Hamster Power

Just read an article about that guy who put an LCD display on a hamster wheel to measure how far your hamster’s run.

It made me think about a ‘better mousetrap’-type invention.

So… how long would a hamster have to run in the average-sized wheel to generate enough power to recharge a single AA battery?

OMG! I just misused an apostrophe for the first time in my life! I am SO mortified.


That depends on how hard your hamster is prepared to work.

You could easily calculate how much energy is involved in the spinning wheel but this doesn’t mean you can harness it as all the energy is being used by the spinning. Any energy you extract is going to have to come from additional work by the hampster or a slower rotation of the wheel. In order to answer the question we need to know how much resistence the hampster will tolerate before deciding this isn’t fun anymore.

Also, my direct personal observation of hamsters in wheels is that they tend to run for a minute or two, stop and sniff, run for a minute, stop and sniff, run…Then they hop off and do something else for a while.

You’d have to have some kind of storage battery for the times when Sniffy did decide to do the wheel thing.

I’ve seen and heard hamsters running for quite long periods of time…but this is in the middle of the night, when they’re naturally a good deal more active. Since I am also more active (or rather, less inactive) in the middle of the night, too, I get to watch hamsters do their thing. Our current hamster, in addition to running, will move the various bits of “furniture” in his cage around, in the middle of the night. He will also attempt to go walkabout. Fortunately for HIM, I have been awake each time, and I managed to discover this before our younger cat did.

Not necessarily. hamster’s = hamster has


Would it be malicious to point out that the question asked how long it would take to charge an AA battery?