Author Topic: Backlight using EL Wire  (Read 8036 times)

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Offline agodinhost

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Backlight using EL Wire
« on: Sun, 03 March 2013, 20:21:51 »
I swear I searched in the forum before ...

Anyone of you guys already used EL Wire as a keyboard backlight?
I saw it requires an inverter and that inverter must match the wire length.

How To Make A Backlit Keyboard

Adafruit Ladyada's EL Wire tutorial

To drive multiple EL wires:

Sparkfun open source EL Wire "driver" - El Escudo Dos, we would need only part of this circuit because we would not drive 8 EL wires.

Cost:
7.5FT SkyBlue neon wire with inverter-1.3MM diameter, this guy already cames with a 3v inverter ...

USB Inverter for up to 3m

I don't know howto dimm the EL wire yet ...
« Last Edit: Sun, 03 March 2013, 20:46:42 by agodinhost »
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 03 March 2013, 22:56:01 »
From the Adafruit link it looks like they can't be easily dimmed, unless you can adjust the voltage/frequency of the inverter. The USB inverter you posted is constant

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 06:13:57 »
True, both inverters that I linked above are constant.

I saw some guys just dimming the inverter's voltage - seems it's not the "right" thing to do but it worked for these guys ...
The complete EL dimming project is kinda heavy, I can't think of it inside one small keyboard at all.

The complete EL wire dimming project

I did ordered two EL with inverter to make some real tests here.

« Last Edit: Mon, 04 March 2013, 06:56:49 by agodinhost »
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Offline mkawa

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Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 10:37:24 »
interested to see tests. a lower current light source than individual leds would be onteresting..

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Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 12:01:29 »
Give me 3 weeks so so, the shipping to Brazil is kinda a pain!
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 13:25:00 »

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 15:12:57 »
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 21:30:53 »
I might buy this one soon to see how it is: http://goo.gl/JpPcQ

It comes with a battery pack that has adjustable brightness and blink speed.

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 04 March 2013, 22:06:46 »
I might buy this one soon to see how it is: http://goo.gl/JpPcQ

You mean that you will open it, take some pictures of it's internals and will share with us?
8-))
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 05 March 2013, 02:10:42 »
Just ordered it. We'll see how it is in a week.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 05 March 2013, 07:46:43 »
I know a little bit about EL wire and sheets from about ten years ago when it was popular among Star Wars fans to make lit lightsaber toy^H^H^Hprops with it. The community soon abandoned it, though, because 1) it was actually not very bright, 2) it was difficult to solder, 3) it had a short lifespan, dimming to half brightness after 500-1000 hours.
EL sheets are cool, though, because you can cut them in various shapes. There are people who have done amazing Tron costumes with EL sheet.
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Offline mashby

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 05 March 2013, 09:22:19 »
This looks really interesting. I didn't think I'd like backlit keyboards, but I do like the glow around the caps and not through them, so this application could be ideal.

Really curious to see how this comes together.

Offline khaangaaroo

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 09 March 2013, 17:05:16 »
I did an EL wire mod to an old membrane keyboard maybe 15 years ago. The glow is really nice and even, it makes LED backlighting look tacky. I'm not sure how long it lasted. I didn't do much research, and probably used too long of wire for what I used to power it. It also makes cleaning your keyboard really hard.

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 21:27:44 »
Finally got around to putting the el wire in my G80-3494 keyboard. Eventually I may put the battery pack inside the keyboard, but the current solution is good enough.

I just pushed the el wire in the space between the switches to hold it down in most places, in others it needed tape. I then routed the end through a hole I made in the keyboard case.

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 22:19:57 »
Awesome man!
You could stretch it a bit to make it more uniform but it is already way cool.  :D
I'm still waiting for mine, geeee, now I'm anxious ...

Which EL thickness did you used?
Did you tried to dim it's power to see if it reduce his brightness?
« Last Edit: Thu, 14 March 2013, 22:23:42 by agodinhost »
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 23:01:01 »
I think the diameter is 2.6 mm but it might be 1.4mm. With the battery pack that came in the kit, it can adjust the brightness and the blink rate. It adjusts them both well.

One thing that I didn't know before I got the kit was that the transformer in the inverter hums because of the high frequency. It is only bothersome if you don't have headphones on/ no other noises to cover it up.

I will also clean the inside up, but I was finished with it after I had to pull up every keycap to get the wire in safely.
« Last Edit: Thu, 14 March 2013, 23:03:11 by winged mantis »

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 23:07:18 »
This hum sound can be a problem ...
Maybe related to your model?
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 23:12:58 »
Its not extreme, but it is there. It is from the transformer's frequency being around 2 kHz and you can only dampen the sound, not completely eliminate it.

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 15 March 2013, 08:01:24 »
Any chance to see one picture of the inverter internals?  :D

btw, thanks for sharing man!
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 15 March 2013, 19:56:13 »
I'll get a picture up once I resolder the battery wires to the board. I was taking apart the casing and they easily came off. Probably lots of cold solder joints in there.

