ESP32 Hamster Wheel Tracker Tweets Workout Stats

Even with all the hamster wheel trackers out there (and on this site) there’s room for improvement. [Bogdan] upgraded his hamster wheel from an Arduino and datalogging shield to an ESP32, and unleashed some new capabilities one does not ordinarily associate with hamster wheels.

[Bogdan]’s project logs distance in feet, duration of current session in time, RPM, overall revolutions, speed in MPH, and overall number of sessions, as well as a couple of system monitoring stats. It also tracks multiple wheels, as [Piontek] (the hamster) has two. However, thanks to the ESP32, [Bogdan]’s wheel tracker tweets its stats and updates a ThingSpeak dashboard with [Piontek]’s workouts.

In addition to its functionality, [Bogdan] made a point to make the project look and feel FINISHED. He designed custom 3D parts including a front plate, hooks for attaching the control box to the cage, and mounts for attaching the sensor to the wheel.

In case you envy [Piontek] his wheel, how about trying one yourself?

21 thoughts on “ESP32 Hamster Wheel Tracker Tweets Workout Stats

    1. Hey Chris,

      Since hamsters like to jump in on the wheel, then jump off for few minutes to wonder about, get a snack or have a drink, it’s configured so that a single “session” is a time of activity on the wheel with no more than 30 minutes of inactivity. When he stops for 30 minutes or more, I consider session completed and this is when the data is uploaded.

      This nicely summarizes most of the nights in a single session, and this way we get concise data points and tweets :)

  1. Measurment is fine unless hamster is not a cheater. Unfourtunately mine is. It spins the whell to maximum speed, and than jumps of it. I have similar wheel like in this project, but to make it quiet, I have installed ball bearings from the harddrive. Unfourtunately since then, hamster jumps off the whell and wheel spins many times before it stops. Additional presence sensor was required, reflex distance meter, to make sure, that my furry friend is really onboard.

    1. Compost the waste to grow fresh food for the neighborhood. Capture the released methane to burn later in gas generators.

      Cute little rodents. Do they bite, or has that been bred out of them?

      1. All great ideas :) I also though it would be easy to turn it into “smart home” for pets from here – the brain is already here (ESP32)…

        They don’t really bite, maybe sometimes nibble if you’ve just been holding food and the smell is strong. They’re lovely creatures ;)

      2. I’ve had a number of hamsters and they were always friendly — with one exception: I thought I would treat one of them to a bigger cage, and the thing went wild. I couldn’t catch it easily, and when I did, I got bit HARD, drew blood etc. Back to smaller cage, tamed back down. My theory was that too big of a cage was more like the natural wild habitat and the hamster went into survival mode.

    1. I used the dev kit from Espressif, $25 on Amazon. If I was starting now, I think I’d try the feather from Adafruit – it just came back in stock 2 days ago :) with the OLED wing and 3D printed enclosure it could make for a very compact package…

  2. Unfortunately I never added any circuitry, but my hamster’s wheel was really loud. I used the ball bearings from a VCR head to fix that, but I could tell the wheel would get too fast and trip up the little hammie. I took a felt brake from the same VCR and adjusted it until the hamster seemed to run on it for the longest amount at a time. A little bit of resistance made a huge difference.

  3. I am sure they HATE it when they trip and the wheel takes them for a couple loop-de-loops before they fall out sideways dazed and confused, and an enclosed wheel bounces them around even worse before stopping not to mention the guillotine-like entrance. A bit of braking to work against would help, perhaps even a govenor, so power generation is a great project. They’re just after a workout, some resistance would be helpful. About enough power there to light the cage. It’s only YOU that wants to get rid of the squeek.

    With rats, it’s their tail getting banged and they don’t like that! Covering the wheel surface with thick scrap blanket material glued down helps that a lot. With rats, NOW we’re talking power generation!

    Cats…. carpet needed, lazy, and they bore easily. Always thought about a laser dot wiggling just in front of them… Watts are going up! Might see better luck with a circular tree for them to climb.

    Dogs? Skip it, they know better after the first couple miles and quit, but some breeds totally lack the ability to notice its stupid and will go forever. Most want YOU to run WITH them, a pack thing… get that treadmill for the two of you.

    Why are we skipping the kids?

  4. So if I set up two wheels, one with my cat and the other for a hamster, maximum efficiency!
    Or some kind of round treadmill disc, and get a dog that chases its tail…

    Of course! Three wheels!
    Dog chases cat, cat chases hamster, hamster runs for its life/mmmm carrots.

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