So you are thinking of adding another rig to your collection. Gratz! Nothing like a little extra boost to your hash rate and the number of coins you receive. There probably wasn’t a lot of thought given to power consumption on the first rig except for how much it may add to your monthly bill. As you move into multiple rigs power consumption needs to be more than a consideration as a monthly expense but included in your overall plan.
First, you need to get an idea of your rigs power consumption. I like to run each rig on a meter similar to the one pictured here and keep it in my notebook for future reference and possible troubleshooting. This is an easy device to use, just plug it into the wall and your rig into it and you are able to see the number of watts being consumed. They usually have other features like adding your power costs to provide an hourly, daily, and monthly cost, but for me, I am just interested in how many watts are consumed. These can be found about anywhere, I got mine from Amazon and it was like $17.
My rigs to date have been based on a single model through different manufacturers, so I do see a variance of 50 watts between rigs. So each of my rigs draws from 850-900 watts. So how do I use this information?
This mining adventure is not my full-time job, so that means my rigs are in my home. You could substitute home for an apartment, office, garage, or whatever space you have dedicated for your rigs. You first need to identify where your power is and how it is connected. Go to your breaker panel and open the door. If you are lucky each breaker is marked with the general areas each serves. If not you are going to need to figure it out. Turn on all your lights and find a small lamp. Now your bigger breakers that take up two slots are most likely dedicated to refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, or other big appliances. So just flip each one off and go find what’s not on and go back and mark the breaker panel with like a sharpie. As you get to the single slot breakers these will handle your lights and wall outlets. Just use the lamp you found earlier to find which outlets are tied to each breaker and go back and use your sharpie to designate them. While you are at your panel there is one very large breaker at the top of the box. No need to check this one as it controls all the power to your house. In my case, it is a 100 amp breaker, but yours could be larger or smaller depending upon, but homes are generally either 100 or 200 amps. Just good knowledge to know what service comes to your space as it gives you an idea of your max load.
Ok, now you know where your power is and how much can go to each outlet. Now, remember our handy tool above can be used for any appliance, so if you put a rig on an outlet with other appliances be sure to consider the total use of all the appliances connected to each outlet tied to a single breaker. Now a little math:
Amps * Voltage = Watts
So, the 100 amp service to my home in theory could manage: 100 * 120 = 12,000 watts Well not really there is some smart guy that figured this all out, (not me), but an electrical circuit should not operate continuously at over 80% of of the circuit breaker rating. So in theory my 12,000 watts of potential goes down to 9,600 watts. Now I have to look at my breakers and what is connected to them, I have a handful of 15 amp breakers and a couple of 20s and 30s. Let’s take the 15 amp breaker that generally serves lights and outlets.
15 Amps * 120 Volts = 1800 watts * 80% = 1440 watts. So I can only run 1 rig on this circuit! Dam. Now I could probably get two rigs going but guaranteed that breaker will trip within 10 minutes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your breaker is a certain amperage, that means your wiring was installed to support that amperage. Though a larger amperage breaker will fit in the slot, YOU WILL BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN SO DON’T DO IT. Consult a certified electrician to consider the options available to you.
Also, be sure to check the power rating on any cords you may use and if they are getting hot you know you have a problem coming very soon. For me, it took an expensive cord ($100) to run two rigs.
So if all my wiring and breakers aligned perfectly to allow me to use every bit of my 9600 watts I could get about 10 rigs in total running, but I would have to take cold showers, no cooking, no washing or drying clothes, and my beer would be warm. I guess this may be an option!
Be smart, be safe, and find MoAr Blocks!