Solar Bug?





Introduction: Solar Bug?

What is this thing? Well it was support to be a bug with blinking eyes. Ah like the blinky bugs.

However for some reason or another I decided to slap on a solar panel and a super cap to power this design instead of a normal cell battery.

Apparently this bug did blink, however due to the insulated wire being reclaimed from by burning, it did not remove all the paint off it. This means I can't get this bug to flash properly. :/

Step 1: The Parts and the Steps

The parts i used...

A calculator solar panel

A 0.10f semi?-supercap (salvaged from those crap shaking torch, you can get em for $5 AUS)

Two led

A long thin conductive wire for the antenna

Tough conductive wire

Blue tack

duct tape


For the head

1.I got the '+' lead from each lead and twist them together
2. I then insulated half of the twist, the other half is to touch the - side of the supercap.
3. I then put a tough wire around the recent insulation, extending it up ward just as high as the super cap.
4. Bend the tough wire so that it bend downward towards the -" terminal
5. Bend a thin antenna wire around the tough wire, so that it end in a V shape like the picture below.
6. Bend the other wire from each led to a o shape around each antenna wire.

Well that how i describe it, if it doesn't make sense, just find out about blinky bugs.

To construct this bug, you now just need to hook the solar panel "-" contact to the '+' side of the led, so that it flows to the '-' side of the supercap. Do the same with the '+' contact on the '+' side of the supercap.

Now slide the supercap(you can charge it before you put it in), and ta da! Well now you just need blue tack, with some wires for legs, and of course duct tape. Now it is finish!

Step 2: Improvement?

What’s the point of this?
Well its makes a pretty long lasting desk toy!

However it could be made better by having two solar panels wired in series (it might look like a fly though). You can also increase its capacity by increasing the supercaps storage, to 0.5 f or even a 1f caps or more ;).

It can also be a self recharging vibration throwies! A great bonus for the environment, as well as making a point about the future of throwies.

Either way, i hope this project success 'Falure?', can inspire you lot to make electronic that is fun as well as interesting in concept! :)



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    20 Discussions

    A shaking torch is this flashlight that you chake to charge becasue of the properties of magnets moving through wire= electricity. They are never bright but great to salvage for their rechargable batteries/caps.

    Wat the freak is a crap shaking torch. What can I get a supercap out of? A flashlight. Those mcdonalds electronic toys (those real tiny handheld games at mcdonalds) I really need to to know where to get one, and is there something else I can use besides conductive wire for this robot....and can this robot move at all? Sorry for the dumb question =(

    1 reply

    I have a sportsmaster electronic thingy. Is there some way I can show it to u? So u can help. I was wondering if the screen I'm talking about can replace the calculator solar panel.

    so if you wire up a power source, and LED, and a capacitor of proper voltage will it blink?( will the capacitor charge up and then release, or will it just release a constant voltage?)

    1 reply

    nope it will not blink... this is since its uses a vibration sensor... so will only light up when movement is detected.

    This is a great instructable! How long would the cap take to recharge? How fast does it dump it's power. I have been looking for a fix for a project.

    1 reply

    pretty quick from experience... only a few seconds for full sun... But remember that it doesn't store much energy. only enough to last at most 3 sec. Unless you get a really large one, eg. 1F cap

    OHHHHH . VERY FUN alternative is have one that does not glow, but have it make little chirping noises instead when its dark. and as soon as the lights turn on its stops! so its hard to find it. :P fun for hiding in random places.

    For the antenna? I used coated/painted insulated wire, i stripped it of its paint by burining it away. Apparently it was useful in fixing frayed headphone wires with out soldering, as you can just twist the end of the burnt wire together to fix it. :). However in this little project, i later found that reclaimed wires (From a inductor) are not always good conductors as their may be old paint residues. This makes contact erratic and crap. So in other words do not reclaim wires like i did, for the antenna use normal wires with normal insulation that you can manually strip off. (And those better be a single strand, not a bunch of small conductive strands.) Ideas for antenna wires... Guitar wire... lol How about... a spring. from pens garden wire (i think, because it is made of some thin metal with plastic on the outside.) Salvage... from old throw aways or shop for it...

    2 replies

    Guitar wire is EXPENSIVE .... that I agree. My own solution is that I already have spools of Stainless Steel wire in various gauges. Used for cotter pin retainers, tiedowns and tags but also very useful for a lot of craft work. You can sometime luck out in finding some in an industrial surplus shop.


    12 years ago

    what did you use for the antenna? ive got something lined up thats similar but will use about 8 lengths of 20 to 35 CM wires of this sort, ive been told guitar wire is good, but isnt it quite expensive? If i can get it to work ill post an instructable, but the chances are currently pretty minimal. By the way, its suprisingly hard to get hold of 5 volt super caps and decent solar cells nowerdays, everyone used to have those inch square 3 volt panels, now you cant get one for love nor money, hence my bug is currently just 2 LEDs and a paperclip. its just not the same, lol. worry not, parts are on order. oh yeah, ive done the whole "hook a button battery upto a solar cell and it go boom" learnt my lesson there and then, thanks though, nice to see SOMEONE on this site is safety consious. drew

    Nice to see that you like it, By the way, make sure that you use two calculator solarcells in series, as a single version gives off a pathetic dim light. (And an added note just in case: This bug uses a capacitor, not a battery. This is because a capacitor can charge faster with less loss of energy, at the expense of capacity.)


    12 years ago

    wow yeah, great! im not for the whole led throwie thing, but these things would be *slightly* better on the whole waste/polution front, but not massivly so, lol, but these would make fantastic fridge magnets and desk ornaments, like you say. ive got to make one now ive seen this, saw it over at make (minus the solar powered bit) but i havent had time recently. thats tomorow sorted anyway, hehe,

    what do you think? It might be a good idea to use this like a led throwies, by sticking a magnet under it!