When BitCrane came into the Bitcoin mining scene with the Bitcoin miner T-110, it surprised many in the mining world. They use the UltraHoist Module (Golden Nonce) chips with an innovative self contained water cooling system along with an easily stack-able design and a slick interface that is easy to use and set up. Running at 1.1 th/s to 1.2 th/s on 1100 watts, the T-110 is an excellent entrant into the mining industry. CCN was able to setup an interview with the Founder and CEO of BitCrane: James Tsuei.
Could you tell us about BitCrane and how it came together?
I first got to really know about Bitcoin fairly late (around Feb this year) and became a believer almost immediately after gaining a better understanding about its disruptive and revolutionary nature, then spent two weeks of non-stop research learning about the technology and its ecosystem. Being in the electronics industry (from Industrial PC to EMS to Consumer Electronics) throughout all my professional life, I was amazed at where the bitcoin mining hardware business was at in terms of challenges with delivering quality products to market in scale and not to mention poor sales practices. So I wanted to build a team that would be able to design and manufacture reliable, high-quality ASIC systems in a time to market and time to volume fashion with the goal of bringing first-class business practices to the mining community.
BitCrane flew under the radar and burst on the mining hardware scene all at once, how long have your miners been in development and how has the mining community responded to your sale?
One of the reasons for being almost completely unknown prior to our product launch is because we wanted to keep true to our principle of not preselling, and we did little to no marketing prior to the launch. We started to design and develop our system in May and had our pilot run in late June (time to market and being to work quick and efficiently is one of our team’s key competences). One of the biggest challenges we had in addition to making sure we had a well-designed and reliable product, was securing the supply chain for our builds and manufacturing supply base in such a short period. Many long lead time components on our UltraHoist Modules are 8~12 weeks out, and it is our policy that only qualified components from manufacture authorized dealers are used.
The initial response has been lukewarm which is somewhat anticipated given that we are a new player on the scene, and our pricing is higher than the low-cost boxes. However, we are continuously improving our cost structure while insuring the quality our products and reflect the cost improvements on the product price. We’re confident that once miners get a chance to evaluate our product they will see the difference in both the design and build quality. Also that having a trouble free mining system at a slightly higher price tag will pay its own way.
The BitCrane T-110 uses the Golden Nonce chips that have not been widely used at the end user level. The performance is very good. What kind of trouble did you have in securing the chips and do you have a steady supply lined up?
We secured our chip source quite early and budgeted against our initial build plan and forecasts. We are also looking at other potential partners on a next gen chip for product development, but nothing has been finalized yet.
The T-110 uses a self contained water cooling system. What made you decide to go that route for cooling? What were the challenges in designing it to handle the constant intense heat generated by the Golden Nonce chips?
Frankly, we have tested almost a dozen different types of cooling solutions for this ASIC trying to find the best price to performance spot. We’ve even tested almost half a dozen DCLC systems and in the end finalized with the current design. The Golden Nonce chip while able to withstand very high temps (115~120c), is very sensitive to thermal and everything has to be tuned just right for it to run stable. Once you have all the variables right, it will run very consistently and reliably. We developed a specialized production JIG just for the installation of the cooler head to ensure that these are mounted with the same precision and consistency in volume on the production line.
Do you have plans for the next gen BitCrane miner that you could tell CCN about now?
We are working on several projects right now. The most immediate one should be ready for launch on 9/10/2014, which is a Terra Hash level miner designed for the home miner. It will utilize the same desktop form factor of the T-110 which cosmetically, is already one of the most suitable miners available to be placed within the home but with ultra-quiet cooling. In addition, our systems are designed with EMI compliance in mind, so they are more suitable for the home environment compared to open frame type miner designs. I think by bringing a Th/s grade miner to market that is designed for home use should help contribute to the idea of keeping mining decentralized. It is called the T-110S.
The BitCrane interface is very nice and is simple to use so even customers new to mining can easily use it and get up and running quickly. Could you tell CCN about the process you used to design it?
The thought process was pretty simple. We wanted to design a product that a newbie could easily get setup and running and not have to worry about how it’s doing all the time. We also wanted the system to be designed so that large deployments would need very little man power to install multiple units on a grand scale and not bother with hooking up to multiple controller boards and tons of PCIe cables.
Will BitCrane release the source code to the software as it uses cgminer 4.3.3 as required by the open GPL license?
We use a unmodified version of HashFast’s cgminer 4.3.3, so all of the information is available on GitHub.
Do you have anything to add that CCN may not have touched on yet, or you would like to announce?
(I) Think your questions have been quite thorough.
We are announcing the launch of the T-110S on 9/10/2014 is the same easy to use miner as the T-110 but modified for an in home environment where the ambient is usually lower than a mining facility. The main differences are the T-110S has a slightly lower hash rate of 1Th/s with power consumption roughly around 900W. The low noise rating and Class-B regulatory compliance is what makes the unit especially suitable for the home.
James gives an insight into how BitCrane was able to bring their miners to market. The announcement of a T-110S with a less noisy setup is a welcome addition to their product line. James has told CCN that BitCrane is hard at work on next gen units and will have some excellent surprises in store very soon. It is great to see a new company come into the Bitcoin miner manufacturing market.
BitCrane, Spondoolies-Tech, Bitmain, ZeusMiner and several others are still working hard to make miners that home users and mid-sized mining farms can utilize to help keep the Bitcoin Blockchain as decentralized as possible. Miners like the BitCrane T-110 and the T-110S can do just that with their smaller carbon and sound footprint, power requirements, and easy stack-ability. A home user can easily setup 3 to 10 of these; the simple plug and play setup will make it a breeze.
CCN will have an exclusive review in the next several days of the T-110S where we will go over the changes and also have more comments from James Tsuei on the T-110S. Stay tuned to CCN and Happy Mining.
Disclosure: BitCrane Has Provided a T-110 and T-110S at a Discount for Review
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