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Author Topic: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion  (Read 145329 times)
richardamullens
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April 05, 2015, 11:12:01 PM

Yes, of course, you are right. A pot on the stick miner and a DAC on the type zero strike the right balance.

I'm a minimalist and sometimes software allows you to remove hardware - but of course there's a price to be paid for that in terms of software complexity.
The basis of my metal detector is at http://www.rhodamine.eu/~richard/cv/ew.jpeg my only electronics publication Smiley
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sidehack
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April 05, 2015, 11:38:28 PM

Snazzy idea there. I have zero electronics publications, so you're definitely winning.

The AntMiner U3 has software-definable voltage, but it uses some crazy TI digital driver that's buried under NDAs just to get a datasheet, and so is the probably-all-digital FET driver it chats with to get things done.

Yeah our engineering philosophy is definitely minimalist - or more precisely, minimal modularist. Find a simple and reliable thing to do the job well and use it; if the job is manifold, split it up and find simple reliable segments. Microcontrollers can be the simple thing, but you have to consider that though it's only one chip, a microcontroller is an incredibly complex and intricate circuit all its own. When we were looking at multiphase regulator design we looked at something like the TI driver chip on the Habanero, which can handle 6 phases with all digital monitoring and something something potatoes. It's pretty fancy. The thing incorporates a 32-bit ARM processor on top of a bucketload of ADC circuitry and some DSP segments I think.
But I think instead we're gonna use TL494s to do the heavy lifting, with a small microcontroller to generate synchronised clocking signals and control phase shedding where needed. Small code, few errors; easily modularisable, flexible and reconfigurable; anything time-critical is entirely analog. There's probably more compact and integrated ways to do it, and with a fast enough processor we could probably replace every piece of silicon short of the switching FETs with a single chip, but I'd have to be convinced that it was legitimately functionally better, not just easier.

I really like the TL494. I don't know how popular it is anymore, in a world of highly integrated and automated everything, but that chip is a beast. So many functions and basically all of them are broken out to pins. Lots of control, lots of flexibility, zero programming requirement. For the record, 2/3 of my college education was Computer Science and Computer Engineering so I'm not scared of the programming, I just tend to look for non-computational solutions first. A couple weeks ago Novak combined an entire board design of mine into a $0.70 microcontroller and about five interface parts, and it's clearly the better option. These things happen.

richardamullens
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April 06, 2015, 02:03:50 AM

Thanks for the idea of the TL494 - I was surprised to see that the datasheet was last updated in Jan 2015 and there was an application note written for it last year http://www.ti.com.cn/cn/lit/an/slva666/slva666.pdf
I've only used the UA78S40 which is more expensive and available in fewer packages - so your device wins Smiley

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April 06, 2015, 02:42:53 AM

Yeah, I like to think of the TL494 as the 555 of SMPS controllers. I'm not familiar with the part you mentioned.

The TL494 has dual error amplifiers, so you can wire up an overcurrent protection on it natively, or overtemp, or whatever. And an external deadtime control pin that basically allows for additional error amplifiers to be tied in to reduce the duty cycle when necessary. Switching frequency control up to 300KHz and dual outputs that can be run in parallel or push-pull. Buckets of those chips were used as half-bridge forward converters in old ATX supplies, I don't know if they're still that common anymore though. They can be driven by an external clock, but the only thing I don't like about the chip as a whole is the external clock has to be a sawtooth. Makes sense since that's what PWM is compared to, but it'd be easier to tie 'em together if they could synchronise off a square pulse. I really like that they don't use a fixed internal reference voltage, which is what makes software adjustment possible when you use a DAC. And then you're not limited to whatever lowerbound the fixed internal reference gives - typically 0.6-0.8V which you mentioned 0.25V so that'd be out by 99% of driver chips.

Working on the miner project is the most fun I've had at work since about a year and a half ago, when I was spending the first 8 hours of the day on hardware refurb stuff (the real job) and the next 8 hours designing and building a 7V->150V push-pull forward converter for a nixie tube power supply around the TL494. That was a good week.

The chip being used on the Compac is an IR3899, which I noticed last week is the big brother of the 4A-rated regulator on the Bi-Fury stickminer (I forget its part number).

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April 06, 2015, 05:10:53 AM

Glad to see you guys are making some progress!!  If you need anything else feel free to ping me.

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sidehack
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April 06, 2015, 05:15:43 AM

Nothing except time, currently, and you're not really capable of that kind of thing. I'm probably gonna focus on hosting maintenance tomorrow and hand off Compac dev to Novak for software stuff, maybe get initial Amita board design done and get back to the TypeZero regulator work which I haven't touched in a few weeks. I guess I do have some paperwork to take care of for Bitmain as well.

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April 06, 2015, 07:58:08 AM

Here ya go...open CAREFULLY,it slips away if you don't  Cheesy


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richardamullens
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April 06, 2015, 06:38:48 PM

The IR3899 looks awesome and I had not appreciated that the TL494 doesn't have an inbuilt reference - thanks.  I'm still minded to try to roll my own software converter though (for 0.25V).  Last night I connected a 100W 660nm LED to a 24V supply and watched as the current rose from 4 to 4.3 Amps before I bottled out - later I got the spec from China and it said the Abs max rating was 3.5 A but it still seems to work fine.  It was attached to a 30x14 cm heatsink but perhaps it got to 55 Celsius - uncomfortable to hold so I'm going to need some fans ...

