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Author Topic: [ANN] FutureBit MoonLander: A Modern and Efficient Scrypt USB Stick Miner!  (Read 29957 times)
jstefanop
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November 13, 2015, 10:13:27 PM
 #1

UPDATE: 3/16/16

Batch 2 sales are now open, instructions are here please direct all ordering questions etc there: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1256818.0

I have added the support/instruction thread info from litecointalk on the post below, since those forums are down.

---------------------------

I have been working on a USB Stick Miner for the scrypt community after being inspired by Sidehack's SHA stick efforts, and am proud to announce the miner is almost ready for production!

You can read the original announcement over at litecointalk here (I will be monitoring/updating both threads though): https://litecointalk.org/index.php?topic=28193.0

I have about 50 units accounted for, and will need about another 50 to officially open up batch one sales (I have enough chips to make a couple hundred of them). If your interested just post below with possible number you would buy (no hard commitments yet just need to gauge interests before opening this up officially!).

Details below

--------------------------

FutureBit MoonLander!


(note this is the prototype board and not the final design, but it will be very similar)

I have been working on this for the past month after I acquired the remaining stock of the AlcheMist chips for my work with improving the stock 256MH miners and BFGMiner port. My goals for this stick miner was to make the most efficient possible miner with this chip, simplest to use for new people getting into mining, and also offer lots of tinkering/playing with for old time miners. I managed to push efficiency from around 10w/mh that the big miners were producing to just a bit over 5w/mh for this stick miner which was a pretty cool feat!

Specs(these are REAL stats from working prototype board):

- 400kh to 1.2mh performance per miner
- uses about 5w/mh for most of that range
- fully customizable core voltage range from .7 - 1.1v
- Really efficient 5v->core voltage stage with about 95% efficiency
- Heavy duty/over speced parts were used to ensure wide range of operation (this thing can put out 20amps if you wanted to push it that far)
- status LEDs for power, TX and RX transmission
- uses latest bfgminer 5.4 for control
- Will work with all Mac OS, Linux, and Windows based PCs (and I will be offering easy to use pre-compiled binaries)

Speed will obviously depend on how you run this. They can simply be plugged into any USB port and you'll be good to go, but how much power they draw depends on your USB port. USB2(most standard USB ports) are limited to 500ma, so about 400-500kh speed. USB3 can go up to about 1A which can get you near 1mh. Anything beyond that you will need a powered USB hub.

No fan will be needed for anything under 500kh operation (about 100-200mhz)...anything above that as long as you have some sort of airflow over the heatsink it will be enough (I had a 600 rpm fan blowing on it when it was pushing 15 watts and it was fine).


Production/Ordering:

This is all preliminary, but the design is done  and can start producing these whenever, but I would like to create a single batch to offer the lowest price. I have enough chips to make a couple hundred of these. Obviously the more I make the lower the cost it will be, its too early to say exactly how much but I estimate somewhere in the $25-40 range per stick. I can also tweak the final production version based on what you guys want..I can change things like PCB color, backside heatsink color, silk screen color etc. I probably won't be able to do individual customization but I will most likely make a poll and see what most of you prefer.

So here is how things will go for ordering

- if your interested just post here on how many you would want
- once batch size is determined I will figure final price and ask all those who want one to send a small 1-2 LTC deposit (this is just to make sure you will really buy one once batch is produced)
- ill place order for PCB and components and start assembly this should take about two weeks
- once sticks are ready to ship ill collect final amount and ship out!
- LTC will be required for purchase (I'm all about building up LTC and USING it, takes 5 minutes to buy LTC these day and it benefits everyone)
- this should take under a month from start to finish...depending on how quickly the batch is filled up.
- if batch ends up not being produced for whatever reason, or I can't ship out your stick miner the small deposit will be refunded (the only reason it won't be refunded is if you end up saying you want one I produce your stick miner then you end up not paying final price/wanting it. This is not a preorder so I'm the one taking the risk and ordering thousands worth of parts on my dime, the small deposit is to make sure your serious about buying one).


I have a few prototype units I want to send out for review so some people can test them out other than me. Id like to chose one person from this forum and one from bitcointalk so if you have reviewed stuff in the past and are interested let me know and I can send them out next week! (if you know people from any big crypto blog site it would help as well).


