Nov 29, 2021
18 mins read
I found this really helpful fully sustainable solar helium mining rig.
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The Complete Off-Grid Helium Miner Build Guide:
Nov 14 Written By Brayden Good
It’s finally here. After putting it off for weeks, my off-grid helium miner build guide is done! I apologize for the long wait. Hopefully the guide’s quality will make up for it’s late arrival. An important thing to note is that this guide will be updated from time to time as I find better ways to construct these rigs. If you have any sort of suggestion regarding the build-something that you see could be improved upon, please reach out. We should always strive to help each other create the most optimal rig possible. Please note that this should not be seen as the one and only approach to building a rig. There are countless ways to address the building process, and everyone should consider making adjustments based on their application.
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There are countless ways to address the building process, and everyone should consider making adjustments based on their application.
The Parts list provided has almost everything that you will need linked. The pole and stakes are not linked because it is not very practical to order those online. You’ll want to acquire these at your local Home Depot/Lowes. Aside from these items, everything can be ordered online.
If you want to help support me without actually paying me any money, the best way is to use these links provided below. When these links are used, I am given a small bonus for referring you to the item.
The fans will provide cooling to the rig. The battery and computing components tend to get quite hot and build up heat inside of the enclosure. It is important for us to expel this heat with an intake and exhaust fan.
The vents work in tangent with our fans. They act as the gateway for air to enter and exit the rig.
The router cables will allow us to mount the routers’ antennas onto the outside of the box. This allows for optimal connection without physical interference.
The battery is pretty self-explanatory. It provides our rig with the energy storage.
Our tripod provides a mount for the entire rig. It also has feet that allow for proper anchoring, so our rig doesn’t blow over.
Panel/Controller / Panel Mount
The solar panel provides energy to the rig. The DC current goes from the solar panel into our charge controller. The controller converts the DC current into AC. The controller doesn’t only act as a converter. It also acts as our wall outlet for all electrical components in the rig, and acts as the middleman between the battery and solar panel. The panel mount attaches our solar panel to our pole.
The Fan Temperature Controller allows us to save power by only running the fans when the rig is exceeding adequate temperatures. It turns the fans on/off depending on if they are needed.
Enclosure #1 Enclosure #2 (in case enclosure #1 is out of stock, use #2 or an enclosure of your choice)
The enclosure is our shelter for the components. It is made out of high quality plastic and should keep all external discrepancies(water, dust, etc.) out.
Cellular Router for ATT/T-Mobile, Cellular Router for Verizon + Data Plan and SIM card
Our cellular router provides internet to the rig. It is an internet hotspot that allows our miner to have a wired internet connection. We’ll need a data plan with sim cards to accompany the router.
Ethernet cable serves the simple purpose of connecting our miner to the cellular router.
The USB-C 12v-5v converter is the component that wires our miner to the charge controller. It is our miner’s power cord. It converts the 12v output of the electrical system into a 5v/3a. This is the optimal connection for the miner.
Cable glands allow us to run cables from inside of the box to the outside. They snug down tightly on the cables, allowing for an air tight seal.
Mounting tape is used to stick our components to the inside of the enclosure. The miner, router, USB-C step down, and battery will all be mounted using this tape.
Stickers act as deterrents for potential griefers.
The Antenna is also fairly self-explanatory
1 7/8 in. x 4-5 ft. Pole
The pole allows us to mount everything in one place. Please make sure that you buy the correct size pole. We want the pole to fit properly into our tripod mount, so be sure to get the correct diameter.
3/8 in. x 2 ft. Rebar (x3)
The rebar stakes anchor our rig to the ground. These can be found in the masonry section at Home Depot.
18/19/20. Din Rail, Mounting U-bolts, Hardware Assortment and Hose Clamp kit:
These pieces are used for mounting our components to the pole. The din rail and mounting U-bolts form our enclosures mount. The hose clamps are used for mounting our antenna and solar panel.
Tools You Will Need: Step Drill Bit, Drill Driver, Angle Grinder (Only if your pole is to long), Assortment of Drill Bits, Assortment of Wrenches, 2 1/2” Hole Saw, Crimping Tool/Pliers and Measuring Tape.
Step 1: Fans & Vents
Ventilating the Rig
Were gonna want to ventilate our rig with an exhaust and air intake fan. We’ll start by cutting two holes into the sides of the enclosure using a 2 1/2” hole saw. Cut one hole on the side of the enclosure near the bottom, and another hole near the top.
Placement of these holes isn’t to important as long as one hole is near the top, while the other is near the bottom.
We can now take our vents’ rings (locking nuts) and attach our fans to them. The rings have 4 screw slots that align with our fans screw holes. Use 2-4 screws to complete this step. Make sure that one of the fans will be blowing air outward, while the other will be pulling it in to the enclosure. The fans should have indicator arrows formed on the plastic that show which way they blow air.
With your fan attached to the locking nut, we now can place our vents in the 2 1/2” holes we drilled. Once placed, the exposed threads should be on the inside of the enclosure. Screw the locking nut/fan assembly on to these threads to secure the fans vents in place.
