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Author Topic: BFL "EasyMiner" Released. Reviews?  (Read 18852 times)
SgtSpike
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May 15, 2012, 09:33:27 PM
 #61

Realistically the problem isn't that BFL is limiting our options with proprietary software - we sill have plenty of FOSS alternatives to easyminer. The problem is BFL's general attitude of secrecy and proprietary nonsense when selling to a community that loves their open-source. First they claim to be using a totally proprietary design that no one will ever ever reverse engineer. ZhouTong desolders a chip and hooks it up to JTAG headers, finds out it's an Altera Stratix III EP3SL150 FPGA. Now they're telling us the firmware flash mechanism is proprietary - how long do they think it'll be before someone breaks that too? They're handing us closed-source software but as was mentioned it's not hard to sniff COM port activity and reverse engineer that too. Classic "smart cow" problems all - I'm just wondering how long it'll be until BFL figures out that all their secrecy buys them is time. There's no reason to keep this stuff under wraps - there's no harm in letting people experiment with custom firmwares as long as they're clear on what that does to warranty support, there's no harm in just telling people what chip they're using either, it's just confusing how secretive BFL acts.

Note that I'm not saying their product is bad or that I don't approve of it - I'm on the wait list for a single, actually - I'm just saying that they have a very secretive business model and *that* I don't approve of.
Yeah, I understand where you're coming from.  For me personally, it doesn't bother me at all, but I know why people who love open-source would be bothered.

My guess as to why they remain as closed as possible about these things is so that they can keep competitors out as long as possible.  If people knew right from the start that they were using an Altera Stratix III EP3SL150 FPGA, and had the open source firmware, it wouldn't take much for someone else to start copying the process and selling it themselves.  As it is, BFL still has a corner on the market for the price/MH/s, and that's largely in part because they kept everything closed-source.

It is usually smart, financially, to do things closed-source to avoid competitors stealing your work.  Not always smart, but usually.  And I think the smarter choice in this case WAS keeping things closed-source.  Maybe they'll open it up in the future, once there is less risk of competitors stealing their work (perhaps after competitors are more focused on ASICs instead), and there is more incentive to offer consumers a modifiable platform.
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May 15, 2012, 10:05:32 PM
 #62

Realistically the problem isn't that BFL is limiting our options with proprietary software - we sill have plenty of FOSS alternatives to easyminer.
We have exactly zero free software or non-Windows BFL firmware upgraders. Despite BFL's claim, I was unable to get my Singles recognized by a Windows VM no matter how I passed the device through. When/if someone else* documents the protocol (I hear their EXE is easily decompiled), I plan to write a free firmware upgrade tool. In most countries, this process would be perfectly legal (yay clean-room reverse engineering), so it's just a matter of time.

(since I intend to write such a tool, I cannot myself look at or decompile BFL's code without tainting the "clean" status of my code)

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May 16, 2012, 12:54:08 AM
 #63

Realistically the problem isn't that BFL is limiting our options with proprietary software - we sill have plenty of FOSS alternatives to easyminer. The problem is BFL's general attitude of secrecy and proprietary nonsense when selling to a community that loves their open-source. First they claim to be using a totally proprietary design that no one will ever ever reverse engineer. ZhouTong desolders a chip and hooks it up to JTAG headers, finds out it's an Altera Stratix III EP3SL150 FPGA. Now they're telling us the firmware flash mechanism is proprietary - how long do they think it'll be before someone breaks that too? They're handing us closed-source software but as was mentioned it's not hard to sniff COM port activity and reverse engineer that too. Classic "smart cow" problems all - I'm just wondering how long it'll be until BFL figures out that all their secrecy buys them is time. There's no reason to keep this stuff under wraps - there's no harm in letting people experiment with custom firmwares as long as they're clear on what that does to warranty support, there's no harm in just telling people what chip they're using either, it's just confusing how secretive BFL acts.

Note that I'm not saying their product is bad or that I don't approve of it - I'm on the wait list for a single, actually - I'm just saying that they have a very secretive business model and *that* I don't approve of.

Exactly. Sanding the chips for example cost them time they could have used to do other things. It took only a few weeks for someone to figure out the FPGA model, nullifying any "benefit" of sanding the chips in the first place.

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May 16, 2012, 02:03:27 AM
 #64

Not saying it has happened, but how difficult would it be to make a chip spit out bogus info? Purely from a technical standpoint, ignoring other clues such as package and pin layout.

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May 16, 2012, 05:43:01 PM
 #65

Got it.  I kind of gathered that you thought you couldn't mine with them on linux.  Guess I got the wrong impression there.

