EL Wire help!

Hi all,

I’ve just purchased EL wire 3m, 3v inverter and escuduo, connected this all to a 3v AA battery pack and nothing is happening.

Can someone take a look at the photo and tell me what I need to do to get this working?


Your EL Escudo shield is not plugged into an Arduino. You will have to solder in some header pins to connect the EL Escudo to the Arduino. Then you need to write a program to turn on the channel you have EL wire connected to.


If you just want to light the EL wire, take out the EL Escudo shield and jumper the driver connector to the EL wire connector.

Whoops! That makes sense! Have I done the inverter + battery wires right though?

jannw: Whoops! That makes sense! Have I done the inverter + battery wires right though?

Since you are using a 3-volt inverter it looks like it is hooked up correctly: using only the Inverter Output socket. If you were using an inverter that could use the same voltage as you are supplying to the Arduino battery jack you could use the "Raw Voltage" socket to supply power to the inverter.

To use the shield you'll need to solder in some header pins, connect the shield to an Arduino, and provide power to the Arduino (typically through the power jack or USB cable).


Do I connect any of the Digital Outs on the Arduino to the Analog Ins on the Escudo? Or is there a specific number I should use?

I don't yet have external power for the Arduino other than USB. What sort of cable should I be looking for?

I have the 3v Inverter http://littlebirdelectronics.com/products/el-inverter-3v

Should I be using the 12v inverter? http://littlebirdelectronics.com/products/el-inverter-12v

Do I have to power the Escudo and Arduino separately (2 wall plugs)? Assuming I use the 12v, are you saying I should use "Raw Voltage"? A bit confused, sorry!

Also, I need the Sequenser to made it blink/fade, yes? Does that plug into the Escudo? The Escudo just powers multiple EL wires doesn't it?

Thanks for the help - really useful.

The El Escudo plugs into the sockets of the Arduino board. It should only fit in one way. That will make all the necessary connections.

If you get a 12v wall plug that hooks to the Arduino power jack you can then use the Raw Voltage output to supply power to a 12v inverter. You can't do that with a 3v inverter because the Arduino needs 7v or more to run.

The EL Escudo switches the high voltage from the inverter to some combination of the outputs. You write software to light or blink the strands of EL wire in any pattern you like. To get a dimming effect you turn the strand on and off very rapidly. The brightness depends on what portion if the time is spent ON. This is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).

I'm a newb working on a wearables project for university with the limited knowledge they've provided us with. I've got a similar setup as jannw. Could you clarify, is the 3V battery in the image only powering the inverter? Does this mean the Escudo needs a secondary power source for in order to get any EL wire to work on it?

The EL Escudo doesn't need low voltage power to operate. Think of it as 8 high voltage switches controlled by Arduino pins D2 through D9. The power it gets from the Vin pin of the Arduino (the raw power from the Arduino's power jack, before the 5V regulator) is just presented on the Raw Voltage socket. This works well if you have a 9V-12V supply hooked to the power jack of the Arduino and an inverter that runs off that same voltage.

For wearable operation you would probably be better off with 3 AA cells in series (about 4.5V) connected to the 5V line of the Arduino. That bypasses the 5V voltage regulator and saves a bunch of power that would otherwise just make the 5V regulator hot. You can use the first two AA batteries to run a 3V inverter.

You can, in theory, run the Arduino and a 3V inverter off two AA cells (3V) instead of 4.5V. Technically the Arduino running at 3V should not be clocked at 16MHz but lots of people do it anyway and it seems to work.