What is Electroluminescence?
Electroluminescence (EL) is the electrical stimulation of a phosphorous material to excite the phosphor so that it will generate light.

How do EL lamps work?                      
An EL panel is a lossey parallel-plate capacitor.  In other words, it’s an electronic device that is electrically charged and then loses its energy in the form of light.  To do this, an EL lamp requires an AC current, which is applied to both plates.  The current allows energy to build up within a phosphor layer between the plates, and the energy is released as light during each half cycle of the AC current (when the electrical field or charges applied to the plates alternate). The number of times that the field changes within a given time period (the frequency of the current) influences the brightness and color of the light emitted by the phosphor.

What makes up the Technolight EL Signage System?
The Technolight EL Signage system consists of: 1) an EL Lamp 2) a Power Supply 3) the Connector to join the wires between the lamp and the power supply.

In what Shapes/Forms are the Lamps available?
The lamps are available in flat panels that can be as little as 2" Circular shapes up to 36” x 24” Rectangle shapes; as well as triangles, half circles, squares, (See Shapes and Sizes for a list of Standard panels). Other custom sizes are available for specific applications.

What lamp Colors are available?
The standard EL panels are available in white only. There are other colors: blue/green, green, amber, blue, that can be made for custom applications.

How do I power a Technolight EL lamp?
EL panels need a power source providing alternating current (AC). The high efficiency of EL allows useful light to be produced even with line current (100v, 60 Hz in the US).

Power derived from an AC wall outlet is usually not at a high enough frequency power for EL. In this case an inverter must be used to change the power for the lamp to a higher frequency. 

Standard Inverters are available for all shapes and sizes that Technolight has; simply match the inverter to the total amount of square inches of EL panels you are planning to light up. 

Power use for an EL panel is very low and is generally limited by the efficiency of the inverter circuit. Thus Technolight has optimized the efficiency for the lamp system by optimizing the inverter.

How much Power do the lamps consume?
The lamps consume very little power, using only 18 milliwatts per square inch. As a point of comparison, a 60-Watt light bulb uses as much current as 100 feet of EL panels.

How bright are the EL Panels?
The light output is measured in a unit of measure known as Lamberts. Technolight’s panels have an output of 15 - 35 foot Lamberts depending on the specific size, inverter, and application. This amount of light is typically considered enough for back-lighting in the Signage Industry; it should be noted that EL is best suited for dark, low, or medium ambient light applications.

How thick are the EL panels?
The Technolight EL panels are only 0.012" thick. They can be used in applications that are mounted flat against a wall; mounted in a standard picture frame; adhered to various types of signage. The EL panels do not generate heat, and therefore need no special venting.

Can I use the EL lamp outdoors?
The Technolight EL panels can be sealed with a UV protected or moisture resistant laminate covering. When the lamp is used outdoors, it should be mounted in some transparent extrusion to protect it from the elements. Technolight has a standard power source that is specifically designed for outdoor use.

How tough/durable is the EL lamp?
The laminate on the lamp protects the lamp from normal wear and tear. The lamp can be twisted, flexed, coiled; the lamp can be folded slightly but not more than a 45 degree angle. If for some reason the lamp is severed, turn off the power; as this will cause an open/live electricity area at the point it was severed.

How long does the lamp last?
Unlike conventional lamps, EL lamps will not burn out. There is no filament to break or gas to escape as with LED's. They do lose some of their brightness over time. Lamp life is related to how much voltage and frequency the EL Panel is operated at, the cycles that it is going through and the amount of light being put out for the specific application. The lamp does not “burn out"; as long as there is conductivity in place, the lamp will still light up. It will simply become dim enough to require replacement at some point in time.

Does the lamp light on both sides of the panel?
The lamp only lights on one side. If, in your application, you need illumination from both sides of the lamp (front and back), simply put two lamps back to back separated by a non-conductive membrane such as cardboard, plywood or particleboard.

How do I dispose of an EL panel?
EL Panels are safe for landfill disposal. 

When is it safe to turn on the power supply?
You need to have a lamp attached to the power supply before turning it on.

How can I change the brightness of an EL lamp?
The brightness of an EL panel depends separately on the Voltage and the Frequency with which it is excited.

  • An increase in applied voltage increases the brightness.
  • An increase in the frequency increases brightness.
  • A typical curve showing the change of brightness with voltage is indicated in the Tech Specs section of our site.
  • For small changes in voltage and frequency, the dependence of brightness on voltage or on frequency is essentially linear.

What are the unique features of Technolight EL?
EL lighting is unique in being a thin, flexible, rugged, uniform, cool source of illumination with highly versatile design properties.

Thin: Standard Technolight EL products are typically between 0.010" and 0.012". EL lamps can be introduced into existing hardware with minimum changes to the packaging or mechanical layout. No special mounting hardware is required.

Flexible: Technolight EL lamps are generally prepared on flexible polyester substrates, allowing them to be used in applications (such as safety garments) or assemblies where bending is required.

Rugged: The all-polymer design with Technolight's PolyWeld technique produces a tough lamp, which will survive heavy-duty use. There is high resistance to chemical attack, no tendency to delaminate, even with thermal cycling.

Uniform: EL light is emitted uniformly over the entire lit area. As a result, no need exists for light pipes, diffusers, reflectors or multiple sources to provide flat, uniform illumination over a wide area.

Cool: In an EL display, the light is generated by a purely solid state process, so no heat is generated. This means no energy is wasted in heat, no thermal stress is produced, and no heat has to be dissipated and removed from the assembly.

Versatile: Technolight lamps are manufactured using printing techniques. As a result, anything that can be rendered in two dimensions can be illuminated. Technomark also offers a unique connection to the graphic arts industries through its heritage in screen-printed graphics. The result is a line of display products, which look equally good lit or unlit.

Will EL work in my application?
Probably yes! The great versatility of this printed, flexible, uniform lighting system means that it lends itself to a very wide range of applications. For its optimal use, applications should require efficient, thin, uniform lighting. Applications where a localized, very bright, light source is required, will not necessarily benefit the most from the use of EL. However, if you need to introduce illumination for function or cosmetics with minimum energy use and minimum impact on the packaging, use EL.

Examples of successful uses include:

  • Billboards
  • Bulletins
  • Buses/Transit shelters
  • Point of Purchase displays
  • Posters
  • Wallscapes
  • Taxi advertising
  • Airports
  • Point of Sale displays
  • Mobile Billboards

How long will a battery last? 
Battery life will depend on two properties of the lamp application, the current draw for the inverter circuit, and the use model for the device.

The current draw of the inverter is a property of the individual circuit. Since the lamp itself uses very little power (typically 18 mw per square inch) the current going to the lamp is small. The current drawn (at low voltage) from the battery however will depend on the losses in the inverter circuit. With modern designs, this can be kept well below 50ma at 3VDC for reasonable sized LCD backlights.

The impact on battery life of any circuit which draws current will depend on the frequency with which that circuit is used. Since most EL applications (especially as backlights) have intermittent use, the impact on battery life is much less than if they were used 100% of the time.