First Time/Small Miner

First time/Small miner reference
for getting started.

If you want to start mining here is what you need… and what you need to know.

This is written for home miners/small farms, but can be used as a guideline for most operations. Use this as a reference for what you need to research, or what questions you need to ask before jumping in.

What you need to mine can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Hardware
  • Electricity
  • Location
  • Internet connection
  • Information

Mining BITCOIN is done exclusively with dedicated BITCOIN mining hardware based on ASICs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application-specific_integrated_circuit .

You CAN NOT meaningfully mine bitcoin today with CPU, GPU or even FPGAs. Bitcoin difficulty adapts to match the amount of mining done on the network and has reached levels trillions of times too high to mine meaningfully with PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, webpages, javascript, GPUs, and even generalised SHA hardware.

Even if you combined all the computers in the world, including all known supercomputer, you would not even approach 0.1% of the bitcoin hashrate today.

There isn’t any point attempting to mine bitcoin with CPU or GPU even in the interests of learning as it shares almost nothing with how bitcoin is mined with ASICs and will not teach you anything.

Hardware

Asic Miner:

Here is a list of the companies currently manufacturing Miners for public purchase.

Each one has their Pro’s and Con’s it is up to you to do your research and decide what is best for you.

A few points to consider while researching are :

  • efficiency
  • reliability
  • warranty period/policy
  • power draw

Each company has a different way of handling warranty repairs, depending on your situation and the policy repairs can become cost prohibitive. I will touch more on efficiency and power draw in the electricity section.

• Current list of competitive hardware

Power supply: You will need to purchase a power supply to run your miners. You will find ATX and Server grade PSU’s, the latter being preferred for mining BTC. 

When it comes to selecting a PSU purchase something with a capacity 25% higher than your miner is rated to draw. This will have you operating within the 80% rule.(explained further in the electricity section)

EX. Miner draws 1000 PSU should be able to provide 1250W.

** Many current generation miners are now being manufactured with Integrated PSU. Again do your research to see if your unit comes with or without. Generally you will still need to source a power cable.**

Auxilliaries – Avalon miners require an external controller, 1 per 20 miners. You may have to run additional fans for intake and exhaust depending on your location.

PSU’s can be purchased large enough to run 2 Miners; or the opposite 1 Miner fed by 2 PSU’s. Ensure the PSU you have selected will have the correct amount of PCI-E connectors required to operate your miner(s)

You can also find a large supply of used miners and PSU’s. Again it’s up to you to do your research as these often are a no return transaction.

Electricity

Follow all local codes and regulations

This is the number 1 factor in whether mining is right for you. As discussed with Miners being a 24/7 machine drawing power those costs will make it cost prohibitive for some people to mine. You need to be aware of what your costs/kWh are and run the numbers.

This will be done in a profitability calculator. This is just an example of 1 there are many out there.

( Miner usage in kW ) * ( Hours run per day ) 24 * ( Cost/kWh ) = Cost per Day to Operate

( Ideally less than the FIAT value of BTC mined )

The second part to the electrical requirements of mining is the available service; written for North America.

You will need to figure out the amperage you can spare, what circuits and receptacles you have in place, are you setting up on 220V or 110V. You will need to make sure that you have the right cord end for your PSU to match the receptacle, picking the wrong one can cost you a few days of mining if it has to be shipped.

If you can try and set up on a 220V circuit for 2 reasons :

– You will pull half the amps, and it is more efficient.

– Doing so requires 2 breaker spaces in your panel. Breaker sizing will depend on how many miners you plan to run. Here is the formula for calculating amps.

Watts / Voltage = Amps

Here is where you will bring the 80% rule back into play by sizing the continuous miner load to 80% of the breaker rating. 12 Amps on a 15 Amp breaker, 16 Amps max on a 20 Amp breaker, 24 Amps on a 30 amp breaker.

If/when you increase the amount of miners you are running you may want to look into PDU’s, as opposed to more receptacles. 

Location

This is something that is often overlooked to the headache and frustration of many would be miners. These machines are loud and hot .
You essentially have an electric heater that also uses an industrial fan to keep it from melting itself. This space will need to have the electrical requirements as discussed previously.

So make sure you have a space that is well ventilated with a plan to exhaust heat, and bring in fresh dust free air. I say this as using AC to cool the room will eat into your profits and may even make mining unprofitable.

The noise issue is a consideration you can sort out depending on whats available. (garage, basement, remote building)

Both of these issues can be handled with hosting, which is further explained in the information section.

Internet connection

Some miner setups have the option to use wifi. It is advisable to use a wired connection where available. This will provide a more stable connection and ensure you are submitting the expected amount of shares which is directly related to your payouts.

Please note that mining uses a negligible amount of bandwidth, and will not affect your other internet usage.

Information

You can use this information in this post as a good baseline to get you going. In addition to this you will want to research network difficulty; this readjusts every 2016 blocks to maintain a 10 minute block time on average. While this can go down it generally increases.

Solo or Pool?

You can solo mine but this is essentially a lottery even as a large scale miner. Should you chose this you can check this out as a starting point.

solo.ckpool.org 1% fee solo mining USA/DE 250 blocks solved!

Odds are most of you will join a pool. I will only say that it is in your best interest to mine at a pool that pays transaction fees (miner rewards). Then you will want to consider the fees associated with the pool.

When it comes to these pools you want them to be large enough that they are getting at least 1 block every Difficulty adjustment period. Larger pools will offer smaller rewards paid out more frequently, and vice versa.





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