Spread the word!

www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
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November 13, 2015, 10:13:41 PM
 #2

Now that Im finally shipping the sticks its time to get your rigs ready software wise for them and have an official support point for the sticks. This post will be split in two main sections, one software to go over bfgminer downloads/running etc, and one for the actual hardware instructions.

Before I get started a big THANKS to all of you for making this possible. Its been a fun ride building the software and hardware from ground up for them, and I hope I've added a bit to the Litecoin community and hopefully get a few new miners interested in what Litecoin is all about with these!



SOFTWARE:

BFGMINER 5.4.0 Install

I have built a native bfgminer driver for these with support for all of bfgminer’s bells and whistles. All three major systems are supported so you can mine these one whatever flavor of Windows, Linux, or Macs you want!

The driver is open sourced and available in the link below if you want to compile it yourself from the source (which you will have to for linux anyway). I have provided pre-built binaries for Windows and Mac that will work with just one click on a startup script for ease of use.

Driver Repo: https://github.com/jstefanop/bfgminer/tree/futurebit_driver

You will also need to install the latest version of Silicon Labs VPC drivers for Win/Mac OS links below.

UPDATE: Dropbox links not working for some reason here is alternative download: https://mega.nz/#F!NxgyWJhD!5Hhc5ikRYEVQHyeovQa-QQ

Windows VPC Driver: https://www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/Software/CP210x_VCP_Windows.zip

Mac OS VPC Driver: https://www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/Software/Mac_OSX_VCP_Driver.zip

Windows pre-built binaries: compatible with XP/7/8/10
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1izgcftaxgqmx99/BFgminer-FutureBit-5.4-win32.zip?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qn63pkae2pdlulm/BFgminer-FutureBit-5.4--win64.zip?dl=0

Mac pre-built binary: compatible with most 64 bit Macs with Mac OS 10.9 or later
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xxkp307ejjdy3qo/BFGminer-5.4-FutureBit-mac64%20.zip?dl=0

Linux: Easiest way to install with linux is to compile the source directly. Detailed instructions below
Install required dependancies (make sure you copy and paste the whole lines since the code is cut off and need to scroll to select all of it)


Code:
sudo apt-get install build-essential autoconf automake libtool pkg-config libcurl4-gnutls-dev libjansson-dev uthash-dev libncurses5-dev libudev-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libevent-dev
(i think thats all of them let me know if i missed one)

clone repo

Code:
git clone --branch futurebit_driver https://github.com/jstefanop/bfgminer.git

configure and make


Code:
cd bfgminer
./autogen.sh
./configure CFLAGS=-O3 --enable-scrypt --enable-futurebit --disable-other-drivers
sudo make

If it complains about missing libraries you might need to

Code:
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Running:

Once you have installed the drivers and bfgminer just plug in the miner to a USB port and double click on the Start_Moonlander file on your Mac/PC. The driver will auto-detect the board and start hashing at the default frequency.

Just edit that same file with a text editor to change pools, add bfgminer options, and change frequency. You can also use the -c flag and load it with your own config file.

For linux just run the full bfgminer command below to start it up or create your own similar scrypt

Code:
./bfgminer --scrypt -o stratum+tcp://us.litecoinpool.org:3333 -u jstefanop.1 -p 1,d=8 -S MLD:all --set MLD:clock=144

(you might need to run it as sudo if it complains about permission issues)

Keep in mind that most "ASIC" ports won't work with this miner, since it hashes at the same speed as GPUs from back in the day. So it will take forever to find a share. These can run fine at the lowest difficulty most pools offer which is 16. Just make sure you connecte to a var diff port or one that offers a fixed difficulty of 128 or lower.

Frequency:

The MoonLander can run on a very wide range of speed and efficiency, and leaves a lot of tuning up to you guys. Make sure you read up on the Hardware section below where I go more in-depth on frequency and voltage tuning.

The Moonlander has a default frequency setting of 144mhz, and can range from 104mhz to 400mhz.

To change the frequency just edit the number after —set MLD:clock= in the startup scrypt. You cant just put any number you want in there, otherwise it will default to base 104mhz. Between 104-200 mhz you can set the frequency to any number that is a multiple of 8, so 104, 112, 120 are all valid frequencies.

