A couple of months ago I acquired a Roborovski hamster. I caved in, despite swearing that I will never keep rodents again. Those little dark, moist eyes, like jet beads, are the thing that makes rodents so hard to resist for me, add in the comical little noses in constant motion, tiny, human-like hands, and soft, delicate, semitransparent ears covered with velvety fuzz, like flower petals, and you've got a powerful combination indeed. The cuteness level is on par with kittens here! This time what really reeled me in was the Roborovski's incredibly small stature. At the adult size of about 3" they are the world's smallest hamster. And voila, I brought the little fuzzy home.

Over the time that followed, I've learned two things. One: my little Hamham REALLY likes her wheel! And two: humans (i.e. myself), are infinitely more trainable than hamsters. All my attempts to hand-tame the new critter seemed to amount to was holding a desperately squirming little fuzzball as she first attempted to wriggle free, then emptied her cheek pouches of all the seeds she'd been hoarding there, in an attempt to become slimmer, and therefore more effective at wriggling free, then finally starting to chirp in terror and desperation, while peeing and pooping herself the whole time. Had I been a child, I would probably have happily ignored every sign of her distress, and, at some point, finally persuaded her that I wasn't trying to have her for lunch. However, having developed a bleeding heart as an adult, I couldn't stand torturing the poor thing for long. Result: one tamed human has restricted hamster-handling to a minimum necessary to maintain a clean cage. The Hamham had her revenge, too, running in her wheel so much every night, that it was sliding all around the cage and banging on the sides (and conveniently keeping me awake) until I finally figured out how to mount it on the wall of the plexiglass cage (at least that stopped the banging, though she still runs in it all night every night, and I can still hear it). Nowadays, before turning in, I look in on her, watch her bounce in her beloved wheel, and tell her: "That's right, run-a-way-way little Hamham! Quick! Run back home to Mongolia!"

That got me wondering: Roborovski hamsters hail from the Goby Desert and the surrounding areas. If her little wheel wasn't securely fastened to the side of her cage, could she run all the way to her native Mongolia? There are, of course, a few oceans in the way, probably a couple of mountain ranges, but what the hell, even "as the crow flies" (or hamster runs, as it may be), could she make it to Mongolia if there was a straight line path to follow, minus the obstacles?

Nothing to do for it, but figure it out.

Step 1: Dollar Store Find

While browsing through the Dollar Tree, looking for things to take apart for another project, I stumbled on this cute little gadget: a pedometer! Of course, this is not the deluxe model that calculates how far you walked and how many calories you burned, this one just counts the steps. This one just has a reset button, to flip the counter back to zero. I wonder if I could get it to count wheel revolutions instead? Turns out, I can!

I took off the back cover and had a look at the mechanism. Ah-hah, that's how it works! Basically, there's this little rotator arm held suspended above a contact lead by a spring. When the gadget is motionless, the arm is in equilibrium, and the circuit is open. If you jerk it a little (as would happen when you took a step), the arm swings down briefly and touches the lead, thereby closing the circuit. It then swings back up again, and after oscillating slightly, is once again held poised above the contact by its spring. Ridiculously simple, really.

All I'd have to do is have the wheel move the arm on each revolution, and I can count how many times it spins!

