Hello Fellow miners!
I’ve decided to pen this quick guide to assist folks who are having trouble with their block erupter setups! I’ve had this issue haunt me for the past month or so, but have largely ignored it due to the fact that I have other substantial hardware working around the clock to bother noticing.
The fact at hand though is this: I bought them and need them to run as often as possible to be able to recoup their investment. While most folks, myself included agree that as of March 2013, attempting to recoup 2 cents per day on a device currently listed at 30 dollars is very foolish indeed, had I started from today. However, I have had these since September and had always intended to mine an altcoin sha256 anyway. (Don’t allow other single track minded folks to deter you into not buying hardware) In other words, you must think of the potential growth factor built into mining both bitcoin and altcoins because while it may only net the equivalent of 2 cents per device today, that same value of bitcoin could easily jump to 4 cents, 20, cents, or even 40 cents per device per day! Perhaps it could even jump to whole dollars if mining an alt-coin early enough and selling it back during the high point. (I’m going off track here)
Without further adieu, here is my list of problems to look for with Block Erupters:
Why does/do my Block Erupter(s) flash then go solid, repeatedly?
If your block erupter isn’t receiving enough power, the description mentioned above happens. I learned early on that having a 10 port USB 2.0 hub doesn’t equate to having 10 usable ports for Block erupters! If you are using an unpowered USB hub (that is a usb hub without an AC adapter), then you will likely be limited to 1 or maybe 2 erupters tops, this is why: Each erupter uses approximately 2.5 watts give or take .1 watts. The Erupters also run on around 5 volts. USB 2.0 ports can provide exactly 500 miliamps which is equal to one erupter.
If you are using a powered hub (you should be using a powered hub and not your ports themselves for your erupters, to prevent them from burning out) make sure to check the voltage on the ac adapter itself. Many USB 2.0 hubs will put out between 30-50 Watts which is the equivalent of 3 Amps, 12V input or 4 Amps 7V input. My usb 2.0 powered hubs for example use 3 Amps at 5 Volts, which will provide approximately 15 Watts of power. Since each erupter uses about 2.5 Watts that is approximately 6 erupters per hub, DESPITE having 10 ports. Whenever I plug in more than 6 units, my hub will overload and shut off for a split second, proceeded by the blinking lights of all erupters connected.
I start the software but then the terminal window closes immediately
Your pool credentials are incorrect. Check their web page to confirm that they are valid, down to the IP address. I have found that using stratum+tcp:// vs not using when specifing your pool url doesn’t make a difference with either cgminer or bfgminer.
I started my mining software but its saying *usb X is currently in use?
I’ve seen this happen when I quickly shut down the mining software then attempt to re-open it. I don’t have an explanation, but I think that the initialization process kept your IO on the block erupter itself in a ‘busy’ state. Simply rebooting the computer will remedy this.
My Block Erupters are powered and dont blink, but for some reason they are never picked up by my mining software?
At first glance, I would ask if these devices are brand new and you are trying to get them setup for the first time, if so, then I believe you may need to consider installing the VCP drivers required for your device to be recognized.
Here’s where things get interesting for me (the inspiration behind writing this article). I had a 2-port pci-e USB 3.0 card that had been installed and working fine to expand spots to attach more hubs (as of this writing I have 9 powered hubs connected to a host pc) and everything was working well for the most part. However at the time I was running windows 7 Pro and was having major issues with starting the PC while all devices were powered and connected. The host would randomly freeze on boot and other times would BSOD. Asking Luke-Jr for advice on this issue (I’m using BFG miner and he is the Developer) he asked/stated: Why not just use Linux? Not being sure what to do but being a glutton or learning curve punishment, I took the plunge, through a few Small distros and even trying to run Debian before settling on Ubuntu: Presto! no more lockups or bsod! Remember that issue that kept haunting me at the beginning of this article? The problem was that my Erupters on 1 or two hubs would never seem to mine or be recognized at all. I didn’t bother with it as I was setting up the lions share of my hardware for these past few months. Today I realized that the pcie hub itself needed the drivers in order to be able to recognize the block erupters and hub, mind you that this behavior was inconsistent. I would reboot and set the .sh file to run my equipment as -S erupter:all and it would ignore the hub that refused to connect to the mining software, but other times it seemed to start and work initially.
TL;DR = you’re having problems because you either A) need to reboot, B) Don’t have enough power coming from the Hub or C) need to reinstall your hub drivers.