Between 200-400 mhz you can use any number that is a multiple of 16, so 256, 320 etc are all valid.

I don't recommend going past 352 Mhz on these unless you have really good cooling, as they get really unstable past the frequency and need to turn up voltage past 1v.


HARDWARE:

The Moonlander consists of a single Scrypt ASIC at its core that operates between 300kh/s to 1MH/s and consumes between 2-10 watts of power.

The ASIC is powered by an adjustable DC-DC buck supply that can output between .7v to 1.1v of core voltage, and is adjustable by turning the onboard potentiometer.

It also features communication LEDs so you can visually see whats going on with the board. The red LED flashes when communication is being sent to the ASIC, and the yellow LED flashes when the ASIC is responding. Lots of yellow flashes is a good thing, it usually means the ASIC has found a share Smiley

The board is mounted to the heatsink with a strong thermal adhesive, since this ASIC is designed to dissipate heat through its bottom side. The heatsink is “oversized” for the heat output of the ASIC, but its recommended you always have some sort of airflow over the heatsink fins when its running especially for frequencies over 144 Mhz. You could get away with no airflow if your running it under 144 Mhz. Make sure you touch the heatsink after a few minutes of running...the heatsinks should feel warm to the touch, if they feel really hot you need a stronger fan (if you have a IR temp gun check the top of the ASIC it should not be any hotter than 80C).

Below is a visual of the board for reference (note this is a prototype board but the layout is the same as the production boards).



Voltage Adjustment:

You adjust the voltage by turning the Pot clockwise or counterclockwise with a fine flat head or philips screwdriver. This pot is VERY sensitive, the whole .7-1.1v range is within HALF a turn. You must do micro adjustments if you want to do very fine tuning. For example going from .75 - .8 v might take as little as a little torque pressure on the screwdriver even if you don't feel it actually twist.

Make sure you have place the stick horizontal and the USB end is facing LEFT (ie you can read FutureBit Moonlander normally on the board).

To turn the voltage UP turn the pot CLOCKWISE, to turn it DOWN, COUNTERCLOCKWISE.

DONT keep turning the POT, it has no stop and if you go past its lowest or highest setting you could break it.

To check the voltage use a multimeter and contact the ground wire to any of the exposed terminals on the output capacitors (circled and labeled ground in the picture), and the positive wire to the terminals on the other side (circled and labeled VCORE). Be extra careful not to short anything as a single short anywhere on the board while its powered will most likely fry it.

The sticks are shipped to you guys with the voltage setting at around .75v, which is good for USB 2 power draw and can hash up to around 200mhz stable.

I would NOT recommend going past 1v, anything in the 1-1.1v range will most likely reduce the lifetime of the ASIC and you will need a strong fan to keep it properly cooled pushing air over the heatsink.

Tuning:

Now to the fun part. Your goals here can vary from trying to get the absolute maximum hash rate (at the expense of power), to the absolute lowest hasrate/watt, or find a nice sweet spot.

Tuning any switching transistor based processing unit revolves around supplying enough current so the transistors on the chips actually switch on and off correctly within their cycle times.

The higher the frequency or “switching time” the less time a transistor has to “charge” so you need more current (ie turn up the voltage). If these requirements are not met the transistors don't function properly and you have what you know as a “Hardware Error”

So if you lets say leave the stick at its stock .75 volt setting and try to run it at 300mhz, it will either not start, or it will produce almost 100% hardware errors. So you need to gradually dial up the core voltage until these errors are reduce to a good level.

To get started what you need to know is the optimal hash rate the ASIC will operate at for a given frequency. This ASIC has 54 cores and assuming all cores are active (you might have a couple dead cores which is acceptable) the optimal hash rate is:

2.77 KH/s per Mhz

So lets say your running at 208 Mhz, under ideal conditions the stick will operate at 208 * 2.77 = 576 KH/s

This is the target hash rate for a given frequency, and you can adjust the core voltage to meet that.

Keep in mind “zero” hardware errors isn't always the best setting. If your getting a hardware error it does not necessarily mean your missing out on valid shares. A good reference point is to keep HW errors to under 5%, and after running for at least an hour if you see that your hash rate is indeed 5% below target level then you know that your under tuned and need to bring up the voltage a bit.

