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For those of you who are thinking about making your own Gridseed rig for Scrypt mining (for Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc…etc…), you may want to make them into stackable “towers”.
Initially, I’ve built my Gridseed rig using a standard motherboard and Ubuntu linux with a custom frame but I realize this is very time-consuming and tedious. Besides that, when you have multiple Gridseeds running at the same time, the fans on them get pretty loud. It was loud enough where the bass of the sound was overwhelming even my R9 290X rigs, which were the loudest in my house.
Well, yesterday, I thought of taking the fans out and somehow making them quickly and easily while using less energy. After couple hours of brainstorming, an idea hit my head, why not stack them like a tower?
The end result? I was able to cut the amount of energy in half (from 8 watts to 4 watts per Gridseed without fan), and also build it with Raspberry Pi.
If you want to build your own, I’ve even built an optimized Raspberry Pi image, which contains a fully-compiled/pre-built CGminer along with auto-restart script and watchdog feature turned on. You will be able to quickly setup a new Gridseed rig in matter of minutes with this image.
Step 1. You will need the following parts:
Gridseeds (I ordered them from ZoomHash.com, they have pretty good prices. I suggest only buying the Gridseeds by themselves and buy parts you need separately as outlined on this page.)
1 CCTV 12V 7A Power Supply (I recommend 1 of these up to 10 Gridseeds, it can handle up to 20 but I don’t recommend it as the Power Supply gets real hot and may die or start fires.) These come with 1-8 DC power splitters, you can get additional ones here.
8GB Class 10 SD card – I recommend using a fast Class 10 SD card as everything work faster and also more stable for the long run.
10 port USB 2.0 hub – I recommend getting the 10-port USB 2.0 hubs. I have tried using 20-port or 24-port but have found that they are unstable and can cause problems. Just get more 10-port hubs if you need more.
USB mini cable – You will need 1 per Gridseed obviously.
Step 2. You will need to unscrew the fan and the fan metal holder. Clip the fan wires (red and black) so you have about 1/2-inch of space. You will need to put a tiny strip of electrical tape around the red wire so it does not short out.
Step 3. You will want to pull the metal fins to make room for zip ties.
Step 4. Repeat Step 2-3 for all of your Gridseeds and stack them as high as you like. Then put zip-ties around it to keep them together.
Step 5. Plug in all of your cables for power and USB. Then you can zip tie the USB cables to make them look neat.
Step 6. Plug in all of your USB cables to your USB hubs then your a cable from each of USB hub to your Raspberry Pi.
Step 7. Next, download the HighOnCoins Gridseed image and flash to your SD card using Win32DiskImager. (You can also use DD with Linux/Mac but that’s outside the scope of this tutorial, just Google it.)
Step 8. Put the new SD card with HighOnCoins Gridseed image into your Raspberry Pi and turn it on by connecting a micro-USB cable to it.
You can connect to the Raspberry Pi by connecting a DVI cable to a monitor and a keyboard via USB. OR my preferred method is to connect an ethernet cable to your router then remotely SSH (using Putty or terminal), you can check for the IP address by checking your router’s LAN status.
Connect to Raspberry Pi using the following credentials:
*Note – I used root user for Raspberry Pi as the USB-based Gridseeds require a lot of root access and it’s just pain in the butt to enter your password everytime you use sudo.
Step 9. Once connected, you can type “nano /root/cgminer/cgminer.conf” to edit the cgminer configuration files. There you will be able to change the pool info to yours. Save when done.
Step 10. To start the cgminer, simply type, “sh test.sh”. If you see “FAILED!”, it means it’s successful. (Sorry I forgot to edit that part while writing the script.) This will run cgminer in the background.
Step 11. To actually see cgminer running, type “cgm”. To get out of it, press Ctrl + a + d.
Step 12. Once you get everything working great, you can enable auto-start script, which will start cgminer automatically upon boot, power-failure, lock-up, etc…etc…
Type “nano /etc/cron.d/saupdate” and remove the “#” from the first line and save.
Once that’s done, cron job will automatically check every minute for cgminer and start it if its not running.
I’ve also enabled the watchdog timer on the Raspberry Pi so your Pi will restart upon any lock-ups, which was crucial to getting my new rig running 24/7.
Step 13. That’s pretty much it. Make sure you put a fan to the towers so it will cool them.
You can change the /”root/cgminer/cgminer.conf” file to your liking, such as changing 850Mhz to higher or lower but I recommend 850Mhz, I think it’s the optimal frequency for about 360Kh/s per Gridseed.
MANDATORY UPDATE April 30th 2014: There’s a way to prevent freezing Raspberry Pi for good, do:
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
Then add the line at the end of the line (do not make a new line!!):
After that reboot by typing:
This prevented most of reboots on the Raspberry Pi so you should get more hashing power!
Q: Are Gridseed rigs worth building?
A: “Right now”, they are probably the most efficient at mining Litecoin/Dogecoin and other Scrypt-based coins as the cost per megahash is around same or even lower than graphic cards. Also, Gridseeds require almost zero energy in comparison to graphic card rigs, so if electricity is expensive or limited (like running rigs in your house instead of a commercial warehouse), Gridseeds are way to go.
Q: What about when KNC releases their 250Mh Scrypt miners?
A: Well, that will obviously change the Scrypt market but KNC miners are not out “right now” and their promise to deliver Q2/Q3 2014 is a bit too early. I would say earliest they ship would be maybe December 2014, but that’s just my guess. If the market gets flooded with new ASICs, the value of coins will also skyrocket. It will obviously be hard to make as much money when difficulty rises but if you mine “right now”, you will benefit from the price jump.
Plus, if you put all your money on ASIC pre-orders, your ASIC machine will probably be outdated by the time you get it and making very little as everyone else will have ASICs by then. ASIC companies are out there to make money off the ASIC machines, not to help consumers make money from mining.
Q: What about graphic card rigs?
A: Graphic card rigs are still the best way to go as you can sell the graphic cards on eBay later when your rigs get outdated plus there’s new coins like Vertcoins, which are essentically ASIC-proof, graphic card rigs will always have best ROI and least risk but you do need a ton of electricity and cheap rates. (My warehouse rates are around 15 cents per k/w, my house rates are around 35 cents per k/w. I don’t run graphic card rigs in my house except a couple as heaters.)
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