EL Sequencer/Escudo Dos Hookup Guide Datasheet by SparkFun Electronics

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EL Sequencer/Escudo Dos Hookup Guide
The SparkFun EL Sequencer is an Arduino-comptabile microcontroller, with
circuitry for controlling up to eight strands of electroluminescent (EL) wire.
The Arduino shield version of the Sequencer is the SparkFun EL Escudo
Dos, and it can be used with any Arduino Uno footprint-compatible
SparkFun EL Sequencer
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EL Sequencer Hookup Guide Wishlist SparkFun Wish List
Materials Required
To follow along with this tutorial, we recommend you have access to the
following materials in addition to your Sequencer or Escudo Dos.
SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout - 5V
This is the newest revision of our [FTDI Basic](…
EL Inverter - 12v
EL inverters allow you to drive EL (electroluminescent) wires. This par…
EL Wire - Blue 3m
EL wire, or electroluminescent wire, is a flexible wire coated in phosp…
EL Wire - White 3m
EL wire, or electroluminescent wire, is a flexible wire coated in phosp…
EL Wire - Red 3m
EL wire, or electroluminescent wire, is a flexible wire coated in phosp…
Wall Adapter Power Supply - 12VDC 600mA
This is a high quality AC to DC 'wall wart' which produces a regulated
SparkFun USB Mini-B Cable - 6 Foot
This is a USB 2.0 type A to Mini-B 5-pin cable. You know, the mini-B
Suggested Reading
If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend reviewing
them before beginning to work with the EL Sequencer or Escudo Dos.
Installing the Arduino IDE
How to Power Your Project
Battery Technologies
SparkFun EL Escudo Do
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How to Solder
AC vs. DC Current
Hardware Overview - Similarities
This section will cover the features that are shared between both the EL
Sequencer and the EL Escudo Dos.
External Power Headers
External Power Headers on the EL Sequencer.
There are three power connection points on the Sequencer. The first is the
AC In connection, which is the default connection point for any external
inverter. The second connection is the DC Out line, which will connect to
any inverter that does not have an external power supply. This provides a
DC power supply to the inverter from the EL Sequencer itself. The final
power connection is the Batt In connection. This allows the user to
provide a power supply from a 3.7V lipo battery, or other power supply of
These can be connected via a standard 0.1" 2-pin header, or via the JST
connector available on each line. If you ever forget the purpose of these
connections, they are clearly labeled on the bottom of the board.
External Power Headers on the EL Escudo Dos.
The power headers on the EL Escudo Dos have the same functionality as
the EL Sequencer. However, there is no Batt In header. This is because
the power for the Escudo comes from the VRAW line on the connected
Arduino or RedBoard.
Channel Headers (HIGH VOLTAGE)
Channel Headers on the Sequencer
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Channel Headers on the Escudo Dos
As the silk on the bottom side of the board states, there is high voltage in
this area of the board. Care must be given when handling the board in a
powered state, to prevent a shock to the user. These channels output the
AC current needed to drive the EL wire. This is output at 100+V AC,
4000Hz (dependent on the inverter used). Each channel (A-H) is attached
to one digital pin on the ATMega328 (pins 2-9, respectively). Driving the
digital pins HIGH triggers the EL wire to turn on.
These can be connected to EL devices (wire, panels, etc.) via a standard
0.1" 2-pin header, or via the JST connector available on each line.
Solder Jumpers
SJ1 - This jumper allows the user to bypass the LM317 regulator
when it’s shorted. This regulator is used for external inverters. If left
open, the regulator output voltage can be modified by user-supplied
resistors on RA and RB pads. More on that below.
Solder Jumper 1 on the Sequencer.
Solder Jumper 1 on the Escudo.
SJ2 - This jumper is included as an option for wirelessly uploading of
code to the Sequencer via XBee. This feature is experimental, and
no guarantees are given for this feature’s functionality.
Solder Jumper 2 on the Sequencer. This jumper is not present on the
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TRIACs and Optoisolators
The main functionality of the Sequencer/Escudo comes from the TRIACs
(Triode for Alternating Current) on-board. The MO3063S TRIAC
Optocoupler takes the logic output from the associated ATMega328 digital
pin which triggers the Z0103MN TRIAC to open the flow of the AC current
from the inverter through the gate to drive the EL channel. This keeps the
AC side of the circuit optically isolated from the DC portion of the circuit.
EL Sequencer TRIACs and Optoisolators
EL EscudoDos TRIACs and Optoisolators
Keep in mind that when the boards are powered and connected to an
inverter, touching these areas can lead to an unpleasant shock. It
won’t hurt you, but it doesn’t feel good.
Adjustable Voltage Regulator
The LM317 voltage regulator on this board is adjustable based on the
resistor values applied to it. By default, this board comes shipped with a
390Ω resistor on R1 and a 240Ω on R2. However, footprints for thru-hole
resistors (A and B) have been added for the user to adjust the voltage out
to their project needs. You’ll need to remove the SMD resistors first.
