Home Data Centers for Mining

Bitcoin mining is all the craze right now and this has led to a large number of what I would call home data-centers (HDCs).

These HDCs are often built ad-hoc with no focus on long term sustainment. However, I think that can change and become sustainable if power and HVAC are properly accounted for.

Lets start off with power — running extension cords from various rooms is NOT a long term solution and could result in a fire. This coupled with an investigation by the insurance company could result in some catastrophic loss. Your best bet is to manage the power you have and do a power study.

What is a power study?

First off a proper power study isn’t just determining how much power you have coming into your building, it also determines where it is going. Have an electrician, yes I said electrician, actually do the study. You might have a 200 amp panel coming into your home that is being underutilized which would allow for sub-panel to be installed in a central location for your mining setup. The opposite could also be true and your building has a panel that only has 100 amps. The point is you have to figure what you are using and where first.This costs money however the headache of extension cords, tripping breakers and wondering if your house is going to burn down should out weigh the cost. 

Once you have determined the actual amount of power that you are currently using, you can then calculate how much power is available. You have to understand that a 20 Amp breaker should not be maxed out all the time. You need to perform a safe load calculation which depending on who you ask can vary from 60% to 80% of what is actually available. This is driven by the fact as wiring heats up it resistance also goes up. This safe load would prevent any major issues. A typical S9 will use approx 1300 watts so lets figure out the actual amps involved.

The current I in amps (A) is equal to the power P in watts (W), divided by the voltage V in volts (V):

I = P / V

So amps are equal to watts divided by volts.

amp = watt / volt

or =

A = W / V

So a S9 using 1300 watts @ 120 Volts is actual using 10.83 amps

10.83A = 1300W / 120V

This is in the safe range for a 15AMP breaker you would be at roughly 60% load. The issue that arises is most folks are attempting to run 2 S9 miners on a single 20 AMP circuit this may work for a while but will most certainly affect your electric bill and increase your risk for failure. Its simply not worth the risk. Your best bet is to look at putting the miners in the same room as the electrical panel and having a electrician run individual 20 AMP circuits for your setup. This way you know that you are meeting code and the install will look a lot cleaner.

As the farm grows look at having a second panel placed on the premises to accommodate future growth. If you get to this point you want to look at renting warehouse space and simply securing a room with a 200 AMP service. This is not that uncommon especially in the Mid-West with the number of machine shops that closed down in the early 2000’s lots of 3 Phase power with no one using it.