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EL Wire Sequencers

EL Wire Sequencers can flash Electroluminescent wire, or EL wire, in sequential patterns. EL wire requires a low-power, high-frequency driver to cause the wire to illuminate. Most EL wire drivers simply light up one strand of EL wire in a constant-on mode, and some drivers may additionally have a blink or strobe mode. A sound-activated driver will light EL wire in synchronization to music, speech, or other ambient sound. But an EL wire sequencer will allow multiple lengths of EL wire to be flashed in a desired sequence. The lengths of EL wire can all be the same color, or a combination of different colors.

10- Channel Sequencer

connected to EL wire sign.
(Phone number obscured)

Same EL wire sign with

sequencer activated.
(Phone number obscured)

The images above show a sign which displays a phone number, where the numbers were formed using different colors of EL wire. There are ten numbers, each of which is connected to a different channel of the EL wire sequencer. The phone number has been obscured in both photos in order to comply with Wikipedia guidelines.

Like EL wire drivers, sequencers are rated to light a specific length of EL wire, or a specific range. For example, one sequencer is rated for 5-45 feet. This means that on each channel, you can have a minimum of five feet, up to a maximum of 45 feet. If less than five feet is used, there is a risk of burning out the sequencer. If more than 45 feet is used, the EL wire will not light as brightly as intended.

There are commercially available EL wire sequencers capable of lighting three, four, five, or ten lengths of EL wire. There are professional and experimental sequencers with many more than ten channels, but for most applications, ten channels is plenty. The sequencers usually have options for changing the speed of the sequence, reversing the sequence, changing the order of the sequence, and sometimes, to change whether the first wires remain lit or go off as the rest of the wires in the sequence are lit. EL wire sequencers tend to be smaller than a pack of cigarettes and most are powered by batteries. This versatility lends to the sequencers' use at nighttime events where mains electricity is not available.


By arranging each strand of EL wire into a shape just slightly different from the previous one, it is possible to do animation using EL wire sequencers. The performance art troupe known as Blue Man Group use EL wire sequencers to produce many animation effects in their stage performances. EL wire sequencers are also used for costumes and have been used to create animations on kimonos, purses, neckties, and even motorcycle tanks. The number of applications for EL wire sequencers is growing as people discover EL wire and its virtually limitless possibilities.

The most common use of EL wire sequencers at the time of this writing is at the annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada in August, where the sequencers are used to light up cars, bicycles, people, works of art, and many of the temporary shelters used to house the festival's attendees.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "EL_Wire_Sequencers". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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