DIY Skycoin Miner Build Guide

Spencer Daemore
Mar 17 · 11 min read

When I’m looking at crypto-currency projects I would like to invest my time in, I always try to find a project that’s doing something new, something interesting and has a ton of development going on. Skycoin is one of those projects. With their testnet running at full steam and a newly released hardware wallet, Skycoin is going places.

We do a lot of mining at Crypto Kings and I saw the project a few months ago and it seemed interesting. Skywire isn’t really “mining” in the sense of using computing power to verify a blockchain. To generate Skycoin, you provide hardware resources to the network. As it currently stands, the testnet generates you 2.838 Skycoin per a node, per a month, up to 8 nodes, last payout being just over 22 Skycoin for the month. And they consume barely any power, it’s rated for about 100w. When the Mainnet is released, the payout scheme will be based on utilization, you will get paid for the bandwidth that is used on your Skyminer. But for now, testnet pays out well and you’re helping make the project a reality, that’s what’s really awesome.

You have 2 options if you want to support the network and generate your own Skycoins for the cost of power. You can buy an Official Skycoin Miner from Skycoin directly, or build a DIY miner. We opted to go the DIY router. The official miner is more expensive than the DIY build cost, but it does receive a larger testnet reward. Just something to consider.

Build List

8x Orange Pi Prime (Official Images are for the Orange Pi Prime, you can get them off aliexpress) 1x 5V20A Power Supply (we used Meanwell LRS-150F-5) 8x Male DC Power Cable 4.0x1.7mm (you can also order the Pi’s with DC power supplies and cut the cable off) 8x 64GB Class10 Micro SD Card 2x 5 port gigabit network switches (or a 9+ port switch if you can get one for cheap) 1x Router (OpenWRT compatibility is recommended but not necessary) 10x Ethernet Cables (Cat5e or better) 1x Power Bar 1x Pi Cluster Case 1x Stand (optional) 1 foot 3x 16awg Wire (or old 3-prong power cable) 1/2 foot 16awg Wire 7x Isolated Quick Connectors 16awg 7x Open-ended ring terminal 1x 3 Prong Power Cable A way to flash microSD cards 1x Rocker-Switch Fuse Combo 1x 0.75A Slow burn fuse 1x Wire Stripper/Cutter (very helpful)

If you’re like me and have lots of electronics around, you can probably salvage about half of those items and save yourself some cash!

Step 1: Assembling the Power Supply

We initially just used the DC power adapters that shipped with the Pis, but it created a huge mess of wires and the daisy-chaining of power bars to accomplish. A dedicated supply mean less wires and a much cleaner look. You could even go one step further and get a power supply for the switch and router, but only if they have the same voltage/amperage requirements.

Ready your Pi power cables.

Using a knife or your wire cutters, cut the wire to roughly the length you will need. It is always better to leave a bit extra.

On the wire end, score the wire casing about an inch from the end and pull it off to free up the two inside wires.

Using your wire stripper, strip 1/4 inch of the insulator off of a wire and then twist the conduit together. Do this for both wires in all the cables

Once all your wires are prepped, grab 2 and then twist each of the wires together, black with black and red with red.

Do this for all your wires.

You should now have a bunch of 2 wire bundles with the ends connected together.

Now take 2 of the pairs and combine them again.

You should now have 4 wires bundled with all 4 common wires twisted together.

Now is a good time to either heatwrap or tape the wire ends together for stability.

Now grab one of your open eye-ring terminal connectors and place one on each wire end and crimp. You should use a proper crimping tool or your wire stripper/cutter may have a tool on it.

Give each crimped connection a nice test pull to make sure it doesn’t come lose.

Now connect your wire bundles to the power supply. Red wires to positive(+) and Black wires to negative (-)

Make sure to screw the connectors on tightly.

Step 2: Rocker Switch

We need to do some wiring to set the switch up. Connect the terminals as shown in the following diagram

You should end up with some extra 3x wire, you can use some of that to wire the switch up after removing the outer insulation.

Using the isolated crimp connectors, wire the switch up as shown.

Now get your length of 3x wire, pull back 3 inches of the outside insulation on either side.

Again we need to strip the wire ends and twist them up so we can put them in connectors.

Get your isolated quick connectors and crimp one on to each wire at one end.

Connect quick connectors to the switch as shown

On the other end of the wire, do the same stripping procedure but this time use the open eye-ring connectors.

This side is attached to the power supply like shown, green to ground, black to load, white to neutral.

Pull out the carrier of the rocker switch, put in the fuse and plug it back in.

Get your power cord and plug it in.

Turn on the switch and make sure the power supply is receiving power. (LED indication or multimeter works)

If you see no signs of life, check your connections.

We now have a working power supply.

Before we start anything else, its a good time to test out the Pis.

Step 3: Flash Your SD Cards

On your computer, download a program called Etcher and install it. https://www.techspot.com/downloads/6931-etcher.html

Download the Official Images for the Orange Pi Prime.

