Author Archives: Nathanial Woolls (Nate)

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – NanoFury 2 ASICs

Two new USB stick ASICs are arriving into the hands of Bitcoin miners. One is the Hex•Fury, a 11 Gh/s USB ASIC designed by c-scape. The other is the NanoFury 2, a 3.7 – 5 Gh/s USB ASIC based on the Open Source NanoFury design and available from Moonlight Miner.

I am currently working on code for BFGMiner to allow mining with the Hex•Fury and will cover that in a future article. For now we’ll focus on the NanoFury 2 ASIC and what it takes to get these devices mining under Mac OS X.

NanoFury 2

Miner Installation

The first step is to install BFGMiner on OS X. 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 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

Like the initial NanoFury design, the NanoFury 2 USB ASIC requires no installed kernel extension or driver.

Detection

After BFGMiner is installed you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:

bfgminer -d?
[2014-04-10 21:11:27] Started bfgminer 3.99.0
[2014-04-10 21:11:34] Devices detected:
[2014-04-10 21:11:34] NanoFury NF2 v0.5 by MLM by Microchip Technology Inc. (driver=nanofury; procs=2; serial=0000147040; path=USB_04d8_00de_fd352000)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the NanoFury 2 stick is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

bfgminer -o hostname -u username -p password

NanoFury 2 BFGMiner

You can also use the --set-device argument to overclock the NanoFury 2 ASICs. For instance, to run the chips at 53 bits rather than the default 50:

bfgminer -o hostname -u username -p password --set-device nanofury:osc6_bits=53

NanoFury 2 BFGMiner 53 Bits

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

Litecoin Mining on Mac OS X – DualMiner ASICs

When Litecoin was originally created, it was supposedly “GPU-resistant”: the Scrypt algorithm chosen and implemented would mean only CPU mining would be viable, keeping the network evenly distributed.

However it wasn’t long before folks had worked out how to tweak their GPU setups to allow them to run the Scrypt algorithm far more efficiently than a CPU. Some event claim that the creators of Litecoin knew this and mined the coin with GPUs from its inception. Either way, the viability of CPU mining for Scrypt started to take a serious dive in 2013.

“But Litecoin and Scrypt algorithms are still ASIC-resistant”, almost everyone claimed. The implementation required far too much high-speed memory to make it possible. Then, whispers on forums and websites started up in Q3 2013, talking about working Scrypt FPGAs and ASICs that were being developed overseas. And starting in January 2014 the devices began to materialize.

DualMiner U1 Front

The day is upon us folks. Scrypt ASICs are in the wild with next generation hardware already taking pre-orders. The first round of Scrypt ASICs come in two form-factors:

  • The 1-chip USB thumbstick sold and branded by DualMiner
  • The 5-chip Orb design sold by numerous resellers (without any noteable branding)

Both of these devices are powered by the GC3355 ASIC from GridSeed. This chip can hash both Scrypt and SHA and is even capable of doing both at the same time (hence the DualMiner name). The DualMiner U1 has a single GridSeed GC3355 chip clearly visible on the back-side of the device. It also features a physical dip-switch for toggling the device between 0.9V and 1.2V.

dualminer-u1-back

Unfortunately both the 1-chip and 5-chip devices came to market with their own custom software, meaning you could not mine with either the DualMiner or Orb miners with CGMiner or BFGMiner. You had to use either the reseller’s binaries or compile their custom software yourself, if the source was available.

The good news is that I have been actively working with several vendors of GridSeed hardware for the past couple of months on native 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. And as of yesterday the DualMiner driver has been merged into BFGMiner so I can finally provide a proper walkthrough on OS X!

Miner Installation

As with many of the previous ASICs, DualMiner is currently only supported by BFGMiner. So, the first step is to install BFGMiner on OS X. 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 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

The setup here similar to BFL devices. Before mining you will need to install the Virtual COM Port Drivers from FTDI found here.

