Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Bitfury ASICs

A new batch of ASICs is hitting the market based on the 55nm Bitfury ASIC chip (abbreviated BF1). The most popular of these are USB sticks branded as either Blue Fury or Red Fury, depending on the color of the onboard LED. The BF1 Fury sticks look very similar to the ASICMINER Block Erupter sticks. However, while the Block Erupters hash at 335Mh/s the new BF1 Fury sticks hash at anywhere from 2.2Gh/s up to 3.0Gh/s.

Red Fury

Miner Installation

As with the ASICMINER Block Erupters, the first step is to install either bfgminer or cgminer on OS X. There are several ways to go about this, from compiling them yourself, to using Homebrew, to downloading precompiled binaries.

There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums which discusses various ways to install cgminer and bfgminer on Mac OS X. One of the more full-proof methods is to use Homebrew:

  1. Launch Terminal.app from Spotlight or from your Applications folder
  2. Install Homebrew by entering the following command:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go/install)"
  3. Run the following command and fix any reported issues:
    brew doctor
  4. Tap this Homebrew repostory so that you can install packages from it:
    brew tap nwoolls/xgminer
  5. Finally, install either cgminer or bfgminer:
    brew install cgminer

If you’d like to install the miner using the latest source from Github rather than the latest official package, use the –HEAD (two dashes prefix) parameter, e.g.:

brew install bfgminer --HEAD

Driver Installation

As with the ASICMINER Block Erupters, bfgminer requires the correct kernel extension to be loaded in order to detect the BF1 Fury stick. And, as with the Block Erupters, cgminer will fail to detect the BF1 Fury stick unless that same kernel extension is unloaded. Unlike with the Block Erupter there is no driver or software to download. When using bfgminer the Apple Communication Device Class (CDC) driver will be used. When using cgminer that driver (kernel extension) must be unloaded.

To load the required Apple drivers (if you intend to use bfgminer) execute the following commands:

sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC
sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDCACMData

To unload those drivers (if you intend on using cgminer) execute the following:

sudo kextunload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC
sudo kextunload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDCACMData

Detection

Once you have the proper Bitcoin mining software installed and the kernel extensions loaded (or unloaded), you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with bfgminer:

bfgminer -d? -S bigpic:all
[2013-12-19 01:54:19] Started bfgminer 3.8.1
[2013-12-19 01:54:25] Devices detected:
[2013-12-19 01:54:25] Device (driver=bigpic; procs=1; path=/dev/cu.usbmodem3a21)
1 devices listed

or with cgminer:

cgminer -d?
[2013-11-21 16:49:06] Started cgminer 3.8.2
[2013-11-21 16:49:09] Devices detected:
[2013-11-21 16:49:09] 0. BF1 0 (driver: bitfury)
[2013-11-21 16:49:09] 1 devices listed

Mining

Once the BF1 Blue Fury or Red Fury is detected you can fire up your chosen miner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to start hashing away:

cgminer -o hostname -u username -p password

BF1 cgminer

Running bfgminer requires an additional -S argument:

bfgminer -S bigpic:all -o hostname -u username -p password

BF1 bfgminer

Feel free to leave any questions below or on this thread on the Bitcoin Talk forums. And happy mining!

17 thoughts on “Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Bitfury ASICs

    1. nwoolls

      Great question and I wish I had a good answer. Judging by the number of accepted shares I get and the utility I get, it seems to be right: I get about half that of a 5Gh/s BFL unit. But yes I get HW errors like crazy. I asked the author of bfgminer and he indicated he has issues with his own bigpic (BF1) device too.

      Reply
      1. chris

        thanks for the swift reply, I have seen screenshots of people with much lower hw rates than I get so I am trawling these inet kicks looking for a solution ><
        If you want to lower that appalling error rate try cgminer the latest version (3.8.3) compile with –enable-bitfury
        hopefully that will bring your rates down to at least 6.8%.

        Reply
  1. Toby

    Do the Bitfury ASICs require a USB 3.0 connection to get the full hashing power, or will it run as spec from USB 2.0?

    Reply
  2. ca

    using bfgminer 3.8.1
    no devices detected!

    applied both AppleUSBCDC and AppleUSBCDCACMData drivers

    not recognizing butterfly labs device on mac mini

    appears to be missing driver: biopic…

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  3. Fronk Donk

    This got me up and running thank you so much for taking the time to do this, I have 20 usb-e and it’s like cgminer only enables 10 of the 20 blocks ? is this a setting to fix this ?
    Thank You
    Fronk

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Bi•Fury ASICs | blog.nwoolls.com

  5. rsc

    Great tutorial.

    If you are receiving the error “bitfury detect (20:1) failed to initialise (incorrect device?)” from cgminer, is because you didn’t unload the drivers as the tutorial said. And don’t forget that before unloading them, unplug the bitfury from the computador. Only after unloading the drivers, plug it again.

    Reply
    1. Yellow

      Tanks rsc, Unplugging devices before unloading the drivers fixed the “bitfury detect (20:1) failed to initialise (incorrect device?)” for me too!

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Twinfury ASICs | blog.nwoolls.com

  7. Ryan

    Hi I’m curreny mining with 2 Butterfly Labs 50 GH/s bitcoin miners. One of them has a HW of 408/.58% and the other 764/.91%. With a total A:2186 R: 8+0(42%). I read my HW should be 0 but mine is increasing all the time, any advice would be great?

    Reply
    1. nwoolls Post author

      No advice to give – you are doing great! Hardware failures depend on the device but generally you want to be at 1% – 5%. Both of yours are at less than 1%.

      Reply
  8. Tim

    Hi there, great Tutorial.

    I am currently running cgminer wit 3 Block Erupters und 1 Bitfury. To avoid the HW errors of the Bitfury I use cgminer built with the bitfury option. I had 70%+ HW errors with the Bitminter Java Client. Cgminer gives me less than 10%.
    Everything works all right so far but, as I have to restart my server (which the asics are connected to) once a day, I have to unload the .kext Driver and manually unplug the BF after restart.

    Is there a way to permanently remove the drivers that I don’t have to unplug the Bitfury with every restart ?

    Cheers,

    Tim

    Reply
  9. rico1975

    Hi,

    I followed the tutorial.
    Before all, I installed Xcode and installed the “command line”…
    I installed bfgminer. Everything was correct, but when I use the “bfgminer -d? -S bigpic:all “command :
    [2014-03-09 15:09:09] Devices detected:
    0 devices listed

    I installed cgminer too, and “cgminer -d?”:
    -bash: cgminer: command not found

    Please help !!!
    I’m not realy used with the command lines.
    I plugged my RedFury back on my 2009 iMac.
    I know it works fine on Windows&bfgminer, so easy to install.

    NB : I even installed (info from a user here) FTDIusb driver
    I got MacMiner, and Asteroid, and none detects the BF1 !!!

    Reply
  10. cedking

    I am completely new to this, thought I would check out the hardware and mining in general. this tutorial has been a great help!

    I am stuck between driver installation and detection. I went through all the steps up to that point, but how do I install bfgminer? I thought I had using the homebrew command but when I enter this next step:
    bfgminer -d? -S bigpic:all

    it returns: command not found.

    bfgminer is a folder in my downloads right now, I executed the homebrew commands, downloaded the driver, and thought i installed it, but do I need to move the download folder or files for bfgminer? I might be in a little over my head, thanks…

    Reply
  11. Skatter

    ls /dev/*USB*
    Copy that code above with the antminer out. It will tell you no such directory. Then add the miners and then re enter the code while the antminers are in.

    Reply

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