You can also do voltage adjustment “live” by setting the difficulty really low at your pool so you submit at least a share every second or so. You can then turn the pot up and down and watch the hardware errors as you adjust the voltage in real time.

I think that covers the basic and hope you guys have fun with these!


Ill post up FAQs etc below and edit this post as you guys start playing with them and have questions.


FAQ:

Q:Why does my X hub does not work with my Moonlanders?
Most USB 2.0 and a lot of 3.0 powered USB hubs will NOT work with these sticks. Powered USB hubs need to meet two requirements to reliably support the high current these sticks draw. First they need to have a clean high quality power supply that can output at least 1A PER port. To run the sticks at full speed you need at least 2A per port. Second they need to comply with USB standards which ALOT of cheap HUBs don't...which causes a lot of EMI issues and disconnects. Unfortunately its trial and error to figure this out, but from my testing Anker 3.0 USB hubs seems to work fine under Windows and Mac, and the Superbpag 7 port hubs seems to be the best for this type of application and provides lots of power per port and works under all three OSes.

Q: Bfgminer detects my moonlander but nothing happens when it connects to my pool
Don't forget that even though this is a very powerful scrypt miner for its size, its still "slow" when compared to other ASICS which most pools are optimized for these days. Some pools have a scrypt difficulty default of 256 or higher, in which case it could take several minutes for your moonlander to find a share. So it might seem like its not working. For best results set your diff to 128 or lower, contact your pool operator for what diffs they have set for each port.

Q: Can I run my moonlander without a fan?
You can probably get away with no fan on the lowest voltage setting and below 144mhz frequency. I would still not recommend this and you should have at least a small light fan blowing over the fins to make sure it wont overheat. Higher frequencies will require more airflow, and make sure the airflow is blowing parallel with the heatsink fins. If the heatsink is too hot to touch (above 50C) then its running too hot.

Q: How do I know which stick is which under bfgminer?
Each stick is hardcoded with a unique serial number, which can be displayed by pressing "M" in bfgminer then scrolling through the list of sticks which will show each serial number(the serial number is also visible in Device Manager etc). You can physically write the last 3 digits somewhere on the stick to easily identify it.

Q: What frequencies can I set my moonlander?
The moonlander supports any frequency between 104mhz to 400mhz in multiples of 8. If its not a multiple of 8 the frequency will default to 104. You can change the frequency by editing the Start_Moonlander.bat under windows or .sh file under Mac and editing the number after "--set MLD:clock="

Q: How can I set frequency to a particular stick in a mutistick setup under bfgminer?
If you want to specify frequencies for each individual miners you can point which frequency gets set to which miner by changing the global --set MLD:clock=144
to --set MLD@/dev/ttyUSB0:clock=320  (note I haven't really tested if you can keep the global option and lets say just set one stick to a different frequency...if you do it this way you might have to specify frequencies for each miner port individually even if some of them are the same, since the global option might override individual frequencies).

So if you have two sticks and want two different frequencies your options might look like this:

Code:
./bfgminer --scrypt -o stratum+tcp://us.litecoinpool.org:3333 -u jstefanop.1 -p 1,d=16 -S MLD:/dev/ttyUSB0 -S MLD:/dev/ttyUSB1 --set MLD@/dev/ttyUSB0:clock=320 --set MLD@/dev/ttyUSB1:clock=304

www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
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November 13, 2015, 10:14:33 PM
 #3

Possible heatsinks just came in! They are 24x65mm probably a bit overkill and final ones will most likely be around 50mm in length. These things keep it under 55c with natural cooling (no fan) up to around 500kh.




www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
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November 13, 2015, 10:40:32 PM
 #4

Hey, this seems very interesting indeed!

I'm an altcoin miner (Only GPU's) but i'm open to try new things and this seems to be ideal for that.

If possible i would like to buy 2-3 to start with.

I'm european. I hope that's not an issue Smiley


Thx

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November 13, 2015, 11:06:26 PM
 #5

Hey, this seems very interesting indeed!

I'm an altcoin miner (Only GPU's) but i'm open to try new things and this seems to be ideal for that.

