EL actually runs off of 120VAC and nominally at 400Hz. To run it at 12V requires an inverter that steps up the voltage and the frequency of the AC to about 400Hz. The EL strips that you see are essentially laminated lossy capacitors. When the lamination breaks down (because of exposure to the UV sunlight) moisture gets into the strip and prevents the phosphor from lighting. That's why you see it inside cages and neon or LEDs used on the outside. EL also is used to trick computer cases.
If you want to light up your scoot, I would recommend you save your money and look at the LED lighting for motorcycles. It is substantially more durable than EL, particularly for the weather, and has a longer life (5,000 hours vs. 100,000+ hours for LEDs).
I have used a significant amount of EL tape and wire in my work at NASA. EL is very sensitive to moisture, whereas LEDs are nominally nearly weather-proof and put out substantially more light. LEDs also are dimmable, alowing for creating special effects not available with EL. If you'd like the "strip" effect from LEDs, simply take some thin plexiglass and light the end with an ultrabright LED. The plexiglass and LEDs are less costly and more durable than the EL.
After testing several manufacturers of EL, we found little difference between them. We also found more light and a longer life with the LEDs as well as a lower cost.
What colors are legal and where can you put them on your bike ? For example you wouldn't want blue lights on the front I don't think. In my opinion, the lights look really neat, but I'm primarily interested in being seen.
My Grand Daughters have these little blinking lights on their shoes, I know you've seen 'em. Can you buy them (without the shoes)? I'd like to stick 'em on my helmet and maybe even on the heels of my boots !
The pale-blue 'Indiglo night light' colour is the best to use for night-time visibility. The legality of certain colours will depent on your state's laws. Some states (like Texas) permit neon and LEDs on bike while others do not. You need to check specifically for your state.
Here is a cut-n-paste of the 'primer' on colour perception from the Burgman site. How the colour of the reflected light of an object is perceived is different from how the colour of the transmitted light of a lamp is perceived:
"The reason the human eye perceives colour from an object is that the object reflects photons in a given wavelength of light and absorbs all other colours of light. A yellow ball, for instance, reflects yellow light (photons in the 575nm wavelength range) and absorbs all other colours of light.
Colour perception relies physiologically on the cones in our eyes, of which about 60% perceive red, 36% green, and 4% blue (primary light colors).
Whilst red & green pigments make brown, red & green light make yellow. Our eyes use the red & green cones to perceive yellow, thus they are using 96% of the cones and light gathering capability of the eye.
In addition, yellow is close to the midline of the spectral sensitivity of the human eye in photopic (light adapted) conditions, thus it is almost the easiest colour for the eye to see. Hi-viz yellow (that nasty yellow-green) is the easiest colour to see when the eyes are light adapted. This is why the school zone signs that are hi-viz attract your attention better than the old "school bus yellow" signs.
Now, in scotopic (dark adapted) conditions, the dark adapted eye becomes more sensitive to blue than to red as the retinal rods take over from the cones. This is known as the Purkinje shift and explains why the human eye can see so easily under an "Indiglo" nightlight. The pale blue photons emitted from the electroluminescent panel is the midline of the spectral sensitivity of the human eye in scotopic conditions. The physics of how photons are emitted from electroluminescent panels also play a factor, however the new pale blue gallium nitride LEDs can nearly replicate the colour of the photons from EL panels.
FYI - This is the primary means that an LED television works. It utilises bi-colour red / green leds to allow the human eye to perceive yellow light."
I strongly recommend you reconsider using blacklights on your bike. First, blacklights are ultraviolet (UV) lights and can be dangerous on the bike for several reasons. First, the angle that they will need to be at to illuminate your shirt will probably shine into your rearview mirror, thus your eyes. Second, oncoming or passing vehicles also may have them shining into their eyes, particuarly tall pickups and big rigs. Finally, the illuminated shirt, particularly one with printing on it may cause drivers to fixate on it and run right into you. This happens frequently at accident scenes where a driver runs his vehicle right into the accident or into a police car on the side of the road with his lights running.
Of all the lights that you may be ticketed for, I think the black light would top the list in most states. Personally, I would stick with a blue colour for best visibility at night.
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