Guitar Pickups to Power EL Wire... much help needed

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by solomon684, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. solomon684

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 11, 2009
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    0
    Hi guys, new here. Just joined because I really need help with a project, gonna stick around for a while even after I finish it because I really want to learn more about electronics.


    Anyway, I've done a ton of research and still need lots of help. What I want to do is use a guitars pickup to power EL Wire. (Here is some more info on el wire for those who dont know what it is). What I want to do is have the EL Wire light up when the guitar is strummed, and have the brightness depend on picking intensity. A guitar's pickups produce on a few millivolts of AC current, while the EL Wire needs needs 9-12v, so I need to amplify the voltage, which should be the easy part.

    I also read that "Output frequency (Khz) will change the brightness level of your project. The greater the Khz number the brighter your wire will run. A 400hz inverter will be dimmer than an inverter that runs at 2Khz (2000hz)." This means I need to find a way to change the output frequency of the pickups into that range, which seems more difficult. The guitar pickup I am using will have a Reasonant Peak of 5.5 kHz, and a DC Resistance of 16.6k, if that matters.

    So far I know that I will need
    -op amp
    -voltage regulator
    -something to convert frequency between 400Hz and 2000Hz
    -circuit board
    -on/off/on mini toggle, since I also want to have the option of the EL Wire being always on

    I hope this is enough information, I feel like it is too much, but I really want to be able to do this, but I need a ton of help. Are these all the parts I need? What about resistors/caps/diodes? How do I arrange them on the circuit board and then attach to the pickup, EL Wire, and mini toggle?

    Thanks a lot guys
     
  2. daviddeakin

    Active Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    207
    27
    Heh, that's very cool cable!

    Anyway, this is no mean feat for a beginner, but probably doable.

    Firstly, don't worry about the frequency, the range of frequencies coming out of the guitar are perfect.

    The problem is that you need 90 to 120V (not 9 to 12V!). I guess what you'd need is a box containing a switching power supply of some kind (can be fairly simple), producing about 100Vac. The switching power supply would probably be triggered from a voltage controlled oscillator which would detect the guitar signal, or maybe you could feed the guitar signal directly into the PSU, to trigger the switching?

    Needs a little though, but could be an ace project!
     
  3. solomon684

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    4
    0
    Are you sure its 90-120V? Many websites sell inverters used to power EL Wire which run on 9V batteries or a 12V power supply

    Also doesnt a PSU change the AC power to DC, because EL Wire runs on AC so I am a bit confused, or is that to control the VCO, then convert the DC back to AC?
     
  4. daviddeakin

    Active Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    207
    27
    You can make a PSU to do anything. The one's you're talking about probably take the low voltaged DC and use some clever switching and a step-up transformer to get high voltage AC.
     
  5. solomon684

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    4
    0
    Oh, so I'm going to have to build my own PSU? This sounds like its getting more difficult....

    So will something like this work:
    Pickup-->Op Amp-->VCO-->PSU-->EL Wire

    Or am I way off?
     
  6. daviddeakin

    Active Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    207
    27
    That looks like a reasonable topology, yes.

    One short cut might be to get a ready made EL wire driver and modify it to respond to the guitar signal...
     
  7. daviddeakin

    Active Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    207
    27
    Here's a simple DC-AC converter. I'm not sure what frequency it would run at though, but I would image it would work for EL wire.
    You could then use a bridge rectifier and MOSFET in series with the transformer secondary, and vary the gate voltage of the MOSFET with the guitar signal (with an extra OPAMP).
     
  8. daviddeakin

    Active Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    207
    27
    Here's what I was thinking. The MOSFET would then limit the current to the EL wire in sympathy with the music, making it grow brighter or dimer. You'll want to check this out with someone smarter than me though, first.
     
  9. solomon684

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    4
    0
    Thanks a lot man, I'm no expert, but it looks like it would work to me. I'll check it with this guy I know at a guitar forum who knows a crapload about electronics.

    The only thing I have to figure out is wiring it to the on/off/on mini toggle, but thats the easy part :D

    I'm putting this on a guitar I'm refinishing and I need to strip all the paint, route the channel for the EL Wire, and redo it and put all this in and make other changes. It may take me a few weeks to finally finish this, but Ill post some pics/videos if it works.
     
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