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Author Topic: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion  (Read 145329 times)
novak@gekkoscience
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April 16, 2015, 03:08:28 AM
 #461

They're probably prohibitively expensive and I'm not sure that throwing ever larger capacitors at the problem is a good solution but supercaps and ultracaps can store a lot of charge.

We tried using a pretty large amount of capacitance.  The thing to remember is that we need to build this into a little stickminer that will go in a USB port, so we can't drown it in caps.  Overall we've been fairly dissatisfied with this chip so using a different controller is not a bad plan.  We have another project utilizing a very similar controller so we already have some confidence in the design.

I think we've spend more time dicking around with this ridiculous regulator chip than the rest of the design combined.  It just won't handle the burst current, even at fairly low end starting frequencies.  We slapped another regulator on there and it worked all the way up.

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sidehack
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April 16, 2015, 03:57:50 AM
 #462

Yep. I did some quick calculations and it should only take about 220uF to handle the burst transient tolerably before the regulator can kick in. We had something like 360uF on the output and it still bottomed pretty good. Has to be overcurrent protection kicking in (at about 11A). The new design I'm working on right now (literally) I can set the overcurrent pretty much wherever I want, so I'm gonna make sure it'll be good for those kinds of burst transients. If we start testing higher voltages and frequencies and find that the burst requirement gets worse, I can just take the overcurrent a bit higher with a change of one part. The FETs will be good for a heck of a lot more current than this thing will ever need. We're aiming to make it capable of maxing out a 1.5A port in steady state, which it should hopefully find around 300MHz (16.5GH). I mean, it'd be pretty great if it could do more than that. Since we can do pretty much whatever the heck we want, I'm gonna give it a full range of 600-800mV so you can clock it up to 400MHz if you can keep it cool enough. Whatever.

Yeah, the schfifty-three we put on there I think has... 3x 68uF output caps? And it behaved admirably even at starting the chip on about 640mV 250MHz. I didn't test the chip higher than that but I probably will tomorrow. It really wants a higher voltage to run at 300MHz stable anyway. I'm kinda surprised it started at 640. Our homemade regulator (well, except for the inductor) will be about as beefy as a schfifty-three circuit (by which I mean the TPS53355DQP) which has been the favorite of miners for a while now - S1, S2, S3, AM Cube, AM Tube, BTCGarden AMV1, New R-Box and a few other things use 'em without any problems. But they're like five bucks per chip. I can build an equivalent non-monolithic circuit for under $2 in silicon, with better power dissipation since it's less dense.

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April 16, 2015, 05:49:16 AM
 #463

I don't think we have any NF1s though- if you have any of those (even under-performing or damaged) we'd gladly send a little BTC.

Sure - Just PM me a shipping address!

novak@gekkoscience
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April 16, 2015, 07:23:54 AM
 #464

And it behaved admirably even at starting the chip on about 640mV 250MHz. I didn't test the chip higher than that but I probably will tomorrow. It really wants a higher voltage to run at 300MHz stable anyway. I'm kinda surprised it started at 640.

Me too but I think the chip we're testing on is better than average, or else BM1384s are better than advertised.  We were getting the thing to start at 580mV without a hitch.

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April 16, 2015, 07:37:21 AM
 #465

Oh hey yeah, I sent you an email about some buck chip options and ideas from the last six hours or so of research and calculation. Think about that for a while and I'm gonna fall asleep.

But yeah the test chip, I think it was at 125MHz and it was definitely submitting shares at about 580mV at one point. Awesome.

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April 17, 2015, 04:02:25 AM
 #466

So, update. I designed two fresh regulators, each using sturdy external FETs. One is using a driver chip with a convenient package but a lowerbound of 0.62V; the other has a sorta sucky package but it also has internal compensation and an adjustable reference down to 0.5V so I have it calculated for an adjustable range of 0.55 to 0.80V which should give people plenty of room to play.

We have parts coming to prototype these regulators, and I'll start with the wider-range one because I'd rather have that lowerbound available. I probably won't be able to play with them until Monday.

