Archive for the ‘General Info’ Category

Making your own solution for restarting a mining rig that has frozen is relatively simple for pretty much anyone, you just need a Raspberry Pi board and a couple of 5V relay boards and you can be up and running in no time. You can use the base RPi operating system and with the help of WiringPi you can get easy control of the GPIO pins of the Pi, even direct console one with the GPIO utility. Of course you can install a web server with some basic visual interface as well, simple buttons to drive on/off the relays connected to the GPIO pins of the Pi board.

If you have a spare Raspberry Pi 3 you have up to 28 channels available to drive on/off relays, though based on our experience only 25 of the GPIO puns are actually reliable usable. Pins 2, 3 and 14 have a bit of erratic behavior being in high (triggered state) when the Pi board boots up or temporary switching on and then off when rebooting the board, so it is wise to skip them. Another possible issue is the GPIO pin 0 (the bottom white one) as using zeroes can be tricky when programming something, so be careful with that one as well. We have been using the relays to short the on/off button on the motherboard forcing the mining rig to shut down and then start up again. This works surprisingly well and you avoid the need to work with the high 110V/220V mains power going through the relays that can cause problems for not so experienced users. Our latest setup relies on driving 18 rigs though a single RPi 3 board, so we have a couple of spare channels available for extending the functionality of the controller further if we need to.

So if you are looking for relatively cheap way to get remote control over the power of more mining rigs that are not easily rebootable otherwise you might want to start playing with Raspberry Pi and relays. It is not so cheap for just a few rigs as you need to buy a Pi 3 board, but once the number of rig rises the cost per system lowers. You can always start with a few and then add extra systems if needed, again you should have no problems driving up to 25 systems through the GPIO pins of the RPi 3. There are of course other commercial solutions also available for you to purchase that have been developer by miners for miners such as the SimpleMining SimpleRigResetter that we have talked about last year and now there is apparently a new version of the device already available, though it seems to be out of stock at the moment.

We should start that what you see in the video above is not a joke, it is real and what we got with an order of GTX 1080 Ti video cards from a reputable European online retailer. Three seemingly brand new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti video cards ended up with surprising contents, scrap metal instead of the GPUs we expected to find inside. The video cards seemed like brand new and unopened, they were GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition from Gigabyte, all boxes packed with a nylon and with stickers on the boxes as you can see on the video. Yet when you open them up you end up with a surprising content and definitely what you would expect to find inside the box of such an expensive GPU…

Some supplier on somebody on the supply chain has apparently made quite the effort to make these as aside from packaging the boxes to make them seem like new, the contents was made to be the exact same weight as the original box with a real card inside. Obviously the retailer does not open the boxes to check if they contain the correct item, but they can easily weight the boxes and confirm if there is something wrong or not without opening the box. The actual video cards will find their place on eBay or any other place for selling them or maybe they will get used for mining.

Putting pieces of scrap metal with additional lead weight and packaging them in a way that they will not make strange noises when handing the box, some effort to make a counterfeit Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti. Then repackaging the whole thing and shipping it to the seller that in turn sends it to customers and in the end you get an angry customer that is no way happy with what he gets instead of the GPU he expected and paid for.

You may find different prices of scrap metal inside the box, but each one is well made in order to avoid possible suspicion of an issue like metal parts hitting and making strange noises or the package being too light or too heavy.

Of course buying from a reputable retailer will get your problem with the scrap metal instead of GPUs resolved with some extra headaches and time, so nothing too serious besides the bad surprise. Regardless if you are buying GPUs for mining or for gaming, just be careful that you do not buy online from places where returning the items if you end up with a problem like ours will not be an issue.

Bitcoin VR is an interesting Virtual Reality application available for the HTC Vive VR headset as well as for the Google Cardboard VR platform available to Android mobile device users. It is essentially a visual gamified VR Blockchain explorer where you can can see real time Bitcoin transactions fall from the sky in the form of gems you can grab a gem to see the transaction details or shoot them with a Bow and Arrow.

Bitcoin VR has been developed by MandelDuck, the same guys that did the Sarutobi Bitcoin game that we have covered a while ago. Bitcoin VR is a free application for both the HTC VIVE and the Google Cardboard platforms, so you can download and try for either VR Blockchain explorer if you have any of the two at your disposal. It is interesting and fun to see a different perspective of the transactions that is taking advantage of VR technology, even though it is not terribly useful it is still worth checking out. Do note that the applications for the two platforms are not exactly the same in terms of functionality due to the specifics of the capabilities that they do provide to the user and especially due to the extra level of interactivity provided by HTC VIVE.