More Electricity Needed & The Infrastructure

I got an electrician into my crypto mining den and began working on the finishing touches of the organization infrastructure elements.

The Bot Guy
The Bot Guy
July 30, 2021

More Electricity


Now, the real electricity.  I estimate that I need 2 x 30amp 220 volt drops as well as 2 x 20amp 120 volt drops.  That should do for now lol.

I was able to get an electrician to come and quote, but he won’t be back to do the work until he returns from his vacation.  I turn my attention to expanding upon my cost savings and give this whole miner on the wall thing a shot.

So, hanging things on cement, not quite as easy as one might suspect.  This is probably a hundred pounds of random wires, boxes, and graphic cards intersecting and weaving through each other like vines in a jungle.  How am I going to get this on a cement wall?

I actually stared at the wall for a while until I thought about hanging a peg board with a knuckles’ worth of space between the wall, then use peg board hooks to secure the equipment to.  Seems to make sense and I have all the pieces so I get started securing the peg board to the wall.

OK, I never took woodworking and even if I did, hanging things on a cement wall is difficult.  I must have gone back and forth to the hardware store at least 6 times until I settled on a set of hardware that I thought would work.  6 hours and 3 mistake holes later I realized this wasn’t working.  Wasted a whole two days to learn about cement hanging, but it was worth it because if this works I have a feeling I’ll be hanging more wall mounted equipment in the near future.

I painted the board so it will blend in with the wall and as I finally secured the last bolt my hand slipped and damn if there isn’t a blood stain on the peg board.  I decided to leave it there as proof that I worked hard – it isn’t all that big and the wounds have already healed but there is truth to “blood, sweat and tears” being the building blocks of small businesses as all three were ingredients in this datacenter.

So the board was up, next I had to move the equipment onto it.  This was the MOST difficult thing that I have ever done as I had to shut off the miners being moved and combined for nearly 5 days… that’s a lot of missed mining… 🙁  But I’m convinced the savings in power will make up for it.

I basically broke all miners down into individual elements and piled them together so I could find connectors easily.  To put a GPU miner together certain things are needed.

  • Graphics cards (GPUS) – these are normally used to plug a tv or computer monitor into a computer.  These can cost anywhere from $100 – $3000 each…
  • A specialized mining motherboard, mine supports up to 12 GPUs, and retails for $700.
  • Lots of cables that are very unique to mining, costing about $200 total.
  • 3 power supplies are needed for my motherboard, each ran about $150.
  • A CPU and some RAM as well as a usb drive to run the miner, at about $300 total.

These are all components of a regular personal computer, but just specialized for the unique needs of a mining computer.  For example, graphics cards are large and in normal computers there’s only a need for one which makes sense because even just one GPU can support many monitors.  So the GPU can be stored inside the computer chassis like everything else.

GPU miners have all of their components exposed to the air for natural cooling and aren’t typically enclosed in a case.  Mine is no exception, but how does one connect 12 GPUs to a motherboard without plugging them in directly?  With specialized extension cords and something called a riser.  Risers use a special USB plug and get power directly from the power supplies.  These risers act as a mini motherboard translating between the mining software and the actual hardware providing the computing power.

This took awhile and a LOT of trial and error – finally I was able to get things setup and I got 10 GPUs running.  The more GPUs I have, the more crypto I can produce and this was more GPUs that I could get running reliably at the time upstairs because of the heat so I was happy already.  In the temporary setup downstairs only 6 GPUs ran and the other 4 kept shorting out – so having 10 up and running reliably was a HUGE success although man did it look ugly.  Oh well, it’s the basement and no one will see.

My thinking is that if I leave the miner running on the wall the little space between the peg board will provide a flow of air from the cool underground through the cement and through the graphics cards and the fans on the other side of the graphics cards will dissipate generated heat into the middle of the room.

So far so good – things ran for a few days and all 10 cards ran without stopping – and man it was a rather large success because all 10 cards were running within the same power as only 6 downstairs and far less power than upstairs.  This is a huge step forward and a validation that I’m on the right track, but I have more GPUs that I haven’t ever been able to get running… lets see if those run too…

After I was able to validate that the equipment wasn’t going to fall off the wall I turned to fine tuning it.  I painfully unplugged everything as it was a mass of wires that even I couldn’t understand.  The downtime will make up for it if I can get all 12 GPUs running.

I hung all 12 GPUs with the riser cards and started by plugging in the GPUs and riser cards to the power supplies.  This required me to move the equipment around on the pegs until it was just right.  I used zip ties to separate the components from the metal pegs and the base of each riser board was a rubber material that was made to touch anything, so that made for a good gravity anchor point.

I started putting pegs in to better position the power supplies so they could power certain quadrants of the peg board.  This is how I could track what is what and I need to know which GPU is plugged into which power supply so I can mimic that setup on the motherboard.  If I don’t get the wires just right the whole thing wont turn on.

I then started running the usb cables and with different cable sizes I was finally able to attach everything per spec.  Time to power it up.  I connected my portable monitor and usb keyboard, plugged it in and all but 2 GPUs ran.  Oh jeez, here we go…

Thankfully it took very little time to realize that I missed plugging them into power and I re-calibrated a few things, powered it on and man, I have never seen so much green!  ALL 12 GPUs were checked as the miner started and they all passed and were ready for mining.

This is it, my first miner setup – my first goal even before I was able to use the internet and even before the electricity was run properly.  This miner is powered by the outside 20 amp 120 volt plug I put in for my electric car (that I ended up selling). Once the local power drop gets put in I will switch and put my PDU in – this is a device that allows me to measure the electricity used and will give me an idea of if my idea has worked to save on cooling.

Already I see a far improved reliability, a greater hash rate and less internal electricity being used, but I don’t have a proper measure of the power supply’s electricity usage so I can’t be exactly certain it’s using less electricity – my guess is that is uses a tiny bit more, but it’s ok since all 12 GPUs are still mining now.

It’s only been 3 days since this has been setup and each of the last 2 full days I made 0.19 ETC each day which is about $9 in today’s prices.  Most miners sell right away, and I’m not planning on selling until it’s worth at least 2 times that amount. From what I see, the internal electricity is about the same as when it was running upstairs and each of the components are able to be touched without being burnt.

When upstairs, even when you got close, you’d feel the heat being repelled off and I had to have 2 box fans on high just to dissipate the heat into the room.  In the basement I am able to get away with only one box fan at low.  I directed it up to blow the floor coolness onto the equipment and the heat generated upwards as heat wants to rise.

So far, I’m off to a great start!

Next is the high-availability cluster for my nodes; electricity drops and ASIC miner turn ups.  Those are the miners that need 220 volts and chew through power like nothing else.

Thankfully none of this has interfered with my bots – those are still running with a few hours a day of my attention.  At least once in the AM and once before bed I look into them and reset the ones needing attention.

I’m so happy and excited so far!

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