The EL wire that I bought on ebay arrived today! It was a pretty good deal, straight from China: $7 for 7.5ft including a AA battery pack and shipping…but it took 2 weeks to arrive. Prices for US suppliers run in the $1.60-$3.00 per foot range, without the driver (battery pack) you need and often needing to be soldered (which is ok since it probably doesn’t have the right connector).
Electroluminescent wire (EL wire) is also called things like “cool neon” and is a flexible wire that gives off light for its entire length when high-voltage (but low amps) is applied. Its really a copper wire coated with phosphorous and an outer colored plastic layer that lets you make a variety of colors. Its flexible and safe for clothing and props, and can be powered by something as simple as AA batteries.
Here is some video of the wire I just ordered…the battery pack has a constant and flashing mode (the flashing really doesn’t show up on video well):
Its pretty nifty stuff!
But…the wire I ordered uses a different connector than the Arduino EL wire shield I’m using (from Sparkfun, its the El Escudo) so now I have to get those. Probably can buy the connectors (and apparently a special crimper) for really cheap in bulk, or as a jumper wire set for $0.95 from Sparkfun. In retrospect, I probably just should have bought the EL wire from Sparkfun (which already has the right connector on it) when I bought the EL wire shield, but it would have been more expensive ($9.95 for the inverter) I guess there are some other things I need from Sparkfun…