Keep up the good work - what you're doing is very interesting to hear about.
novak@gekkoscience
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April 07, 2015, 02:42:03 AM

We have hashrate coming from a BM1384 on our breakout board.



Note freq = 100 so expected hashrate of 5.5GH, it's a bit low but it moved up shortly afterwards.

--
novak
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April 07, 2015, 02:46:15 AM

This is awesome! Great job novak!

Check your PM  Wink

██     Please support sidehack with his new miner project Send to :

1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
sidehack
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April 07, 2015, 03:37:32 AM



In case anyone's wondering, here's a chart of the regulator efficiency as tested. It still needs work, as I'm having trouble getting more than about 3W out of it before it starts to cut out. I've already ruled out undervolt protection, and it's certainly not overcurrent, so it might be temperature-related. More testing is needed, but I want to be able to push it to at least 6A at 0.75V and right now I can't get 4A at .75V out of it.

Also, yes, the regulator is currently attached to a populated BM1384 breakout board and capable of operating. We exchanged high fives until our hands went numb. Tomorrow's Tuesday sandwiches will include celebratory ice cream.

Once I get the regulator ironed out, I have a few changes to make to the Compac PCB. We'll need to test chaining and see how hard it'll be to get two chips in series to talk to each other.


Xian01
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April 07, 2015, 03:45:44 AM

We have hashrate coming from a BM1384 on our breakout board.
That's tremendous ! Congrats !

Love following your updates.
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April 07, 2015, 04:04:39 AM

AWESOME!!! 1st of the baby steps  Grin

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April 07, 2015, 04:30:12 AM

AWESOME!!! 1st of the baby steps  Grin

ah a potential 'toy' for me in the making...(I'm such a miner slut!) but I must admit have 'tempered' my ways to either 1) baby miners or 2) frigging great
deals on used stuff.....

so perhaps "demon asic purchases" of any 'real' danger are a thing of the past......

(moderation.......my new mantra...although I have to mumble it constantly when seeing neat miner porn like yours)...hey its a start on the road to recovery right?

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vs3
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April 07, 2015, 04:49:17 AM

We have hashrate coming from a BM1384 on our breakout board.
http://s15.postimg.org/hrku64kfv/hashing.png

AWESOME NEWS! Smiley CONGRATS!
And keep up the great geek pron coming! Smiley

jekecoin
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April 07, 2015, 06:14:14 AM

We have hashrate coming from a BM1384 on our breakout board.
http://s15.postimg.org/hrku64kfv/hashing.png

AWESOME NEWS! Smiley CONGRATS!
And keep up the great geek pron coming! Smiley
Yeah! Awesome, I hold my money Smiley, and Beauty board

Hard obsoleto                    Cloudmining: Cex.io EOBOT                    Gambling: Primedice
Bicknellski
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April 07, 2015, 08:31:48 AM

Slowest clap possible. Well done.

Dogie trust abuse, spam, bullying, conspiracy posts & insults to forum members. Ask the mods or admins to move Dogie's spam or off topic stalking posts to the link above.
sidehack
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April 08, 2015, 12:04:57 AM

So, I currently have three tested functional BM1384 breakout boards. I didn't get any further work done on the regulator for doing that and other things. But one of the breakouts is heatsinked and running on Eligius pointed at the burger address (http://eligius.st/~wizkid057/newstats/userstats.php/1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr)

I think the regulator problems are temperature-related. I hope to have time to look at them tomorrow, but our wire cutter went down today and I have to weld/machine some parts back together to get it going so we can meet orders. Grumble grumble Chinese steel grumble grumble.

gexain
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April 08, 2015, 06:48:53 PM

exellent project development
sidehack
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April 10, 2015, 01:46:47 AM

So yesterday evening I finally got the wire cutter parts re-machined and reassembled, but today was a maintenance day for hosting and stuff around the shop. So very little progress. We've had the protoCompac mining on the 1Burger at Eligius at 125MHz (about 6.8GH) for the last 24 hours without any problems. I have noted the chip doesn't like to start below 0.65V, which might help explain what some people were seeing with S5 undervolt testing. That's about 10V across an S5 board. I'll probably change up the regulator voltage range to start about 625mV and run up to about 800mV.

I'm working on using the RF pin to trigger sent-share LED like on the U1/U2 but having no luck. The flag is pulsing with a short-enough duration that persistence of vision keeps me from seeing an LED change with the setup we have. I can make it work with a one-shot circuit but it'll take some extra dev time and a bit more board space. Hopefully I can keep things simple. Having a flashing sent-share LED is way better than not having a flashing sent-share LED.

I'll probably be on Compac all day tomorrow. Hopefully I can get enough ironed out that we'll be sending off for actual prototype PCBs early next week.

Also, tomorrow is Friday which means Cheeseburger Day. So I won't actually be working all day. Gotta make time for sammiches.

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