An Illuminating Idea for Gear – Glowire

Glowire on a Pencil

I presently looking into using Glowire to light areas of my shack during operation that need some light, but only as a reference.

Some of the in-vehicle uses look adaptable to outfitting for amateur radio gear.

Same firm offers ultra-bright LEDs and also Glowsheets using the same technology on a flat sheet.

Here is a small sampling of the information on the Glowire website:

What is GLOWIRE?
GLOWIRE is an electroluminescent wire – a copper wire coated with a phosphorus material and wrapped with two tiny transmitter wires. It is then sealed in a waterproof casing. GLOWIRE looks very similar to neon when powered.

What makes it glow?
GLOWIRE must be powered by a driver (inverter) in order to glow. A driver takes a DC input voltage and provides an AC output voltage of approximately 120 volts. Both 9 volt and 12 volt drivers are available with varying frequencies ranging from 400 to 4000hz. Brightness is determined by voltage and frequency. The lower the frequency, the dimmer it glows, the higher frequency the brighter it glows.

How do I know which driver to use?
You need to determine the length of GLOWIRE you want to run and the type of power source you are using. 9 volt drivers will generally run a maximum of 12-14 feet of GLOWIRE. Using longer sections of wire will decrease the brightness. You also need to use a minimum of at least 3 feet or the driver may overload and be damaged. Some of the 12 volt drivers can power 120 feet of wire or more.

How is GLOWIRE used?
The uses of GLOWIRE are limited only by your imagination. Some of the most common uses are for RC models, car interiors, costumes, safety equipment, motorcycles, decorations, art projects, backlighting or mood lighting, signs and model trains. The list goes on and on.

Does it come in different colors?
General purpose GLOWIRE comes in 10 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow.
Heavy duty GLOWIRE comes in 8 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime, orange, red, white and yellow.
Ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE comes in 5 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime and yellow.
Aqua is considered to be the brightest color as it is the natural color of the wire.

What is the difference between general purpose, heavy duty, and ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE?
General purpose GLOWIRE has a diameter of 2.3mm. It is generally used for situations where the wire will not be under a great deal of stress. Heavy duty GLOWIRE has an extra layer of PVC protection and also UV protection giving it a diameter of 3.2mm. Ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE has an even thicker layer of pvc protection and has a flat side for easy installation. The ultra heav duty GLOWIRE comes with 1/8″ clear 3M double sided high bond tape for easy mounting.

Does it ever burn out?
Although GLOWIRE never burns out, it will become dimmer over time. The higher the frequency used to power the wire, the faster it will dim. At 4000hz it will last over 1600 hours. At 400hz it will remain bright for over 5700 hours.

Can it be cut?
GLOWIRE can easily be cut with wire cutters. The cut end needs to be properly terminated to prevent moisture damage and to prevent the wire from shorting out. GLOWIRE runs on a parallel circuit, therefore there does not have to be a return path. The end will need to be sealed with super glue, epoxy, silicone, heat shrink, etc to make certain that no moisture will get in the wire.

Can GLOWIRE be spliced with other wire?
Yes, you can add as much hook up wire as needed, but the total amount of GLOWIRE is limited by the type of driver you are using. For example, if you are using a 5541-2K driver, it can drive 18-45 feet of GLOWIRE. You can have 5 feet of hook up wire, 20 feet of GLOWIRE, 10 feet of hook up wire, 10 feet of GLOWIRE, 5 feet of hook up wire and up to 15 more feet of GLOWIRE.

More to follow as I experiment with Glowire. I have a R/C airplane started and plan to incorporate it in this plane as well as experiment in my shack.



2 thoughts on “An Illuminating Idea for Gear – Glowire

  1. Jeff, KE9V says:

    That stuff on the wings of an R/C plane being flown in the dark of night will bring the UFO searchers out in droves!!!

    Very cool looking stuff — I need to get some of it.

    73 de Jeff

  2. Jim says:

    GloWire looks like some neat stuff to play around with.


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