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Author Topic: Swedish ASIC miner company kncminer.com  (Read 3008550 times)
Mattzees
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December 07, 2015, 06:39:55 PM
 #41761

**EDIT** I stand corrected. Tried sniffing the cables. Looks like building a software solution will be possible, unfortunately, speed would be the problem.

In scrypt, on work restarts I think theres some compute heavy "higher level" of the algo that gets calculated prior to dispatching the jobs to the ASIC itself. Perhaps, this is what the controller is tasked with and does it a lot faster then a pi could.


It does this faster than a Pi could, but what about a netbook or a regular PC?  Even if those were not as fast as the FPGA, would they be sufficiently fast to eliminate the controller?  Currently, if your controller goes down, your Titan is dead.  There are no replacement controllers available.

Someone on Ebay is trying to sell a controller for $900.  For less than half of that, I could buy a netbook or SBC for each cube and be done with it.
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December 07, 2015, 06:45:54 PM
 #41762

**EDIT** I stand corrected. Tried sniffing the cables. Looks like building a software solution will be possible, unfortunately, speed would be the problem.

In scrypt, on work restarts I think theres some compute heavy "higher level" of the algo that gets calculated prior to dispatching the jobs to the ASIC itself. Perhaps, this is what the controller is tasked with and does it a lot faster then a pi could.


It does this faster than a Pi could, but what about a netbook or a regular PC?  Even if those were not as fast as the FPGA, would they be sufficiently fast to eliminate the controller?  Currently, if your controller goes down, your Titan is dead.  There are no replacement controllers available.

Someone on Ebay is trying to sell a controller for $900.  For less than half of that, I could buy a netbook or SBC for each cube and be done with it.

Yeah, I guess a decent netbook would maybe be enough compute power to do the job, but I would only use one as a backup and leave the controller on the titan till the controller dies.

GenTarkin's MOD Kncminer Titan custom firmware! v1.0.4! <--- CLICK HERE
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December 07, 2015, 06:51:33 PM
 #41763


Yeah, I guess a decent netbook would maybe be enough compute power to do the job, but I would only use one as a backup and leave the controller on the titan till the controller dies.



I would use one netbook/SBC for each cube, and then be able to place the cubes wherever I wanted, without worrying about heating/cooling/power, etc.

FYI- what you're saying about the FPGA doing some algo prep work makes sense.  I have cubes that will not function properly when connected to the controller with other cubes, but if they are the only cube connected to the controller, they work really well.
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December 07, 2015, 06:52:54 PM
 #41764

It's not about bandwidth (I mentioned bus to refer to protocols and speed). Speed IS a factor here when dealing with an ASIC that has it's performance rely on speed. You don't think your miner would hash faster if the program that was feeding it work was on the controller board rather than your PC? I mean, it's a micro improvement but that's all it takes sometimes. It's about the microcontroller on the controller board. This is how companies keep hardware closed down so that they control the flow. Any ASIC, any FPGA. It's how we do things.

I suppose you could leak all the cables and just get obscure information, but that's slow and may not result to anything if everything is encrypted (knowing KnC, they would encrypt it). It would be much easier to reverse engineer a chip that we know the schematics on. I've been working on exploiting the cyclone on the board with some overflows and some old techniques, but i'll need some more time. Like I said, it's nothing like the old Cyclone chips.

**EDIT** I stand corrected. Tried sniffing the cables. Looks like building a software solution will be possible, unfortunately, speed would be the problem.

Hi qberty, I have been thinking about your bridge connector problem and it sounds very similar to the bad electrolytic capacitor problem I had on 2 cubes. Both caps went bad after power related issues. One was a power failure, the other was a burnt Y connector.

I am not saying this is the solution to your problem, but replacing the big electrolytic cap might be something to consider and a heck of a lot cheaper if it works
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December 07, 2015, 07:00:02 PM
 #41765


Yeah, I guess a decent netbook would maybe be enough compute power to do the job, but I would only use one as a backup and leave the controller on the titan till the controller dies.



