (which is 3 volts regulated) and not the 5 volts pin.

I want to know that if by simply leaving out the headers from the Vin( 3.3volts) and gnd on the El Escudo board (meaning that they wont connect to the arduino), instead solderering my own 5volt supply directly to the raw voltage pins on the Escudo shield, i can get it to work? I would be effectively bypassing the connection to the onboard arduino power supply.

Alternatively could i leave out the 3.3 volts header and use a jumper from the 5 volt arduino pin to that connection to achieve the same thing?

If by doing this successfully, would i incur any problems from the code?

The El Escudo page is here: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9259

The El Escudo guide is here: http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/DevTools/Arduino/EL_Escudo_User_Guide.pdf

An image of the El Escudo board is here: http://static.sparkfun.com/images/products/09259-2.jpg

Help is appreciated


I have a similar problem (and also living in the UK..) Did you have any conclusions?



I cant get it to work either. I am using a 9v inverter and I am powering the arduino with 9v/1A.

I connected the "raw voltage" to the DC in, and the "inverter output" to the AC out, on the inverter. The wire lights up but its very shaky, and it does not obey the program, I tried blinking and fading. The inverter squeals (supposedly normal) and the wire flickers chaotically.

I know the wire and the inverter are fine, if I connect 9v direct to the inverter the wire lights up fine. Something is wrong with the way I connect the escudo.

Did you get it to work?


Hello, its very simple really, that is why it confuses me. Should just work...

thank you

Hi thanks for getting back

The inverter has no information whatsoever unfortunately...

Does it mean anything that the wire works fine when connected straight to the inverter?

Where would I add the cap(s). Also I do have an assortment but I don't know how to calculate the right value.


I am going with the second method, bypassing the arduino.

Sometimes the wire flares up a little, sometimes not. Its very erratic. I cannot se a pattern

Do I need to combine the grounds from the different power sources? Could it be the reason it isn't working? I have tried using the raw voltage (-) lead on the escudo, which is connected to arduino ground and tapping it in with the ground from the power source for the inverter, still no luck. Just random erratic stuff.

I tried these three combinations so far:

Hello, thank you so much for your patience, I really appreciate it.

Using the wall-wart via the inverter to power the wire works fine.

I am using arduino 0018, and only the scripts provided with the escudo library. I uploaded them unmodified as well as simplified.

for example:

#include <EL_Escudo.h>

void setup() 

void loop()


I have now killed 2 of my wires. They just flickered and there were small sparks inside, then they slowly died...

Back to relays I suppose...

I ran a program blinking on/off with a second delay. On was bright flickering and off was less bright flickering. And over about a minute there was less and less until the wire was dead. It then no longer worked even directly connected to the inverter.

The inverter is the one the company sent with the wire I ordered. I used them many times with these wires, switching with relays.

I am probably doing something fundamentally wrong.

About your last statement, I guess I have to connect the ground going in to the inverter, or should I take it coming out?

I have to try to understand why my wires are frying, otherwise I cant afford trying anymore. These are 25m strains of prime wire I'm killing.

This guy has done something to the ground, but I cant figure out what he is doing and why... http://www.instructables.com/id/iBeat-Tee/step13/Connecting-the-Inverter-for-the-EL-Escudo/

Okay, I'm going to leave it for today.

Thanks so much for the kind help and have a lovely day!