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Light up Vinyl

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Nuagedesigns, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Nuagedesigns

    Nuagedesigns Member

    May 7, 2007
    Seymour, CT
    Ok not sure the exact name of this but I know there were people playing around with this. I think it was specifically Gerber people. I am looking to do 3- 20" letters for signs for a customer to use at a cheerleader thing. Just the letters OHS on seperate signs that they would like to illuminate blue. Can some one point me in the direction to acquire such an item. Figure we could use a 9v battery on each.

  2. Sticky Signs

    Sticky Signs Very Active Member

    Nov 9, 2009
  3. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

    Sep 24, 2004
    theres also edge printable stuff from zero nine...digitel i think its called
  4. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    are the lights being turned off during the "presentation" of the illuminated lettering?
    most of these electroluminescent panels put out just barely enough light to be impressive in the dark... but in an illuminated room/football stadium you can't see a thing.

    why not go cheap and use UV floodlights with florescent vinyl?

    edited: replace cheap with realistic/economical
  5. andy

    andy Active Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    EL really isn't that great. It's not very bright, it's not exactly cutting edge technology.

    Blue EL sheet... easy to source. Cutting into individual letter shapes... can be done with a stanley knife.

    That's the end of easy....

    EL sheeting is a layered product. The centre core is the illuminated membrane; either side of this is a layer of clear protective film which waterproofs the sheet. You'll also see a couple of thin copper tracks which carry in the electrical juice.

    When you've cut up a stock sheet of EL into a numeral shape you've destroyed the integrity of the water proofing and you've also cut off the power terminals. Re sealing the EL is a pain, trying to dig out the terminals which have been laminated into place is almost impossible. To do what you want you would ideally need a raw piece of EL membrane which has not been laminated with the copper terminals supplied loose... something I doubt you'll be able to get your hands on.

    The power characteristics of EL aren't as simple as they sound; yes you can use a low voltage DC battery but the EL sheet works at much higher voltages than 9vDC. When you switch on an EL display of any size you hear an annoying high pitched whine which is the power convertor jumping the voltage up to a high enough level to get illumination. I also dimly recall some issue with DC to AC conversion, (it's been so long since we evaluated and rejected EL that I can't remember the exact details).

    The biggest issue is light... or lack thereof. If you want to take all your product pictures in pitch darkness it's not hard to make EL look like the cats pijamas; introduce even a moderate amount of ambient light and your illuminated EL vanishes under the weight of lumens being dumped by the lighting all around it. In a busy, floodlit sports stadium I doubt you'd notice a fully illuminated EL number unless you were 3" in front of it.

    If you still want to go with EL I would clarify the electrical consumption, voltage and amperage. I'd also ask for the ambient lumen value at which the EL becomes swamped.

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