Rodent-based Power Generation

Your hamster lives to good life, with food delivery and a maid service that cleans up after him. [DanF] helped to brighten up this hamster’s life even more by improving its exercise equipment and giving it a small night-light as well. This project adds a low RPM alternator to the hamster wheel.

The first part of the process was to reduce energy lost to friction by fitting the wheel with a bearing. From there a ring of permanent magnets was added which will pass by a stationary coil and induce a current. It works, but unfortunately there’s not enough power generated to charge a battery. That means the light is only on when the hamster is running. But maybe you can figure out a way to use a super-capacitor like we saw in that exercise bike hack.

One nice finishing touch to the setup is a bicycle computer to track how much time was sent on the wheel, and the distance traveled.

[Thanks Dizzy]

33 thoughts on “Rodent-based Power Generation

  1. How many hamsters do you need to charge cellphone?

    By the way I think that all gym’s should have similar equipment. Single man can produce 100W.
    Gym would produce enough energy to heat water at least for showers. Rest of energy can go to sauna.
    This would be good mobilization for workout.

  2. @Chajtek: I remember hearing about someone trying that at a commercial gym. I don’t think it was producing anywhere near as much energy as you think it can (in fact, it didn’t sound like it was even close to being worth the money it took to retrofit the equipment). The problem is that even if a person does produce 100W, much of that is in waste heat that can’t be collected. What percentage is converted to mechanical motion can be harvested, but the efficiency isn’t very high.

  3. Try a chinchilla, they are super hyper(like an ADHD hamster on drugs, lots of drugs) and much bigger. If you have never seen a chinchilla on a large wheel you would be amazed, you can barely see the wheel it moves so fast. A 19″ OR LARGER chinchilla wheel would make a good generator. The small wheels(under 15″) are to unstable and the chinchilla wont get up to speed as they need a larger area, they jump like a kangaroo. When my friend took his old 14″ wheel out and put in an 18″ we made, the thing MOVED fast. Really fast. The chinchilla loved it and would go for a long time.

    Definitely enough to charge a phone.

  4. tip for future consideration. Use a stepper motor as the alternator. They can produce a fair amount of power without much rpm at all. I use one for a hand cranked light. a few turns can power an led for several minutes.

  5. ” The bicycle computer gives you an incredible amount of data for your project! It always shows you the speed of the hamster in miles or kilometers per hour. It remembers maximum speed, and keeps track of the total miles run by your rodent, with a resettable trip odometer too. The resettable timer shows you how many Hamster-Miles (hM) were run each night, and it will also compute the average speed maintained when the wheel is turning.”


  6. Funny, I have been planning to use a similar setup added to my exercise bike to get it to calculate my calories without using batteries. Those little magnets are like a quarter apiece, so ya gotta spread ’em out a bit to remain cost effective. Aw, but who needs to be cost effective?

  7. I’ve ALWAYS dreamt of building a hamster generator.

    Uhm I mean an electricity generator run by hamsters.

    The only thing that’s kept me back is the lack of a hamster. I travel too frequently and long for one to survive in my flat.

    :D Kudos!

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