If you're reading this article, there's a good chance you've already purchased your ELastoLite® products and looking to incorporate it into something awesome. Take a moment to read this guide, so it will enhance your chances for success, and lower your stress level. Before we begin, make sure you have enough Straight (or T) Connectors, as well as Circuit Tape and Connector Patches. At first, you may end up going through a few of these, so we want to make sure you have enough to mess up a couple times, and not ruin your mojo.
Step 1: Layout
Lay out all of your pieces of material across a large table so you can access everything you need. Working on a flat table that can withstand high temperatures from an iron is important, so don't use an unfinished wooden table or perforated ironing board, or you run the risk of damaging your furniture.
Step 2: Cut Circuit Tape
In order to cut your circuit tape, you will need to make 3 incisions, being careful not to nick the circuit. This will short out your tape and your panel will not light. Using an Xacto Knife is the best way to do this. After your three incisions across the surface, take your fingers and pull off the end of the tape. You'll notice the tape slides right off the circuits if you cut it correctly. If not, try cutting a little more off.
Step 3: Attach Circuit Tape to Panel
It really doesn't matter whether you do this part first, or connect the connectors first, but let's just do this part now. Take the exposed ends of the circuit tape that you just cut and lay it over the two exposed patches on the ELastoLite® back. You will notice the patches are slightly shinier than the rest of the surface, as this is the conductive portion of the panel. Depending on the panel you have, there may be patches on the other side of your panel. This allows you to daisy chain multiple sections together. Take a single connector patch and place it over the surface of the exposed patches, and over the top of the exposed circuit tape. The correct side of the connector patch is the shinier of the two sides, which will help sandwich the circuit tape in place. It will stick mildly well until you grab your iron. MAKE SURE THIS IS IN THE RIGHT SPOT. If one patch is touching the other surface, you will short out your panel. Take wax paper and place over the top of the connection area you just created. Have your iron on COTTON setting, or risk burning your panel. Place the edge of the iron on the panel for approximately 20 seconds. Do not apply pressure, simply set the iron edge against the connection portion and DO NOT move the iron once in place. Remove after 20 seconds and let cool before touching. This should make a nice bond once cool. If this is the only panel you are connecting, make sure to place another Connector Patch on the opposite side to avoid getting shocked. If left exposed, water can get inside and you risk shocking yourself. MAKE SURE THIS IS SEALED.
Step 4: Attach Connector
To attach the connector, it's a similar process to what you just did. The hardest part here is making sure your pieces line up (and stay lined up) correctly. This can be a bit of a trick, so patience is a virtue here. Take one of the straight connectors and place on the table. Make sure the word "UP" is facing up so you can read it. Then line up the opposite end of your circuit tape (other end is now connected to the panel), and your ORANGE or GREEN Connector. Cut off two of the wires on your connector, making sure not to cut the ORANGE Wire. The orange wire is technically your ground wire on the Inverter, so make sure to keep that one. I typically like cutting the blue and green wires. Once lined up on the Straight Connector, place a second Straight Connector over the top, this time, so the word "UP" is facing down. You will notice the shinier of the two sides will be facing each other now. Place some wax paper over the top and place your iron flat on the connection area for about 20 seconds once again. Remove the iron and let sit to cool momentarily. If you move the connection area while hot, the bond suffers, so let it cool a little longer than you would expect it to.
Step 5: Fire It Up
At this point, you have a good connection and are ready to see if it works. Plug into your inverter and hold down the silver button for about 1/2 second. It should start on a slow blink, and continue blinking if everything is correct. If you did not seal the panel properly, or have a strong enough connection on your straight connectors, the inverter will shut itself off. This is noticeable when you try turning on the inverter, it flashes momentarily, and it turns itself right back off. Go back and make sure your connections are secure. The inverter is a "Smart" Inverter and can sense when it's load is not adjusted properly. Good work! Take a deep breathe, go find a dark room, and turn back on again. Smile!
Next Step: Applying to fabric