Please forgive the blurry pics here -- the pedometer is quite small, and this is the best macro photography my camera can muster. I tried to outline the important parts...
<p>We had now a female Roborovsky and all you told is true.</p><p>But we are in Italy, maybe she could be able to reach her ancients land!</p><p>About your hack, do you thinked about a reed contact ?</p>
hello, im trying to re-create this for a school project involving mice and how many rotations they do on the wheel- i was wondering: how else can we attach another spring to the peg to count counter-clockwise rotations without soldering one? is there another way to count counter clockwise rotations?
<p>Well, if you are going with one of these little pedometers, the <br>second point of contact for the swing arm has to be conductive, which <br>really limits your options -- there just aren't many conductive <br>adhesives out there. If soldering is out of the question, you might try <br>&quot;Wire Glue&quot; (can be found here: <br>http://www.amazon.com/Sciplus-Electrically-Conductive-Soldering-Wire/dp/B000Z9H7ZW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1417006132&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=wire+glue <br> ). There's really no way to count the counter clockwise rotations <br>without having a second point of contact, because the rotator arm will <br>only get nudged toward the bottom contact point by clockwise rotations <br>(it gets nudged away from it in the other direction).If you <br>are open to other solutions entirely, you could go with LittleBits. I <br>really don't know what your budget is -- this option will get pretty <br>expensive. If you go with LittleBits, you could a &quot;roller switch&quot; bit <br>(http://littlebits.cc/bits/roller-switch) to count rotations (if you <br>attach something to the wheel to depress the switch as it moves by, it <br>will count rotations in either direction). You would also need an <br>Arduino bit (http://littlebits.cc/bits/arduino) to count the number of <br>times the roller switch has been pressed, two &quot;number&quot; bits (http://littlebits.cc/bits/number) to output this number (pairing them will give you up to 9,999 rotations before you need to reset), a &quot;button&quot; bit (http://littlebits.cc/bits/button) <br>to reset the count, and at least a couple of &quot;wire&quot; <br>(http://littlebits.cc/bits/wire-bit) bits to help you mount the &quot;roller <br>switch&quot; conveniently (and away from the rest of the setup). In addition, <br> you need some kind of power, either battery or USB (I wouldn't <br>recommend using a coin cell to power the Arduino module), so you'd have <br>to get the modules for that. And, of course, you'd need to learn to <br>program the Arduino -- which isn't difficult, and this project should be <br> pretty straight forward to program (the one thing to keep in mind would <br> be which significant digits are being displayed by which number bit, <br>getting that confused would be a problem), but it's something to keep in <br> mind as well. Fortunately, the Arduino bit has several inputs and <br>outputs, so you don't need any extra circuit logic or wire bits to get <br>everything connected to it and working. Everything I just listed will run you $125 plus shipping (with battery power, and a dollar less if you go with USB power), so it's not cheap.</p>
SWEET!!! My little sis got a hamster for her b-day a few weeks ago, and I've wondered since then how far they can actually run! Well, now I know!
If you connect a N.O. reed switch to the contacts of the pedometer, you can glue a tiny NiB magnet to the wheel.
haha. how did u even think of that??
haha this is like a science fair project gone mad.&nbsp; I can just see the crazy tri-fold foam board with your hypothesis, methods, conclusion, etc.&nbsp; XD&nbsp; love it!
You didn't factor in that she will run slower as she grows older, and that some robo in youtube are claimed at 8 years old.<br /> <br /> ..and she can always hitch hike. Who won't give cute hammies a ride?<br />
cool instructable. i would try it if i had a pedometer&nbsp; that worked. <br />
yeah, so i had two rats and they were the cutest things ever, i loved holding them and playing with them, but i said they were..... it was REAALLLY hard to let them go because they become almost human (they are really smart and social). but, they were alot of work, how are hamsters? cuz i really want another rodent
Hamsters aren't as smart as rats, but they smell much better! And they have cheekpouches, which is great fun.
you have a hamster?
I used to keep Siberian dwarf hamsters. I also worked in a lab doing behavior work with golden hamsters.
i might be getting a dwarf when hammy goes hammy is also a golden syrian
Now I'm looking for a way to power my computer with hamster power.
generator? hook up a big dc motor on the edge of the hamster wheel you should get a bit o=of power<br/>
You live in winchester? I live in Front Royal. I think Ill put a pedometer on my hamsters wheel and see how far it goes in a day.
im confused, why do these hypothetical ibles get so much good?
great creativity.
We bought a safety wheel for the hamster. Saw a great video of a hamster who thinks outside the box, sorta. Follow the link and click on Daphne.
I have a hamster wheel that came with a &quot;pedometer&quot; built in, that shows you how many miles your hamster has run.<br/><br/>Here's a photo: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.chicagocanine.com/hamsters/tanhams/hamsters21.jpg">Electronic Hamster Wheel</a><br/>
Oops, I meant feet not miles...
I good example of how math can be fun. Nicely done sir/madam
So cute, i want it
Thank you for this wonderful Instructable. I'm working on one now for my dear Winter White Russian hamster, Tater-Tot. :)
This is honestly one of the most creative instruct ables iv ever seen. Who would have thought to determine the distance a hamster runs in a lifetime?
*Applauds* Way to take interest in your pet, too bad she couldn't make it though.
Hey - sweet instructable. I was just wondering if the pedometer would work if glued (or somehow attached) to the center of the wheel on the side (makes no sense huh?) OK - if you were putting a bolt on an axle end, you would be where I am talking about) That way, the ped would turn upside down and back each rev - probably triggering it? Moot point I guess, but man - LOT of revolutions!!
I used to keep these guys as well! They're definitely the most adorable of rodents. The wheel-squeaking and thumping can be solved by judicious application of wheel grease, and a bit of cross-bracing to keep it away from the sides of the cage. Repeat as necessary.
my hamster is now 2 years old<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwrnbMgsv10">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwrnbMgsv10</a><br/>
Spelt 'Gobi' desert. This is pretty cool too.
Great instructable, it's so nice to see something like this, I love people who take their curiousity that bit further, by the way for a better way of spying you could mount a reed switch between the contacts meant for the arm ones, and glue a magnet to the wheel... Also that is a lovely hamster, making me miss: Robbie Davey Weetos Missy The insane second generation, weetos created about fifty babies and lived a very long time, quite a few years James even Ali G (guinea pig) No more of them now, only flump and lucy the rabbit and cat...
Wow! While not the most traditional, I LOVE this Instructable! I love the story intro. I know there is another -able floating around about using your hammy wheel to create electricity. So, hammy won't make it to the motherland... can he charge a battery? Remember, it's not animal labor, it's just... well, maybe it is. Good job! Cheers!

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