Sound-reactive EL Wire Box Makes Gift Giving Awesome


[Jonathan Thomson] was ruminating on EL wire displays and decided that most he has seen are boring, static fixtures or installations that simply flash EL wire on and off at a fixed rate. He thought that EL wire has far more potential than that, and set off to build something more exciting. Using a graphic equalizer T-shirt, with which we’re sure you are familiar, he put together a slick, sound-reactive EL wire display.

He started off by removing the EL panel and inverter from the aforementioned T-shirt, separating the display into two pieces. He set aside the panel and focused on wiring up the inverter’s ribbon cable to a set of EL wire strands he picked up for the project. Once he had everything hooked up, he put a design together on a cardboard box, which he intended to use for wrapping Christmas presents. With the holiday behind him, [Jonathan] broke down his original display and constructed another to offer up some fun birthday wishes.

While the EL inverter was originally built to display sounds detected by an onboard mic, [Jonathan] added a 3.5” stereo jack to his so that he can feed audio directly into the display using an MP3 player.

Continue reading to see the EL display in action, and be sure to check out his writeup if you are looking to spice up your gift giving this year.



5 thoughts on “Sound-reactive EL Wire Box Makes Gift Giving Awesome

  1. What a cool project!

    I’ve wondered for a while if those equalizer t-shirts are built in such a way that you could address each of those little squares and have like 25 addressable sections of el wire…

    1. I originally bought the “graphic equalizer” EL panel and inverter to do something like that, but the inverter only has five output channels. The inverter doesn’t do any frequency analysis. It simply applies voltage to an output when a certain loudness threshhold is passed.

  2. One minor correction: I didn’t buy a T-qualizer shirt. I just bought a replacement EL panel and inverter, which you can get for just $7.

    The cool thing about modifying the inverter to respond to an audio signal instead of sound is that you can precisely control which output channels turn on by using a custom audio file that steps the volume up or down.

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