Warning: This build involves soldering and high voltages

If you're new to soldering have a look at this guide


The cable between the LV panel and it’s transformer plus the EL panel itself has a high potential (high voltage between 60 VAC to 120 VAC) be careful not to damage the cable and panel when installing it, see the Adafruit EL guide for details 



  • Raspberry Pi
  • Raspberry Pi camera module
  • Adafruit USB/serial LCD display
  • 2 x Adafruit Neopixel bars
  • Arduino Uno
  • RGB LED Arduino Shield - by Re-Innovation
  • Adafruit blue EL panel plus power transformer
  • buck converter or hacked car 12V to USB converter
  • 12Vdc PSU  2 amps or more
  • 12V 2.1mm barrel socket
  • 0.1” plug and sockets plus cable or you could use jumpers as required
  • RGB LED strip
  • short USB to micro USB lead
  • stripbroad
  • 2 x 10K resistors surface mount or through the hole
  • 2 x 1K resistors or surface mount or through the hole
  • 2 x push buttons

The Case

I used Makerbeam for the frame and laser cut Perspex panels for the sides. You can use almost anything, from a cardboard box, wooden box or a fake ginger bread house, for your frame. The case should be at least 200mm high with a base large enough to fit a hand in. The Raspberry Pi is mounted on the top panel with the camera looking down and the Arduino is mount under the panel. The EL panel is mounted between the bottom panel and the base.

The LCD screen

Solder together and test the USB/serial LCD kit, following the instructions here


Neopixel Sticks

Solder the two neopixal bars together, making sure that the power and data connections are same as in the photo. Solder 3 wires, to the 5v, 0v and data in connections, they need to be longer enough to connect to the Arduino.

Hacked Car USB Adaapter

Hack the car USB adapter, by removing the case and plug. Solder cables to the plug connection points, you removed, the centre pin is 12v and the side plates are ground (0v)

The Switches

I used stripbroad and service mount resistors for the switches in this build, you can do the same or use through hole resistors. The copper has to be removed behind the 1K resistor.

This guide was first published on Dec 18, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Make It!) was last updated on Dec 11, 2014.

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