Dimming an EL panel is harder than it looks

So, this is a project that was nearly a month in the making.  I set out to make a sound-reactive EL panel but found that driving EL in such a way is actually kind of difficult.  If you've been following the blog, I've been working on this project in one way or another since my transformers article, and it's actually the reason I wrote that article.

Again, a disclaimer. There are over 8,000 words in this post that document all of my design decisions on this project.  It is not a how-to guide, but if you have some background in EE, I hope that you gain something from it.

Without further ado, let's get down to business.

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In Which I Begin to Lose My Mind

In my last post, I attempted to reverse engineer an EL wire power supply to see how it worked.  This brought up a few more questions that I decided to investigate, and the following investigation brought me to the brink of insanity and back.  I started to doubt the very consistency of space and time as time and time again my measurements seemed to prove what I knew should be impossible.

Seriously, ask any of my friends.  I haven't been able to shut up about this all week. Continue reading