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 27 March 2013, 17:17:36 »
I'm still waiting for my el wire stuff ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #21 on: Sun, 31 March 2013, 23:21:00 »
I ended up breaking my inverter. Lesson learned: Never use the inverter without the wire plugged in

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 01 April 2013, 13:16:05 »
Oh man, sorry to hear that.

What did you broke? Post a picture - just to see if there is anything to do to fix it ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 04 April 2013, 12:03:25 »
I took a close look at it last night and there is no visible signs of failure. It is most likely a blown transistor, but I have already thrown the pcb away and will just wait to get another one.

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 04 April 2013, 12:14:53 »
Gosh, I'm still waiting for my order,
Already passed 3 weeks and nothing ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline TheQsanity

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 11 May 2013, 06:36:50 »
Does the GH60 support LEDs at all? That would seem more simpler.
SmallFry! <3

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 11 May 2013, 11:42:24 »
Does the GH60 support LEDs at all? That would seem more simpler.
Yes, would be simpler - but it is not what we want.

By the way - I'm ordering the EL wire more one time.
My last order still didn't arrived at he!!!
Gosh!!!
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 12 May 2013, 20:01:30 »
Does the GH60 support LEDs at all? That would seem more simpler.
Yes, would be simpler - but it is not what we want.

By the way - I'm ordering the EL wire more one time.
My last order still didn't arrived at he!!!
Gosh!!!
Where are you ordering it from? I ordered my kit from http://www.ellumiglow.com/

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 13 May 2013, 15:55:17 »
Does the GH60 support LEDs at all? That would seem more simpler.
Yes, would be simpler - but it is not what we want.

By the way - I'm ordering the EL wire more one time.
My last order still didn't arrived at he!!!
Gosh!!!
Where are you ordering it from? I ordered my kit from http://www.ellumiglow.com/
I "got"mine from ebay - it's kinda hard to import electronic stuff around here ...
Wish me luck!
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline winged mantis

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 13 May 2013, 17:48:23 »
Quote

I "got"mine from ebay - it's kinda hard to import electronic stuff around here ...
Wish me luck!

Hopefully the second one arrives. The link I posted ships internationally, not sure about the rates though

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 25 May 2013, 10:44:33 »
Do you believe that?
I'm still waiting for the second order ...
Gosh!!!
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 06 June 2013, 20:22:44 »
No EL Wire to me YET!!!
That dammed postman must love my stuff ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
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Offline mashby

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 13 July 2013, 20:58:45 »
Any updates?

I've just come up with a concept for my Phantom, but it just dawned on my that it doesn't support full LEDs.  :'(  Looks like if I want to get some backlight action, I'm going to need to go this route. Unless there's some other option I am unaware of.  :-\

Offline Sifo

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 13 July 2013, 21:00:03 »
Huh I should run some under my PCB since I have the polycarb side./....
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Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 15 July 2013, 08:06:34 »
Any updates?

I've just come up with a concept for my Phantom, but it just dawned on my that it doesn't support full LEDs.  :'(  Looks like if I want to get some backlight action, I'm going to need to go this route. Unless there's some other option I am unaware of.  :-\
Sorry, I got the dammed EL Wire two weeks ago (finally!) but I didn't have the time to write down anything yet.

I'll get it disassembled today night then I'll post some pictures of it ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB

Offline kenmai9

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 06 August 2013, 10:41:31 »
Any updates?

I've just come up with a concept for my Phantom, but it just dawned on my that it doesn't support full LEDs.  :'(  Looks like if I want to get some backlight action, I'm going to need to go this route. Unless there's some other option I am unaware of.  :-\
Sorry, I got the dammed EL Wire two weeks ago (finally!) but I didn't have the time to write down anything yet.

I'll get it disassembled today night then I'll post some pictures of it ...

updates?

Offline agodinhost

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Re: Backlight using EL Wire
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 06 August 2013, 12:08:53 »
Any updates?

I've just come up with a concept for my Phantom, but it just dawned on my that it doesn't support full LEDs.  :'(  Looks like if I want to get some backlight action, I'm going to need to go this route. Unless there's some other option I am unaware of.  :-\
Sorry, I got the dammed EL Wire two weeks ago (finally!) but I didn't have the time to write down anything yet.

I'll get it disassembled today night then I'll post some pictures of it ...

updates?
My bad, I do need to upload the pictures of my ching ling EL "module".
mea culpa, I'm a lazy bum ...
Building one square I2C keyboard with those 1200 switches (thanks JDCarpe)
GH60 |GH60-Alps |GH60-BT |GHPad/GHPad Alps |GH60-Case |Alps TKL |EL Wire |OS Controller, Round 2 |My Custom Keyboard |WTT/WTB