I set up two boards in parallel since I have them running below a 30A regulator right now. There's plenty of current headroom. I'm seeing fairly frequent hardware errors, which could be due to heat or crappy inter-board wiring. It's currently sitting at 150MHz, which should be 16.5GH but I'm seeing about 14.5 probably because of errors. I'm going to play with chip addressing a bit and see if it even cares what order chips are in; so far I don't think it does.

Tomorrow I'll tweak things a bit and see if I can't get them running well in parallel at 175MHz (19.25GH or 200MHz (22GH) before I start messing with putting them in a string. Hopefully by cheeseburger time tomorrow I'll have two boards strung, which should shift the regulator efficiency up 5-10%. Very excited about that.

Today's Porn:

The two green boards are the BM1384 breakout boards. The unwieldy length of multicolored cabling between them is the fairly jankety inter-board comms. I stole one of Novak's USB adapters, which is currently running off my powered metered USB port. The dark board off the right-side breakout is a corner off a dead Garden blade, rehashed slightly as an adjustable-output 30A converter that's drawing power through a USB jack plugged into a dummy socket off my bench power supply. The fan is swiped from a retired AM Cube, just in case. I'm pretty sure it's the wiring causing issues though, probably a pretty noisy environment to be running 1.8V 115200baud UART lines through without shielding.

The crappy getup will be mining at Eligius on the burger donation address (1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr) in case anyone wants to see how it behaves overnight. If I have time to get a series string of chips going tomorrow, we'll have the first taste of the Amita, and I'm pretty stoked about that.


eretron
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April 17, 2015, 08:43:34 AM
 #467

Amazing Cheesy

Can't wait to see it finished...

OgNasty
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April 17, 2015, 03:28:03 PM
 #468

I enjoy reading this thread and seeing the progress.  I might have even learned a thing or two.  Great work!

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sidehack
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April 17, 2015, 03:45:34 PM
 #469

Thanks. Yeah I need to track down the source of the hardware errors in parallel before working on stringing two boards, but hopefully I have something stable before the new regulator parts come in. If that's the case, and the test board regulator works as well as it should, we could be ordering Compac prototype boards (and possibly Amita boards) end of next week.

philipma1957
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April 17, 2015, 03:57:52 PM
 #470

Looked at the hash rate over nite you had a dip and then a recovery.  which is better then a dip and a flat line.  keep working at it. looking forward to playing with them.

Please support sidehack with his new miner project Send to : 1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
I mine alt coins with https://simplemining.net I see BTC as the super highway and alt coins as taxis and trucks needed to move transactions.
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April 17, 2015, 04:12:38 PM
 #471

Is that reading @ 16-22gh still @ 1.2 - 2.1 amps or still do-able from a usb hub?
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April 17, 2015, 04:17:19 PM
 #472

Is that reading @ 16-22gh still @ 1.2 - 2.1 amps or still do-able from a usb hub?

It is with a high quality hub, and a robust power supply behind it. Your generic 7-port hub with a 2A power supply likely won't cut it, and certainly not for 7 ports!
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April 17, 2015, 04:29:09 PM
 #473

The most steady current I saw was about 1.4A, but mind you that's for two chips on a regulator which should be 5-10% less efficient than I expect for the final.

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April 17, 2015, 06:32:04 PM
 #474

Is that reading @ 16-22gh still @ 1.2 - 2.1 amps or still do-able from a usb hub?

It is with a high quality hub, and a robust power supply behind it. Your generic 7-port hub with a 2A power supply likely won't cut it, and certainly not for 7 ports!
Did I say I had a 2 amp low quality hub?  But thanks for the example.
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April 17, 2015, 06:47:17 PM
 #475

He probably didn't mean yours specifically, but a general "you". A lot of folks have cheap 7-port powered hubs which would be okay for stock settings but nowhere near what these sticks should be capable of.

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April 17, 2015, 09:34:44 PM
 #476

Thanks sidehack.

I certainly didn't mean to criticize any specific hub and power supply setup. It's just easy for folks to start multiplying a stick miner rate, and think it's trivial to just run a dozen or more. The first one is easy. The 12th stick miner is much harder to get working well.
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April 18, 2015, 12:00:57 AM
 #477

Thanks sidehack.

