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Author Topic: Debugging the Block Erupter Cube (solved, replace the fan!)  (Read 4879 times)
narlic
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December 11, 2013, 12:37:00 AM
 #1

So, perhaps I can get this post moved from the newbies forum over to the appropriate one at some point. But in the interim, I'd like to post some of the issues that I've been experiencing with the Block Erupter Cube.

For the last couple of weeks, the cube had been operating just like it was supposed to. I was channeling it through a bfgminer proxy, and all was well. I started noticing that it was resetting itself to the "Low" clock speed, and after attempting to set it "High" and not having it stick for more than a few hours, I just let it continue running on "Low"

Another week passes, and I notice one morning that the cube isn't running. The power supply that feeds it is happily spinning its fan, and the "SB PWR" light is lit on the cube, but nothing else seems to be. I toggle the power off and on, and cube boots up and begins running again, hashing at the normal rate just like it should. But around five hours later, it's off again.

I read on here that some of the blades of the cube might be misaligned and indeed they did appear to be nudged outside of their intended grooves in the case. So I took everything out (including the "Block Erupter" sticker which had for some reason fallen inside) made sure nothing looked burnt, replugged all the cards, and carefully slid it all back into its case. I swapped from the old fuse to the other one (nice of them to send along two), and powered it up.

Five minutes later, it's off. It never even got warm!

So I begin the task of trying to debug the thing further. I perform a factory reset (just hold down the reset button while it's powered on and wait until it flashes) and let it sit running but idle on my desk, just to observe it.

After around 60 seconds, I notice the activity light start flashing, and then there is an audible "click" and the unit powers off. The case is cold to the touch (since it never even started hashing, I didn't have it plugged into the network). The big fan is still running, the "SB PWR" light is on, but for all other intents and purposes the unit lies dead. I repeat this a few times just to verify it's going to continue shutting itself off cold, and indeed it does.

So I've ruled out overheating. The power supply is good (but just in case I did indeed try another one temporarily). Cooling is adequate. The bloody thing just won't stay running!

Now, there's a USB port on the back of this thing which the promotional material label as "for debugging and firmware updates". However, I notice there is a distinct lack of information on just what "debugging" entails.

Has anyone gotten some sort of console or memory dump via USB? What did you do?

I see that some other people are experiencing the "click of death" on their cubes as well. Many are reporting "X" on the status interface. In the short amount of time that I can actually access the status page, I don't see anything marked as "X".

I'm going to try removing all of the blades and replacing them one at a time to see if I can narrow it down to either an individual blade, or an individual slot that causes the failure.

The software that is actually running on the cube SEEMS to be shutting it down deliberately (at least that's what I take the flashing of the status light to mean, before it clicks and shuts down). I would love to be able to debug a REASON from the machine. And the only method of debugging is that USB port and its mysterious uses!
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narlic
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December 11, 2013, 05:16:32 PM
 #2

Well, after I thought I had it solved (it seemed the left-most two slots would cause it to flounder, regardless of which card was plugged in) it fell over again.

I put all the cards back in again, and ... had a weird thought. I put a small baffle in front of the intake fan, about halfway covering it (limiting the air flow into the case for cooling).

Without the baffle, it'll shut off in around 2 minutes. With the the baffle completely covering the fan, immediate shut-off. Half-covered... it's been running for two and a half hours on Low clock, no issues.

I'm... flabberghasted. I have to admit that the baffle idea came out of nowhere -- I thought that maybe letting it heat up a bit might help get it running reliably... pure voodoo on my part, I readily admit that. I don't like voodoo in electronics, so if this does indeed keep the silly thing stable, I'd like to figure out WHY. Is it because the fan has resistance and has to work harder? Is it because the cards get a chance to heat up a bit? Is something more or less conductive at the higher temperature, and thus "happier" from the perspective of a working system??

I'll keep monitoring and report back.
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December 12, 2013, 02:26:30 PM
 #3

20 hours or so of uptime and it fell over.

Its current status is back to what it had been doing; start (flash red activity light). Finish booting (light goes solid). Five to ten seconds later, click, and it's off.