I would use one netbook/SBC for each cube, and then be able to place the cubes wherever I wanted, without worrying about heating/cooling/power, etc.

FYI- what you're saying about the FPGA doing some algo prep work makes sense.  I have cubes that will not function properly when connected to the controller with other cubes, but if they are the only cube connected to the controller, they work really well.
Wow, ur willing to run 1 netbook per cube!? thats a significant expense LOL! Isnt there a way to multiplex the cubes for a single netbook somehow?

Another note, if you can figure out how to reverse engineer those signals, and get at least work submission working to the cubes , we would need the "ASIC metadata"(such as clocks & voltages) sniffed and figured out as well. With that, we could set the speed to anything we wanted =) ... the 350mhz overclock, for those who wanna burn their cubes and PSU's ... that will become a reality =)

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December 07, 2015, 07:03:44 PM
 #41766

Heads up to everyone. Im not sure if I posted this news yet in the thread.
I have come across a very serious "overlook" on KNC's part(in addition to you know... no fan fail protection, no DCDC overcurrent-overheat protection, etc... LOL!). It was wreaking havoc on my "Energy Saver" algo & confusing the crap outta Titans who had their cubes switched around / removed & added etc....
The problem was, the configuration file which holds the data for clocks & volts was never properly cleaned up when cubes were removed or added or switched spots on the controller. This lead to "ghost" entries being left in the config file.
So, as a fix and for my next release, The firmware will now update the config file w/ the current running settings of the cubes attached(each time the monitoring script is restarted) to the controller, hence removing the "ghost" entries being left in the config file.

Im also not sure if everyone is aware of this... but clocks & volts are bound to the ports on the controller, they ARE NOT bound to the cubes themselves. So, if you move a cube to a different slot, u would have to change the clocks & volts accordingly on the advanced page.

EDIT: just had an idea, if theres a way to identify each cube uniquely like a serial number or something, via code then.... a future feature may indeed be tracking per cube clock/die configurations!!!! That would be exciting.
IE, a pi would remember which cube was plugged in where and what the clocks & volts were for it, then if the pi senses that cube moved or plugged in again at some future point then it would set the clock & voltages it was last configured with. But, if theres no unique identification per cube then...this wont be doable. Time to research a bit =)

EDIT: FOUND IT! .... the eeprom has what looks like a unique serial number for each cube. This could be used to keep track of per cube volts/clocks =) so they would be bound to cubes. New SN's would default to default clocks / voltages.

GenTarkin's MOD Kncminer Titan custom firmware! v1.0.4! <--- CLICK HERE
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December 07, 2015, 07:37:08 PM
 #41767


Im also not sure if everyone is aware of this... but clocks & volts are bound to the ports on the controller, they ARE NOT bound to the cubes themselves. So, if you move a cube to a different slot, u would have to change the clocks & volts accordingly on the advanced page.


I did notice that, yes.  I always maintained my own records, and set everything up from a clean slate after a cube was moved.
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December 07, 2015, 08:08:07 PM
 #41768

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

GenTarkin's MOD Kncminer Titan custom firmware! v1.0.4! <--- CLICK HERE
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December 07, 2015, 08:16:54 PM
 #41769

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

While I could see that being useful, I don't really see myself in particular needing it. I never unplug the cubes or move them around.
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December 07, 2015, 08:56:43 PM
 #41770

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.
yeah, that would be a cool feature ... I'll hold off on some planned maintenance(as if I need an excuse to hold off on it)

could you have it ready by Christmas?  Smiley
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December 07, 2015, 08:57:25 PM
 #41771

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

While I could see that being useful, I don't really see myself in particular needing it. I never unplug the cubes or move them around.

Yeah, I guess many may not use this feature. Hrm..... will see what more folks say.

GenTarkin's MOD Kncminer Titan custom firmware! v1.0.4! <--- CLICK HERE
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December 07, 2015, 08:58:49 PM
 #41772

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.
yeah, that would be a cool feature ... I'll hold off on some planned maintenance(as if I need an excuse to hold off on it)

could you have it ready by Christmas?  Smiley

Maybe, although I leave in a couple weeks for christmas vacation so.... autotune(Energy Saver) AND this feature would have to be ready for release, and not sure if autotune is ready, although its getting really close so will see, after some more tests.

