Hash The Torch, Urlacher Style, By AltairTech

Summary

  • The Antminer S9 was a popular loaner mining computer. Since halving the cost for a residential user is not economical
  • The Urlacher is a modified Antminer created to allow users to run a new generation Antminer on 120 Volt Power
  • AltairTech wants to assist in hashing the torch by providing Bitcoin Meetups with a DIY Urlacher conversion kit.  
  • We have teamed up with Lincoin Mining Pool & Platform to allow Torch Hashers a 0% mining fee for the loaner period.

Since the Earth’s crust has cooled, Pleb Miners have provided other plebs loaner Antminer S9’s to get them addicted to the “Hash”. Ungovernable Misfit’s Jon dubbed the “Hash the Torch” program to get Bitcoiners exposure to mining. Bitmain’s APW3++ Power Supply Unit (PSU) has a hack that has allowed users to plug in to a standard 120 Volt circuit allowing anyone to BRRR at home without costly electrical upgrades. To utilize 120 volt electricity the miner requires aftermarket firmware to allow for safe operation.     

Now that the halving has occurred, Antminer S9, the AK-47 of Bitcoin Mining, has become less meaningful as a tool for sharing knowledge in local meetups if heat reuse is not an option. Heat reuse can still be beneficial to users as they are able to “double spend” the electric bills while mining with an Antminer S9. However, The sats mined over a months span do not add up to a meaningful amount post halving. Enter the Loki Board created by Zack Bomsta. A Loki Rig is a custom ASIC miner that can run on 120V power. Travis Bitckle has an article on its use. This allowed for users to hash with a single S19 hashboard producing more than an Antminer S9. 

Urlacher Conversion

This is not the sport ball guy we are talking about here. The Loki board was utilized by LuxOS engineer David Urlacher who built the configuration known as the Urlacher Conversion, this triple hashboard Loki Rig is a fully functional Antminer that runs on 120V power and doubles up as a space heater, pictured below.

Altair’s custom designed, 3D Printed PSU holder slides into the PSU slot and encloses all cables and connectors to make it safe for use. 

Altair Tech offers an Urlacher conversion kit that you can purchase to convert most S19/S21 series miners into a 120V Loki Rig/Space heater in less than 30 minutes. When you’re done using it as a space heater, you can quickly switch the PSU back to the original, to run it on full power. They  also offer pre-built Urlacher with an S19K Pro.

Unlike many other Loki rigs, this build requires no custom chassis, no PSU voltage modifications, no custom fans and no control board change to run on 120V power. This is a significant improvement over previous builds created shortly after Zack Bomsta created the Loki Board. The Urlacher conversion allows a more efficient miner to be passed around meetups as an educational tool. It yields more sats per watt than an Antminer S9. The mining rewards may not be enough to cover the full electric cost of a typical residential bill however, it will likely cover most of it, as of this writing. Let’s compare the S9 rewards to the S19K Pro on 120 Volt Electricity using Lincoin Lens data. Both of these models can be run up to 1,200 watts.

A 1,200 watt power supply will use 28.8 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day or 876 kilowatt hours in a month. 

E(kWh) = P(W) × t(hr) / 1000

Estimating a residential electric bill at $0.13 per kWh the net cost (if you sell the mined sats) to run an an S9 & S19K Pro at 1,200 watts would would be calculated as follows:

Daily Educational Cost to User 
Mining computer$/Day Cost$/Mined Net Cost / DayNet Cost / Month
S9$3.74$0.64=$3.10$94.29
S19k Pro (under-clocked)$3.74$2.94=$0.80$24.33

Note, this analysis would have changed by the time you are read this article, given the changing price of Bitcoin, mining difficulty, and mining rewards payouts. Additionally, some electric utility companies may adjust your billing if consumption exceeds a certain threshold. Spend the time to examine the impact on your electric bill before considering a longer period of hashing at home.  

Regardless of the above, the cost of operating an Urlacher K Pro build is substantially lower than the S9. Overall, $30 +/- for a month’s worth of Bitcoin mining education is a steal in my opinion. There is nothing like hands-on education.

Hash The Torch Program

I wrote an article in 2022 for Bitcoin Magazine summarizing the goals of loaning a mining computer for meetup members. 

It is important to note this is not an opportunity to make a profit. It is designed for users to get their hands on an industrial scale miner plug it in, connect to a pool and learn about the side of Bitcoin they would not normally have an opportunity to do. A Bitaxe, Gekkoscience USB miner, NerdMiner, or Braiins BMM 100 Miner are great novelty miners. They just do not give users the satisfaction of “Plug in Go Brrr”. 

Now that I am affiliated with AltairTech I am excited to have the opportunity to upgrade and fork the S9 loaner program. In an effort to get more of these in the hands of local meetups AltairTech is offering to donate the DIY Conversion Kit to local meetups. The DIY kit retails for $399 on our site and comes with step by step instructions on how to install it on any S19/s21 series Antminer.

The meetup is required to have some skin in the game. This program is an effort to give a layup to Hash the Torch. The meetup will be required to provide the mining computer. If a new K Pro is above the groups budget a used S19 J Pro can be purchased for under $500. If you can get 10 members to donate $50 you have your $500 right there. If you need help finding a used S19J Pro, many Pleb Miners would be happy to point you in the right direction to a reputable seller. 

Lincoln Mining Pool & Platform Contribution

Lincoin Mining has been gracious enough to sponsor meetup hashers as well. In the past, hashers that would borrow an S9 for a month ran into issues reaching the minimum payout from the mining pool. Many pools have a 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 sat minimum payout requirement. This was a significant deterrent to the S9 loaner program. With the implementation of lightning payouts hashers can withdraw their mined sats over the Lightning Network for a small fee (1,000 sats) on Lincoin Pool. Additionally, Lincoln has agreed to wave the pool fee for the hashers for the time they are borrowing the Urlacher. 

In summary, through the collaboration of engineers, hardware resellers, a mining pool, and most importantly local Bitcoin meetups, we hope to get more Bitcoiners a hands-on mining experience.

Any local meetups interested in the program feel free to reach out to us

Happy hashing!

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