I can't help but wonder if the auto-shutoff mechanism isn't handled by the draw of the fan?
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December 13, 2013, 04:56:24 PM
 #4

Peculiar problem, sorry to hear about this. I look forward to here your updates and what you come up with.

May I inquire what power supply are you running & the power specs on it?

Watching this.

1MoBi1eNbqh8QMuvtZjYzQGV8NEckJJYcT rep|GnuPG <3 CLAM <3
narlic
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December 14, 2013, 02:10:04 AM
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Peculiar problem, sorry to hear about this. I look forward to here your updates and what you come up with.

May I inquire what power supply are you running & the power specs on it?

Watching this.

I gave up on the baffle idea, it was garbage anyway. There's some slight possibility that the fan draw influences the issue, but I'm just discarding that line of thinking.

I had been using a DYNEX DX-520WPS. I spoke to someone from WTCR and they suggested that it may be underpowered on the 12v line (20A vs a recommended 30A). I switched on their recommendation of a Corsair CX500.

It fell over again afterwards, on the new power supply. Oh well, that was $60 on the wind Smiley

It's currently running after yet another restart. It's been up for 22 minutes. All ASIC are "o", and their hash numbers seem to be in line with what I'd expect. It's telling me:

Jobs:0000010115 Accepted:0000009662 Rejected:0000000285 (5:0) F1 F2 F3
MHS:31264 Utility:427 Efficieny:095.52%

Which seem... okay? I don't have a good baseline to compare that against.

I fully expect it to fall over again. Before the current restart it ran for maybe an hour? Before that it wouldn't stay up for more than two minutes for a few of restarts. I need to start taking better notes on how long it lasts for every single attempt...

I really, really wish that the mystery "debugging USB" port had some kind of documentation! I would love to be able to get SOME kind of feedback beyond the web page, like an error message prior to shutdown!

I want to reiterate to those playing along at home that it will shut itself off after an apparently random amount of time whether it's connected to my proxy or not! But with that said, I'm running it against bfgminer (and have been since I first got it).

Maybe if I don't touch ANYTHING it'll stay alive this time... hahaha.
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December 24, 2013, 06:55:10 AM
 #6

I am using the slush pool proxy and having the same problem, my cube will run from any where from 5min - 1.5 hours then the relay kicks off and the power to the board turns off. The power to the fan stays on. I have tried two brand new power supplies. 1 thermaltake smart 750m and a corsair rm850. same issue with both power supplies. I also have not been able to find any information on firmware updates or any type of fix for this issue. Have you found a fix for yours yet?
narlic
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December 25, 2013, 07:12:29 PM
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I switched to the slush proxy, and it stays up for between one and three days at a time now. But then it will still *click* and shut itself off, requiring a manual toggling of the power.

[edit] I'm using the slush proxy with the -rt option to relay the vardiff changes along to the cube directly. I'm not sure if that may be one of the reasons it stays up longer this way; back with the bfgminer proxy it would do the diff filtering on the miner software rather than the cube (I think... if I am wrong here please anyone feel free to correct me)
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December 29, 2013, 01:16:16 AM
 #8

I switched to the slush proxy, and it stays up for between one and three days at a time now. But then it will still *click* and shut itself off, requiring a manual toggling of the power.

[edit] I'm using the slush proxy with the -rt option to relay the vardiff changes along to the cube directly. I'm not sure if that may be one of the reasons it stays up longer this way; back with the bfgminer proxy it would do the diff filtering on the miner software rather than the cube (I think... if I am wrong here please anyone feel free to correct me)

My cube came in today and it's acting a little weird.  It'll go for about 6 1/2 minutes then the MH/s will slowly start to drop.  BFGminer then declares it sick after 60 seconds of no response then it will come back.  Doesn't matter what the clock is set to and besides this it looks good with no X's for any of the ASIC's.  I tried replacing the cheap fuse it came with but that didn't seem to solve it either.  Power supply is a Cooler Master i600 which claims 48A on the +12v rail and from my research that should be fine.
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December 29, 2013, 04:18:22 PM
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@Narlic It's not a common problem anyways you have the opportunity to get in the "mining" section in order to fix it.
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December 31, 2013, 03:42:01 AM
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I switched to the slush proxy, and it stays up for between one and three days at a time now. But then it will still *click* and shut itself off, requiring a manual toggling of the power.

