How to set up a Bitcoin miner

Thursday, 28 Sep 2017 17:09

Bitcoin chip heatsinksSetting up a Bitcoin miner can be quite a complex task. But with a bit of effort and time it should be easy to get the hang of.

(Alternatively, you can also buy a cloud mining contract with Hashflare or Genesis Mining.)

If you have chosen a mining rig through using our guide and calculator then most of the hard work is done.

If you’ve bought the rig as an off the shelf product ready to go then it should be as easy as plugging it in and choosing a mining pool to join. Your wallet should be hooked up too all ready to run.

If your rig or FGPA or graphics card is not ready to run then you need to do a quick few steps – which can take a bit of time.

Step 1: Download the full Bitcoin client. This can take quite a few days depending on your download speed.

Step 2: Then you need to download some Bitcoin mining software – or the programme that tells your mining hardware how to run.

Step 3: Choose a mining pool otherwise you might end up with a long time before solving your first block.

If you have ordered a miner that comes with a predefined method of connecting to the network the process can sometimes be quite difficult. For example the Antminer U3 63 GH can be quite tricky to get up and running as it requires you to download drivers and run CGMiner yourself – later versions of CGMiner have reduced the complexity of this process.

With the BitMain Antminer S1, S2 & S3 there are also some difficult steps to be followed – mostly to do with defining IP addresses and switching IP address protocols which can mean logging into your own router to find out what address the miner has been signed (quite daunting for some) – with instructions assuming a high level of knowledge by the user with a lot of basic information lost in translation.

However in terms of simplicity Spondoolies tech is probably the most user friendly in terms of set up. Miners such as the SP20 and SP10 can be plugged into your router, and after following five sets of simple and clear instructions can be up and running in five minutes.

Another key point to remember is the power supply you are using. Some miners come with their own internal power supplies, whilst some have to be bought external PSU (power Supply Units). These units have to be bought with the requisite power to coincide with that of the mining chips. For example the Spondoolies tech SP20 needs 1200 Watts of power with a 10-20% margin – so two corsair 750W PSU’s will be more than ample.

It is also important to remember that you need to complete the circuit on standard PSU units - although this can sound and look dangerous or scary it is in fact a very low risk and simple operation.

All you need to do is complete the circuit for the PSU allow electricity to flow – and as they were designed to power motherboards this means tricking the PSU into thinking it is plugged in normally, or shorting the 24 pin motherboard attachment. Simply take the largest (24 pin connector) and put a paperclip from the green wire to any one of the black wires and you will have completed the circuit and the PSU will now switch on. The voltage is extremely low so there is no need of insulation or worry of electrocution if the wires are bare.

Also remember that if the unit you are buying doesn’t come with a PSU this can become quite a significant part of the initial capital outlay. For example the SP20 in Dec 2014 could be bought for $500 with two corsair power supplies costing $200 dollars or so. When calculating your returns and investment metrics be sure to include your full costs.

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