GenTarkin's MOD Kncminer Titan custom firmware! v1.0.4! <--- CLICK HERE
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December 08, 2015, 01:24:49 AM
 #41773

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

That would definitely be a selling point for me. I moved around my cubes a lot (aside from making it look like I was doing cool things).

What would surely sell me, is if you created a mini cloud webservice that would save cubes and their clocks/volts so that when I move them from controller to controller they would not need re editing. Would also be nice to see the average amount of cubes and their clocks/volts globally too.

.....HOQU....
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GenTarkin
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December 08, 2015, 02:01:30 AM
 #41774

Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

That would definitely be a selling point for me. I moved around my cubes a lot (aside from making it look like I was doing cool things).

What would surely sell me, is if you created a mini cloud webservice that would save cubes and their clocks/volts so that when I move them from controller to controller they would not need re editing. Would also be nice to see the average amount of cubes and their clocks/volts globally too.

Nice suggestion but I have no idea how to do that second part. Also, Im strongly against any sort of centralization of the miners, which is what ur proposed idea would do.

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December 08, 2015, 02:13:48 AM
 #41775

Nice suggestion but I have no idea how to do that second part. Also, Im strongly against any sort of centralization of the miners, which is what ur proposed idea would do.

I get the centralization part. But that's just for those that choose to use it. It can be optional. I can help create the second part if you just feed and get cube data from a web API. Would be a very helpful option, and pretty good for statistics.

.....HOQU....
.MARKETING OF THE FUTURE!.






                                              
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December 08, 2015, 06:56:58 AM
 #41776


Yeah, I guess a decent netbook would maybe be enough compute power to do the job, but I would only use one as a backup and leave the controller on the titan till the controller dies.



I would use one netbook/SBC for each cube, and then be able to place the cubes wherever I wanted, without worrying about heating/cooling/power, etc.

FYI- what you're saying about the FPGA doing some algo prep work makes sense.  I have cubes that will not function properly when connected to the controller with other cubes, but if they are the only cube connected to the controller, they work really well.
Wow, ur willing to run 1 netbook per cube!? thats a significant expense LOL! Isnt there a way to multiplex the cubes for a single netbook somehow?

Another note, if you can figure out how to reverse engineer those signals, and get at least work submission working to the cubes , we would need the "ASIC metadata"(such as clocks & voltages) sniffed and figured out as well. With that, we could set the speed to anything we wanted =) ... the 350mhz overclock, for those who wanna burn their cubes and PSU's ... that will become a reality =)

not sure if this applies but any notebook that can't run windows xp anymore (not upgradeable) like my evon800v compaq i use to monitor titans with putty..that should work right..they are a dime a dozen or so ...folk are tossing them away...until i tell them to get unbuntu 12.04 they work great with that and have a 2nd life ..hell at least for my putty uses etc so perhaps a high end netbook is NOT needed..you can pick stuff up like that for 50 bucks on ebay and probably less in you local shopper classifieds...anyway what i've been telling folk that have been chucking such notebooks because they can't run anything beyond xp anymore ..anyway just tossing this out there as a cheap solution ..or hell a cheap solution to monitor your titan with putty on the dang old beastie



Ok, time for another question to all ya guys!!!!
If there was a way to keep track of last used volts / clocks for any given cube which was previously plugged in or swapped around on the pi ... would it be useful for yall?

I believe i can code something up that would do this, using the serial number of each cube to keep track of their previously used clocks & volts on a specific pi.

IE: If I coded this up, this is what would happen: lets say you have a miner with 2 cubes and you moved those 2 cubes to different ports or even swapped them around(on the same pi), the next time you boot the miner up ... the voltages & clocks would have moved automatically w/ the cubes to their new slots.