[edit] I'm using the slush proxy with the -rt option to relay the vardiff changes along to the cube directly. I'm not sure if that may be one of the reasons it stays up longer this way; back with the bfgminer proxy it would do the diff filtering on the miner software rather than the cube (I think... if I am wrong here please anyone feel free to correct me)

My cube came in today and it's acting a little weird.  It'll go for about 6 1/2 minutes then the MH/s will slowly start to drop.  BFGminer then declares it sick after 60 seconds of no response then it will come back.  Doesn't matter what the clock is set to and besides this it looks good with no X's for any of the ASIC's.  I tried replacing the cheap fuse it came with but that didn't seem to solve it either.  Power supply is a Cooler Master i600 which claims 48A on the +12v rail and from my research that should be fine.

Ok so I found a workaround for my resetting problem.  On a hunch I changed the pool address in my cube to something that doesn't exist and noticed that it reset itself in about 2.5 minutes.  This told me that it wasn't a hardware issue since it hadn't been hashing.  After further experimentation I decided to try running BFGMiner on 2 different machines with the same --http-port parameter and set my pools to be the IP's of the 2 machines running BFGMiner on my LAN (192.168.210.29,192.168.210.46).  Both BFGMiner instances are connecting to the same pool (ghash.io) and using the same worker ID.  So far that seems to solve my problem and the cube uses the first BFGMiner pool for about 7 minutes then switches to the other.  Another 7 minutes later is switches back to the first pool and on and on.  This wasn't a problem for me since both of these computers are running all the time anyway.

Anyway hope this might help someone.  I saw another post here in the hardware section but I can't post this there since i'm too new but if anyone would like to share this in that thread please do.

If this helps you and you would like to give me a donation use 181t3TwvFXN4CebByLxjt3dkvgZkEBL8PY

Thanks!

- Adam
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December 31, 2013, 04:39:16 AM
 #11

problem with power supply. check if it has proper UPS back up and properly grounded !!!! very important !!! better make separate ground wire for the whole system.

narlic
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January 09, 2014, 09:13:19 PM
 #12

Nope, not the power supply. Nope, not the proxy being used. Nope, not the pool being used. Nope, not the color tshirt I was wearing. Nor the phase of the moon.

It was the damned fan.

Even while it seemed to be moving plenty of air, it appears that the auto-shutoff circuit in the cube is based on how much current the fan is pulling. This is why when the fan was just starting to go bad, the stupid baffle trick worked. I should have thought of replacing the fan then, it seems so obvious now... ah well.

I replaced the fan with a 120mm 2200RPM 80CFM unit (cost me $5), and suddenly everything works just fine again.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8208359

My beleaguered cube is now happily hashing away in the high clock speed (where before it would immediately shut off if I even attempted to overclock it).

In summary; if you have a working cube that suddenly starts turning itself off, replace the fan -- even if the fan appears to be moving plenty of air at first glance.
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January 26, 2014, 09:07:38 AM
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On my cubes (4)I replaced all of the fans with these:

http://www.corsair.com/us/cpu-cooling-kits/air-series-fans/air-series-sp120-high-performance-edition-high-static-pressure-120mm-fan.html

Previously, I would have them up for about 12 hrs in high clock mode before they would get very hot. Hot enough that the cases were almost untouchable with the middle of your palms. (Sorry, no thermometer.) Yes, I was running them in a lousy space with confined airflow and heat was radiating from the power supplies (Corsair CX 500's.) Now, no problems. I would move them around when I was initially setting them up and a few times they got so hot that some of the o's turned to x's. With these new fans I can stack them, or be lazy about position, and they won't fail. I highly recommend these particular fans. They're a little pricey, but move a ton of air, are relatively quiet, and of very high quality.

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February 01, 2014, 10:21:45 PM
 #14

I switched to the slush proxy, and it stays up for between one and three days at a time now. But then it will still *click* and shut itself off, requiring a manual toggling of the power.

