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Author Topic: FPGA Rig Photos  (Read 42508 times)
Cablez
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July 20, 2012, 12:03:29 AM
 #181

Wow, somebody has been busy!!  Shocked Shocked Shocked

Tired of substandard power distribution in your ASIC setup???   Chris' Custom Cablez will get you sorted out right!  No job too hard so PM me for a quote
Check my products or ask a question here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=74397.0
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July 20, 2012, 12:18:21 AM
 #182

Holy shit, now we know why BFL hasn't been delivering to everyone else.

I count 42, all on stock bricks (?!?!?!) - protip: Almost any standard power supply will be more efficient and require less cable clutter.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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July 20, 2012, 12:27:49 AM
 #183

DAMN! You gonna trade all those in?

Is it sad those still dont quite equal one of the SC Singles?

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July 20, 2012, 01:40:46 AM
 #184

Holy shit, now we know why BFL hasn't be delivering to everyone else.

I count 42, all on stock bricks (?!?!?!) - protip: Almost any standard power supply will be more efficient and require less cable clutter.

Eeek! I counted the same number. Should be close to 35GH depending on firmware. I was going to post a picture of my ten singles, but after seeing that I don't think it is worth it.

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July 20, 2012, 06:13:25 AM
 #185

Anyone else here with over 4 Ztex single boards finding that they leak a HELL of a lot of power back into the USB connection?

All my Ztex FPGAs connect to pukka powered USB hubs. Each USB hub has a separate 5V 1A power cable. The USB2.0 spec says that each hub supports 4 connections, so the reason why there are so many 7 port hubs (a weird number in computing, generally) is because they have two hub controllers ganged together inside. I've pulled enough cheap USB hubs apart (that wouldn't work with my FPGA setup) to find that this is the norm, and even the more expensive Belkin kit does the same thing, and uses the same controllers.

My 20 unit FPGA board has a very low power integrated AMD logic board underneath and an 800W ATX PSU. The separate power rails use PCIe power leads from the PSU. This should be *massively* overprovisioned for power, and I've soldered up the power rails and 2.1/5.5 barrel plugs using 18AWG cable, which should be adequate at 12V to supply only 5 of the Ztex 1.15x boards. Fans are powered from a separate circuit.

This should be over-engineered... but the amount of trouble I had getting USB hubs to work surprised the hell out of me.

Using a passive hub and 5 FPGAs (two 4-port hubs, one with three FPGAs connected, the other with two FPGAs and the input from the first hub) took hours of trial and error to get all the FPGAs recognised. Stefan mentions repeatedly in his online documentation that multiple ground cables are required, and the problems I saw appear to be due to current returning from the FPGA board via the USB cable ground. These are tiny wires and can't carry much current.

I think this may be a very simple question so I've put it here... if it's more complicated then it ought to have its own thread.


I like the quality, proven performance, warranty and support that Ztex gives... but even following his 'cluster power supply' advice re: ground cables vs. power cables, I ended up taking a few days and various USB hubs to get all the units working. The logic board had plenty of powered USB sockets and I had to use most of them. I really want to use my Raspberry Pi to control a huge FPGA assembly, but the strict current limits on the Raspberry Pi USB socket seems to make this impossible.


Anyone know what's going on, from an electronic engineering perspective? Are ALL the competing boards going to have similar issues - i.e. am I doing something obviously wrong? Is there any way to sling a resistor into the USB ground return wire (or some other solution - I'm not an EE) to discourage the FPGA current from returning via the USB cable, and instead following the low-resistance multiple-ground-wire route like it should?

My 20 unit assembly ended up using 6 USB hubs, two of them powered, thus a snakepit of cables below the tidy top level and lots of power points required.

I know the total power draw is low and the system is incredibly efficient. But if I wanted to build a 100 unit assembly? I'd need 30 USB hubs, which is bloody ridiculous.

Big backplanes are the way to go but only if the data, as well as the power, is aggregated on the backplane.

I'd really appreciate feedback from those with first-hand experience of the kit I'm most likely to buy (Ztex, Enterpoint, BTCFPGA.com, any others competitively priced in EU?)...

...so I give in to the rhythm, the click click clack
I'm too wasted to fight back...


