Engineers hate wasting. We are always trying to optimize the usage of the resources surrounding us.
In my research for some additional passive income, I looked into cryptocurrency trading and mining. As a result, I watched a few videos about this process and the incredible amount of heat (and noise) generated.
I never lived in a colder climate than Lima and its (very) mild winters, but I know about the difficulties of paying for services bills within the restrictions of a budget that seems to shrink every month. Therefore, looking to optimize the performance and outputs of the systems we use (like recycling used motor oil as a fuel), I put together some concepts that maybe some of you will find useful and hopefully take advantage of.
This is nothing new, nor my creation. Its effectiveness has already been verified in locations where the colder climate allows cooling equipment efficiently. Just check the links, and you will see for yourselves.
Crypto mining is merely the production of digital currency via hardware.
This production needs a permanent connection to the Internet to solve complex problems proposed by an algorithm hosted on a server. Once this process finishes, the mining equipment owner gets a reward in the form of a small amount of the mined cryptocurrency. As a side note, my (not-so-blind) trust in crypto comes from the general loss of value than fiat currency presented this last few years. Compare and see.
The crypto-mining process involves two methods.
The first involves using commonly found hardware like graphic cards.The second method requires dedicated crypto-mining hardware. We’ll tackle the more common approach first.
Utilizing graphic cards for crypto-mining
A GPU is a graphic card used to enhance the calculations capabilities of your computer. This product is for designing and video edition, or gaming computing. Their great capacity for math calculations makes them very suited for cryptocurrency mining operations. It is not like this is something new, either. Plenty of people have done so, and there are added benefits of using a GPU as well.
The advantage of this system is scalability. You may start with, say, an array of three GPUs and get the remaining three afterward as the cryptocurrency you are mining increases in value. The total GPUs you can add is very high making this system highly flexible.
This method presents one additional advantage: the resale value of used GPUs is good, allowing you to recover a part of your investment. Gamers will happily take them out of your hands once you decide to renew your equipment. Mining activities have made GPUs both pricey and difficult to find, meaning you’ll have no problem selling yours should you choose to do so.
You can see why in the video below…
However, this choice does have a few caveats.
Usually, you will need some computing skills to put together the entire rig and solve any potential problem that could arise afterward. It is not like you need a Ph.D. or a degree in software engineering. If you can install a video card on your PC and make the software work, you will handle this. To better understand how to set all this up, make sure you watch the following video…
Using ASIC miners to for crypto-mining
The second method employs dedicated hardware: specific equipment known as ASIC miners. This equipment (computing chips specifically designed for an intended task) participates in solving the mathproblems the algorithm hosted in the server asks for. There are tutorials everywhere to set up this equipment from scratch. Contrary to GPU mining, ASIC mining is different as the resale value of the used equipment may not be that high, and units can be hard to sell. Nevertheless, what I have seen happening is that cryptocurrency gains value faster than the equipment depreciates.
(Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to starving the beast to learn more means to build a parallel society.)
And if you live in a colder climate, there’s an additional benefit: heat.
Here is the real benefit for those living in colder climates. It doesn’t matter what type of cryptocurrency you’re mining – if you’re mining, your equipment is going to generate heat. If you already have a good battery rack and solar power rig, you’re all set for a tri-fecta of benefits here. The electricity you generate via your solar panels can not only keep your lights on, but can make you money via crypto-mining as well.
This may not be as inexpensive of a heat source as many proclaim it to be, but it is a potential source that the homesteader should at least know about.
In warmer climates, though, crypto-mining involves different problems.
Computers don’t like heat, and if we live in a tropical location, we need to look for methods to dissipate or cool the equipment. This is necessary to avoid damage, and this costs money in the form of power generation. That means using methods like liquid cooling (with expensive products) instead of just air. The benefit of the liquid immersion method is that electronic equipment cooled this way will last much longer. In air-cooled systems dust is an enemy, and liquid cooling allows for versatile use of the excess heat and an additional advantage: overclocking.
Overclocking means that we can turbocharge our mining equipment just like some people does with their personal computers to get more speed. In cryptocurrency mining, higher hash rates mean more crypto produced.
The possibility of generating power with a solar array for two 3-3.5 kW ASIC miners for 6 or 7 kW is a reality. Using that heat instead of getting rid of it is the logical step for the waste-conscious homesteader. There is plenty of potential to recover the initial investment within a decent period of time.
You are going to need a powerful solar panel setup regardless of what route you go with this, though. The generated heat is a bonus. And if you can then harvest that heat to be funneled into a greenhouse, you could potentially create a micro-environment that would allow some crops to grow year-round.
Cryptocurrencies will keep gaining value with time.
Just take a look at the charts.
The volatility is high, sure. However, I would have loved to get some BTC back in 2015 to stash away.
Using solar power for mining is a trend gaining momentum these days, and it is easy to see why. For starters, you wouldn’t be subject to accusations of “hoarding” grid power as happens in Venezuela, where corruption is causing grid to disintegrate.
The excess heat has plenty of uses if you have imagination and some basic skills to build things: dehydrating vegetables, fruits, or drying your laundry, for example. How much could you save without a clothes dryer?
Having equipment consuming 6kW extra is a big deal.
It could take you a long way while generating profits. It may need some money to invest, but starting small and testing it out could be a good approach. Those with a large solar generation setup will find it quite attractive. Once the system starts paying off, rigging a solar-powered setup should be the next logical step.
Depending on what you raise in your compound, some options to consider are:
- Fish: The entire setup could cool with water from a pond. That final temperature could be warm enough to raise exotic or more productive species. As an advantage, the immense degree of heat absorption of a pond would make the equipment work for much longer.
- Chicken coops
This article is just a brief introduction to an activity that I consider highly positive and with plenty of lateral benefits.
The initial investment could seem high, and we need to understand that a learning curve exists. But with the potential that cryptos exhibit, I will look at this very seriously in my projects in the years to come to an end
If you have some experience or know someone who has, it would be great to read your comments!
Thanks for your much-needed sponsoring and comments!
Jose is an upper-middle-class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy, so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends, and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.