Because OS X has its own FTDI driver, under some circumstances you may need to manually unload that driver and load the official FTDI driver:

sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBFTDI
sudo kextunload -b com.FTDI.driver.FTDIUSBSerialDriver

Detection

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

bfgminer -d? -S noauto -S dualminer:all --scrypt
[2014-03-21 19:08:16] Started bfgminer 3.99.0
[2014-03-21 19:08:17] Devices detected:
[2014-03-21 19:08:17] Device (driver=dualminer; procs=1; path=/dev/cu.usbserial-000050FDA)
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 DualMiner U1 is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

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

DualMiner Scrypt Only

You can also over-clock the DualMiner U1 using BFGMiner and the --set-device argument. Currently the following rates are supported: 400, 500, 550, 600, 650, 700, 750, 800, 850, 900, 950, 1000, 1100, and 1200 (850Mhz is the default).

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

The GridSeed chips also support Dual Mode mining: mining both SHA-2 and Scrypt at the same time. Note that with the DualMiner 1-chip device you should change the hardware dip-switch from L to B to lower the voltage. Doing this requires running two instances of the miner (BFGMiner in this case), one of them with an extra argument.

First, launch the SHA-2 miner instance:

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

DualMode SHA

Then launch the Scrypt miner instance with the --set-device argument:

bfgminer -S noauto -S dualminer:all --set-device dualminer:dual_mode=1 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password

DualMode Scrypt

Note that, as seen above, running in Dual Mode will result in a slower Scrypt hashrate: approximately 30Kh/s rather than 70Kh/s.

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!

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – AntMiner U1 ASICs

Several of my previous posts on Bitcoin mining with ASICs have focused on devices powered by Bitfury chips. These 55nm chips have dominated the Bitcoin mining scene for months, supplanting the previous generation of 110nm chips from ASICMINER and Avalon.

But a new player out of China has been working diligently on their own ASIC chip and product design: BITMAINtech. Their first product to ship was the AntMiner S1, a self-contained mining unit that hashes at around 200 Gh/s. The product has been a big success and BITMAINtech is doing what many before them have failed at: shipping immediately.

BITMAINtech has recently followed up their AntMiner S1 with a USB-based mining solution: the AntMiner U1. This USB ASIC hashes at 1.6 Gh/s stock and can easily be pushed to 2 Gh/s with built in over-clocking capabilities.

AntMiner U1

The AntMiner U1 is wonderfully low profile, unlike the previous Bitfury-based USB miners such as Ice Fury and TwinFury. It should be no problem to fit these guys into standard, powered USB hubs. They also feature very nice branding on the heat-sinks.

I’ve spent the past two weeks working with the author of bfgminer and have created a working driver for the AntMiner U1 in bfgminer. The driver will be included in a future release of bfgminer, but you can follow the steps below to start using the driver and your AntMiner U1 on OS X now!

Miner Installation

Because my driver code is not yet merged in with bfgminer, for the time being you will need to use a custom Homebrew formula that I have created that will build and install bfgminer from my forked repository. If you are interested in learning more about compiling (and even debugging) bfgminer under OS X, there is a thread here which covers those topics and more.

UPDATE: The AntMiner U1 driver is now merged into bfgminer. I’ve updated my instructions below to reflect this.

So we’ll get started by installing Homebrew and then use it to compile bfgminer from GitHub:

  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

The setup here is identical to the ASICMINER Block Erupter. Before mining you will need to install the CP210x USB to UART Bridge VCP driver from Silicon Labs found here.

Detection

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

bfgminer -d? -S antminer:all
[2014-01-12 13:53:50] Started bfgminer 3.9.0
[2014-01-12 13:53:51] Devices detected:
[2014-01-12 13:53:51] Device (driver=antminer; procs=1; path=/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the AntMiner U1 is detected you can start bfgminer using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

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

You can also over-clock the AntMiner U1 using bfgminer and the --set-device argument. It currently requires a hexadecimal value. You can reference the U1 documentation from BITMAINtech for a table of hex values and their corresponding clock rates:

bfgminer -S antminer:all --set-device antminer:clock=x0881 -o hostname -u username -p password

bfgminer AntMiner U1

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below or on this thread at the Bitcoin Talk forums. As always – happy mining!

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – NanoFury ASICs

Two new USB stick ASICs are arriving stateside and into the hands of many miners. One is the AntMiner U1, a 1.6 Gh/s USB ASIC from BITMAINtech. The other is Ice Fury, a 2 Gh/s USB ASIC based on the Open Source NanoFury design.

