Litecoin Mining on Mac OS X – ZeusMiner ASICs

ASICs continue to disrupt in the Scrypt mining scene with both the GridSeed and ZeusMiner entrenched as the current leaders. In my previous articles on Litecoin mining with ASICs I discussed the various GridSeed-powered devices.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at the newest manufacturer to deliver Scrypt ASICs — ZeusMiner — and their Blizzard device. The Blizzard is a 1.3 Mh/s unit powered by the ZMC230 ASIC chip from ZeusMiner and is available for order directly from ZeusMiner.com.

ZeusMiner

The majority of the Scrypt ASICs have been coming to market with their own custom software and, unfortunately, ZeusMiner is no exception. ZeusMiner ASICs currently ship with a custom fork of an aging version of CGMiner (3.11).

However, as previously noted, I have been actively working with several ASIC manufacturers (including ZeusMiner and GridSeed) to support these ASICs in BFGMiner (CGMiner does not support any algorithm other than SHA-2).

BFGMiner 4.3, released June 30th, contains full support for the entire range of ZeusMiner ASICs.

Miner Installation

As with the previous Scrypt ASICs, the simplest way to get hashing with the ZeusMiner Blizzard is by using BFGMiner. So, the first step is to install BFGMiner on OS X. There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums that discusses several ways to install BFGMiner on Mac OS X. The most full-proof method is to use Homebrew:

  1. Launch Terminal.app from Spotlight or your Applications folder
  2. Install Homebrew by entering the following in the command prompt:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go/install)"
  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 ZeusMiner Blizzard. As with many of the previous ASICs we’ve discussed, the ZeusMiner ASICs uses the CP210x chipset and requires the proper driver to be installed. You can download the CP210x drivers for OS X from Silicon Labs here.

Detection

With the BFGMiner properly installed and the CP210x driver installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:

bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all -d? --scrypt

[2014-07-08 22:13:47] Started bfgminer 4.4.0
[2014-07-08 22:13:47] Devices detected:
[2014-07-08 22:13:47] CP2102 USB to UART Bridge Controller by Silicon Labs (driver=zeusminer; procs=1; serial=0001; path=/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART)
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).

Mining

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

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

BFGMiner ZeusMiner

You can also over-clock ZeusMiner ASICs using BFGMiner and the --set argument (the default clock is 328 MHz).

bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:clock=340 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

BFGMiner ZeusMiner OC

If you have a ZeusMiner ASIC with more than six chips (the number found on the Blizzard device) you will need to specify the number of chips using the --set argument:

bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:chips=256 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

BFGMiner ZeusMiner 256-chips

Finally, some early ASICs from ZeusMiner contain a firmware bug and do not respond to detection. In this case (and only this case) you will need to use the following --set argument:

bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:ignore_golden_nonce=1 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

All told this is another wonderful Scrypt ASIC that works great on OS X, Windows, Linux, and even a $30 703N router (firmware and build scripts here).

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below or on this thread at the Bitcoin Talk forums.

A big “Thank You” to ZeusMiner and GAWMiners for providing sample hardware.

6 thoughts on “Litecoin Mining on Mac OS X – ZeusMiner ASICs

  1. ben

    [2014-09-20 05:08:18] Started bfgminer 4.7.0-unknown
    [2014-09-20 05:08:18] Devices detected:
    0 devices listed
    Happy-Familys-Mac-mini:~ stuartgross$

    this is with zeus miner x3
    same thing happened with furys
    they only worked on windows and zeus pi

    Reply
  2. Patrick Carney

    I am new to Litecoin mining. I have a Gaw Fury 1.3MH/s ASIC scrypt miner with a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I’ve looked everywhere online with absolutely no luck or any information on how to set a bus thing up. I plug the miner into my computer and nothing happens, I open BFGminer ver. 5.0.0 with the correct drivers installed on my Mac to use it and still Nothing! I’ve tried manually searching for the miner and BFGMINER still can’t find it. I am completely baffled and have no idea what to do. Someone please help with this! Why is it not working? Am I doing something wrong? What do I need in order to properly run this miner? Do I need external devices to run the miner? I thought this is a plug and play device. Please help me out, thank you!!

    Reply

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