EDIT:  You seem to be implying that this is a dealbreaker.  Before BFL released the faster firmware, were you considering purchasing them?  Or was it only potentially worth purchasing after the faster firmware was released?  Or are you just rejecting them on principle?
It'd have to be a pretty intense principle to stop me considering the business reality that is BFL's lower cost per hash Smiley Yes, I've been somewhat critical of FPGAs that *overheat* (why not use expensive GPUs that do the same?) and the early days of vapourware, but when running a miner as a business, one must ignore the emotional and 'technology-religious' dogma.

The biggest impediment stopping me considering BFL is the fact that I live in the UK and the import duties would make the kit (when it eventually arrives...) instantly uncompetitive. A lot can happen in the lead time that BFL quote... I hadn't logged onto the forums for a couple of weeks due to manically trying to build my 25 Ztex FPGAs - when I logged back in, a new UK company had gone from zero to a quad Spartan board design and were already releasing dev boards to beta testers (Enterpoint).

You can imagine my response. WTF?

Also, Enterpoint's kit is local, and makes my Ztex FPGAs look rather expensive. But Stefan @ Ztex delivered the working FPGAs exactly when he said he would (i.e. when I paid him). No long lead times, no loss of opportunity cost.

Now if I'd invested £5k in BFL products and swallowed the import duties, and was still on a waiting list when a new player springs up in my back yard, I've just wasted £5k. Best case scenario is that the order is cancellable, and BFL refund the entire amount... but if the guesswork re: the Singles using used / NOS Stratix-3 chips in small batches at fire-sale prices is true, I can't see why BFL would offer such a generous cancellation / returns policy. If I've just ordered 10 Singles and they've had to trawl the market to find these fire-sale Altera FPGAs, why should they let me simply cancel with no penalty?

This is the biggest problem for me - the second is the fact that they still use enough power to figure in the profit calculations (electricity is furiously expensive where I live - hence the reason why I bought the highest hash per watt and lowest wattage per device). The clusterfuck with the additional fan bolted on screamed of amateur engineering and a rushed product, and we've now got full-bore professionals taking an interest in the Bitcoin mining market. I'd point at Stefan @ Ztex, but he was one of the early adopters anyway. Take Enterpoint instead. Professional board design / consultancy outfit, and look how quickly they've gone from zero to what looks very viable indeed.

With payback times well beyond BFL's warranty, and FPGA professionals piling in, BFL's sekrit squirrel approach and Windows-only firmware update (they have released faster bitstreams since the first hardware shipped, after all, so it's a process that can be expected to occur again) is just the final nail in the coffin re: me considering their hardware.

If they got an EU distributor and sorted out delivery times, I still wouldn't want each box running 80W heat dissipation. Their 'Rig Box' is a lot more appealing but again, I want to see one.


Business is business and I'm not going to ignore the most competitive vendor because I think Micro$oft ARE TEH EVIL!!11!1!! - not only do I not think that, it is also very childish and I gave up OS religious wars back at college - I was using OS/2 Warp and my engineer mate was trying to compile Linux with a 2.0 kernel... too old for that shit now.

However, given the other disincentives to consider BFL products, adding the sheer distaste of having to run Windows somewhere (and paying Microsoft for an operating system I'll never use apart from the odd firmware update) is a dealbreaker for me.

Up till now, Ztex were my vendor of choice. Enterpoint are now making a damn strong case for themselves. Shame I've run out of money. Anyone want to buy some GPUs? Wink

...so I give in to the rhythm, the click click clack
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SgtSpike
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May 16, 2012, 05:51:31 PM
 #66

Makes sense catfish - sounds like a lot of little things add up to make BFL not worthwhile.  Long delivery times, require Windows to reflash, import tax, high electric usage compared to other FPGA's, etc.  Anyway, thanks for the lengthy explanation.  Wink
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May 16, 2012, 06:48:54 PM
 #67

Import tax is only VAT at 20% in UK, however Enterpoint quote a price without VAT, and unless you are VAT registered you will still pay VAT on the product, so it makes no difference, BFL or Enterpoint, you just pay a bit more to Enterpoint for better efficiency and faster ship times.
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May 19, 2012, 08:01:54 AM
 #68

Got my Single today  Grin

But.....Easy miner says its mining but the places to put in my wallet addy or paypal addy are "greyed" out (all options are greyed out,even run a test & install drivers) ),so I shut it down.I did go back & update the firmware thinking that may be the prob & ran a test from the second window,say's it works fine.I also made an account at Eclispe in the hopes that something might "work" somehow,but noooo Roll Eyes