I am currently working on code for bfgminer to allow mining with the AntMiner U1 and will cover that in a future article. For now we’ll focus on the Ice Fury ASIC and what it takes to get these little devices mining under Mac OS X.

Ice-Fury

As you can see the manufacturers chose to go with a striking white design and a matching silver heat sink.

Miner Installation

As with both the HashBuster Micro and the Twinfury, Ice Fury is currently only supported by bfgminer. So, the first step is to install bfgminer on OS X. 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 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 either cgminer or bfgminer:
    brew install bfgminer

Driver Installation

Like the HashBuster Micro and Twinfury, the Ice Fury USB ASIC requires no installed kernel extension or driver.

Detection

After bfgminer is installed you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with bfgminer:

bfgminer -d?
[2014-01-07 20:14:16] Started bfgminer 3.9.0
[2014-01-07 20:14:17] Devices detected:
[2014-01-07 20:14:17] NanoFury NF1 v0.7 by Microchip Technology Inc. (driver=nanofury; procs=1; serial=0000096175; path=USB_04d8_00de_3a200000)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the Ice Fury stick is detected you can start bfgminer using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

bfgminer -o hostname -u username -p password

bfgminer Ice Fury

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

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Twinfury ASICs

The flood gates on Bitcoins ASIC miners is definitely open with more Bitfury-based devices hitting the streets. My last post on Bitfury based USB sticks covered the Bi•Fury ASIC miner. Bi•Fury packs dual 55nm Bitfury ASIC chips, a striking red design, and hashes at around 5 Gh/s.

The Twinfury USB miner, currently available from Minecoin.net, is another new USB ASIC based based on a dual 55nm Bitfury design.

Twinfury

Right away you will notice these devices have much larger heat-sinks than the Bi•Fury ASICs requiring 3x the clearance. However, this comes with noticeable benefits as the Twinfury hashes at half the temperature Bi•Fury: about 16C versus 38C in my tests. In addition the Twinfury USB stick includes a button for resetting the device without having to unplug it, a handy addition inherited from the Blue & Red Fury ASIC predecessors.

Now that we have a rundown on the features, let’s see what what we can do to get it hashing under OS X!

Miner Installation

As with the HashBuster Micro before it, the Twinfury is currently only supported by bfgminer. So, the first step is to install bfgminer on OS X. 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 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 --HEAD

Note: It is important that you use the --HEAD argument (two dashes prefix) until bfgminer 3.9.1 is released. This will install the miner using the latest source from Github which includes some fixes for Twinfury on OS X.

Driver Installation

Like the HashBuster Micro (and in contrast to the Bi•Fury) the Twinfury USB ASIC requires no installed kernel extension or driver.

Detection

After bfgminer is installed you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with bfgminer:

bfgminer -S twinfury:all -d?
[2013-12-28 00:58:45] Started bfgminer 3.9.0
[2013-12-28 00:58:48] Devices detected:
[2013-12-28 00:58:48] Device (driver=twinfury; procs=2; path=/dev/cu.usbmodem3a21)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the Twinfury stick is detected you can start bfgminer using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

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

Twinfury bfgminer

The red-and-green color scheme above is thanks to a small Christmas-themed update released by the bfgminer author just prior to the holidays. I’ve done similar things in my own software in the past and think it’s a nice touch.

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

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Bi•Fury ASICs

In my previous post on Bitfury based USB sticks I looked at the Blue Fury and Red Fury ASICs. Those sticks pack a single 55nm Bitfury ASIC chip and hash at between 2.2 and 3.0 Gh/s, depending on cooling and other factors.

The Bi•Fury stick (currently in stock) is another new USB ASIC based on the 55nm Bitfury chip. As the name implies, this new stick packs two chips instead of the Blue/Red Fury’s one and hashes at an advertised 5 Gh/s.

Bi•Fury

These devices are very professional and visually striking as far as USB miners go. They have a very nice red PCB and matching red heat-sink.

Let’s see what it takes to get mining with one of these under OS X!

