Electroluminescence (EL) is the electrical stimulation of a phosphorous material to excite the phosphor so that it will generate light.
An EL system consists of: 1) an EL Lamp 2) a Power Supply 3) the Interconnection between the lamp and the power supply.
The amps are available in strips that can be as little as ¼" to 30" wide and up to 300' long. Other custom widths are available for specific applications. (See Catalog section for a full list)
The lamps are available in their two natural colors of white and blue/green. The blue/green lamp can be overlaid with colored laminates to give a fill spectrum of brilliant colors. The white lamp can also be overlaid to take on some of the lower light spectrum colors such as yellow and pink.
The lamps consume very little power, using only 0.4 milliamp of current per square inch. As a point of comparison, a 60-Watt light bulb uses as much current as a 1" strip of a FLATLITE® lamp 111' long.
The FLATLITE® lamps can be operated from either AC or DC. If AC is used, a properly sized E-Lite power supply (that increases both the voltage and frequency) must be used. If DC is used (as in the transportation industry) a properly sized E-Lite Inverter (a power supply that converts DC to AC and increases both the voltage and frequency) must be used.
Choosing the power supply is very simple. Once you have chosen your lamp width and length (for a given run), use E-Lite's easy to read Power Supply Selection Chart to find the recommended power supply. The selection chart requires you to provide only width and length to select the proper power supply.
EL light output is measured in a unit of measure called Lamberts. E-Lite's lamps have a light output of 30 - 35 Lamberts. This amount of light is typically considered enough for
back-lighting in the Signage Industry; illuminating an exit path in the Emergency Egress Path Lighting Industry; adding a highly visible highlight to buildings in the Architectural Lighting Industry; or aisle lighting in Movie Theaters, Aircraft. Generally speaking, EL is best suited for low ambient light or nighttime applications where the ambient light level is at or below 30-foot candles.
The E-Lite Lamp is only 0.025" thick. It can be mounted flat against a wall; mounted in a standard picture frame; adhered to a signage transparency and mounted on a bus, taxi or truck; placed in an extrusion and mounted on a wall, floor or ceiling. EL does not generate heat, and therefore needs no special venting. The typically remotely located power supply does generate heat, but needs no special cooling in most of the applications.
The E-Lite Lamp can be sealed in a UV protected or moisture resistant laminate. When the lamp is used outdoors, it should be mounted in some transparent extrusion to protect it from the elements. This extrusion should be designed so that the moisture will not become trapped in the enclosure or channeled to the power supply distribution box.
E-Lite offers basic range of extrusions for varied applications: Wall Mounting near the baseboard for Egress Path Lighting; Wall Mounting near the ceiling for Architectural Lighting and Extrusions for Outside Mounting to withstand the elements.
It is very easy, requiring nothing more than a pair of scissors and an E-Lite Termination Kit. After selecting the lamp color and width, unroll the required length from the full coil of lamp. Cut the Lamp with the scissors and seal one end of the lamp with the E-Lite sealing tape. Using the E-Lite hand tool, crimp a harness assembly to the lamp, assuring that each terminal pierces only one of the foil strips on the lamp. Apply a strip of white sealing tape over the terminals and the end of the lamp.
The laminate on the lamp protects the lamp from most normal wear and tear and there are no fragile parts to damage. The lamp can be twisted, flexed, coiled, and folded. If it is pierced, it will continue to illuminate. The pierced area should be resealed however to prevent moisture from entering the lamp and damaging it in that area. If the lamp is severed, turn off the power and using E-Lite's splice terminal, reconnect the two pieces and reseal the lamp at the splice. The reconnected segment will re-illuminate.
EL is a capacitive load - unlike most conventional light bulbs, which are resistive loads. This allows the same brightness at the end of the lamp as there is at the beginning of the lamp. An EL lamp does not generate heat. It is not a light source that wastes power in the form of heat while generating light.
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 bright (how much voltage and frequency) the Lamp is operated at, its duty cycle and the acceptable light output for the application. We call this the Useful Life. In Emergency Egress Path Lighting applications, the lamp is operated at a high brightness level but for a very short duty cycle. In this application, the lamp has an indefinite Useful Life. In Signage applications where the brightness required is high but the “on time" (duty cycle) is only the night time hours as in a bus or taxi sign, the Useful Life is approx. 12 - 18 months. In Aisle Lighting applications like Movie Theaters, both the brightness is low and the duty cyc1e is low resulting in a Useful Life of 5 years or more. In Architectural Lighting applications, the required brightness is relatively low but the duty cycle is about 50%. The Useful Life of this type application can be 3 - 5 years. Again, the lamp does not “burn out" catastrophically. As long as there is conductivity, the lamp will light up. It may simply become dim enough to require replacement at a convenient time.
The lamp has an aluminum substrate on the non-illuminated side that forms one half of the conductive portion of the lamp. Light will not show through this substrate. 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.
The power supply can be located as far as 300' from the Lamp. Since the FLATLITE® lamp system uses a relatively high voltage; the line loss typically will not impact the performance of the lamp. Make sure that the power supply in not plugged into a power source and then cut the E-Lite supplied harness assembly between the lamp and the power supply. Attach length of properly installed (per local codes) wire of 18AWG or larger between the two harness ends, and reconnect the power supply to the power source.
You need to have a lamp attached to the power supply before turning it on.
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