Review: EL Wire Flexible 4m (2xAA)


Aug 13, 2015
Brisbane, Australia

The EL wire was purchased by myself, from GearBest.

This review is of the (cool) white version. Colours available are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, fluorescent green, light green.


Electro-luminescent (EL) wire is flexible copper wire surrounded by phosphor which glows when it has an AC electrical current run through it. It is popular for light painting (mist effect) and for decorating purposes (e.g. costumes, party lighting, interior decoration).

Product Evaluation

The product comes with the EL wire, and battery/inverter/controller box. There is a connection between the two allowing for swapping between either the wire or box.

4m of wire is supplied. The wire is just 2.3mm thick.It can be cut down in length with scissors without affecting functionality. Increasing length is extremely difficult and not advisable. A plastic end cap is included, and can be replaced when the wire is cut down in length (I cut mine to 2m).

The controller box contains batteries (2xAA), inverter (as the wire requires AC current), and the control button. The UI is rather basic, with modes being Off>On>Fast Strobe>Slow Strobe>Off. You have to cycle through all modes to get to off. The controller box weighs just 30g (excluding batteries). A whining noise is emitted when on, but this is only noticeable when indoors and with no ambient noise.

A red light indicator next to the button illuminates when the EL wire is on, which needs to be hidden if using this for light painting (I used black duct tape).

The light is reasonably dim compared to other light sources and is this only useful in low light or dark situations. I have found that approximately ISO400 and f/8 for long exposure photography gives the white EL wire a nice blue glow, with the exposure time dependant upon for how long you are waving it around in front of the camera.
Misty Bridge by stephenk1977, on Flickr

Blue Mist by stephenk1977, on Flickr

I did not perform a runtime test. However, given that after around 60 minutes of use, my Eneloops terminated charge in less than 1 hour on the BQ-CC17 charger, then I would expect that the runtime would be at least 6 hours or more.

The EL wire was purchased for less than AU$5, and is thus good value for money given the lighting fun it can be used for. It is also low enough in cost for once off use (e.g. costume use). I intend on purchasing the same product in other colours when I get the chance.
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