Hardware

Category page of all posts on the web site that are tagged as related to hardware including PC / embedded and more

Raspberry Pi Shortage Survival Guide

rpilocator - Raspberry Pi Stock Locator Tool

The Raspberry Pi shortage is extremely bad. As a site that covers a lot of topics related to the Raspberry Pi I’ve actually seen a major decline in traffic because people are having such a hard time getting these.

Stock on Amazon is limited and it’s being scalped with prices such as $99 for a Zero 2 W and $187 for a Pi 4 8GB. Those are absurd prices.

There are some Pis that are smarter to buy right now than others that you may not be thinking about. Today I’d like to cover additional places to get your Raspberry Pis during the shortage as well as recommend an alternative Pi (a more powerful one actually) you may not necessarily be thinking of!

Why GPU / Ethereum Mining Is Toast – Stop Buying GPUs

whattomine.com

One way I keep up with the developments in cryptocurrency is I do watch some of the YouTubers since the YouTubers are generally following the juiciest developments to farm views. With the continued news that Ethereum is going to launch Eth 2.0 and is more or less on time (now called the “Ethereum consensus layer”, how catchy) how much denial there is around this fact.

Except we are way past that point now. It’s literally these YouTuber’s job to know that GPU mining is toast and today I’m going to expose how big of frauds they are, how they really built their mining farms, what they are actually doing vs. what they’re telling you and why, as well as explain what exactly is going on with Ethereum and why if you’re planning on being able to mine with those GPUs (at least above the cost of your electricity / profitably) the math is not looking good.

Let’s break down what neither the miners or the Ethereum developers want to talk about / remember and break it down!

Bulk Management of Multiple Goldshell ASIC Miners w/ Yotta BC

Yotta BC - Official Goldshell ASIC Bulk Management Tool

One reality of cryptocurrency mining is that you are almost certainly going to need multiple units to reach whatever goals you have. The way most people do this is pay for / ROI on their existing units and then they will add more units and repeat the cycle again.

At first this is easy when you only have a few units but it gets more complex as you add more units. You will need better infrastructure and management tools as you scale up.
I’ve been going through this process for a ASIC farm build-out and wanted to share some of the tools I’ve found and used to make scaling up much more effective.

Today I’m going to cover an official tool from Goldshell called YottaBC that lets you do a lot of cool things like tell all of your miners to change pools at once, view the status of all miners in one fell swoop, fix miners that have lost their IP address and lots of other critical functions. Let’s take a look!

Goldshell BOX ASIC Miner Firmware Recovery Guide

Goldshell Hub - Introduced in firmware 2.2.0

Recently Goldshell released the 2.2.0 update which includes the new “Goldshell Hub” (featured above) which is basically a cloud control center for your miners. I was able to upgrade 23 miners successfully but I had one Mini DOGE and one ST-BOX fail during the upgrade.

After a substantial Google journey and finding some very helpful posts on the VoskCoin forum and reddit I was able to recover both of them without waiting for Goldshell’s response on the situation. I will cover what I used to do so and where to find them in the guide but it is at your own risk and if you aren’t outside of your warranty support period you should almost certainly contact Goldshell instead.

With that caveat/warning given, I have 25 of these miners and only 1-2 were bought directly from Goldshell in the first place so I was not worried about losing my warranty or support period from them but you should be careful here and only proceed if you understand this. Let’s begin!

Fix Home Assistant / HAOS Raspberry Pi USB/SSD Boot Freeze

Home Assistant / HAOS

There are few things I dislike more in this world than getting questions on my setup guides that I don’t know the answer to, but thanks to an investigation by Bill Schatzow we can strike one of those issues off the list!

We’ve had a few comments of people who have encountered this issue over the years. Given that at best only 1% of people who visit the site leave a comment I think it’s safe to say that this issue has plagued thousands of people over the past 10-12 months.

Let’s take a look!

PCIe 1x NVMe on Raspberry Pi?! Compute Module 4 Guide

CableCC Vertical Adapter in Compute Module 4 IO Board

I recently covered all the pieces you need for a complete setup to work with the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. Today I want to cover the whole reason I wanted to investigate the Compute Module 4: The PCI express capabilities!

In this guide I’ll cover a couple of 1x PCIe to NVMe adapters I picked up to try doing this with as well as full configuration and setup instructions. Let us begin!

Full Compute Module 4 (Raspberry Pi) Setup / Imaging Guide

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 mounted in IO Board

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is primarily meant for embedded projects and didn’t catch my interest at first. That was until people started absolutely smashing previous records on my Pi storage benchmarking site pibenchmarks.com.

Upon further investigation it turns out that people are breaking these records using the Compute Module 4 since it allows running a NVMe drive through PCI express instead of having to use a USB adapter (the current bottleneck in other Pis).

Wanting to investigate these new capabilities for myself I got a hold of some gear and wanted to write a setup and configuration guide on everything you need for a full CM4 (Compute Module 4) setup and how to get it imaged and configured. Let’s get started!

Using Multiple M.2 NGFF 2280 SATA Drives Simultaneously

IOCREST NGFF 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA PCIe Enclosure

I’ve been running pibenchmarks.com for several years now so I’ve held on to any spare storage devices I can get my hands on for benchmarking/testing/cataloging purposes. This led to a big surplus of drives and no easy way to utilize them. That was before getting some new tools to be able to utilize lots of drives at once.

