Picture of Solar Cockroach 2.0

A while back, I made a little instructable on how to make a simple Solar Cockroach vibrobot out of a 1.5V solar cell and a little vibrating motor. People seemed to enjoy making them and I enjoyed giving them away as odd gifts to my friends instead of buying them real birthday gifts.

All was good in the land... until someone in China decided to stop making the little 1.5V solar cells AND the very efficient little motors which were the backbone of our vibrobot. Sadness fell on many a basement workshop. Little motors all over the world stopped vibrating.

Well, after a bit of searching, replacements were found! A better, and slightly more cockroach sized, solar cell was discovered and tested. A more powerful and flexible motor was bought. Now all of those Solar Cockroach lovers out there can get back to making what they love: lead solder covered children's toys.

In this instructable, I'll be showing you how to put together a Solar Cockroach. As stated above, it's a small vibrobot that uses a solar cell to power a little vibrating motor. It's easy to construct and makes a great gift. How easy is it? I had my neighbor's 13 year old son put one together, and he had never soldered before.

Time: 15-30 minutes
Cost: $5-10
Difficulty: Easy

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FYI: Link in the supply list leads to vibrating motors with wires, not tabs.

Lrobot8 made it!6 months ago

I made the robot! It was fun. It's really cute. Thanks Josh!!!

JoshuaZimmerman (author)  Lrobot84 months ago

Looking really good there!

MohammedP34 months ago

coooool ☺ ????

JAYK01 year ago
You can also get a 1.5v motor from a hex bug
Ploopy2 years ago
arthur154002 years ago
Sorry, bad reading ... Is the resistor really important ? I think you can use a paper clip to make the legs.
arthur154002 years ago
Hello, I was wondering what kind of resistor is it ? is it a strong one ? How many ohm ?
zaherdirkey2 years ago
I Built it (Battery version)

hey I love the detail and the quality of the pictures of this instructable! Well done and very inspirational. I just made my little version of a vibrating robot here :) I hope you'll enjoy it !

JoshuaZimmerman (author)  cesar harada2 years ago
Cool beans! That looks like insane fun!
So Cute!!!
What's the motor for?
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  papertiger073 years ago
It makes the roach vibrate....
Just so you know roaches have 6 legs, as do all insects. Regardless these are really cute. I want to make one to bug my mom.
hrodriguez73 years ago
not to be mean or anything, but resistors are kinda expensive.
to cut off the wire of the thing just to get the wire is something I woudn't do

I guess it all verries from person to person.
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  hrodriguez73 years ago
They cost 1 cent each when you buy 100 resistors at a time. Buy them off eBay, not Radio Shack.
yeah,(no offense, Radioshack), I relized Radioshack isn't exactly the best place to buy matireal.

I once built a beatlebot and bought stuff at Radioshack and the thing ended up costing $34.00!
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  hrodriguez73 years ago
Exactly. Never buy from Radio shack. Just find a few projects you want to try and go order the parts off an online place. The $5 in shipping is nothing compared the the massive amount of money you'll save from not buying from Radio Shack.

(That being said there are a couple of nice items they make that I do buy from them at a high price, but only because no one else has them.
hrodriguez73 years ago
(you must be going insane now)
how much do "Helping hands" cost?
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  hrodriguez73 years ago
$5-10 most places. Or you could build your own. There are many instructables that show how.
Thanks for tolerating my comments
I like this idea for my first bot project. But I can't seem to find the blue-cased motor that you recommend. Are there any others that fill the bill? Or can you tell me how to identify the desired motor if I try to cannibalize a cell phone or such instrument? Thanks.
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  tomgriffin423 years ago
Those blue motors are no longer sold. The ones I use work just fine as well, most any vibrating motors will. I have them on my website.

Just take apart an old (broken) cell phone and you can't miss the motor.
hrodriguez73 years ago
( i hope you're not annoyed with all my comments)
I still dont understand why you can't use the motars that already have wires
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  hrodriguez73 years ago
The wired motors will not work BECAUSE this project needs stiff wires, whereas wired motors have floppy wires. The vibrations would not travel through the floppy wire. You could, however, just use regular solid core wire when soldering.
hrodriguez73 years ago
in the kits that you guys sell, do you pack inthe kinda motars that your using,
or the fancy blue ones.
Any idea if these blinky solar keychains produce enough juice? I see them sold quite cheaply at retail or given out free as promotional logo items.
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  xenobiologista3 years ago
No idea. I'm going to venture to guess no.
First thought: the Orang Asli kids will like this! My friends and I are visiting (every few months or so) some rural indigenous people's communities that aren't connected to the grid. Their school's only power source is solar panels so we have been trying to teach them about solar. This might be a fun toy for a hands-on workshop to show them how electricity works and basic assembly techniques.
Awesome job, Josh!
batonas3 years ago
nice little robot I gues I could build it in 5min but it would be more fun if cockroach would go into dark (like thay usualy do), that would be two morors to photosensors and some forward directing bristle legs, I gues that would be the 3.0 version.
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  batonas3 years ago
Just find a little 1.5V rechargeable battery and wire it in. You can do this, but it does greatly increase the difficulty of the project and takes away from the "newbie" nature of it.
dksergey3 years ago
Robot Lover3 years ago
I like the simplicity of this project! It's so easy that it could be built by a 1st grader while still being a satisfying project for an adult! love it!