A comprehensive physics-based model for predicting the performance of the miniature wind turbine (MWT) for power wireless sensor systems was proposed in this paper. An approximation of the power coefficient of the turbine rotor was made after the turbine rotor performance was measured. Incorporation of the approximation with the equivalent circuit model which was proposed according to the principles of the MWT, the overall system performance of the MWT was predicted. To demonstrate the prediction, the MWT system comprised of a 7.6 cm thorgren plastic propeller as turbine rotor and a DC motor as generator was designed and its performance was tested experimentally. The predicted output voltage, power and system efficiency are matched well with the tested results, which imply that this study holds promise in estimating and optimizing the performance of the MWT.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.