Electroluminescent Starter Kit Review (with a Geneva Mechanism Video Thrown in!)

el lights invade garage light painting

el lights spinning and blinking light painting

Electroluminescent blinking lights + long exposure camera shot = total craziness

I’ve written this blog for well over a year, and haven’t done anything with electroluminescent lights yet.  After screwing around with everything else and thinking about buying some of these lights, Newark cemented my “purchasing” decision by giving me one of their evaluation kits for free, or check out their other Surelight El devicesSo thanks!

blue el light by itself

A blue EL by itself – a bit more subdued

Although I have plans for these lights, possibly involving some relays and an Arduino, upon opening the package it was evident that even without any soldering or cutting, these were still a lot of fun to play with.  If you do want to solder and cut, here’s a good tutorial (at least it seems good, having yet to follow along).  You really don’t have to do this though, everything just plugs in!  Each light can be attached individually, but the kit includes a splitter to keep everything lit up at the same time if you want!

It’s not really advertised, but the included power pack can be adjusted to blink at different rates.  Really cool, although it may make your eyes hurt after a while!  The first idea I had was to use this with long exposure photography.  I made the lights blink and spin around as the shot was taken.  This can be seen in the first two photos in this post.  There are probably other cool photography tricks that you could use this for, but I haven’t thought of/implemented them yet.  For more light painting, be sure to also check out my earlier CNC light painting experiments.

The second idea I had was to make these blink behind a motorized Geneva mechanism that I’ve been working on (see the hand cranked version).  Really there was no reason to make the below video with blinking EL lights, but you might find it interesting.  It demonstrates how the lights look, and gives you a preview of a possible future post…


  1. A Motorized Geneva Drive | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on March 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm
  2. Sewing cardboard with a Speedy Sticher Awl - pingback on August 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

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