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.

โ€ข 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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What is Hashrate ?

Hashrate Bitcoin network h/s
Bitcoin Hash Rate

Hashrate (Hash per secondh/s) is an SI-derived unit representing the number of double SHA-256 computations performed in one second in the bitcoin network for cryptocurrency mining.

Hashrate is also called as hashing power. It is usually symbolized as h/s (with an appropriate SI prefix).

What is hashing power or hash rate?

The hash rate is the primary measure of a Bitcoin miner‘s performance.

In 2014, a miner’s performance was generally measured in Ghash/s, or billions of hashes per second.

The hash/second unit is also part of a common measure of a Bitcoin miner’s electric efficiency in the term watts /Ghash/s, denoted as W/Ghash/s. As 1 watt is equal to 1 joule/s, this measure can also be expressed as J/Ghash, or joules per 1 billion hashes.

Bitcoin network hash rate

Bitcoin network hashrate chart

The hash/s is also used in calculations of the Bitcoin network’s overall hash rate. Because each miner or mining pool only relays a solved block to the network, the overall hash rate of the network is calculated based on the time between blocks.

While not an accurate measure of network hash rate at any given instance in time, measurements over longer periods can be considered indicative and similar calculations are used in Bitcoin’s difficulty  adjustment.

In January 2015, the network hash rate was around 300 Phash/s, or 300 quadrillion hashes per second.

If you compare a bitcoin mining device to one that is designed to mine, for example, Ethereum, you will notice a very large apparent difference in hash rates.

This is because there are many different algorithms that cryptocurrencies use. They all require different amounts of memory and computing power in order to be mined.

To put it simply, bitcoin and its SHA256 algorithm is considered by today standards to be relatively easy to compute. As a result, a mining device that is still relevant today would need to produce hashes in the terahash range and up.

If we were to compare this to Ethereum, youโ€™ll find that most modern Ethereum mining devices (typically GPUโ€™s) operate in the megahash range.

At first glance, you may think that the bitcoin mining device is significantly more powerful or more productive.

While itโ€™s true that it produces more hashes (of the SHA256 variety), this is because bitcoin hashes are easier to produce computationally.

As a consequence, the network difficulty is significantly higher for bitcoin.

To make things even more confusing, some cryptocurrencies intentionally chose algorithms that can only be mined using a basic CPU.

As a result, mining devices for this network that can produce hundreds of hashes per second are considered to be high and very competitive.

So what does all this mean?

Basically, it means that looking at the hash rate alone doesnโ€™t necessarily tell you the effectiveness of the miner.

You also need to understand the network difficulty, and what the norm is for most mining devices for that particular cryptocurrency.

How can I calculate how many hashes I generate per second?

Your problem breaks down nicely into 3 separate tasks:

  • Sharing a single count variable across threads
  • Benchmarking thread completion time
  • Calculating hashes p/sec
  • Sharing a single count variable across threads

Now that we know that not all hashes are the same we need to know how to calculate the estimated profitability of a miner based on its hash rate.

For this, will need to use a mining profitability calculators, they are available in the Internet.

public static class GlobalCounter

{
public static int Value { get; private set; }
   public static void Increment()
{
Value = GetNextValue(Value);
}
   private static int GetNextValue(int curValue)
{
return Interlocked.Increment(ref curValue);
}
   public static void Reset()
{
Value = 0;
}
}

Before you spin off the threads call GlobalCounter.

Reset and then in each thread (after each successful hash) you would call GlobalCounter.

Increment – using Interlocked.X performs atomic operations of Value in a thread-safe manner, it’s also much faster than lock.

Benchmarking thread completion time

var sw = Stopwatch.StartNew();
Parallel.ForEach(someCollection, someValue =>
{
// generate hash
GlobalCounter.Increment();
});
sw.Stop();
Parallel.ForEach will block until all threads have finished

Calculating hashes per second

...
sw.Stop();
var hashesPerSecond = GlobalCounter.Value / sw.Elapsed.Seconds;

How is the hash rate measured?

Hash rate is a unit measured in hashes per second or h/s and here are some usual denominations used to refer it.

Hash rate denominations:

  • 1 kH/s is 1,000 (one thousand) hashes per second;
  • 1 MH/s is 1,000,000 (one million) hashes per second;
  • 1 GH/s is 1,000,000,000 (one billion) hashes per second;
  • 1 TH/s is 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) hashes per second;
  • 1 PH/s is 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion) hashes per second;
  • 1 EH/s is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one quintillion) hashes per second.

Common Hash rate Conversions:

  • 1 MH/s = 1,000 kH/s;
  • 1 GH/s = 1,000 MH/s = 1,000,000 kH/s;
  • 1 TH/s = 1,000 GH/s = 1,000,000 MH/s = 1,000,000,000 kH/s.

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