Hacking an EL-wire Inverter
I recently discovered electroluminescent wire or short EL-wire. It's this cool wire that glows when you apply a current. I had the idea to illuminate our Whiskey cabinet (which really is an old ammunition crate) when you open it.
I bought a meter of orange wire off eBay for about 7 Euro. EL-Wire requires an inverter that converts DC to AC power. My wire came with a simple one that takes two AA batteries.
Unfortunately that EL driver has a push button that switches through three modes when clicked: on, blinking and off. Since I only need on and off controlled by a DPDT switch, I had to figure out how to hack that onto the controller. Turns out it isn't too hard:
- Unscrew the one screw at the back and open the controller
- Use a screwdriver to gently push the battery contacts out of the plastic to get access to both sides of the PCB
- Flip the PCB upside down and desolder the push button
- Add wires through the holes and solder them onto the two contacts on the side of the switch that's closer to the battery (A+B)
- this overrides the three mode behavior controlled by the microchip under the white blob
- if you want to keep the three mode behavior but just need a longer trigger cable you can also use the original switch solder points (A+C)
- Move the new wires back through the switch hole
- Optionally apply some hot glue to the transformer in hope of muffling the high pitched noise a bit
- didn't have much effect for me
- Solder your switch to the other end of the new wires
- Reassemble everything
Here are the steps as photos again: