Beginners Guide To Turn Your Raspberry Pi into an Affordable Bitcoin Mining Rig

raspberry pi bitcoin rig
First off, I know this post is a little late in the game as it is becoming less profitable for amateurs to mine Bitcoins, and that there are more efficient ways to go about this. But I am writing this anyways for posterity’s sake as I know for a fact there are people out there who have idle Raspberry Pis and are looking for a project. I’m sure there are also others like myself who are just looking to learn more about cryptocurrencies. To get started, here is our shopping list (if you are reading this, you probably already own some of these items):

Shopping List

QTY Required Items Price(USD)*
1 Raspberry PI $35.00
1 Micro USB cable $5.49
1 ASICMiner Erupter USB 336MH/s Sapphire Bitcoin Miner $10.99
1 Powered USB Hub** $25.00
1 SD Card (class 4 and 2gb minimum) $7.49
Total: $83.97
Optional Items
1 Power Supply $9.95
1 HDMI Cable $2.28
1 Case $12.75
1 USB Fan (The mining devices run hot) $8.43

*Prices are subject to change
**The Pi alone can not power one of these miners, a Powered USB HUB is mandatory to mine bitcoin.

Bitcoin Wallets

Before we setup the Mining software on the Pi we need to setup a bitcoin wallet where we will store the credit from the mining. There are countless options(Software, Web, Mobile) when it comes to setting up a bitcoin wallet. I’ve listed a few below but there are many more and each method has its own risks, luckily bitcoin.org has a great writeup on how to choose a wallet.

Windows/MAC/Linux
Multi-Bit – Quick and Lightweight Bitcoin Wallet
Bitcoin-QT – Takes a day or two to download ~6gigs of Bitcoin Transactional Data
Armory – Desktop Add-on Application

Web/Hosted
Coinbase
Blockchain.info

Android
Bitcoin Wallet

iOS
Currently the app store does not allow any bitcoin wallet applications.

Mining Pools

Bitcoin Pooled Mining is the best way to get started mining. Pooled Mining allows multiple users to work together to “crack” a single bitcoin and then share the benefits fairly. Due to the competitive nature of mining, if you tried to mine on your own it could be a long time before you successfully mined anything. Pooled Mining is a nice way to receive smaller and more regular payouts instead. For people with slower rigs, pooled mining might be the only way you ever earn bitcoins.

Two Mining pools I recommend and have verified are:
Slush’s Pool
BTC Guild

The setup for both pools is straight forward. You create a username, password, and then worker credentials(for each mining device). You also add the bitcoin wallet address you created above to your pool so you receive bitcoin payments when you hit the pool’s payout thresholds (usually around .01 BTC). It’s also recommended you sign up for multiple pools in case one experiences technical difficulties, the software we are about to install will switch if one goes down.

Installing Mine Peon the rPi

Now that we have a bitcoin wallet and have joined a mining pool, Neil Fincham and his project Mine Peon makes getting the software running on the rPi quite easy. Mine Peon is an ARM Mining Platform that is built specifically for Raspberry Pi. It is built on Arch Linux and uses the popular cgminer and bfgminer for the heavy lifting. To get started, you simply download the latest image here and burn it to your SD card.
If you are using Windows to flash your SD Card, I recommend using Win32DiskImager. This tool can also be used after our initial setup to create an image of our finalized implementation(very useful as a backup).

mine-peon

For other operating systems, you can find a handy guide on flashing SD cards from eLinux.org here.

After the image is flashed, you can boot your device. The first boot takes about a minute as it needs to generate the SSH keys, but future boots take only about 10 seconds. Use your router or keyboard/video/mouse to find out the IP address of the rPi. The default username and password for SSH and for the WebUI are:

Username: minepeon
Password: peon

After the rPi has booted, you can navigate to Mine Peon’s handy WebUI by opening your browser and entering the Raspberry Pi’s IP address. There you can insert the mining pool and worker information.
mine peon pools

The best part about Mine Peon is that it automatically supports the USB mining devices, so you can be up and running in a few minutes without having to worry about drivers/compatability issues. There are even handy graphs to check your stats!
mine peon stats

For Further information on Mine Peon check out their installation guide here.

Closing Remarks

Are you going to get rich quick using the Raspberry Pi for bitcoin mining? Of course not. This tutorial was never meant to give that impression. But, could you potential recoup your investment costs and perhaps end up a couple bucks ahead after 6-12 months? Definitely possible!

PS – If you have any questions about earning potential, profitability, or just basic setup, just add a comment below and I’d be happy to help! And if you get your rPi working and mining Bitcoin – Feel free to send a tip to my blog’s BTC address:

1Q9ASkZFAHXLvpPAzAVipcKUH5Vy2xmsA6

Donate Bitcoins

Thanks for reading!


41 comments

  1. Thanks for the guide, I might have to give Mine Peon a try. I’ve just been using cgminer and PiMiner.py to monitor my Block Erupters on my Pi.

    Have you had any issues with stability using Mine Peon?

    • dconroy

      I’ve only been running 24 hours but so far none. One nice thing about btc guild is you can set up inactivity alerts.

  2. Great article! I was trying to find something to do with my Raspberry pi besides collecting dust. Would it possible to run 2 ASICminer Erupters on one Pi device?

    • dconroy

      Thanks Mike. With the right number of powered USB Hubs, you can run 35-50 of these on 1 Pi Device. Just need to be careful with heat.

  3. Nice write up. You should add a display. It will show your hash rate and you can even display the exchange rate as well. They are available assembled at PiMiners.com

  4. You should make a note that the Pi itself cannot run the mining hardware when it is directly connected to the Pi…you must use a powered hub. (I realize it is listed under “required hardware”.) But I was anxious to get up and running and was only getting 100% hardware errors until I switched to an external powered hub.

    Great information; thanks!

  5. Can this rig be used for litecoin mining or scrypt based cryptocurrencies?

  6. Is there any way to just use Rasbian to mine? I use my raspberry for other things as well..
    Can I just install cgminer and bfgminer to Raspbian and get mining? Will the ASIC work on Rasbian?

  7. For some reason my install would not connect up with the ethernet , I also have a edimax wifi dongle and used this post https://forums.butterflylabs.com/showwiki.php?title=Tutorials:Raspberry+Pi+-+Mining+with+MinePeon&viewfull=1&page=4&do=comments#post38317 to set it up. Solved the problem and runs fine now.

  8. I’ve got a little single coming in from bf labs

    https://products.butterflylabs.com/30gh-bitcoin-miner.html

    Can you foresee any reasons why I couldn’t use a raspberry pi to run the rig? If most of the hashes are coming from my miner, I don’t feel like I should need a powerful CPU to get my 30GH’s out of it. What do you think?

    • dconroy

      i think it should work and would love for you to try it. When did you order that from BF? Have they shipped it yet?

  9. Is it worth spending the $100 if i am not going to get much from it?

  10. How do you find the IP of the Pi? I have everything done except for that

    • Steven Claggett

      If you are running Minepeon on your Pi you well see the IP addy as one of the last lines on startup. Something like IP: 192.168.1.15. Just enter this in your browser address bar and it well take you to your Pi’s Minepeon screen. You have to log in with “minepeon” as user and “peon” as password. You log in twice, at this screen you enter your pool info and number of miners using the “pool” page and “settings” page. The miners should start and you well see your hash rate. Most usb miners run about 333MH/s. Figure 6-8 months of 24/7 mining to recover initial cost. The fun factor is priceless.

      • Awesome thank you! I have everything just about set up now!

        • Another quick question, how do you sync your pool, your miner and your wallet all together? (Sorry for all of the questions) again, thanks for the help :)

  11. Robocoastie

    I can’t get this to recognize my network. Neither wired nor wireless.

  12. I have a n00b question. How do you connect it all together the raspberry does not have an external USB. so i guess what im asking is how do you connect the raspberry to the hub

    • the external powered usb hub will have a cable coming out of it that you can connect to one of the two USB ports on the rPi

  13. Chuck Weiss

    I feel like I’m getting so close to getting my Raspberry Pi running to mine bitcoins, but I seem to be stuck on one step, and that’s in downloading the image of Mine Peon and loading it onto my 2G SD card.

    I download the MinePeon-0.2.4.1.img files, but I can’t seem to get them to load onto my SD card properly. I was hoping I could simply open the disk image that loads called “NO NAME” and drag the contents onto the SD card installed on my Macintosh, but once I do so and insert the card into my Raspberry Pi and reboot it, it shows a series of errors and won’t continue. I’m running on a Macbook Pro with an SD card reader using Maverick OS 10.9, and I’ve formatted my SD card with SDFormatter.

    Am I missing an important step? Thank you … Chuck

  14. Annnnnnoymoush

    Is the sapphire discontinued? Those guys on Amazon sell them form $66~$160 and mostly out of stock in a site of my region which sells for approx 15~20USD. Sorry for my poor English.

  15. Where did you find a ASICMiner Erupter USB 336MH/s Sapphire Bitcoin Miner for $11?

    • The price has shot up in relation to the current price of BTC. Unfortunately, you’ve got to make the call of weather or not it’s worthwhile now.

  16. Thanks for the great info.
    Do I have to have a keyboard/video/mouse connected to the RaspPI? is it possible to remote desktop to it? I realise the initial install will probably require KVM but what about if you just want to do a quick check each day once all setup.
    Thanks

  17. des fletcher

    hi, when i start minepeon i get a error message..wlan0: error fetching interface infotmation, Device not found. i am connected by ethernet so why is it looking for Wlan ?.

    nice tutorial, thanks

  18. des fletcher

    hi, when i start minepeon i get an error message..wlan0: error fetching interface infotmation, Device not found. i am connected by ethernet so why is it looking for Wlan ?.

    nice tutorial, thanks

  19. Firstly very good article. I followed all the steps mentioned but still I am struggling to get my erupted running on RPi. Please help.

    • I am powering my RPi from the same use hub where erupted is connected. Minepeon WebUI shows no devices running.

      Thanks

      • Looks like I jumped the gun. After I ran screen -r command cgminer started working. Thanks for the help …I just started as a hobby with my first ASICMiner

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Raspi Bitcoin miner may just pay for itself eventually - […] a project to come to mind.  [Dave] has an interesting solution to this orphaned hardware – use it to …
  2. » Interesting build for RPi to mine Bitcoins Fuzzy Hypothesis Online - […] http://www.daveconroy.com/beginners-guide-to-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-an-affordable-bitcoin-minin… […]
  3. Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a Bitcoin Mining Rig @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi « adafruit industries blog - […] Dave Conroy has written a beginners guide for turning your RPi into an affordable bitcoin mining rig: […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>