While I could see that being useful, I don't really see myself in particular needing it. I never unplug the cubes or move them around.

well as a guy who does move cubes about (6 cubes on 1 controller and 2 on another) I think I'd at least need the option (checkbox or whatever) to clean the config file as stated by glen so to speak etc...i'm sure i'm gonna have cubes die eventually (its a race difficulty making them doorstops or hardware death making them bricks) so such an option may be of help to all us old 1st batch titans limping past 1  year of use (who'd a thunk it?)

.......not bad for a raspberry pi 8th grade science project device that knc tried to foster on us with a 90 day warranty till they found out they forgot to change the www page on such from the neppies 12yr blurb on the sales page for a month ...so they had to make it 12 months.....(*but knc being evil and all you can tell by the design they really really did not think it would last past 4 months imho)

so yeah ...if just a way to reset the config file to get around this problem or anything else that helps that does not drive Glen Tarkin 'too crazy' (Just crazy enough to continue to muck with titan firmware...not sane enough to stop..nor crazy enough to be committed...a fine line indeed for glen Smiley its all about us here don't ya know Glen) Smiley

anyway frack ...probably should not move cubes about....wait for it something will now screw up so it makes sense to move cubes around


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tolip_wen
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December 08, 2015, 07:54:50 AM
 #41777

@ Searing, not a dumb question.


This is probably a dumb question but I have not seen it addressed anyplace..

I don't suppose the bridge connector used on a mercury/saturn/jupiter/neptune board could be used as a bridge or at least modified as such?

again unlikely but just for clarity I figured I'd toss it out here..probably not one being a BBB to port board and other being PI to port board

and a 2nd newbie question...

I have read that the boards are the same between the say the previous BTC KNC boards *jupiter/neptune* etc ....but if that is true is it only
for the NOV such boards? and by the same I mean PHYSICALLY  the same. I realize the FPGA chip I think it is has not be reverse engineered
thus no clone Titan Controllers

anyway just catching up on the stuff here beyond my expertise (which is much) Smiley

There is no 'bridge' board between a BBB and a kfc controller.
The BBB plugs directly into the BBB compatable connector on the controller.
The controller boards are the same for all the BTC products from kfc.
I use Oct. Saturn controllers on nepturds. No difference WITH the correct firmware.
Educated guess says this 'bridge' board you guys are referring to is just lining up the power and SPI pins of the R Pi to the pinouts of the BBB connector that is on the controller PCB. SPI is P1 pins 5&6 on a Pi and P9 19&20 on a BBB.
There is probably also a voltage regulator involved. And should be but probbly missing if they tried it and it worked logic level shifting circuitry.

The main difference between them(hoopiter vs. nepturd) is the program(spimux.rbf) that is loaded into the FPGA by the firmware.

The primary function of the FPGA is to take the multiplexed SPI signals from a Pi or BBB and de-multiplex it to correct seperate physical cube serial interfaces.
The software on the Pi or BBB sends all external cube communication over a single 'data' wire to the FPGA.
(there is also a clock wire, SPI is a "2 wire interface")
Between the controller and the cube it is still serial just de-multiplexed.
The ASICs themselves further demux because there are more cores addressable than a single SPI channel supports.
Iffin I recollect correctly the serial to and from the ASIC cores is unidirectional requiring a wire  for each direction.
External to the FPGA are at least 12 seperate serial interfaces, 6(or12) for ASIC and 6 for DC/DC converters.
There might be 6 more for the LM75 not sure if it shares wire w/ VRM's.

The filename "spimux.rbf" tells us almost all we need to know if we recognise the jargon.
SPI=Serial Perephial Interface (a common industry interface)
mux=multiplexer
.rbf=compressed 'encrypted' proprietary Altera file format used to keep prying eyes like ours ignorant.

IMneverHO reverse engineering the FPGA even from decripted 'rbf' code would take an expert to understand.
Additionally the Cyclone IV can be turned into a CPU for clock request filtering purposes.
If kfc purchased the code to do this they "can't" release all the FPGA source because it is not theirs.
Another thing to keep in mind re: the FPGA.
The original FPGA sha256 code is the only diamond in the pile of shit that kfc has become.
The one and only technical competence (other than fleecing customers for NRE $) is their FPGA expertise.
 