[edit] I'm using the slush proxy with the -rt option to relay the vardiff changes along to the cube directly. I'm not sure if that may be one of the reasons it stays up longer this way; back with the bfgminer proxy it would do the diff filtering on the miner software rather than the cube (I think... if I am wrong here please anyone feel free to correct me)

My cube came in today and it's acting a little weird.  It'll go for about 6 1/2 minutes then the MH/s will slowly start to drop.  BFGminer then declares it sick after 60 seconds of no response then it will come back.  Doesn't matter what the clock is set to and besides this it looks good with no X's for any of the ASIC's.  I tried replacing the cheap fuse it came with but that didn't seem to solve it either.  Power supply is a Cooler Master i600 which claims 48A on the +12v rail and from my research that should be fine.

Check and see if you have any Android devices running on your network. I had the same problem and it would only happen when an Android device connected to my wireless router.
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February 04, 2014, 09:59:49 AM
 #15

so that was just the fan the problem
well done narlic

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February 06, 2014, 01:36:01 AM
 #16

I had the same problem and of course had a couple of brand new fans laying here where I built out a case.  This morning I was mining at 30GHz and then about lunch went to nothing and then died - nothing.  Restarted several times, replaced fan 2x still run for a minute and then click off...  I thought I had fried it not sure how but was convinced until I read the little blurb about the Android phone on the wifi.  Well guess what today at lunch I was debugging an android app and brought an old Android phone online connected to wifi since it is not on the cellular network so I pulled the battery on it and within a few seconds was back to 30GHz - so my question is what the heck does Google and Android have against CryptoMining and BitCoins.....

Hope this helps someone in the future as this has drove me nuts for the past 6 hours hope to make that time back up and toss the Android in the garbage.
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February 11, 2014, 08:45:18 PM
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Just a bit more information on the Android and the Cube.  I found today if I brought my Android online (testing again) it did not affect the Cube but if I restarted the Cube it just died off within a minute of starting - kill Android and restart Cube and it was back to 31GHz in no time.  Hope this helps someone as this drove me nuts for several hours.
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March 12, 2014, 02:13:44 AM
 #18

I have a cube that was constantly shutting off after running for a while, no matter what I did.
I narrowed it down to being an issue with the cube detecting a running fan, even though I used different fans and they all ran fine.
So basically, I just soldered a jumper across the bottom of the board, across the relay NO contacts.
Now, the cube powers up and stays on all the time! Just make sure to keep an eye on the fan, because if the fan dies, your cube will probably burn up!

http://imgur.com/tdBei0N
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March 26, 2014, 11:14:58 PM
 #19

I have a cube that was constantly shutting off after running for a while, no matter what I did.
I narrowed it down to being an issue with the cube detecting a running fan, even though I used different fans and they all ran fine.
So basically, I just soldered a jumper across the bottom of the board, across the relay NO contacts.
Now, the cube powers up and stays on all the time! Just make sure to keep an eye on the fan, because if the fan dies, your cube will probably burn up!

http://imgur.com/tdBei0N
Thanks for posting this solution. I just added a jumper to my cube and we'll see how it goes but everything looks good so far.

EDIT: Just turned off Sad

inflatin
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May 17, 2014, 08:00:52 PM
 #20

I have a cube that was constantly shutting off after running for a while, no matter what I did.
I narrowed it down to being an issue with the cube detecting a running fan, even though I used different fans and they all ran fine.
So basically, I just soldered a jumper across the bottom of the board, across the relay NO contacts.
Now, the cube powers up and stays on all the time! Just make sure to keep an eye on the fan, because if the fan dies, your cube will probably burn up!

http://imgur.com/tdBei0N
Thanks for posting this solution. I just added a jumper to my cube and we'll see how it goes but everything looks good so far.

EDIT: Just turned off Sad

Mine just turned off after months of working after I installed the jumper. Took it apart and found that the jumper had burnt itself off http://imgur.com/pkvbbpf due to my crappy soldering job. Replaced it with a real copper wire jumper and realized the solder used on the circuit board required longer contact time (higher heat) to melt. Anyhow after the new jumper was installed the unit's now back up and running.
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