MAX14521E EL Driver Flex Module

This is a Flex Module that drives 4 EL 'lamps' by i2c control. It supports audio modulation. For sale on Tindie.

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Mini EL has 4 channels all individually controlled by i2c. It can drive EL wire, tape, and panels of a variety of sizes. Frequency, wave shape/form, and voltage can be independently set. The Flex Module is also able to drive unique concepts like chasing EL wire in software. Efficient and low power design over common EL power supplies. Multiple boards can be driven on the same bus thanks to two address pins. In addition, light may be modulated by audio input. Perfect for adding a large amount of independently controlled EL to a costume or prop.

MAX14521E based Mini EL driver will support up to 300Vpp and a combined load of 40+nF (with 3v3-5V input) which is more than enough to power several meters of EL wire. This Flex Module generates high voltage and care must be taken to insulate all outputs. Output castellations are spaced so that the circuit itself is safe, but do not drive output through a breadboard.

Any software related will be released under BSD or MIT license. SAAS or cloud based software will be AGPL.

Creative Commons License

  • 1 × MAX14521E Interface and IO ICs / Display Interface

  • EL tape example

    Chris Hamilton07/23/2015 at 07:54 0 comments

    I reran the EL chasing with the addition of a coil of EL tape as well. The EL tape is much brighter and hides much of the chasing EL.

  • BOM tweaks

    Chris Hamilton07/16/2015 at 17:53 0 comments

    Found a bug in the design with the wrong resistor creating a current restriction. I also increased the capacitance a little too. In general, this should improve larger EL lengths.

  • Software good enough

    Chris Hamilton07/11/2015 at 07:44 0 comments

    I have tweaked the example program to get a good demo from the Sparkfun chasing EL wire. The Arduino driver can set any parameter and the board seems really easy to configure. The only possible thing left is to read the register values back, but that isn't critical to the function. I have posted the software and made some of the board for sale on Tindie.

  • High voltage clearance

    Chris Hamilton04/04/2015 at 18:15 0 comments

    I am redoing the layout as the spacing to follow IPC-2221B better near components. Otherwise, I'll be working on software for this board and finishing testing with the current design.

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Chad Casper wrote 07/23/2015 at 20:24 point

Chris, thanks for the update. It appears to have fixed the problem!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chad Casper wrote 07/22/2015 at 00:28 point

Hi Chris,

I was wondering about a peculiarity in the Arduino library code. I noticed that there are four addresses for the lamp wires, but you only ever access the first three in the methods within the C++ script. I tried to alter the methods to include the 4th register, but a signal was never driven. Is it impossible to drive a 4th EL lamp with I2C despite there being a register address for it?

Best, Chad

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Chris Hamilton wrote 07/22/2015 at 01:48 point

Hi, are you referring to the example sketch included with the library? 
It loops through channels 1-3 to drive a specific 3 light EL wire (
to create the chasing effect in software.  The EL channels are
addressed 1-4, so change the loop limit from 4 to 5 to activate the 4th
channel if you are driving independent lights.

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Chris Hamilton wrote 07/23/2015 at 06:46 point

Hey, I found the off by one bug testing it tonight with all channels.  It is updated on github.  Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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