Bitcoin Mining Notes: Problems and Solutions

Here are several issues I ran into during the one-month bitcoin mining experiment.  The hardware and software config are detailed in that post.

P:  High number of “HW Error” messages with DiabloMiner.
S:  Switched to cgminer. It does not appear to have this problem using the exact same hardware.

P:  Fans on the Sapphire 7950 get noisy at various speeds.
S:  Configured a maximum fan speed of 60% and allowed cgminer to adjust the GPU engine as required to meet the temperature target.

cgminer -o -u username -p password -o -u username -p password -I 9,9 --auto-gpu --auto-fan --gpu-fan 10-60 --temp-cutoff 90 --temp-target 77 --gpu-engine 800-1200 --gpu-powertune 20

P:  Large number of video artifacts while mining.
S:  This appears to be heat related. Kept GPU temps below 80 C using increased ventilation and allowed cgminer to automatically adjust GPU engine speed to reduce temps as in the command line above.

P:  In Windows 8, cgminer would mysteriously hang after several hours of normal operation.
S:  Switched to Linux. Have not experienced a single hang since switching to Linux using the exact same hardware configuration. Note: I have since tried running a similar hardware configuration using cgminer 3.1.1 on Windows and it appears stable.

P: Wanted cgminer script to start automatically when the GUI desktop starts, but Ubuntu Startup Applications does not like having a shell script as a parameter.
S:  Started gnome-terminal and created a desktop profile with the shell script as a “Run a custom command” option.

Gnome Terminal Profile

Then added the gnome-terminal command to Startup Applications, e.g.

gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Miner

P: cgminer would fail to connect to mining pools upon restart.
S: Added a 5 second delay with sleep command in the shell script to give the network a chance to initialize.  e.g.

export DISPLAY=:0
sleep 5
cd /home/user/cgminer

P: Ubuntu Task Bar Disappears after installing drivers wtih –force
S: Use Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get a new terminal window. Delete configuration file and reboot.

sudo rm ~/.config/dconf/user

P: In Ubuntu, after applying the normal software updates or adding/changing a graphics adapter, the GUI desktop no longer starts.
S: Used “e” option at boot menu to edit boot parameters. Added “text” to the end of the boot options line.  This allowed me to log in and reinstall the ATI Catalyst drivers from the command line.  In one case had to use the –force parameter to get the drivers installed.  See the command line below.

P: Added or reconfigured a new GPU, and then cannot get to the GUI in Ubuntu.
S: Reinstall ATI drivers, run aticonfig –adapter=all –initial, reboot.

 aticonfig --adapter=all --initial
 sudo reboot