Then tried CGminer,I'm software stupid so can't make a .bat file,so no mining there.Also have no idea how to --enable-bitforce,where do you put this command?? I never used cmd before,except for tracert runs.I just build PC's & hotrods  Grin

DL'd Ufasoft,this has got to work,it keeps shutting down when I fire it up........first windows said it was a virus,I know better so I allowed it in the popup.....ran it again.......now windows wants to send a report,yeah that'll fix it  Cheesy

I'm running Win7 64bit,how did you guys get this thing to work with any of these miners Huh Windows saw the bitforce & installed FTDI,so I don't think thats the prob.But in device manager,under ports it just says com3 (the usb port),not bitforce.

Yes I surfed the forum,for about 4 hrs last nite,no luck.................  Cry

I read the HeavyB posts,I'm still lost.

Thanks for any help  Cool If this was posted in the wrong place,just give it a shove to the right place  Wink


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Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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May 19, 2012, 08:22:08 AM
 #69

Got my Single today  Grin

But.....Easy miner says its mining but the places to put in my wallet addy or paypal addy are "greyed" out (all options are greyed out,even run a test & install drivers) ),so I shut it down.I did go back & update the firmware thinking that may be the prob & ran a test from the second window,say's it works fine.I also made an account at Eclispe in the hopes that something might "work" somehow,but noooo Roll Eyes

Then tried CGminer,I'm software stupid so can't make a .bat file,so no mining there.Also have no idea how to --enable-bitforce,where do you put this command?? I never used cmd before,except for tracert runs.I just build PC's & hotrods  Grin

DL'd Ufasoft,this has got to work,it keeps shutting down when I fire it up........first windows said it was a virus,I know better so I allowed it in the popup.....ran it again.......now windows wants to send a report,yeah that'll fix it  Cheesy

I'm running Win7 64bit,how did you guys get this thing to work with any of these miners Huh Windows saw the bitforce & installed FTDI,so I don't think thats the prob.But in device manager,under ports it just says com3 (the usb port),not bitforce.

Yes I surfed the forum,for about 4 hrs last nite,no luck.................  Cry

I read the HeavyB posts,I'm still lost.

Thanks for any help  Cool If this was posted in the wrong place,just give it a shove to the right place  Wink



For now you might try bitminter just to get going. I'm off to bed and have to get up early so can't go through the whole .bat thing right now.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=31163.msg877772#msg877772
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May 19, 2012, 01:26:36 PM
 #70

Here is a semi blank batch file for cgminer 2.4.1. 
1)Copy the text to notepad and modify what you need then save it as cgminer.bat.
2)Put it in your cgminer folder and run it.

If you have gpus as well you just need to add the relevant commands found in the first post of the cgminer thread.

cgminer -o http://poolurl:port -u user -p pass -S COM3 --failover-only

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
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May 19, 2012, 05:02:03 PM
 #71

Here is a semi blank batch file for cgminer 2.4.1. 
1)Copy the text to notepad and modify what you need then save it as cgminer.bat.
2)Put it in your cgminer folder and run it.

If you have gpus as well you just need to add the relevant commands found in the first post of the cgminer thread.

cgminer -o http://poolurl:port -u user -p pass -S COM3 --failover-only

Additionally, COM3 may not be your COM port. Look in Device Manager to determine the actual COM port.
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May 19, 2012, 05:39:24 PM
 #72

I left it as COM3 because he had mentioned it but definitely make sure that is the correct port or cgminer will not find the BFL.

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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May 19, 2012, 07:33:11 PM
 #73

Here is a semi blank batch file for cgminer 2.4.1.  
1)Copy the text to notepad and modify what you need then save it as cgminer.bat.
2)Put it in your cgminer folder and run it.

If you have gpus as well you just need to add the relevant commands found in the first post of the cgminer thread.

cgminer -o http://poolurl:port -u user -p pass -S COM3 --failover-only

Thanks !!!!!!! That did it  Grin

I was sooo tired after doing a landscape job yesterday,I must not have been thinking right Cheesy

I made about 10 .bat files & none of them worked,I was mislabeling them,duh Roll Eyes

My hashrate is half though any thoughts??



Maybe I flashed the wrong firmware version,I DL'ed the 832 version & flashed it instead of a higher one just in case of throttling like I had read about.

Is the temp correct in CGminer??

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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May 19, 2012, 07:36:14 PM
 #74

Here is a semi blank batch file for cgminer 2.4.1. 
1)Copy the text to notepad and modify what you need then save it as cgminer.bat.
2)Put it in your cgminer folder and run it.

