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Topic: Tracking mouse activity (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


I am trying to track the activity/circadian rhythm of a mouse.  One of my methods of determining activity will be the use of a wheel.  I want to either use a motor with little to no resistance or an RPM tracker that can tell me the window of time that the wheel was used/duration.  Ideally, I'd also like the data collected to be automatically added to a chart/graph; however, this is not required. And would it be possible to modify the RPM monitor to show when it detects motion?   It is absolutely necessary that the motor/RPM monitor be small, as it must fit in a 5.5 gallon tank with other materials.  Space is certainly an issue, but only one mouse is housed at a time.

Additionally, does anyone have another non-invasive method of tracking activity in a mouse that's both inexpensive (less than $200)?  Keep in mind that my ability to go to a lab is limited as I am technically too young to work in one.

And a link to show what I currently have in mind:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Measure-RPM-DIY-Portable-Digital-Tachometer/

I'm not experienced with using Arduino, so try to explain using simple language please.  Thanks!


I'm just throwing stuff out here:

One or more motion sensors.  There are many motion sensor projects using Arduino, just use the search at the top of the page.

Place a magnet on the wheel and sense it with a Hall switch to the tach.  Sent to an Arduino this would give you RPM and time - although the Arduino can lose/gain seconds a day.  A real time clock module would avoid this issue.

Mount an IR transmit/receive pair outside  the tank such that the beam is blocked by the turning wheel and send that signal to the tach.

Log the data to an SD card for upload to Excel, etc.

I'd be wary of putting anything in the enclosure which a rodent might find interesting to chew on.


Oct 26, 2017, 04:40 pm Last Edit: Oct 26, 2017, 04:41 pm by jremington
Any small brushed DC motor will act as a generator and you can salvage them out of just about any battery powered object that has moving parts. A brushed DC motor will have only two contacts.

Attach the motor shaft somehow to the shaft of the mouse wheel, (thin plastic tubing works) and use this circuit to monitor the activity with Arduino using the analogRead() example:


We used to build the rotation sensor for a mouse wheel. Google: Mini-mitter running wheel". They were bought out years ago, then that company was bought out. But the images are still on the web.

They had a bracket with an enclosed reed relay that monitored a magnet on the mouse wheel. One click for each revolution. Didn't care about wheel direction. A local machine shop made the wheels. I never saw one. That might be the hardest to obtain.

It all had to be water proof because the whole thing was pressure washed quite often. Mice will be mice!


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