Once I decided to sign on the dotted line with Omnis, it was time to order the supplementary hardware needed to actually run my miners.
I knew I’d want to scale up, so one of the accessories I purchased was essentially a fancy power strip, one that fit the data center’s power output which is higher than a normal house wall socket. But the power strip came with 16 plugs so I believe I should be able to scale up to up to six or seven additional rigs without having to incur extra colocation charges for using additional power ports. I wanted to keep my three Furies and my Black Widow separate, so that meant I had to order two Raspberry Pis–one for the three Furies and one for the Black Widow. The Furies also needed a USB strip as each one required its own USB port to connect to the Raspberry Pi. The Black Widow required its own power supply unit, so I bought that as well. The total cost for accessories was just a bit over $300 on Amazon.
Not being sure how long it would take GAW to unplug the hosted equipment and ship it to the data center, I opted for the Amazon slow but free shipping. Then I composed a support ticket for GAW requesting them to ship the equipment to the data center.
About this time, GAW Miners started to undergo big changes. For starters, they bought out Zen Hosting, bringing the two companies under one umbrella–making official what was already practice. It also meant that all GAW’s hosted miners were going directly to Zen and their previous option to host on their servers (however inadequate it was) was no longer going to exist. Support tickets were starting to take much longer than the promised twenty-four hours to even get looked at. I wondered if my equipment was going to be in limbo for a while. It was still hashing on my pools, but I was very much looking forward to getting them over to the data center where I was convinced they’d work much better.
The very next day I received an email from Luke of GAW Miners offering me a great deal to switch over all my hosted hardware to Zen. The sweet deal included free hosting for a year and some extra hashing power in the form of extra Furies. By that time my empty Zen account had already acquired a GAW Appreciation Fury–a gift given to all existing Zen customers when the merger or acquisition happened. With just a little bit of hesitation (considering the support ticket already outstanding) I emailed Luke back and told him I’d take it. Then I took my kids to the park.
While I was at the park I felt a bit guilty over the thought of having GAW do the work of moving my hardware back to Zen only to have me yank it back out with a request for physical delivery. It had been an ordeal getting the hardware switched from Zen to GAW in the first place.
When I got home I pulled my support ticket and made sure people at GAW knew I no longer wanted the delivery. Then I quickly ordered another set of three Furies and one Black Widow. It just so happened that GAW was running a sale on the Black Widow–$199 compared to the $399 I paid for it the first time–and were throwing in a free Zen Controller with it, which is basically another Raspberry Pi. The three Furies were at regular price but by now quite affordable–just enough to bring my total order to over $300 and qualify for free shipping. I pulled together the funds and ordered.
I’m so glad I did because at the time I made that purchase the price of Bitcoin was $543. The very next day, the price tanked to around $510, and it has not recovered since then, currently hovering right around $470.
The freshly ordered hardware from GAW shipped out the very next day and beat my Amazon shipment by a day or two.
Once everything arrived the data center technician set up the hardware and pointed it all to one of my multipools. By then it was a Friday and he would show me how to control my hardware on Monday. In the mean time my hardware would be mining.
It took a few days to iron out the glitches and get me comfortable with running cgminer on two Raspberry Pis that I couldn’t physically see or touch. It’s amazing what you can do with an Internet connection and some software. I downloaded and installed an application called Putty which allowed me to essentially view and type commands into each of my Raspberry Pi’s screens.
There are some interesting and creative ways to screw up cgminer, and I checked quite a few off my list, resulting in numerous support tickets. At one point my helpful technician suggested that we find a program that could make the whole thing more point and click for me. I think he must have been throwing his hands up in the air by day four or so. He was probably equally frustrated by the fact that there isn’t much in the way of point and click mining rig control interfaces. He looked at the Zen Controller interface and wrote it off from the beginning.
But I got the hang of it and before long had both rigs (the three Furies being one rig and the Black Widow being the other one) pointed to the Mining Rig Rental servers and mining in my multipool from there.
Once I developed a history of good hashing on the multipools I put them up for rent and have been doing very well with that ever since. The rental prices have started to move upwards as I write this, and I have already leased out my own rigs for more than I ever paid to rent a rig.
Of course, the prices could drop just as quickly. I now pay close attention to the daily per MH/s payout of my favorite multipool and set my rental price to be at least a bit higher than that. Right now I make more leasing out my rigs than mining with them, and the money gets paid up front and is made available to me twelve hours after the lease finishes.
I’m now two weeks into what I consider to be actually mining, as in I own physical hardware and I completely control it. I pay real bills for the colocation, and I choose whether or not to mine with my hardware or lease it out. And when I’m mining I have complete freedom to point it to whichever pool I want to.
I’m now a real miner.
But the story doesn’t end here. It will soon be continued.