If you found this article we can likely get straight to the point and not waste time with what crypto mines are.
Whether you have a few mines or a few hundred you want the chips to perform at their very best for as long as possible. One major variable in the success of these two goals will be keeping your chips cool and managing the heat. After running only two mines in a small closet I quickly learned these bad boys put off a load of heat. Then after hooking up a few more I started getting temperature trips and issues with the chips!
How am I supposed to make any money if I have to keep replacing cards?!? Well, the trick is to keep them cool and free of dust.
My mines are in the humid climate of Tampa Bay. Fortunately for me and the life of my equipment I’m an HVAC engineer :). Even with a firm understanding of air conditioning there have been quite a lot of trial and error to get these things consistently cooled.
My first instinct was to get cool air on them. I ran an a/c duct from my central HVAC and routed it to blow directly on the units. At first this worked great! The chips cooled down and I didn’t get temperature faults for a few days. When I looked at the rigs a week or so later they were sweating and covered in dust! There was condensation literally dripping off of some of the rigs. It goes without saying that water dripping on the units is very bad.
The 110º chip getting blasted with 55º air with 50% humidity is no bueno. This is what lead to the condensation and the humidity issue is what attracts the particulate, or dust. Back to the drawing board.
The next trial was to super-cool the room where I have the rigs. I figured cooling and dehumidifying the entire room might do the trick. This was actually my first instinct but I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a separate a/c unit for one room.
The new a/c unit was able to keep the room at 65º even in the heat of summer with 97º+ days, but it didn’t work to keep all of the chips cool. Instead of the rigs in the center of the racks tripping off on temperature there was random trips throughout. At first this made no sense but after looking at it from a different view with an infrared FLIR thermal camera the problem was obvious. Even with the cold room there was not enough circulation even with the fan on the mines to prevent pockets of hot air.
The new ducting and the new a/c unit weren’t getting me to where I needed to be, but I was making progress. With the room being super-cooled I was still having problems, but not as many problems. Now I just had to figure out how to eliminate the hot spots.
Approaching the crypto rig like I would approach a home that has hot/cold spots I started playing with the air pressure in the room and around the mines. When dealing with a hot room in a home you have to deal with the volume of air coming in the space and the throw, or the velocity. In a room you want just enough air to deal with the heat load and turn the air over to prevent hot pockets or worse, mold problems. So my crypto currency rigs weren’t much different except the heat was coming from inside the room verses coming from outside the room. The solution?? Pressure chambers. These are “closets” or chambers that house the mining rigs that allow adjustments to dial in the right amount of air pressure across the chips.