If possible i would like to buy 2-3 to start with.

I'm european. I hope that's not an issue Smiley


Thx

Worldwide deliveries will be fine, once official sales open Ill have to coordinate a single shipment to each continent to keep shipping costs down for you guys. Of course ill need trustworthy people to handle this.

www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
LTC:LX5vpxrQE4eLRLPobKwZhw2comkKFCh3p4 - BTC:14w9Lea6kdVzspJk8TQRe7qSYu9LhzJJsh
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November 13, 2015, 11:12:42 PM
 #6

Hey, this seems very interesting indeed!

I'm an altcoin miner (Only GPU's) but i'm open to try new things and this seems to be ideal for that.

If possible i would like to buy 2-3 to start with.

I'm european. I hope that's not an issue Smiley


Thx

Worldwide deliveries will be fine, once official sales open Ill have to coordinate a single shipment to each continent to keep shipping costs down for you guys. Of course ill need trustworthy people to handle this.

Understandable, pm me when you're ready to take order/ship.

Thx

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November 13, 2015, 11:29:41 PM
 #7

Keeping an eye on this. Might be interested in a couple  Wink

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November 14, 2015, 08:10:37 AM
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me too depending on price
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November 14, 2015, 08:30:04 AM
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Nice work!
I am interested in 3 units for a start if the price is reasonable.

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November 15, 2015, 10:19:11 AM
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Excellent work. Finally something for scrypt.
Many coin needs of smaller miners.
Interest is big at such a reasonable price.

I can not wait to see the final version.
I hope that it will not supply problems in the EU.


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November 15, 2015, 05:00:46 PM
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This is what we all like to see... the community customizing their own hardware.  Thanks for doing this, scrypt is very important for continued success of crypto.  Will be very interested when ready.
I'm interested initially in 4 or 5 dependent on price.
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November 16, 2015, 08:45:43 PM
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I'm interested in one, depending on the price of the unit and shipping.
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November 17, 2015, 12:44:39 AM
 #13

I'm interested in one, depending on the price of the unit and shipping.

Im working on pricing for parts suppliers right now...should have something more concrete in the next few days.

www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
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November 17, 2015, 01:01:08 AM
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I'll go 3.
Just let us know a rough estimate on price.
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November 17, 2015, 03:22:34 AM
 #15

id be interested in a few as well once you start taking orders. keep me posted on the progress

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November 17, 2015, 06:18:58 PM
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Very cool, have you taken a look at sfards chips since they have made them available?

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November 17, 2015, 07:15:39 PM
 #17

Very cool, have you taken a look at sfards chips since they have made them available?

Yes but the SFARD chips are 20x20mm BGA package that consume at least 25 watts and just the chip cost is 30 bucks....not very USB stick friendly chip lol.

www.AriseChickun.com 0% fee segwit signaling Litecoin Pool!
FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB Scrypt Stick Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2125643.0
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November 17, 2015, 07:32:14 PM
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Very cool, have you taken a look at sfards chips since they have made them available?

Yes but the SFARD chips are 20x20mm BGA package that consume at least 25 watts and just the chip cost is 30 bucks....not very USB stick friendly chip lol.
That is true, now I know this is these are built off the alcheminer chips but I wonder how much will carry over for Innosilicons A4 chip, 1.2w/mhs but 3.6w  a chip (3mh/s)Sorry about talking about future ideas while you're still working on this but I am very interested in the ideas of these scrypt stick miners!

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November 18, 2015, 06:19:48 AM
 #19

Very cool, have you taken a look at sfards chips since they have made them available?

Yes but the SFARD chips are 20x20mm BGA package that consume at least 25 watts and just the chip cost is 30 bucks....not very USB stick friendly chip lol.
That is true, now I know this is these are built off the alcheminer chips but I wonder how much will carry over for Innosilicons A4 chip, 1.2w/mhs but 3.6w  a chip (3mh/s)Sorry about talking about future ideas while you're still working on this but I am very interested in the ideas of these scrypt stick miners!

Yes it will be very easy to adapt this design to a new chip! Unfortunately the A4 is at least 4-6 months out.

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rgm108
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November 18, 2015, 02:02:25 PM
 #20

I will gladly order 2-4 depending on the price.

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