If you have gpus as well you just need to add the relevant commands found in the first post of the cgminer thread.

cgminer -o http://poolurl:port -u user -p pass -S COM3 --failover-only

Thanks !!!!!!! That did it  Grin

I was sooo tired after doing a landscape job yesterday,I must not have been thinking right Cheesy

I made about 10 .bat files & none of them worked,I was mislabeling them,duh Roll Eyes

My hashrate is half though any thoughts??



Maybe I flashed the wrong firmware version,I DL'ed the 832 version & flashed it instead of a higher one just in case of throttling like I had read about.

Is the temp correct in CGminer??

Is there any chance you can test 824 and see what happens? Also, does the front LED occasionally blink
for around 15 seconds while you're hashing?


Regards,
BF Labs Inc.

BF Labs Inc.  www.butterflylabs.com   -  Bitcoin Mining Hardware
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May 19, 2012, 07:55:15 PM
 #75

Thanks for responding BFL Wink

The light only seemed to flash for reject shares or in between work.

Ok,I flashed the 824 firmware & ran a diag :



My room temp is 78 f.

That flash dropped the hashrate to 125. Now it doesen't flash at all Huh

EDIT: Duh...again........I didn't restart it Roll Eyes

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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May 19, 2012, 07:59:45 PM
 #76

Can you right click on the unit, and click on Device Information and let us know what it reads?


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BF Labs Inc.

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May 19, 2012, 08:14:39 PM
 #77

Thanks for responding BFL Wink

The light only seemed to flash for reject shares or in between work.

Ok,I flashed the 824 firmware & ran a diag :



My room temp is 78 f.

That flash dropped the hashrate to 125. Now it doesen't flash at all Huh

EDIT: Duh...again........I didn't restart it Roll Eyes

Also, the test run shows Total Throttles = 1, this means the unit is throttling.
What is the In-Take temperature of the unit, not necessarily the room temperature?
These units are tested at 72F not 78F. Are these units placed close together? Is a GPU
exhausting hot air into the units Intake? Is the Unit in a closed space where it cannot
ventilate efficiently? Is something blocking either the sides or the top side of the unit?

Please let us know.



Regards,
BF Labs Inc.

BF Labs Inc.  www.butterflylabs.com   -  Bitcoin Mining Hardware
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May 19, 2012, 08:54:22 PM
 #78



Also, the test run shows Total Throttles = 1, this means the unit is throttling.
What is the In-Take temperature of the unit, not necessarily the room temperature?
These units are tested at 72F not 78F. Are these units placed close together? Is a GPU
exhausting hot air into the units Intake? Is the Unit in a closed space where it cannot
ventilate efficiently? Is something blocking either the sides or the top side of the unit?

Please let us know.



Regards,
BF Labs Inc.

[/quote]

I only have one unit & it's sitting on an open shelf away from any sources of heat,other PC's or electronic devices are at least 3 feet away & nothing is exhuasting anywhere near it.I'll setup another PC in another room later & move it there & see how it goes.

I went ahead & tried the 864 firmware just to see how it goes:



Yep,throttling is occuring Cry

I'll try flashing the hot environment firmware & post the results,before moving it to another location.

Thanks for the help BFL-Engineer  Wink


"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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May 19, 2012, 09:35:56 PM
 #79

Well,I flashed the 768 firmware & viola,it's mining @ 750mh/s Grin

I expected a learning curve,so I'm not disappointed in the issues I've run into  Cool

It's a great little device & I'm very pleased with it.I'll be getting more soon!!!

Hope you guy's at BFL can get these to work a little better in a hotter enviroment,like 80 degrees.I'm in florida & to get to 72 degrees is very costly.

Thanks again for all the help guys !!!!! Cool

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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May 19, 2012, 09:47:25 PM
 #80

Well,I flashed the 768 firmware & viola,it's mining @ 750mh/s Grin

I expected a learning curve,so I'm not disappointed in the issues I've run into  Cool

It's a great little device & I'm very pleased with it.I'll be getting more soon!!!

Hope you guy's at BFL can get these to work a little better in a hotter enviroment,like 80 degrees.I'm in florida & to get to 72 degrees is very costly.

Thanks again for all the help guys !!!!! Cool


OK, now you can test with 792, 800 and 808. Increase firmware version one by one to find
the sweet spot. Please let us know how it goes.


Regards,
BF Labs Inc.

BF Labs Inc.  www.butterflylabs.com   -  Bitcoin Mining Hardware
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