Then add thru-hole resistors of your choice. See the LM317 Datasheet for
more information on which resistor values correspond to which voltage
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Resistors A and B on the EL Sequencer
Resistors A and B on the EL Escudo Dos
Hardware Overview - EL Sequencer
This section will cover the unique features of the EL Sequencer.
NRF24L01+ Header
This header is designed to interface with an NRF24L01+ module breakout.
This provides a 2.4GHz signal to the EL Sequencer, which provides remote
control options for the Sequencer at up to a 100m range.
FTDI Header
This is a 5V FTDI header, which is given to provide simple access for
reprogramming the ATMega328 via serial connections. This can also be
used to have the EL wire triggered via serial data in to the system.
XBee Header
This connection is provided to give users the option of wirelessly
connecting the EL Sequencer via XBee. This can be used for mesh
networking of several different Sequencers together (this is great for group
costume projects), or remote control of the Sequencer.
ICSP Header
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This 6-pin header is provided to allow the user to reprogram the
ATMega328 on board via an external programmer. This also allows you to
reprogram the EL Sequencer without the requirement of the Optiboot loader
from the Arduino IDE.
Analog Input Header
The additional analog pins on the ATMega328 are broken out to a standard
0.1" header on the EL Sequencer. This also gives the user the capability to
trigger the EL wires from analog inputs (such as a photocell, temperature
sensor, or a line sensor ).
Pins A6 and A7 are analog input only. Pins A0-A5 can be used as an
analog input or as a digital I/O.
Switches and Reset Button
XBee to FTDI (far right, center) - This switch changes the RX line
from being supplied via the FTDI header or the XBee. If attempting to
program the Sequencer via FTDI, this switch must be set to the
FTDI side.
USB/BATT (bottom, center) - This switch changes the power source
for the ATMega328. The USB setting allows the ATMega328 to be
powered via the FTDI connection, while the BATT setting allows the
Arduino part to be powered off of a lipo battery instead.
Reset Button - Resets the Arduino sketch running on the
ATMega328. It pulls the RESET line low, allowing the system to
Hardware Overview - EL Escudo Dos
This section will cover the unique features of the EL Escudo Dos Arduino
Shield Headers
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These headers allow the shield to be connected to any Arduino Uno/Uno
R3 compatible board. We will be using the SparkFun RedBoard for this
Currently, the EL Escudo Dos Shield is designed for the original
Arduino Uno footprint (not the R3 footprint). However, this shield can
be used with Arduino Uno R3 boards without issue.
Channel Headers
The EL Escudo also provides a row of 0.1" spaced headers to allow the
user to read the signals from the microcontroller to the EL wires. This is
beneficial for debugging.
Hardware Hookup
To get started using the EL Sequencer or EL Escudo Dos, there are a few
basic steps that must be completed.
Solder Headers
EL Sequencer
At an absolute bare minimum, you must solder 6 pins on the FTDI header.
For simplicity’s sake, we recommend using male headers (either straight or
right angle as these are compatible by default with the FTDI breakout). This
will enable you to program the EL Sequencer via an FTDI breakout board.
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If you plan on using an XBee unit with your Sequencer, you will also want to
solder XBee Sockets to the board. If you plan on using any additional
connectors on the board, you will also want to solder those headers on
now. Keep in mind you may also want to trim off any excess header on the
bottom of the board if you intend to use this in a wearable application.
EL Escudo Dos
Thanks to the simplified design, you only need to solder Arduino shield
headers onto the Escudo. If you want to use any additional components in
your project (such as wireless modules or external sensors), you will want
to use stackable headers.
Connect the EL Wire
You have 8 channels available on the Sequencer to which you can plug in
EL wire, chasing EL wire, or EL panels.
Please check out this tutorial on working with EL Wire specifically, and the
current requirements for different types of materials.
Note: If you plan on using Chasing EL wire, keep in mind you will
need an adapter cable to make it compatible with the EL
Sequencer/EL Escudo Dos. You also will need 3 channels available
on the EL Sequencer for the chasing wire, in order to get the proper
‘chasing’ effect to display. This means you will only have 5 additional
channels available (or 2, if you plan to use 2 chasing EL wire strands).
Connect the Inverter
Once you have hooked all of your EL wires up, the next step is to hook up
the inverter.
3V Inverter - If you are using the 3V inverter, you will need to hook
up both wire pairs from the inverter to the Sequencer. The
black/black wire pair will plug into the AC In JST connector, while
the red/black wire pair plugs into the DC Out JST connector.
12V Inverter - While using the 12V inverter, there is only one wire
pair that will plug into the Sequencer. The red/black wire pair will plug
into the AC In JST connector. You will need a separate power
supply to run this inverter (such as the 12VDC 600mA Wall Adapter).
Note: Make sure all power has been removed from the system before
plugging in any inverter. This will help prevent any inadvertent shocks
to the user.
