make it easier to insert and remove the
PCB. On the end of the enclosure, cut a
hole for the RJ- 45 plug to go through. I used
a Dremel tool to make this opening. If you
decide to install the LED on the bottom of
the board, drill a hole to accommodate it.
Please verify all dimensions before you drill!
■ PHOTO 2.
The Shirt Design
This is actually the more difficult part
of the design. You need to find a shirt with
a simple, bold design that you can add light
to. I started with the guitar T-shirt, but I’ve
also used parrot T-shirts from
Margaritaville.com (see Photo 3). The
schematic is labeled for this shirt. There is
yellow wire on the yellow bird, red wire on
the red bird, and green wire on the green
bird. I used blue wire for the two shark fins.
The blue wire is also connected to a shark fin on the front
of the shirt (the birds are on the back). This helps me see
if the shirt is working, since I can’t see the back very well.
The always-on circuit is connected to white wire on the
boat. The same circuit board and software is used for both
I used neon signs for inspiration; they have the same
design limitations as EL wire. They have to be continuous
strings and they can’t be bent too sharply. You will want to
make as few splices in the EL wire as you can. Remember
that you can link together different colors into the same
circuit, either by connecting them to the same wire on the
Ethernet cable or by daisy-chaining to the end of another
EL wire. You will need to sew a buttonhole in the shirt at
each point the EL wire has to go through so that the shirt
won’t fray. You will also want to cover the wire with shrink
tubing anywhere it runs behind the shirt or it will show
through when lit.
The EL Wire
Once you have firmed up your design, order enough
EL wire. I usually buy 10 ft lengths of each color I want,
along with a high powered inverter. You can also get the
■ PHOTO 3A.
■ PHOTO 3B.
December 2011 35