  1. Download Manager (IP:192.168.0.2)
  2. Download Node1 (IP:192.168.0.3)
  3. Download Node2 (IP:192.168.0.4)
  4. Download Node3 (IP:192.168.0.5)
  5. Download Node4 (IP:192.168.0.6)
  6. Download Node5 (IP:192.168.0.7)
  7. Download Node6 (IP:192.168.0.8)
  8. Download Node7 (IP:192.168.0.9)

Insert a microSD card into your computer and using Etcher, select the Manager image, then select the drive for the microSD card and click Flash!.

Once it’s done flashing, replace the microSD card with the next blank one and select the next image. Do this for all 8 cards.

Grab your power supply, all your Pis, your network switch, the SD card and an ethernet cable.

To test the Pis, do the following:

  1. Insert manager microSD Card
  2. Plug ethernet cord into Pi and other end into powered network switch
  3. Plug power into the Pi
  4. Make sure the LEDs on the top of the Pi light up, this indicates it is powering on.
  5. Make sure the Ethernet port lights up and the network switch senses the connection

Once you are sure all your Pis are working, it’s time to assemble the clusters.

Step 4: Assembling the Clusters

Most of the cluster cases available are for the Raspberry Pi and the Orange Pi is larger and has different mounting holes. This required us to drill 4 holes in each shell to accommodate the Orange Pi.

To make things a bit faster we used a drill press and were drilling 5 shells at a time, using the first shell made as a template. NOTE: If you are drilling multiple shells, its a good idea to PIN all the shells together using the corner mounting holes.

Now mount all the Pis and assemble the shells.

Once that’s done, we can start final assembly.

Step 5: Final Assembly

Plug the microSD cards into the Pis. I like to plug the manager node in the top and then the rest in order.

Plug all the ethernet cables between the Pis and the switches(or switch) and then connect the switches(or switch) to your router.

Plug all the power adapters in and then plug them all into your power bar.

We mounted our units on stainless steel frames, custom built by Jason at Elite Truck Repairs in Vancouver.

With everything plugged in, turn it on. You are almost done.

Step 6: Router Set-Up

Now we need to make some changes to the ports on the router to make it accessible from your home network.

Plug a computer into a LAN port on the Skyminer’s router, or connect by Wireless.

From the Skywire GIthub

Go to the routers login page(192.168.0.1,192.168.1.1 are common, you can also check the sticker on the back of your router) in your browser and login. Defautl router IP, username and password are often found on the sticker attached to the physical router.

Find your LAN settings and confirm the router’s IP address is 192.168.0.1

If it‘s different, change it. This will normally restart the router.

Log back in and look for ARP Table or LAN Connections.

In the table you should see 9 connections. You will have the computer you are using and then 8 entries with the last octets .2 — > .9 (192.168.0.X)

If you are missing any, check the corresponding Pi. Make sure the microSD card is plugged all the way in, that the power cord is good and that the Ethernet cable is lighting up and showing continuity.

Now we must go the the port forwarding section of the router and add 3 entries.

External Port:22 Protocol: TCP+UDP Internal IP:192.168.0.2 Internal/Service Port:22

External Port:8000 Protocol: TCP+UDP Internal IP:192.168.0.2 Internal/Service Port:8000

External Port:9443 Protocol: TCP+UDP Internal IP:192.168.0.2 Internal/Service Port:9443

Save these settings, restart the router and make sure they persist.

Connect your computer (or use another computer) to your home network, login to your home router and confirm the router IP address is NOT 192.168.0.1 If it is, you can change it to 192.168.1.1. NOTE: This will affect other computers on the network and they may have to be restarted to reconnect. If you have custom firewall settings, they will have to be reset.

Once you have confirmed your home router’s IP address, plug the Skyminer router’s WAN port into a LAN port on your home router.

Now we must find the Skyminer router’s IP on your home network. You can either check the ARP/Connection list on your home router or reconnect to the Skyminer router and go to WAN settings and check the IP. It should be along the lines of 192.168.1.132 Write this number down.

NOTE: This is a Dynamic IP address set-up by your home router. If you lose power to your network, the Skyminers IP address may change but it won’t affect functionality. You can set a static IP address in the WAN settings on your Skyminer router)

On the computer (connected to your home network) that you want to use to monitor your Skyminer, open a browser.

Enter your SKYMINER IP and add :8000 to the end

192.168.1.132:8000

It will prompt you to enter a new password. Do that and keep it somewhere safe.

You should now be able to click on Node List and see all of your nodes.

NOTE: If you can’t connect to SKYMINER IP:8000, check the port forwarding settings in your skyminer router.

This page gives you an indication of your LOCAL connectivity and not necessarily your connection to the Skycoin Network. To confirm that, we need to do the following on each node.

Click on a Node

Click Settings

Look for green a checkmark beside the discovery address.

If you have checkmarks on all your nodes, you are connected to the network. All that is left is to submit your whitelist application at www.whitelist.skycoin.net

You can also use www.skywirenc.com tool to monitor your uptime from anywhere. Just remember to make a bookmark of the page after you submit your node keys.

Also, be sure to read the testnet rules at https://github.com/skycoin/skywire/blob/master/testnet_rules.md

You are now generating Skycoin for the cost of power.

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Spencer Daemore

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Co-Founder and CTO at Crypto Kings. Mining, Blockchain and Research