This was an idea we developed on throughout the course of research we carried out. We thought it would allow the leaves features to stand out if this wire was to be wrapped around the outline of the veins of the leaf and twisted around the centre of the main stem. Being powered by the solar panels, would give an indication that the plant is alive and producing enough electricity to run the electrolyser and EL lighting.
I am not going to go in to too much detail about EL lighting but will give you a brief description of it so that you have an idea of the basis behind it.
It is simply a thin wire made of copper coated with phosphor which glows when supplied with an alternating current. A very small and delicate spiral of copper wire is wound around the copper, phosphor core and insulated by a protective sleeve and an outer coating of PVC for insulation.
As you can see the wires gave a nice glow!
Next I am going to carry out an experiment which involves soldering the EL wire to a connector.
First the outer and inner insulation layers need to be stripped off using a wire stripper. After this is done the thin copper wire must be taken care of and preferably soldered onto a piece of copper tape. Once this is done the phosphor must be scraped off using a blade preferably. Then heat shrink tubing is placed at the two points of the connecting wire. the connector will have two wires at the end as you can see in the diagram below. Once the two points are soldered in place the heat shrinks are placed around the soldered area and are shrunk with the use of a heat gun. Care must be taken throughout the process as wires could easily snap off and very delicate.
Currently we are using a 6V inverter which converts DC into AC. It is powered by 4AAA batteries or could be connected to a 6V external power supply. For the end product a 12V inverter will be used as it is useful for around 30 metres of EL wire. We propose to use somewhere between 20 to 26 metres of wire spanning over the entire plant.
We will post up pictures of the soldering stage once we get started!