BTC: 1A7HvdGGDie3P5nDpiskG8JxXT33Yu6Gct
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July 20, 2012, 07:09:50 AM
 #186

The USB2.0 spec says that each hub supports 4 connections, so the reason why there are so many 7 port hubs (a weird number in computing, generally) is because they have two hub controllers ganged together inside. I've pulled enough cheap USB hubs apart (that wouldn't work with my FPGA setup) to find that this is the norm, and even the more expensive Belkin kit does the same thing, and uses the same controllers.
I can't find anything about a maximum of connections for a hub. IIRC there is no limit on this. Only limits I know about maximum connections are the 127 total connections and the maximum chain depth (IIRC somewhere around 6).
It is true most hubs use the same controller chip, so a 7 port hub is really 2 4 ports hubs connected together.
A quote from wikipedia :
Quote
Most support a four-port hub system, but hubs using 16-port hub controllers are also available in the industry. although some 16-port hub actually consist of four cascaded four-port controllers.
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July 20, 2012, 07:38:58 AM
 #187

My 7-port USB switches use a single controller chip (Rosewill RHB-330, based on the Terminus-Tech FE 2.1 controller). I carefully selected them over switches using ganged controllers for better reliability.

catfish: I have 13 quad 1.15y boards on the same PC (52 FPGAs total), and the setup is very reliable. FPGAs are detected all the time. I have not measured current flow through my USB cables, but it is probably small. Note that I do power my boards via the pluggable terminal, not via the 5.5mm jack. The mechanical and electrical design of the pluggable terminal is superior to the jack which reduces resistance and probably helps reduce current flow in the USB cables. (Stefan recommends to connect 2 ground wires to the pluggable terminal, but I didn't even bother, as I have no reliability issue with 1 ground wire.)

Also, my FPGAs are powered by the same PSU that powers the host PC. I imagine that using 2 different power supplies for the PC and the FPGAs might increase the risk of current flow in the USB cables.
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July 20, 2012, 08:49:02 AM
 #188

Anyone else here with over 4 Ztex single boards finding that they leak a HELL of a lot of power back into the USB connection?

All my Ztex FPGAs connect to pukka powered USB hubs. Each USB hub has a separate 5V 1A power cable. The USB2.0 spec says that each hub supports 4 connections, so the reason why there are so many 7 port hubs (a weird number in computing, generally) is because they have two hub controllers ganged together inside. I've pulled enough cheap USB hubs apart (that wouldn't work with my FPGA setup) to find that this is the norm, and even the more expensive Belkin kit does the same thing, and uses the same controllers.

My 20 unit FPGA board has a very low power integrated AMD logic board underneath and an 800W ATX PSU. The separate power rails use PCIe power leads from the PSU. This should be *massively* overprovisioned for power, and I've soldered up the power rails and 2.1/5.5 barrel plugs using 18AWG cable, which should be adequate at 12V to supply only 5 of the Ztex 1.15x boards. Fans are powered from a separate circuit.

This should be over-engineered... but the amount of trouble I had getting USB hubs to work surprised the hell out of me.

Using a passive hub and 5 FPGAs (two 4-port hubs, one with three FPGAs connected, the other with two FPGAs and the input from the first hub) took hours of trial and error to get all the FPGAs recognised. Stefan mentions repeatedly in his online documentation that multiple ground cables are required, and the problems I saw appear to be due to current returning from the FPGA board via the USB cable ground. These are tiny wires and can't carry much current.

I think this may be a very simple question so I've put it here... if it's more complicated then it ought to have its own thread.


I like the quality, proven performance, warranty and support that Ztex gives... but even following his 'cluster power supply' advice re: ground cables vs. power cables, I ended up taking a few days and various USB hubs to get all the units working. The logic board had plenty of powered USB sockets and I had to use most of them. I really want to use my Raspberry Pi to control a huge FPGA assembly, but the strict current limits on the Raspberry Pi USB socket seems to make this impossible.


Anyone know what's going on, from an electronic engineering perspective? Are ALL the competing boards going to have similar issues - i.e. am I doing something obviously wrong? Is there any way to sling a resistor into the USB ground return wire (or some other solution - I'm not an EE) to discourage the FPGA current from returning via the USB cable, and instead following the low-resistance multiple-ground-wire route like it should?

My 20 unit assembly ended up using 6 USB hubs, two of them powered, thus a snakepit of cables below the tidy top level and lots of power points required.

I know the total power draw is low and the system is incredibly efficient. But if I wanted to build a 100 unit assembly? I'd need 30 USB hubs, which is bloody ridiculous.

Big backplanes are the way to go but only if the data, as well as the power, is aggregated on the backplane.

I'd really appreciate feedback from those with first-hand experience of the kit I'm most likely to buy (Ztex, Enterpoint, BTCFPGA.com, any others competitively priced in EU?)...

