Odd problem with EL Wire... Help?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by The QwertMan, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. The QwertMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 25, 2011
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    I’ve been working on this circuit and I can’t quite get it to work right. I wrote out all of my diagnosis in detail, so it’s a bit of a text wall, but perhaps you can just look at the drawings and skim the “odd part” and know what I’m doing wrong. Thanks so much to anybody who can help me out with this.

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    Description: It uses a remote controlled LED controller to turn some EL Wire either on, off, or flashing to music. There is also an override button, to use in case the LED controller stops working. The LED controller requires 12v and outputs the same voltage. I put the diodes in to protect the controller from the 12v that would come across the override button if it was on and the controller output was off. The transistor is a TIP31. The wires going to the override button and to the EL wire are both detachable (using a molex connector).

    Diagnosis: The override button turns the wire on just fine, but the LED controller does not. When I did a quick test before assembling things by attaching only the controller to the power source and the wire to only the controller, it worked just fine. Additionally, when the override/EL molex is disconnected, I am able to get a +12v reading from my multimeter coming out of the LED controller. When it is connected, however, I am not. The LED controller outputs no voltage, and when I switch the output on, there is often but not always a small blip of voltage.
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    Here’s the odd part: If I turn the controller output on while the override button is on, it DOES output 12v. I can then turn the override button off, and the wire remains lit, the controller continues to output 12v. As soon as I turn the controller off, it will refuse to turn on properly again until the override button is activated (even though I detect 12v going into it).

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    I tried replacing the diode on output 1 with a transistor (generic npn, a BC337 if I remember correctly), and adding an LED between the output and ground. Neither fixed the problem, but I think that I will keep them because the transistor does not have a 1v drop like the diode does, and the LED is an easy way for me to tell whether or not the controller is outputting. One thing I did notice is that the LED did light dimly when the override button was on yet the controller was off.
     
  2. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    I'm confused because EL wire requires AC at relatively high voltage and frequency. You said yours comes on when you connect 12VDC. Are you using an LED strip?
     
  3. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Im in agreement with RonH.

    All the EL wire I have ever worked with has used high frequency AC.

    You change the hues by changing the frequency. I have spent many hours color-matching clients displays with the EL wire used in the setup.

    Unless you have as ELwire driver that accepts a 12vDC input (as many drivers for automotive applications do) and are not showing that in your post, you will not have much luck.
     
  4. The QwertMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 25, 2011
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    Yes, the box marked EL Wire on the diagrams is the driver. I would just hook the wire up to the LED Controller like in the second diagram, except that this is for a performance so I need that button on there for the performer to hit in case the remote doesn't work. I'll try a couple more things tomorrow.

    Otherwise, is there anything else that would improve my design? Just basics-wise (for example, in my original design it was done with transistors that were activated by the LED controller, except that I had them placed inbetween the EL driver and ground, so they blew up).
     
  5. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    Well, your circuits don't make sense to me. What do the 2 outputs of the LED controller do? How do they differ?
     
  6. The QwertMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 25, 2011
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    They each can output 12v. They are turned on or off by the remote. Today I'll try powering the LED Controller and the override switch with different power sources... I feel like there's just some simple electronic principle I'm missing out on.
     
  7. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    Can they supply enough current to drive the EL inverter?
    Do you have model numbers for the EL inverter, the EL wire, and the LED controller?
    How much EL wire are you driving?
     
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