Litecoin Mining on Mac OS X – GridSeed ASICs

Scrypt ASICs are on the digital currency mining scene in a big way. The 1-and-5 chip ASIC designs from GridSeed have been on the market for a couple of months now, and newer designs such as the G-Blade and Zeusminer series are on the horizon.

In my previous article on Litecoin mining with ASICs I discussed the 1-chip DualMiner USB stick. In this article we’ll be taking a look at DualMiner’s big brother: the 5-chip GridSeed Orb.

The Orb is powered by 5 of the GC3355 ASIC chips from GridSeed:

GridSeed 5-Chip

Unfortunately, the majority of GridSeed devices came to market with their own custom software, meaning you could not mine with either the DualMiner or Orb miners with stock CGMiner or BFGMiner. You had to use either the reseller’s binaries or compile their custom software yourself, if the source was available.

However, I have been actively working with several vendors of GridSeed hardware for the past few months on support for both the 1-chip and 5-chip GridSeed ASICs in BFGMiner. CGMiner no longer supports any algorithm or coin other than SHA-2 and Bitcoin, so BFGMiner was the natural choice.

As of this week the GridSeed driver has been merged into BFGMiner, and so I present to you this walkthrough on OS X!

Miner Installation

As with many of the previous ASICs, the GridSeed Orb is currently only supported on OS X by BFGMiner. So, the first step is to install BFGMiner. There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums which discusses various ways to install BFGMiner on Mac OS X. The most full-proof method is to use Homebrew:

  1. Launch from Spotlight or your Applications folder
  2. Install Homebrew by entering the following in the command prompt:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Run the following command and then fix any reported issues:
    brew doctor
  4. Tap the following Homebrew repository so that you can install packages from it:
    brew tap nwoolls/xgminer
  5. Finally, install BFGMiner:
    brew install bfgminer

Driver Installation

BFGMiner requires the correct kernel extension to be loaded in order to detect the GridSeed 5-chip Orb. When using BFGMiner the Apple Communication Device Class (CDC) driver will be used and should be automatically loaded by Mac OS X.

To load the required Apple drivers manually, execute the following commands:

sudo kextload -b
sudo kextload -b


With the BFGMiner properly installed and the CDC driver installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:

bfgminer -d? -S noauto -S gridseed:all --scrypt
[2014-05-07 21:03:56] Started bfgminer 3.99.0
[2014-05-07 21:03:59] Devices detected:
[2014-05-07 21:03:59] Device (driver=gridseed; procs=5; path=/dev/cu.usbmodem5d11)
1 devices listed

Note the additional --scrypt argument since we will be Scrypt mining. I’ve also included the -S noauto argument to prevent GPU detection (for simplicity).


Once the GridSeed Orb is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

bfgminer -S noauto -S gridseed:all --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

GridSeed Orb BFGMiner

You can also over-clock the GridSeed Orb using BFGMiner and the --set-device argument.

bfgminer -S noauto -S gridseed:all --set-device gridseed:clock=850 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below or on this thread at the Bitcoin Talk forums. And now, happy Scrypt ASIC mining!

12 thoughts on “Litecoin Mining on Mac OS X – GridSeed ASICs

  1. Bradley

    I followed this guide and got all 11 of my Gridseeds successfully mining. Unfortunately, it seems that after a few hours of mining, it segfaults. Any idea why that might occur?

    1. nwoolls Post author

      Try uninstalling and reinstalling using:

      brew uninstall bfgminer
      brew install bfgminer –HEAD

      There was a bug that caused BFGMiner to crash if a network error happens.

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  3. Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé

    Hey Nate!

    I noticed something.

    You lookup for devices using gridseed:all, which reports correctly my G-Blade, but not the two DualMiners USB (all plugged in the same powered hub).

    When I run this command:
    bfgminer -S noauto -S dualminer:all –set-device gridseed:clock=850 –scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
    Only the dualminers are detected properly

    And with this one:
    bfgminer -S noauto -S gridseed:all –set-device gridseed:clock=850 –scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
    Only the G-Blade is detected properly.

    Seems that there is an issue with detecting ALL GridSeed products at once :) I don’t have the USB Mini so I can’t tell how it behaves. I’m available if you want me to run debug commands/screenshots, etc.

    I just uninstalled bfgminer and reinstalled like you suggested in the previous comment this morning.


  4. Hashmatt

    Would you be able to provide info on setting up Zeusminer ASICS on a Mac? I have a handful here I can’t seem to get mining.

  5. Max Fenk

    When I enter bfgminer -d? -S noauto -S gridseed:all –scrypt for detection I get 0 devices. Why is this so?

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  7. Brett

    Using bfgminer in standard scrypt mode is working perfectly, but I would like to dual mine with my Gridseeds. Without the –scrypt parameter, bfgminer finds no devices. The -S dualminer:all that is listed in this post doesn’t seem to work here either. Can you dual mine using Gridseeds and bfg?

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  10. cucca

    hello, i’m trying to mining with a gridseed but, when i run

    bfgminer -d? -S noauto -S gridseed:all –scrypt

    i get:

    [2014-11-17 21:44:50] Started bfgminer 3.6.0
    [2014-11-17 21:44:51] Devices detected:
    0 devices listed

    i’m using bfgminer 3.6 and OS X yosemite (meybe some driver problems with yosemite?)

    thanx in advance

    1. nwoolls Post author

      You need a newer version of BFGMiner installed. I believe version 4 was the first with official Scrypt mining support.


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