Both the Pi and the BBB have an industry standard SPI interface.
If you bought something like this...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BQA5BWU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
You could make your own 'bridge' board for about US$8.00.
If you wanted to get real fancy add one of theese...
http://www.adafruit.com/products/2711
Way less than the 0.5BTC I have seen mentioned.

You will need 2 or more power and ground wires, 2 SPI wires, and prolly some few others for LEDs etc.
I think you could run the power wires to the original Pi POWER connector and won't need a voltage regulator on the 'bridge' setup.
The Pi and the BBB do run on different voltages, it is one notable difference.
Ohm out each pin on the 'bridge' board and make a map for wiring.

You could probbably use a BBB instead of a Pi or a Pi instead of a BBB.
You would just have to adjust the SPI port setup in the firmware for any HW differences.
The various port pinouts of the Pi and BBB are easily findable.
https://www.google.com/search?q=Pi+SPI+pinout&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=BBB+SPI+pinout
The kfc source code for the SPI port setup on the BBB is online too.
I'm positive the only reason for the BBB to Pi change was for kfc to squeeze another US$10 out of each unit.

IMneverHO it would be easiest to port the Pi firmware to the BBB and forget about the voltage differences instead of 0.5BTC bandaid that still uses the Pi on a board designed for a BBB, FWIW. It might be as easy as changing the Pi header files with BBB header files and recompiling the utilities.

For those still on the quest for clocks, you might try using the 'raw' request type. 
If it can be done with non FPGA software that is a potential vector.
I have no idea about on the 'tit' but, someone might try using an spimux.rbf from a hoopiter or a nepturd. Wink
Don't forget you need to also set serial interface speeds in conf file if you try the hoopiter flavor.

If you want to spy on the communications between the controller and the cube it is simple also.
Purchace one of theese...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BUH3R48?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
and attach it to one of your ribbon cables, pay attention to the pin #1 markings! (a little triangle molded into the part)
and one of theese...
http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Open_Bench_Logic_Sniffer

The logic sniffer is just an FPGA(cheaper/less capable than a Cyclone IV) doing almost exactly what the 'controller' board does BTW.
There already exist Cyclone IV development kits that could with the addition of any PC(or Pi, or BBB, etc,etc) replace the kfc controller board.
Could prolly even load and run the kfc "spimux.rbf" file.
https://www.google.com/search?q=EP4CGX22CF19C7N+development+board&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

If you also installed a header into JP6 (the FPGA JTAG port) you can verify if the FPGA 'thinks' it's functional.
The logic sniffer above can do that too.
If all you wanted was JTAG info from the FPGA (to test FPGA functionality whilst troubleshooting controller boards)
one of theese...
http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate
or one of theese
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALTERA-ByteBlaster-II-ALTERA-USB-Blaster-CPLD-FPGA-ALTERA-Download-Cable-JTAG-/271138629988
might be a better choice.

Last but not least, pay close attention so you witness when the smoke comes out!
Smiley


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December 08, 2015, 10:44:42 AM
 #41778

@ tolip_wen

great post man thank you   Cool
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December 08, 2015, 11:36:43 AM
 #41779

Genius as always tolip.

In other news, kfc have started sending out Xmas cards to their customers in the lawsuit against them  Grin


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December 08, 2015, 11:46:22 AM
 #41780

Very interesting post tolip. I appreciate the link for the JTAG and mentions of neppy boards as I haven't had a jupiter or neptune to confirm.

Would be nice to make those bridges cheaper, my new batch will be ready this weekend (for those that don't want to make their own). Also note, the bridge boards aren't just rewiring pins. There's a voltage regulator on there, hence the burning out of some boards, that will also have to be taken into account if you want to make your own (you can use a Harwin M20-7872042 and a Farnell 1256663 for the connectors to fit with the Pi).

I'm not too sure about having control over that cyclone though.

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