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FAQS
What is it? How does it work? Can I plug it in the wall?
How do I use it in my art?

For fast response, call us: (415) 566-1426

GENERAL Q&A:

What is Lightwire?
What Is a Driver?
How Long Will the Batteries Last?
How Long Will the Lightwire Last?
How Many Different Kinds of Lightwire Are There?
My Lightwire Application is Indoors. I Want to Plug It into the Wall (Ac).
Is This Possible?
I'm Using My Lightwire Outdoors. How Do I Protect It Against Rain?
Can you design a special one-of-a-kind Lightwire electronics circuit for me?
 

SEQUENCED LIGHTWIRE EFFECTS:

I Want to Learn to Make a Special Effect for My Tent or Bike.
How Can I Do This?

HELPFUL TIPS:

Battery Tip
Heat Shrink Cutting Tip

WHAT IS LIGHTWIRE?

Lightwire, AKA El-wire or glow wire, is our name for electro-luminescent phosphor coated wire. Lightwire is a flexible wire, sealed in a vinyl sheath, that can be bent into distinct shapes and applied to anything. It has a pleasant glow when power is applied.

Anatomy of Lightwire

 

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

Lightwire is a system of parts that uses a driver to convert DC voltage into the higher frequency AC voltage that the Lightwire needs to make the phosphor glow. There are many kinds of electro-luminescent drivers - selecting the proper driver depends on the length of the Lightwire used in your application.

System Components

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WHAT IS A DRIVER?

The driver converts DC power (batteries) to 120 volts ac, and provides a higher frequency of approximately 2000 Hertz (cycles per second) to light up the lightwire. Drivers come in two forms, CASE drivers that have built in battery compartments and CUBE drivers that have a battery connector. CASE drivers use AA, AAA or 9 volt batteries depending on the design. CUBE drives can be connected to any DC source typically from 9 to 18 volts (making them ideal for automotive use or computer case mods)

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HOW LONG WILL THE BATTERIES LAST?

Like the mileage of cars that varies between how it is driven and road conditions, the battery life will also vary because of the length of the wire and how long it's turned on each day (or evening). Like any electrical device, the longer it's used, the more battery power is consumed. It is suggested to always keep extra, new batteries nearby for immediate replacement when batteries are used up.

[TIP 1] Batteries generate electricity by a chemical process. Chemical processes speed up with heat, so keep your batteries in a cool dry place until needed.

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HOW LONG WILL THE LIGHTWIRE LAST?

Lightwire does lose brightness over time. How much and how fast it will dim depends on how often you use it and on the frequency and voltage of the driver. At 120 volts AC, 60 Hertz, lightwire will lose half its illuminosity in seven years. At higher frequencies, the half life is a few thousand hours. The X-tra bright wire has a slightly shorter half life.

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HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF LIGHTWIRE ARE THERE?

Lightwire comes in ten colors and several styles as follows:

a) Angel wire

b) Standard wire

c) Phat wire

d) X-tra bright wire

[go to Tupperwire Store section for additional wire style information]

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MY LIGHTWIRE APPLICATION IS INDOORS. I WANT TO PLUG IT INTO THE WALL (AC), IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Yes, we now offer lightwire drivers that are AC compatible and will plug directly into the wall. The cube drivers and some of the case drivers can be connected to a 'wall wart' (AC adapter) in the place of batteries.

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I'M USING MY LIGHTWIRE OUTDOORS. HOW DO I PROTECT IT AGAINST RAIN?

The vinyl sheath covering the electro-luminescent phosphor is weatherproof. Where you have to be careful is at the ends where the vinyl sheath is cut. Typically the ends are sealed by using heat shrinkable tubing, hot glue or silicone seal; for extra protection you can use hot glue or silicone seal under the heat shrink. The driver and power source (batteries or AC adapter) should be put into a weatherproof container for protection.

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CAN YOU DESIGN A SPECIAL ONE-OF-A-KIND LIGHTWIRE ELECTRONICS CIRCUIT FOR ME?

YES (Visit our Custom Design page for more details.)

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[TIP 2] Heat shrink should be cut one and a half times the length of what it is covering. Remember, when heated, the tube will shrink down in size. If the tube is cut too short, it will shrink too much and not properly cover and protect the solder joint.

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SEQUENCED LIGHTWIRE EFFECTS:

I WANT TO LEARN TO MAKE A SPECIAL EFFECT FOR MY TENT OR BIKE. HOW CAN I DO THIS?

Animated lightwire effects come from a sequencer which typically comes in 3, 5 or 10 channel versions. The number of channels represents the number of individual wires a sequencer will control. Sequencers are electronic switching devices that are used to turn on/off different individual pieces of lightwire in a sequence of patterns.

Most sequencers have built in patterns and some have a control to set how fast it "sequences." The result is that each succeeding lightwire channel will appear to create a moving effect such as a running legs, a kangaroo hopping or a whale breaching through the water.

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