Last time I covered a monster 16 bay hot swappable 2.5″ SATA cage (as well as a more reasonable 8 bay option) in this “extreme storage” series of articles and in this article we’re going to cover M.2 SATA NGFF / M.2 NVMe drives. It’s also possible to do RAID!

Monster 16 Bay Hot-Swappable 2.5″ SATA Cage – ICY DOCK

ICY DOCK 16 Bay SAS/SATA Backplane Cage

I have a *lot* of 2.5″ SATA drives around the house that have collected from over the years from various devices. Often these drives have useful data on them or aren’t big enough to justify using on their own. The absolutely monstrous ICY DOCK 16 bay 2.5″ SAS/SATA backplane cage solves all of these problems and lets you hot swap (change out the drives while the OS is running) drives live in your OS!

In this guide I’ll cover how what I needed to actually set up something like this and my advice for people who are interested in these same type of hot swappable / RAID capabilities. I’ll also share the “sweet spot” recommendation to get the most bays for the least money if you’re on a tight budget. Let’s get started!

Ubertooth One Kali Linux Latest Tools / Firmware Setup Guide

Kismet Ubertooth One BTLE Capture

The world is full of devices communicating with Bluetooth even if (or maybe especially if) you don’t realize it. Most “smart” devices are advertising some Bluetooth services (some of them even publicly writable without a password!). Even my treadmill is advertising writeable Bluetooth endpoints!

The Ubertooth One is a bluetooth and bluetooth low-energy (BTLE) capture device intended for developers and security researchers/auditors. It has an external antenna and is able to communicate at much further distances than most BTLE devices by both transmitting more powerfully and having a more sensitive antenna to listen to the response. To find out what is nearby and happening over the air this is the device you want to have.

In this guide I’ll show you how to get the latest Ubertooth tools on Kali Linux as well as update the firmware for the Ubertooth device and actually use the device!

Hardware Technician Tool Gems: Precision Electric Screwdriver

wowStick w/ included accessories

This is the second in a series of articles about tools I’ve found during my IT hardware technician career that made my life much easier. These are all tools I have used for years that a lot of people have likely never seen or been exposed to before. Last time we covered a replacement for canned air / duster and this time we’re going to cover the wowStick fully electric precision screwdriver!

If you’ve ever opened a laptop or cell phone you know there are dozens of screws you have to remove. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made was an electric screwdriver. Let’s take a look at why!

My 2021 Aircooled Open Frame AMD Ryzen Threadripper Build

P5 Open Frame Threadripper Build

This year I’ve been doing more with technology than ever and I wanted to build a workstation. As most of you probably know building a computer is an absolute nightmare right now. After navigating the process I figured I would share what I ended up building as it may give some people some ideas on how to complete their build. I also think the open frame builds turn out really cool and have some benefits I wanted to talk about as well.

This is a workstation grade build so it is not going to be cheap. Everything in the build (except for the GPU and you probably won’t want to pick that one anyway, but more on that later) is generally attainable at reasonable prices. Here’s what I ended up going with!

UPS Backup Battery for Raspberry Pi? PiSugar Solderless Setup

PiSugar - Top with LED Battery Indicator

I’ve had the original 900 mAh PiSugar UPS backup battery for the Raspberry Pi Zero for several years now and it’s an absolute game changer. With the wireless capabilities of the Raspberry Pi you have a completely portable and networked computer available that is extremely tiny. It’s much more capable than hooking it up to a power brick and is actually designed for the Raspberry Pi!

In this article I’ll cover how to set up a full UPS battery backup with several hours of available power using the the PiSugar as well as the PiSugar 2 and some of the shortcomings in the first version the 2nd revision fixes. Let’s get started!

A Good Alternative to Canned Air / Duster for Electronics

OPOLAR Air Duster for Electronics / Computers

As a computer technician / technology enthusiast I have a lot of electronics that need to be kept clean. I used to use canned air / duster for this task but it’s pretty nasty stuff to work with. It is extremely cold, you don’t want to contact any coolant with any components, the bottles run out at the most inconvenient times and generate a bunch of waste, etc.

For this article I just wanted to share a tool I found a couple of years ago that made my life a lot easier. It is also cheaper over time and much more environmentally friendly!

Soundproofing ASIC Miner Enclosures With Acoustic Foam

TUFFIOM 15U Full Side View w/ Hanging Foam

Extremely powerful hardware tends to be very loud. Enterprise servers, networking equipment, cryptocurrency miners are three major offenders. This type of equipment tends to have very small fans that rotate extremely fast and emit a high pitched “whine”. This is fine if you are stuffing all of your equipment in a closet somewhere but for some deployments and situations this isn’t always possible

There are extremely expensive racks that have sound dampening foam and other materials preinstalled for situations like this but they are extremely expensive (thousands vs . what we will be doing which only costs hundreds). In this article I’ll show you how I modified some (relatively) cheap racks available from Amazon with acoustic foam to reduce noise from ASIC cryptocurrency miners as well as other loud equipment