Miner Installation

As with most previous ASICs, the first step is to install either bfgminer or cgminer on OS X (unlike the HashBuster Micro cgminer is perfectly capable of utilizing the Bi•Fury). 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 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 either cgminer or bfgminer:
    brew install bfgminer

Note: 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

The setup here is nearly identical to the Blue Fury and Red Fury sticks. Running bfgminer requires the correct kernel extension to be loaded in order to detect the Bi•Fury stick and cgminer will fail to detect the stick unless that same kernel extension is unloaded. As with the Blue and Red Fury sticks there is no driver or software to download. When using bfgminer the Apple Communication Device Class (CDC) driver will be used and 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 command:

sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC

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

sudo kextunload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC

Detection

With 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 bifury:all
[2013-12-19 01:53:26] Started bfgminer 3.8.1
[2013-12-19 01:53:29] Devices detected:
[2013-12-19 01:53:29] Device (driver=bifury; procs=2; path=/dev/cu.usbmodem5d11)
1 devices listed

or with cgminer:

cgminer -d?
[2013-12-19 01:52:12] Started cgminer 3.8.5
[2013-12-19 01:52:14] Devices detected:
[2013-12-19 01:52:14] 0. BXF 0 (driver: bitfury)
[2013-12-19 01:52:14] 1 devices listed

Mining

Once the Bi•Fury stick is detected you can start your preferred mining software using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

cgminer -o hostname -u username -p password

Bi*Fury cgminer

Note that using bfgminer requires an additional -S argument:

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

Bi*Fury bfgminer

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

Bitcoin Mining on Windows – MultiMiner

MultiMiner Icon
For the past eight months, I have been more than a little interested — and involved — in Bitcoin and Litecoin mining on Mac OS X. I have authored many how-to articles for Bitcoin and Litecoin mining. I also maintain several repositories for running popular mining software, cgminer and bfgminer, on OS X. I work closely with the authors of both projects ensuring that new builds are up-to-date and functional on OS X.

But I’ve been up to more than that in the world of crypto-currency. The truth is, if you want to do scrypt mining (the algorithm using by Litecoin) then you do not want to use a Mac. They may be okay to try this sort of thing out (and are fine for ASIC mining Bitcoins), but scrypt mining is very hard on a GPU and things get very hot very fast. Not only are you likely to damage your hardware, but you will never get the sort of hashing performance you get out of a purpose-built machine. The best way to go about things is to build an open-air Windows or Linux “rig” – which, being a geek, is exactly what I did:

Deepcore

To clear up the obvious questions:

  • Yes, it is almost more desk parts and zip ties than computer
  • Yes that is a dish rack and yes it does make things go faster
  • Yes, it is loud enough to be relegated to the storage room
  • Yes, I did name it Deepcore after the mining rig in The Abyss

It was a lot of fun to build. You can read about how to build them on sites such as coinminingrigs.com. But I quickly grew tired of using batch files to control the various mining devices in the mining rig I had created. And the more devices I added, and more coins I started to investigate, the more tedious it got.

What is MultiMiner?

The tagline for MultiMiner is “Your coins. Your pools. Your way.” MultiMiner was designed from the start with a very specific purpose in mind: to make it simple to use every mining capable device on a PC to mine any coin on any mining pool, and in any combination. No existing utility at the time (and to this day that I know of) made it simple to view all of the devices on a machine and then choose what coins to mine with them, mixing and matching as you please.

Work on MultiMiner began in June of 2013 and has evolved since then:

MultiMiner v1

MultiMiner Version 1.0

MultiMiner v2

MultiMiner Version 2.0

Over time, development has shifted from focusing solely on flexibility and control to including ease-of-use and integration in the design goals.

Let’s check out what MultiMiner looks like to the new Bitcoin miner on Windows.

Driver Installation

Depending on the mining devices you plan on using you will need one or more of the following drivers installed:

There are several things to note here:

  1. The BF1.INF file for the Red & Blue Fury sticks is currently unsigned. The newer your version of Windows (up to 8.1), the harder it will be to install. I have been assured it is just a standard USB device driver (it contains no DLL or DRV). But you will have to take specific steps depending on your version of Windows to get the driver installed (Google helps here).
  2. The HashBuster Micro “driver” is actual a utility called Zadig that registers the standard WinUSB driver for a selected device. By running the utility you can select your HashBuster Micro device and register the driver with a click.
  3. From what I understand, the older AMD drivers work better for scrypt mining. Ultimately you want to use something like Catalyst 12.8, but this may or may not be reasonable depending on whether your mining rig is dedicated.