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Connect the Power Supply
EL Sequencer
If you are using a battery for the power supply, you can connect this to the
Batt In JST header without altering the board. Using an external power
supply with the 3V inverter will require closing SJ1. You will need to
connect that supply to the PTH headers labeled Batt In . Make sure the
power supply falls in the range of 3.5V-16V for an external power supply.
EL Escudo Dos
The power supply for the EL Escudo Dos actually comes from the Arduino.
We recommend using a 12V wall adapter for powering the Arduino.
Alternatively, if you would like to go wireless, you could use a male barrel
jack adapter along with a 12V battery. Typically, however, the EL
Sequencer will be a better option for you for wireless applications.
Final Circuit
Once everything is hooked up, your circuit should look something like the
Arduino Code
Once you have all of your hardware hooked up properly, it’s time to
program your Sequencer to run the EL Wire display as you want. You will
need to download the Arduino code in order to follow along with the
You can also download the most up-to-date code from the EL Sequencer
GitHub repository.
We will be working with the “SparkFun_EL_Example.ino” example. If you
need a review on how to upload Arduino code to your board or using the
Arduino IDE, please check our tutorial here. Also, if you are unsure about
installing the FTDI drivers, please check out this tutorial.
If using the EL Sequencer:
Plug in your FTDI board to the computer via USB, and insert the FTDI onto
the EL Sequencer. Make sure you match up the BLK to BLK and GRN to
GRN labels.
When uploading your code, please be sure to select the following settings
in the IDE:
Board: LilyPad Arduino
Processor: ATMega328
COM port: Whichever port the FTDI Basic appears on for your
operating system.
If using the EL Escudo Dos + RedBoard:
Plug in the RedBoard to the computer via USB. Select the following settings
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in the IDE:
Board: Arduino Uno
COM port: Whichever port the FTDI Basic appears on for your
operating system.
Demo Code
This basic demo will cycle through each channel on the Sequencer, one by
one, repeating until the system is either reprogrammed or turned off.
In the first section, we must define each pin that we will be using on the
void setup(){
Each pin is declared as an output, which will allow us to drive the channel
HIGH or LOW . We will cycle through each channel, turning them on
individually, waiting 1/10 second, turning off, and moving to the next
void loop()
int x,status;
for (x=2;x<=9;x++)
status= !status;
Each time a channel is cycled through, the status LEDs on the board will
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Once the code is uploaded, you should see each strand of EL wire light up
one by one. If you aren’t seeing that, verify that you have the correct power
settings on the USB/Batt switch, and that the inverter is connected properly,
switched on (if using the 12V inverter), and that the power supply to the
board is properly charged and/or connected.
Going Wireless
If you would like to add wireless capabilities to your project, there’s just a
few more steps to get up and running.
Insert a radio unit: You can either use a paired XBee unit or an
NRF24L01+ module. You will need to make sure headers are
soldered on for either device. If you need additional information on
adding an XBee module, please check out our tutorial here. On the
EL Sequencer, you will also need to flip the XBee to FTDI switch to
XBee to ensure XBee communication is working properly.
Update the Code
If using a Series 1 XBee:
Upload the ‘SparkFun_XBee_EL_Sequencer.ino’ sketch to your board. In
the first section, the status LED is declared as an output, and the Serial
connection is opened at 9600bps.
char val;
void setup(){
val= 'A';//buttonpressed,thereforesendingletterA
The main loop of the code simply waits for the XBee unit to receive the
character ‘A’ from a remote XBee unit. If the character is received, the
status LED is turned on, and a message is output to the serial terminal.
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void loop(){
if(val== 'A'){
If using an NRF24L01+:
You will need to use the RF24 library with the nRF24L01+ boards. We have
a tutorial with more information regarding installing this library here.
We recommend using the RF24/examples/Usage/led_remote.ino example
sketch. This is already configured to be compatible with the EL Sequencer
with 6 channels of EL wire attached and will trigger each channel based on
buttons hit on the remote unit.
The EL Sequencer will trigger the channels on and off based on the LED
role in the code.
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The code waits until the receiver gets data coming in and then swaps the
LED states accordingly (in this case, the LEDs will be replaced with the EL
That’s it!
That’s all you need to do to add wireless capabilities to your EL project. You
can now remotely control your EL Sequencer project.
Resources and Going Further
Now that you have your EL Sequencer or EL Escudo Dos up and running,
you can start creating your own awesome art displays, interactive
costumes, or colorful installations. Making something really neat? Let us
know - we’d love to see it!
If you have any feedback, please visit the comments or contact our
technical support team at
Check out these additional resources for more information and other project
MOC3063 Datasheet
Z0103MN 4Q Triac Datasheet
LM317 Adjustable Regulator Datasheet
EL Sequencer GitHub Repository
EL Escudo Dos GitHub Repository
EL Wire Burning Man Sign
• EnLightningment
Setting up an EL display with the EL Escudo Dos
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