Hi beginner miners and everyone who is about to join the movement! There are a few ways to keep your mining as profitable as possible, and one of the basic ones is maintaining your farm in a good condition. Today, we’ll tell you how to do routine and advanced maintenance, how to monitor and take care of your GPUs, and some life hacks for warranty repair.
Routine maintenance — once in 1–2 months
It’s good to do regular quick maintenance once a month or 2 months. Check the software updates, examine your CPU and GRU for dust, damages, and proper fan functioning.
Check if your mining software is up-to-date. In any latest version, devs remove vulnerabilities and make the soft perform better (and bring you more money). Updating Windows-based software may be hard due to the problems with video drivers, so it’s a good idea to look for Linux-based distributions.
Since there might be issues with some of the updates, install them in two steps. First, update several mining rigs and see if everything is OK. If it is, install the updates for the rest of the farm. Some time ago, miners had their Claymore miner stop working after a HiveOS update, so they had to switch to other miners with lower hashrate.
This may sound trivial, but it’s important to visually inspect your farm from time to time, especially its remote parts.
Check the PSU first. Turn off your computer to discharge the PSU. Examine the fan: does it turn freely? Is there dust? Does it make weird sounds while rotating, and is the rotation speed OK? Unresolved problems with a fan may result in your PSU damage and a mining rig downtime.
Now, here’s what to do in case of issues. Remove the screws to open the PSU cover, and do the same with the fan case. Remove the cable if possible — it can be either quick-removal or soldered. See if there’s dust or other details that you can remove. In case the fan looks damaged, you can buy any regular PC fan for replacement — they usually work fine. Mind that Chieftec fans may require more frequent replacement.
Check the cables and the connectors. GPU and riser power cable connectors can wear out if used at maximum capacities. In case your cables are removable, check their slots on the PSU case.
If the slots are burned, there are two things you can do. Firstly, try to repair the cable yourself: solder it on a connector from another cable. In this case, the cables that you haven’t thrown out after receiving your PSU will be helpful. Secondly, and sadly, if a connector is burned badly, the PSU should be replaced. Miners report that the Chinese-made PSUs may get out of order less frequently than those manufactured by Corsair or Chieftec.
Check the CPU fan. If mine on a GPU, a CPU doesn’t usually get affected. If a processor gets overheated, it usually shuts down before the damage occurs. However, without a properly functioning CPU, you won’t be able to run a rig. If there is a problem, a “CPU FAN ERROR” will be displayed, and you’ll be asked to press F1 to run the setup. To avoid that, monitor the CPU fan remotely: check if there are no cables or peeling riser bases stuck inside it.
Scheduled Advanced Maintenance — once in a few months
Some of the things listed above should be done in a more precise manner once in a few months. They include visual inspection and dust cleaning.
To get rid of the dust, don’t use a vacuum cleaner — it will generate static electricity, and changing air dusters will be costly. Instead, get an air compressor. It will blow the dust out of everywhere with no harm to you and the farm. Don’t forget to shut down your rigs first!
In your advanced maintenance, replug the cables and the connectors, risers, and RAM. Over time, they may get oxidized which can cause issues with their functioning. While doing this, check if the power connectors are in a good shape.
When you turn your rig back on, see how the GPU fan is working. If it takes it long to start rotating, inspect it more thoroughly or consider replacing it. You can rotate the blades manually for this time to make them run well, but mind the signal of malfunction that has been revealed!
Changing the CR2032 CMOS battery. This is a battery in your motherboard that gets worn out every 1–2 years. A low battery can cause the reset of the BIOS settings, and you may find that only after a power outage. Further, the battery can corrode and harm the motherboard. Since it’s extremely expensive to repair the motherboard, change the battery every 1–2 years, and you’ll be safe.
Take care of your GPU
Graphic cards are the most important piece of hardware for mining most of the coins, so there needs to be special attention to them. The critical parameter is the GPU temperature: it should be below 70°C, otherwise, a processor will get damaged, or there will need to be extra fan power applied.
Fan issues. If one of your GPUs is hotter than the other ones, and a fan is running at exceeding RPM, it must have some difficulties spinning. When you do your investigation, remember that the order of the GPUs displayed in your interface may be different from the real order of the graphic cards in your motherboard.
Sadly, many fan manufacturers use copper grommets instead of bearings. When something’s wrong with a fan, there’s no point in lubricating it, but it’s quite hard to find an appropriate grommet. If you are in such a situation, simply buy new fans on AliExpress. Their wholesale price may be at $7.5 a pair plus cables. It’s easy to replace a fan; in some cases, you’ll need to replace a pair of fans at once. You can use your warranty to replace the fans — we’ll get to this topic shortly.
Thermal paste or plates. Between the graphics chips and the cooling system radiator in your GPU, a thin layer of material prevents the graphic card from overheating — this is a thermal paste or a thermal plate. If your GPU frequently gets overheated, but replacing or cleaning the fan doesn’t help, reapply the paste. Do it once in 3–5 years, not more often — there’s a risk that the layer will be too thin, and overheating may occur.
GPU Memory Errors. If you have some, this is a sign that the GPU memory chips have worn out. Running damaged memory chips can harm your mining and result in banning from the pool. To avoid that, reduce overclocking.
What parameters can I monitor to keep my farm safe?
Constant monitoring will help you prevent unexpected breakages, farm downtime, and money losses. Here’s what you can monitor remotely:
- GPU temperature. Monitor it with a web-based GUI.
- CPU temperature and fan RPM. Use a web-based GUI or a command line (lm-sensors tool).
- GPU Errors.
Mind that a farm can heat both itself and the surrounding air — it can rapidly get too hot in the room. Use temperature sensors and smart home tools, they will help the GPU fans do their job.
Keep a spare hard drive to avoid downtime
Remote monitoring can help you prevent many types of breakages, but sadly, not all of them. As a precaution, keep some extra risers, PSUs, and a backup drive at hand to fix the problem fast and avoid downtime. In your hard drive, customized OS and the miner should be pre-installed — thus, when the HDD is out of order, you can replace it ASAP. Here are two tips: in Hive OS, add your FARM_HASH to the rig.conf file, and your rig will be displayed right after the connection. Second, use the web GUI to easily set up a new rig.
Warranty repair or replacement
If you have a problem with your hardware and are positive that it’s a manufacturer’s defect, use your warranty. You can apply for a replacement or a refund. Sadly, miners report that sellers and service centers don’t usually like miners, so you might need some insistence.
If your BIOS has been modified or you have 4 GPUs connected to one PSU, the service can decline your refund order even if there is a manufacturing defect. To avoid this scenario, restore your hardware configuration to the original look before the diagnostics.
For every manufacturer and seller, the warranty periods are different. For mining versions of GPUs, a warranty may be only 3-months long, so we recommend buying a regular graphic card for gaming. When you go to the diagnostics, make sure the seals are not removed.
As for the fans, they break most frequently, so consider asking for a replacement. However, the service center won’t compensate you for the time your farm hasn’t been working. Order some extra fans on AliExpress, keep them at hand, and replace them manually when needed. The seals will stay safe, you can still apply for warranty procedures.
This list looks like quite a lot of things to do. However, once your farm is running, it won’t take much time to monitor its parameters, order some spare hardware on AliExpress, and do regular cleaning and replacement. Remember that these things maximize your profits from mining as they reduce the possibility of downtime.
Stay with us for more articles on managing your mining farm!