Lightning as decor

Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
I am putting together a Bill and Ted's type replica phone booth and want to add an electrical arc / lightning effect to the umbrella antenna. I have seen some light wire used but it tends to look like glowing string instead of an arc of electricity. I am not against attaching the tesla coil type power source and develop true arc gaps but was wondering if there are any known products, like the glowing cordage, that can do a lightning like effect. I have attempted searching for product but am finding only phone power cords that glow. I know the glow cordage exists and have seen Tron suits that were made with it. Any suggestions? Real arcs are not out of scope either if that is the only way. Live viewing, as well, so no photoshop or similar. 

One option I thought of but have not tried is to place hidden flashing LED lights pointing inward toward the antenna and string Christmas tree tinsel on the antenna to reflect the light in a random but string like arc. Does something like this sound familiar in a tested and previously working effect?


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    One way would be to use EL Wire, which is the same concept as the EL panels used in Tron.   You could have multiple patterns of the wire laid out like stages of an electric arc and trigger them in sequence, flickering them quite fast.

    SparkFun sells an Arduino shield that can control sequences of El Wire, which could be a fun electronics project.

    I did a setup with their shield years ago.  You do need to buy connectors and learn how to solder them to El Wire though, which is a bit of a pain (I suggest using the copper tape method to help).   By using your own connectors you are able to cut the EL Wire into lengths that exactly match your pattern, and prevent having excess EL Wire running around that can ruin the look.  Cutting your own wire also saves money since you can buy a single spool of it rather than buying multiple kits.


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    Thank you Chris.
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