Miner Installation

You can download the latest version of MultiMiner from releases.multiminerapp.com. For the adventurous (and my coding colleagues) you can also download the source from source.multiminerapp.com and compile it yourself in the free Visual Studio 2013 Express for Desktop. You can use either the standard Windows installer (created with the wonderful Inno Setup) or just download and extract the zip file.

MultiMiner Installer

From there you can launch either the Desktop shortcut or executable file directly.

Getting Started

Initially MultiMiner was created to allow the user maximum control over each individual mining device. Focus on the new user began with version 1.1 which introduced — among other things — a Getting Started wizard:

Getting Started

The wizard walks the user through downloading dependencies such as bfgminer, choosing a virtual currency, setting up a mining pool, and enabling special features such as smart phone monitoring (utilizing the MobileMiner API) and exchange rate integration (utilizing the Coinbase API).

Downloading and Installing Bfgminer

The wizard was designed to help the new miner get up-and-going but is totally optional. All of the options within the Getting Started wizard can be accessed using the toolbar and context menus within the main application.

Hardware Detection

MultiMiner uses the underlying mining engine (bfgminer) to detect available mining devices and then presents an interface for selecting individual coins to mine.

Brief View

You can use the Scan Hardware context menu (when not mining) to detect any newly available mining hardware and the context menu for each individual mining device to select a configured coin.

Mining

MultiMiner has two primary modes of mining. You can right-click on each device and use its context menu to assign a coin (multi-select works as well). Or you can enable “Automatic mining” based on profitability data from either the CoinChoose API or the CoinWarz API.

Configure Strategies

The mining strategies also let you to automate setups where slower PCs will automatically mine the lowest difficulty coin any any given time, or mine based on straight price versus profitability.

Open Source

MultiMiner is an Open Source C# project released under the permissive MIT license. The source code is broken into individual assemblies that are documented in the README.md on GitHub. There is also a sample project available on GitHub that illustrates how to use the assemblies and classes to mine Bitcoins.

Conclusion

There is definitely more in store for MultiMiner. The application already runs well on OS X and Linux using Mono, but I plan on creating native UIs for those platforms in Qt rather than using the current WinForms UI (which will remain for Windows).

MultiMiner Linux

There are also plans on splitting the core application into a CLI / service application and then a UI front-end.

Finally, I plan on making MultiMiner intranet-aware, allowing a single instance to detect and control other running instances on the local network (you can currently use MobileMiner to achieve a similar setup).

If you have any feedback or issues please use the forums at talk.multiminerapp.com as this will give others a chance to help as well.

As always: happy mining!

Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – HashBuster ASICs

Another new ASIC is hitting the streets based on the same 55nm Bitfury ASIC chip found in the Blue & Red Fury USB sticks. This new board, known as the HashBuster Micro, packs nine of the chips found on the Bitfury USB sticks, clocking in at around 23 Gh/s once it is setup and hashing. And, like the previous ASICs I’ve looked at, with a small amount of work is is a wonderful Bitcoin hasher under Mac OS X.

Hashbuster-Clothed

Hardware Purchase

The HashBuster Micro board is available from HashBuster.com for 1 BTC, but is currently sold out. You can also purchase them from the Eligius mining pool store. They are 0.86 BTC and ship very quickly (I had mine in four days).

Hardware Preparation

Now this may either be a turn off or a draw for you, but either way: the HashBuster Micro does require a small amount of hardware DIY before it will be ready to mine. What comes in the box is the PCB board, a barrel plug for power (with bare wires at the end), and a USB cable. There is no fan, no heat-sinks, and you will need to work out how to get power to the board. Here is the board as it comes in the box:

Hashbuster-Naked

So you’ll want to purchase at least one 80mm fan, either a single CPU heat sink or a pack of mosfet head sinks, and a 12 volt, 5 amp power brick (if you do not have one). Here’s a quick order list from Amazon:

Miner Installation

Unlike the ASICMINER Block Erupters and Red/Blue Fury USB sticks, the HashBuster Micro is currently only supported by bfgminer. So, the first step is to install bfgminer on OS X. There are several ways to go about this, from compiling bfgminer yourself, to using Homebrew, to downloading a precompiled binary.

