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Choosing the right EL Driver / Inverter to power your EL Wire or EL Tape

This has got to be quite a large how-to and is now divided into sections

Click the link below to jump down the page to the section you need:

Info about EL Driver / Inverters

Choosing your EL Driver

Dimensions and weight of our EL Drivers

Info about EL Driver / Inverters


First thing to say is that an EL Driver and EL Inverter are exactly the same thing –  I prefer to call them EL Drivers but technically the ‘Invert’ the DC current from the batteries to the AC current that makes the phosphor in the electroluminescent wire glow

The next most important thing to know about EL Drivers is that the brightness of the EL Wire has more to do with the power of the driver than the EL Wire

For example:

On this site you can find the 2xAA Drivers for 5m of EL Wire – theyre the most common EL Drivers as they are small and portable

So these 2xAA Drivers (£4) will power 1 metre of EL Wire LESS BRIGHTLY than the 8XAA Driver (£9) will drive 15 metres of EL Wire

(Unfortunately the 8XAA Driver should only be used to drive between 5 and 15 metres of wire)

This is also true for even more powerful inverters – the Inverter for 30-75 metres of wire will run that 75metres brighter than the 8XAA drives 5metres of wire


By overpowering or underpowering the EL Wire you risk damaging both the EL Wire and the Driver

eg if you are using a driver for 5 – 15 metres of wire then those lengths are recommended for a reason!


By running less than 5 metres of EL Wire you risk burning out the wire and stressing the driver


By running more than 15 metres of EL Wire you will be drawing too much current through the driver and this will make it heat up and possibly even catch fire

Ive never seen one catch fire but apparently it is possible


Another dangerous way to overpower an inverter is by using the wrong input voltage on the Driver – say, like putting a 12v battery onto a driver designed for 6volts

Doing this makes the wire glow super bright but you can feel the driver heat up v quickly and again theres risk of a fire – just think how dangerous that is if you are wearing it!

EL Wire is an amazing material that, with the right driver can make lots of wire glow really brightly so don’t push it further than it should


This really should be  simple process

1)  Decide where you are going to use the EL Wire – on clothes, in a car, in the house, near a computer? – this will tell you if you will need a portable driver, one with a car lighter attachment, a mains powered driver or a USB Driver –

A bigger selection can be found here


2) Measure out the size of the project and how much wire you will need to run off each driver

any driver can run several pieces of EL Wire using splitters




Dimensions and weight of our EL Drivers

17 Responses to Choosing the right EL Driver / Inverter to power your EL Wire or EL Tape

  1. Good morning I am a complete novice on your products but I wish to create some signs to use in my creative floral business I am doing a Ibiza theme party and wish to make around 3/4 signs ie Love / Peace etc
    I will mount them on canvases so can conceal the driver , just to be sure which EL wire should I get from you ,? I will measure my scripts first to see which lengths I need , they will be hung outside on a restaurant terrace.shall I cover the driver to make them waterproof ?
    Many thanks
    Christine Roberts
    FabFaux Flora

  2. Hi
    yes you will need to put the drivers in a waterproof enclosure and also make sure the connectors are kept dry too
    the el wire itself has a PVC coating so is waterproof

    i would recommend the MAXI el wire as it is one of our brightest, and holds its shape when it is bent, so it makes it easier to make your own designs

  3. Hi, I am looking to purchase 2 lines of 5m wire from you to make a sign on 2 lines. Could I run these off of the same driver (perhaps one powered for 10m)?

    • Hi,

      Yes you can. You would just need a 2 way splitter and the driver would need to be rated to drive 10m.

      If your sign is going to be lit for 8 hrs at a time, we would recommend you use one of our powerful excel drivers as these are designed for longer running periods.

  4. Hello. Can you help me choose the correct ones?I bought some El Panels for my Back to the Future shoes. I was told I need -2x bask driver for el panels (3 v) -2x standard splitters for El Panels -type 3 way

  5. Hello, I want to order a selection of wires in different colours to test in sizes 2.3 and 3.2, all in 1 meter length. Just making sure that all I need in order to make them glow one at a time is an adaptable driver for up to 5 meters?

    Thank you.

    • Good morning,
      Yes, that is the correct driver. You will however, also need a power supply for the adaptable driver (you can choose one of these from the drop down menu on the product page).
      If you already have a power supply you can select ONLY THE DRIVER from the drop down menu.

  6. That’s great thank you, I gathered that you needed a power supply and put an order through yesterday. Thanks a mill!

  7. Hi!

    I’m making a sign that is going to be wall mounted. I don’t want anything on show (my partner HATES cables on show), I was hoping there would be an option for something small stuck to the back like a little 2 x AA battery pack with a simple on/off switch that you get on fairy lights?

    I am going to be using around 5m of the MAXI EL wire with a 3 way splitter and he’ll probably have it on for a few hours of the day so could really do with some advice surrounding the driver! Thank you 🙂

  8. Hi, I just received a driver today but it makes a very faint high pitched sound whenever it’s turned on – is this normal?

    • Good morning,

      Yes, the faint high-pitched noise is perfectly normal when an EL driver is turned on.
      If you can ensure you have your EL wire, tape or panel is plugged into the driver before turning it on that will ensure your driver doesn’t overload.

  9. Hello, I was hoping to make a sign with a strip of 2m el wire and another 1m strip both connected into the same driver. so I would be using 3m overall. I would also like it to be portable and hidden behind the sign if possible. which driver would be best for this?

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