Hi catfish,

I've been running mine with a deal-extreme-sourced-el-cheapo-pink-hub á la https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=84656.msg953674#msg953674. The hub needs to be powered to run over 6-7 1.15x boards unless connected to an ATX mobo with sufficiently powered USB port (IIRC ztex each 1.15x draws ~100mA). My cluster's power supply is built just as ztex has instructed, 5 boards to +12V, max 3 boards to GND of PCIe power cables.

NOTE: RPi will not be able to deliver enough current to USB to run a big cluster with passive hubs. Also, RPi tends to draw current from powered hubs through the USB ports, which makes it behave erratically, so make sure you tape the USB plugs' +5V lead before connecting your powered HUB into RPi's USB port. I used a thin strip of black electric tape, works fine now, uptime over a week using my friend's ARM-port of BTCMiner http://blog.villekangas.com/?p=23

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July 20, 2012, 01:16:26 PM
 #189

Wouldn't it be normal to have a diode on the +5v USB line to prevent feeding current back into the hub or port?

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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July 20, 2012, 01:32:33 PM
 #190

Wouldn't it be normal to have a diode on the +5v USB line to prevent feeding current back into the hub or port?

I don't know should that diode be in the HUB or RPi, but the fact remains, and the easiest fix is aforementioned taping of the contact.

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July 20, 2012, 03:57:16 PM
 #191

Wouldn't it be normal to have a diode on the +5v USB line to prevent feeding current back into the hub or port?

Ztex mentioned somewhere that +5V from usb isn't connected on the board.
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July 21, 2012, 10:04:30 PM
 #192

Finally got my 1st BFL single! Next one should be here next week and 2 more in ~3 weeks! Pretty weak setup compared to most, but I am excited :p

2 ATI 5870s and 1 BFL single with my other computer hiding in the background and a windows A/C since it's been ~90-100 degrees here for the past month:




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July 23, 2012, 06:58:44 AM
 #193

With the A/C thats a whole lot of electricity for the amount of bitcoin your producing.  No way that setup is cost effective.

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July 23, 2012, 07:25:45 AM
 #194

With the A/C thats a whole lot of electricity for the amount of bitcoin your producing.  No way that setup is cost effective.

I see a computer behind the whatever is beneath the single and 2 card rig. That is probably his room.. Need it to be comfortable for him, not the pc equipment

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July 23, 2012, 01:29:38 PM
 #195

With the A/C thats a whole lot of electricity for the amount of bitcoin your producing.  No way that setup is cost effective.

I see a computer behind the whatever is beneath the single and 2 card rig. That is probably his room.. Need it to be comfortable for him, not the pc equipment

Yep, it's mainly for me. It is still profitable paying only .04USD/kWh (well .11, but split 3 ways :p), but this month has been ~100 degrees out almost every day and I am sweating like crazy without it on! haha

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July 24, 2012, 11:51:37 PM
 #196

Thought i would pop up a few pic's of my first rig i knocked togeather for the cairnsmore1 boards. Not very pretty and the wiring is a bit of a mess till i get the up/down link cables working but it will get sorted before it's racked.


IMG_0318 by Slipbye, on Flickr

IMG_0300 by Slipbye, on Flickr
cmboards by Slipbye, on Flickr

IMG_0324 by Slipbye, on Flickr
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July 25, 2012, 12:14:09 AM
 #197

Very nice setup, now if only they will start hashing at their full potential. Smiley

Tired of substandard power distribution in your ASIC setup???   Chris' Custom Cablez will get you sorted out right!  No job too hard so PM me for a quote
Check my products or ask a question here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=74397.0
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July 25, 2012, 01:02:33 AM
 #198

I'm getting jealous...... I have only 14 Spartans mining here for me (2 Quads and 6 Singles from Ztex) Cheesy

And ist a ghetto rig;


i desperately need to build a case for them some time :/


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July 25, 2012, 10:54:39 AM
 #199

Very nice setup slipbye. That's a dense 40 GH once they deliver. Just hashing to the wrong pool Tongue

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August 01, 2012, 04:26:54 AM
 #200

I'm getting jealous...... I have only 14 Spartans mining here for me (2 Quads and 6 Singles from Ztex) Cheesy

And ist a ghetto rig;


i desperately need to build a case for them some time :/



Haha. This looks similar to my setup except I've got x6500s and they're stashed even more haphazardly in a closet with a giant box fan. Whatever, it works.

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