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A step-by-step, illustrated guide to soldering el wire



Soldering a wire-side connector onto a section of 2.5mm el wire

wire-side_cropped.jpg



The following illustration shows the basic anatomy of El Wire

EL wire

Tools and Materials you need:

Items can be obtained from your local electronics store, hobby shop, or found here at Neonstring.com

El Wire
Nippy/Wire Cutters
Razor Blade
el-wire_small.jpg
Nippy-cutters_small.jpg
Razors





Copper Foil Tape
Wire Strippers

cooper-foil-tape_small.jpg
Wire-strippers_small.jpg






Soldering Iron
Solder
Helping Hands
solder-iron_small.jpg
solder_small.jpg
Helping-hands_small.jpg





3/16" Heat Shrink
3/32" Heat Shrink
Heat Gun
Heat-shrink316_small.jpg
Heat-shrink332_small.jpg
Heatgun_small.jpg





Neonstring Driver
Thin Screwdriver
Heat Sink, Hemostats, Clamps
driver_small.jpg
Tiny-screwdriver_small.jpg
Heat-sinks_small.jpg


Soldering Instructions

Step 1: Cut EL wire to the needed length using wire/nippy cutters. It is advisable to allow yourself a little extra EL wire in case some EL wire is lost due to a bad solder connection or broken radial wires.


Cutting_small.jpg



Step 2: Strip " " of insulation from the end of the EL wire.


Strip-wire.jpg



Step 3: If the second layer of (clear) insulation still remains, surrounding the tiny radial wires, strip that as well. Be careful because the radial wires can break. (If they break, cut off the section of wire you just stripped and go back to the previous step.)


Second-layer.jpg



Step 4: Twist the tiny, hair-thin radial wires together until they form one wire.


radial-wires.jpg



Step 5: [CAUTION!] Using the razor, scrape the white phosphorous off of the center wire (core wire).


Scrape-phos_small.jpg



Step 6: Using the nippy cutters or wire cutters, cut about a " section of copper foil tape.






Step 7.1: Peel the adhesive backing from the copper foil tape and apply one end to the EL wire. When you have wrapped the copper foil tape around the EL wire once,


Copper-foil1.jpg




Step 7.2: next wrap the radial wires around the copper foil tape.


Copper-foil2.jpg




Step 7.3: and then finish wrapping the copper foil tape around the EL wire.


Copper-foil3_small.jpg


This is to help make sure the radial wires do not lose their connection to the copper foil tape. In a later step, solder will be applied.




Step 8: Strip " of each lead of a wire-side connector.


Wire-side-strippedd_small.jpg




Step 9: If the tips are tinned (stiff, coated with solder), cut the tips off. This should only be about 1/8" inch.




Step 10: Wrap one of the leads from the wire-side connector around the copper foil tape on the EL wire.


Wrap-foil_small.jpg




Step 10.1: Wrap it tightly and then place the EL wire into one of the alligator clips of the Helping-hands.


Helping1.jpg




Step 11: Solder the wire to the copper foil tape. This should also have the effect of soldering the radial wires to the copper foil tape. Make sure the wire is soldered all the way around.


Solder1b_small.jpg




Step 12 Cut a 3/4 section of the smaller (3/32) heat shrink. Place it onto the remaining unattached lead from the wire-side connector.


Heat-shrnk1_small.jpg




Step 13: Wrap the wire of the remaining lead of the wire-side connector around the tiny watch-repair screwdriver, in order to coil it.


Coil-wire.jpg




Step 14: Remove the screwdriver and slip the now-coiled wire onto the core wire of the EL wire.


coiled-wire-on-coilwire.jpg




Step 15: Attach heat sink, clamp, or hemostat to the wire in order to draw heat away before it gets to the heat shrink. You do not want the heat shrink to shrink until you have moved it into place.


Attach-heatsink.jpg




Step 16: Solder the connection


Solder2.jpg




Step 17.1: Move section of heat shrink to cover the soldered connection.


Heat-shrink-placed.jpg




Step 17.2: shrink the heat shrink with the heat gun. Be sure to apply heat on all sides.


Heat-shrink-shrunk_small.jpg




Step 18: Cut a section of the larger (3/16") heat shrink long enough to overlap the EL wire on one end, and where the wire-side connection wires split on the other end. (Usually about 2.5 ")


span_small.jpg




Step 19: Place the heat shrink onto the other end of the EL wire, and slide it all the way into place over the soldered connection.


Heatshrink-placed_small.jpg




Step 20: [Caution!] Shrink the heat shrink with the heat gun, being sure to apply heat to all sides.


Finished_small.jpg




Final: Connect your EL wire to the driver and light something up!


Hourglass.jpg





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