There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums which discusses various ways to install 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 bfgminer

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

Unlike the ASICMiner Block Erupters and Bitfury USB sticks, the HashBuster Micro requires no installed kernel extension or driver. Woo-hoo!

Detection

Once you have the proper Bitcoin mining software installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with bfgminer:

bfgminer -d?
[2013-12-10 10:07:35] Started bfgminer 3.8.1
[2013-12-10 10:07:38] Devices detected:
[2013-12-10 10:07:38] HashBuster.micro Project by HashBuster for Eligius.st (driver=hashbusterusb; procs=9; serial=180000005298AB36; path=usb:093:002)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the HashBuster Micro is detected you can fire up bfminer using the -o, -u and -p arguments to start hashing away:

bfgminer -o hostname -u username -p password

Hashbuster-Hashing

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

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!

Cryptocoin Mining on Mac OS X – Wallet Backups

If you’ve taken cryptocoin mining beyond the hobby stages, you probably have at least one digital wallet on your system – possibly several. What happens if your OS were to crash? If you were to reinstall? Where would your accumulated cryptocurrency be?

Gone.

It is very important that you backup the private keys that secure your digital wallet so that you can restore them at a later time. Otherwise the keys required to claim ownership of your coins will be gone forever. It is also important that you backup your wallets regularly. It is not enough to backup your keys just once. See this entry on securing the bitcoind wallet for more details.

So what steps can you take on Mac OS X to keep your wallets backed up? Luckily OS X comes with several tools that help along the way. Additionally, the Unix foundation of OS X allows us to fall back on some time-tested solutions for this project.

Step One – Create an Encrypted Disk Image

Step one will be to create an encrypted disk image used to store the wallet.dat backups. This is what Steve Gibson refers to as “Pre-Internet Encryption” – encrypting important data before backing it up to the Web.

  1. Launch Disk Utility from the Applications folder
  2. Click New Image
  3. Save the image somewhere that is itself backed up (e.g. Dropbox or Wuala)
  4. For the name, specify Wallet Backups (so that the below scripts match)
  5. For Encryption, select either 128 or 256 (256 is more secure and should be plenty fast for this)
  6. Click Create

New Disk Image

Step Two – Create a Backup Script

Now that we have a secure place to store wallet backups, the next step is to create a script that will do the grunt-work. Namely it should mount the encrypted disk image, backup any wallet.dat files (we could have Bitcoin, Litecoin, and who knows what other digital wallets – get them all), and then unmount the encrypted image.

We can do all of this with Automator and a couple of shell scripts.

  1. Launch Automator from the Applications folder
  2. Select Application and click Choose
  3. Add a Get Specified Finder Items action
  4. Select the DMG file created in Step One
  5. Add a Mount Disk Image action
  6. Add a Run Shell Script action and enter:
    cd ~/Library/Application Support && rsync -R ./*/wallet.dat /Volumes/Wallet Backups/
  7. Add another Run Shell Script action and enter:
    diskutil unmount /Volumes/Wallet Backups/
  8. Click File, Save
  9. Save as BackupWallets.app in Applications

Complete Automator Application

Step Three – Schedule the Backup

Armed with encrypted storage and a backup script, the only thing left is to schedule the backup. The Unix foundation of OS X means we can do this by editing the system crontab, a configuration file that specifies the commands to run for cron, the Unix job scheduler.

  1. Launch Terminal from the Applications folder
  2. Enter the following and press Return:
    export EDITOR=nano && crontab -e
  3. Enter the following into the nano editor:
    # backup wallets at midnight every Sunday
    0 0 * * 0 open /Applications/BackupWallets.app
  4. Type Ctrl+X, Y, Return

crontab

Conclusion

And we’re done. You can check your disk image each Sunday after midnight to ensure that your wallets have been backed up. You can also run the BackupWallets.app application to backup your wallets on-demand.