I have been playing with Bitcoin for a while now. When I say playing, I mean I have purchased a few Bitcoins on the Mt Gox exchange and have followed the market through its highs and lows making the occasional ill-timed buy or sell.
I note that the Mt Gox exchange is actually quite expensive to trade through but given that it is the biggest of all exchanges then I will stick with them for now. It takes quite some time, about five days, and effort to get money into an exchange. The transfer is also quite expensive, costing me around $60 to get the money to Japan where Mt Gox is based. At this point, I have acquired up to 10 Bitcoin and have made my expenses back along with very small profit (around $100).
More recently I began mining using the Bitminter.com pool site. Initially I started using the Bitminter java applet on my laptop with GPU mining – that is, using the graphics processor on my laptop to perform the mining operation. I have read that dedicated hardware is a little faster but much less power intensive than GPU mining. In my initial tests, that would certainly seem to be the case. I ran the Bitminter applet on my laptop which has a dedicated Nvidia graphics card and that seemed to run the laptop very hot.
I have now purchased a USB Block Eruptor which i connected to the laptop and while the laptop ran much cooler – much less need for a fan – the block eruptor heats up very quickly. Just one or two minor burns from users of the laptop!
Knowing this was just an experiment, I also knew that running the miner on the laptop long term istn’t really viable. The laptop needs to be used regularly for work and I travel alot so there would be plenty of time that the laptop would not be powered up. Additonally the miner would likely be blocked at any corporate site I attended – not to mention unethical to use someone elses network for mining purposes. I needed a better solution.
I have been interested in Raspberry Pi recently and purchased some time ago the model A. It took me a while to get it going – another article some time – but had been trapped by not providing enough power to the device. Having found a suitable power supply, a former mobile phone charger that produces at least .7A, I am able to power up the Raspi.
Allegedly the block eruptor is much more efficient, however they still consume quite a bit of power. I found a blog where four block erupters had been acquired through a purchasing pool and connected to a powered up and running through Windows 7. The blogger had written about using the Kill-a-watt tool to find its power consumption – about 4w per erupter. With power consumption in mind and Raspi’s limited ability to supply USB ports with sufficient power I have purchased a cheap powered USB hub.
Today I connected the block eruptor to the USB powered hub, installed CGMiner on the Raspberry Pi and connected to the Bitminter mining pool.
GPU mining: 7 MH/s
Block eruptor: 336 MH/s
|Personal Assets||Balance||Unconfirmed||Future||Expected per block|