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So, I have been doing a little bit of reading on the topic of do it yourself solar panels, and I think that I am going to give it a shot. This is going to be an on going log of my plan, and development of a home made solar panel, and a custom mining rig to run off of it.

Brain Storming

The Solar Array

After doing a little bit of poking around on the internet, I came across a website of a guy who bought some property in Arizona to do astronomy, it was kind of a vacation property. It was so far away from civilization that there was no power offered to him. He thought this was great for astronomy, but still wanted something to give him a little bit of power since todays modern society relies on it. He initially put up a wind turbine, he reported that that worked great… when the wind blew. So his next idea was to come up with a home-brew solar panel setup, since Arizona sees somewhere around 300 sunny days a year. He noted that he was able to purchase 3×6 solar panel cells, that had cosmetic defects, or were factory seconds off of ebay. I did some searching around, and sure enough, they can be found for relatively cheap compared to having someone come out and install a full array of panels on your roof. For my endeavour though, I plan on using bigger panels for higher voltage per panel, and higher amperage output. I am thinking something like 6×6 panels. So far, off the top of my head, I am estimating I am going to need to produce 120 volts or more, output approximately 900 watts per rig, and regulate somewhere around 20 amps. This is all minimum though, as I would like to also have an array of batteries that can charge even while the mining rig is running full steam ahead. This would allow me to mine part way in to the night before I have to begin drawing off of the grid again. Eventually, I would like to mount these solar panel on an axis, and implement some sort of sun tracking. Since I live in a suburban neighborhood, I would only have to have one axis to track East-West from my roof top. Most of the packs of cells I find on Ebay come with the tabbing ribbon, flux pen, junction box, and diodes to put everything together. There are a select few auctions that offer the cells already tabbed, but since I am fairly handy with a soldering iron, I would rather take the junction boxes and diodes over pre tabbed cells any day.

The Mining Rig

Searching through some forums the other day, I came across a link for a motherboard that had 7, yes SEVEN PCI-E slots on it. I am not sure I would DARE try and run 7 GPU's off of a single motherboard but I thought it was pretty cool. In an ideal situation, I would like to get ahold of some ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) setups, but so far that seems unreasonable or too expensive for those selling. Butterfly Labs seems to be a total scam, and the cost to have a foundry re-tool to my ASIC specs is outlandish. My next option would to buy an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) mining setup but I can only seem to find them second hand. The reasons that these are more desirable for me as compared to GPU mining is 1) They have faster hash rates 2) They use much less power. An FPGA can run on as little as 15W, I could run a whole army of these and their cooling fans with a semi-decent home made solar array. The last and least desirable option would be to custom build a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) mining rig. These consume vast amounts of power though, on top of the power consumption of the CPU and PSU, so I would be limited on how many GPUs I could run off of solar power. This section will be edited to be more specific once I see what kind of funding I can acquire. The coins to be mined also depend on the kind of mining rig I can get up and running. I was thinking a rotation between DVC and LTC, but this all depends on, like I said, the mining rig, the difficulty of various coins, and the exchange rate of various coins.

The Ultimate Goal

The ultimate goal of all of this is to establish the first (?) solar powered mining rig. Although, the mining rig will be built first, and I'll just eat the cost on my electric bill, it will still bring in income to support the solar array and additional mining rigs. I hope to achieve complete independence from the electric grid in regards to mining crypto currencies, at least during the days when there is ample sunshine, and perhaps part way through the night with an array of batteries, minimizing the increase of money spent on electricity from the power company to run a successful mining operation. Eventually it would be great to see my electric meter spin backward, as I am producing more power than I am consuming, thus resulting in a check, rather than a bill, from the electric company each month. They are required to pay you for power that you have supplied to their grid.

I will continue to update this page as I research further, and come up with more exact figures, rather than the ones given off from my alcohol immersed mind right now. I will also provide updates as this all starts coming together, and also plan on keeping a build log with pictures, and eventually a complete how-to series on on both the mining rig and solar array.

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