Picture of RC circuit for a Bibberbeest / vibrobot
Last February I posted a vibrobot project "Scary bots and Super Creeps", making vibrobots out of connectors, cable binders and electrical wire. The creatures are named "bibberbeest" in Dutch.

Making Bibberbeests with kids is a HUGE success at schools, parties and festivals (second video in this step)! In the past months I witnessed 500 kids (6 yrs and up) making their very own, unique Bibberbeest.

Now what is more fun than a Bibberbeest? A remote controlled bibberbeest, using a standard audio/video RC? And it makes the project a bit more challenging to high school kids like monster-marit and emilyvanleemput :-)

So what I needed was a receiver circuit for a standard TV RC that can switch on and off a Bibberbeest's motor, working on 3 Volts max.

At first I was tempted to go the microcontroller way, inspired by Masynmachien's Wiebelbot. But in my eternal search to keep things simple, I eventually decided to use a hardware-only circuit: Just eight parts on a 2,5 x 4 cm board (1" x 1,5").
After some trial and error I used this IR toggle switch diagram (with slight mods) around a 555 timer chip by member BIC, which works quite well.

(I updated this Instructable on Sept. 6th. Before that date, I used a different circuit which was more sensitive to ambient IR light).


Last summer I spend 4 afternoons on a festival, making Bibberbeests / vibrobots with kids. If you're into it: It's a great project to do with kids! They love the creatures they make, and the easy to handle tools and materials enable the kids to make their very own, very personal Bibberbeest.

yoh-there7 months ago

Hi Ynze,

I made the discrete circuit you posted, it did not work very well. Here are my changes:

- I used a TSOP4838. No reason, just could grab a set for cheaps.

- Added a filter (39R and 47uF) in the power supply to avoid spurious feedback from the motor to the TSOP. This could probably be removed.

- removed the high pass filter and changed it to a "charge fast" using 1K5, the diode, and the 3uF3 and a discharge slow timer, using 27K and the PNP. The 1K5 resistor is need to avoid triggering on tiny spikes. This was key to make it rock stable.

- changed the control to circuit PNP, as the TSOP's have a pull down resistor, with an internal 80K pull up resistor. This makes pulling down on IR light much more efficient.

- changed the darlington setup, which is hard to run in 3V, to a hard core switch, also using a BD137 to avoid frying the last transistor.

It works very well and while the board is a mess now as I made changes on the go, it is smaller than a stamp!

Thank you for this great idea!


Small addition: the diode can be skipped.

And, you have to be a bit careful sourcing the motors. I got hold of a few high performance 3V motors and even when fully saturating the BD137 (or 139) they will not overcome their "stickiness" on the 6 positions the internal magnetic field keeps the rotor in. The voltage drop over the transistor (aproximately 0.5 volts) was too much for these little rascals.

ynze (author)  yoh-there7 months ago

Yoh-there! Thanks so much for your elaborate work on the discrete circuit! It really improves the Instructable. I'll build your circuit as soon as I find the time.

Cheers and thanks again.


Sorry for the annoying typo. The 4th bullet should read:

- changed the control to circuit PNP, as the TSOP's have a pull down
transistor, with an internal 80K pull up resistor. This makes pulling down
on IR light much more efficient.

dharmik pater3 months ago
Can I use 555 timer in this circuit ??
dharmik pater3 months ago
Can I use 555 timer in this circuit ??
dharmik pater3 months ago
Can I use high volt battery and 2 moters in same circuit or need to do some changes?????
wittawataloha7 months ago


Hi Ynze. I've followed your plans, made one of your b_beests but the remote has no effect. Luckily there is a switch on the battery for on/off until I figure out the remote.
Luv the way it skitters around on a hard floor - on carpeting not so much - maybe more movement with legs a different shape.
Fun stuff!
ynze (author)  terrible tinkerer1 year ago

Did I ever send you the pro membership code? I can't recall I did...

Thanks ynze, much appreciated. - tt

Here I thought you didn't feel my flag-waving beastie qualified for a pro membership! If the offer is valid I shall most certainly humbly & graciously accept.

ynze (author)  terrible tinkerer1 year ago

:-) Taken care of.

What a terrific idea ynze! Using fairly common components (in Canada I found the terminal connector at the Source for about 6 bucks), I thought I'd try put together a Bibberbeest of my own! I have the circuit in Step 4 soldered on a small piece of veroboard & I can see where to attach the motor leads - the 2 circled spots indicated. I just can't seem to find where the 2 battery wires connect to the circuit. Any chance you can, you know, point me in the right direction?
ynze (author)  terrible tinkerer1 year ago
The batttery wires are marked "+" and "-" and as black dots in the drawing (first pic in step 4).

6 bucks for a terminal connector sounds expensive to me. In NL, a strip of 12 costs around €1,20. How does that translate to Canadian dollars?
Hey thanks for getting back to me so fast, I appreciate it. I`m teaching myself electronics starting with simple projects. I don`t think I`ve ever seen a battery connected next to the motor in a circuit so that threw me off. I`m used to seeing the battery connected on one side of the circuit and the motor on the opposite side. I think I see how your circuit works.

6 bucks for the terminal connector is a lot but the store is close by which means I can start right away, I have everything else I need to build your project. Is your offer of PRO membership still good

ynze (author)  terrible tinkerer1 year ago
Yup, the pro-membership offer still stands!
mpep1 year ago
For a microcontroller, may I suggest a PICAXE 08M2. Cheap, uses the BASIC language, should be great for kids to program.

Cool project.
ynze (author)  mpep1 year ago
Thanks for the tip! I know only a little about microcontrollers, so I'll put it on my list :-)
tfarris2 years ago
I think you could win a prize this is a good upload project
ynze (author)  tfarris1 year ago
Don't forget to vote :-)
ynze (author)  tfarris2 years ago
Edgar1 year ago
Gets these Kids to do stuff... Yes!
Voted, and Blogged:
ynze (author)  Edgar1 year ago
Cool, thanks for both!
stijnineter2 years ago
dank je wl jij nederlander
ynze (author)  stijnineter1 year ago
Great project and great Ible!

Very nice alternative hardware alternative to my software approach.

But I want to share some important advice on the use of clay: I hope you're not really using polymer clay in combination with soldering. I suppose you're using non-hardening clay (plasticine, Plastilene, putty, play-doh or similar). What is known as polymer clay (Sculpey, Fimo and such) reacts to heat, hardening it under controlled baking conditions, but giving off poisonous gasses with uncontrolled heat! Polymer clays are traditionally PVC based.
ynze (author)  masynmachien2 years ago
Thanks, and thanks for setting straight what I meant with "polymer clay". I do use non-hardening plasticine, not polymer clay.

PS: I added some, yet untested, circuits in the final step. I hope to test them this week.
janw2 years ago
I love the polymer clay idea. I should use that too instead of burning my fingers while trying to hold the parts.
Please do use traditional non-hardening clay, not what is known as polymer clay as these are bake hardening clays, typically based on PVC.
ynze (author)  masynmachien2 years ago
+1 :-)
Thanks fot the tip.
janw2 years ago
Another great project!!
ynze (author)  emilyvanleemput2 years ago
Thank you very much, miss Van Leemput. I certainly am looking forward meeting you upcoming Saturday at the Kerkrade Maker Faire!