I certainly didn't mean to criticize any specific hub and power supply setup. It's just easy for folks to start multiplying a stick miner rate, and think it's trivial to just run a dozen or more. The first one is easy. The 12th stick miner is much harder to get working well.

the internet does this you leave a word or two out you read like the worst meanest guy in the world.

you bother to write a beautiful well thought post it is too long people skip over it.

better yet say something nice about something and people read it as sarcasm .

I have posted so many times on so many sites that I am more sloppy now by choice so that I don't feel pissed that some disagrees or misreads a post I spent 25 minutes writing in order for it to be perfectly understood by all.

Back to topic:

I have 2 stud hubs from klintay IIRC they do a solid .9 amps per stick I also have some usb bridges which will allow for 1.8 amps per stick.

I will be able to push these high and low

Please support sidehack with his new miner project Send to : 1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
I mine alt coins with https://simplemining.net I see BTC as the super highway and alt coins as taxis and trucks needed to move transactions.
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April 18, 2015, 12:45:33 AM
 #478

I choose the best of both worlds, and tend to write mean things in long, well-thought-out posts.

I'm hoping for a regulator efficiency such that we can run a Compac stock at 150MHz (8.25GH) off a 500mA 5V port. I also want the Compac to be capable of taking in 1.5A of 5V comfortably. I've only got one powered hub to test with, but it's one I rebuilt with beefed-up 5V lines, a couple extra capacitors and a Molex for power.

Also, I wired one board straight to another board in an effort to cut down on potential wiring issues causing comm noise or clock jitter that might be hosing up my hashes. I'm still getting HW errors (both boards worked flawlessly as single boards), but clocked at 150MHz I should see 16.5GH; cgminer is reporting about 13 and the 3-hour average on Eligius is 12GH. That makes it look like half the shares returned by the second board are hosed. Better than all the shares, which I was seeing previously. Maybe tomorrow I'll work on chaining up and putting two boards in series. I wonder how the level shifters will help knock out any wiring concerns. If I still get moderate cooperation between the chips I'll probably send off for a modified two-chip breakout board when I send off for Compac prototype PCBs to see about improving performance and getting layout ideas for the Amita board and TypeZero.

But right now it's Friday evening and I'm full up on cheeseburgers and taters and about eight glasses of sweet tea so, gonna relax a bit instead.

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April 18, 2015, 01:00:16 AM
 #479

I choose the best of both worlds, and tend to write mean things in long, well-thought-out posts.

I'm hoping for a regulator efficiency such that we can run a Compac stock at 150MHz (8.25GH) off a 500mA 5V port. I also want the Compac to be capable of taking in 1.5A of 5V comfortably. I've only got one powered hub to test with, but it's one I rebuilt with beefed-up 5V lines, a couple extra capacitors and a Molex for power.

Also, I wired one board straight to another board in an effort to cut down on potential wiring issues causing comm noise or clock jitter that might be hosing up my hashes. I'm still getting HW errors (both boards worked flawlessly as single boards), but clocked at 150MHz I should see 16.5GH; cgminer is reporting about 13 and the 3-hour average on Eligius is 12GH. That makes it look like half the shares returned by the second board are hosed. Better than all the shares, which I was seeing previously. Maybe tomorrow I'll work on chaining up and putting two boards in series. I wonder how the level shifters will help knock out any wiring concerns. If I still get moderate cooperation between the chips I'll probably send off for a modified two-chip breakout board when I send off for Compac prototype PCBs to see about improving performance and getting layout ideas for the Amita board and TypeZero.

But right now it's Friday evening and I'm full up on cheeseburgers and taters and about eight glasses of sweet tea so, gonna relax a bit instead.

yeah sweet tea is a real weakness for me..

Good luck over the weekend. oh let me know if the museum usb sticks that i sent came.

Please support sidehack with his new miner project Send to : 1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
I mine alt coins with https://simplemining.net I see BTC as the super highway and alt coins as taxis and trucks needed to move transactions.
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April 18, 2015, 02:29:46 AM
 #480

Take it EZ sidehack you deserve a break.  Hagw
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