The gasket that the vent comes with should suffice, but if you want to go the extra mile, I would suggest applying a silicone layer around the vents.
Here is a wiring diagram that gives a general idea of how everything should be connected. Refer to this as often as you need.
Step 2: Battery & Charge Controller
Powering the Rig Part 1
This step will show battery and charge controller configuration. First, start by simply putting the battery into the enclosure. I like to secure the battery in place by putting a few small pieces of mounting tape on the bottom/sides and sticking it to the enclosure’s plastic.
Next, were gonna want to mount our charge controller to the battery. I recommend putting spacers in between the battery and the charge controller when doing this. It isn’t necessary, but if you worry about heat building up between the battery and charge controller, it would be smart to put a small piece of wood or plastic between the two. For now, I will use no spacers. Take a few strips of mounting tape and apply them to the back of the controller. Invert the charge controller 180 degrees so the load terminals are facing the ceiling. With the charge controller upside down, stick it to the battery, preferably near the top end so the load terminals can easily be reached by the battery wires.
A crimping tool is suggested for this step, but a razor blade or scissors also work.
Almost done. Now were going to connect the charge controller to the battery. This can be done with 8-10 gauge wire and wire lugs. The solar panel should come with 12 gauge wire with lugs already attached that can be used for this step at the cost of efficiency, but it should still suffice. Once you have allocated two wires fitted with wire lugs, you are gonna want to properly measure and cut them down to size so that the lugs sit snug on the batteries’ insert terminals, while also reaching the charge controllers’ screw terminals. Cut the wire to short and you’ll have to make a new wire/lug assembly. Cut it to long and you just have to trim it down to size until it reaches both terminals comfortably. With that, make sure when eyeballing the measurement to conservatively cut.
If the battery had a some juice, our charge controller should be showing some signs of life. The last part of this step is going to involve programming our charge controller for our application. We are going to be utilizing a 12v 30ah lithium battery and using both the load terminals and USB ports on the charge controller. In order for our charge controller to work, we need to convey these two things to it. I provided to screenshots below to help with this step. The battery type should be set to Lithium, or LI. Our system voltage is set to 12v. Lastly, set our load setting to 17.
This step is highly important, so make sure to do it correctly. If you find yourself confused and unable to figure out how to program the controller, you can try referring to this video. Another useful link would be here; the charge controllers manual.
Step 3: Fan Temperature Controller
Cooling the Rig
This is probably the easiest step in the whole build process. To begin, we’ll want to take our fan temperature controller and plug it’s USB connector into the charge controller’s USB port. Next, take the fan’s connector and plug it into the fan temperature controller’s port. The temp. controller comes with lots of excess wire which theoretically could be cut and shorten. However, I find it easier to coil up these wires and use zip-ties to secure them into bundles. If you care for wiring, you can hide these bundles either on the side of the battery or behind it.
The fan controller comes with a temperature probe. This probe is responsible for tracking the temperature within the case and allows our fan controller to turn the fans on/off when needed. With this in mind, we should consider mounting the probe to the top of the enclosure because that is where heat builds up. For example, we wouldn’t want our temperature probe mounted to the bottom of the enclosure where it’s only 85 degrees while it could be 95 degrees toward the top because heat tends to rise. Even with it being so hot at the top of the enclosure, our fans wouldn’t turn on because the temperature probe is mounted in a cooler space. We want to prioritize running the fans more often then not. This will help preserve the overall health of our components.
Step 4: 5v/3a USB-C
Powering the Miner
This step is specifically for miners that require a 5 volt, 3 amp USB-C power connection. This guide is for RAK and Sensecap M1 miners.
Powering the miner is also a quick step. We’re gonna need our 5v/3a step-down USB-C converter. This component will serve as the power connection from our charge controller to our miner. Take the positive and negative wires from the converter and connect them to their respective load terminals on the charge controller. We can then apply some mounting tape to the back of the converter and stick it to the inside of the enclosure. At this time, we’ll want to also mount the miner.
Be sure to mount it at proper orientation so that the converter’s USB-C connector can reach the miners power port. For now, leave the miner unplugged.
Step 5: Cellular Router & Cables
Installing the Router
Step 5 comes with a few tasks. We’ll start by drilling out two holes on the side of our enclosure for our antenna connections. Those extra antenna cables we bought we’ll be used here. Find the correct size drill bit and drill out two holes on the side of the enclosure, near the top. I like to position mine on the top, left side of the enclosure, about an inch apart. There should be a female and male end of the antenna cords. the male end will be stuck into these holes from the inside, so the threads are seen exposed on the outside. Secure the male connection with the hole insert and nut provided in the antenna cable bag. Feel free to use silicone at this step as well if needed.
Awesome! At this point, you can screw your antennas onto the exposed male threads. Now, we’re going to mount our RUT240 cellular router inside the enclosure. Make sure to strategically place it; we need to be able to run the ethernet cable from the RUT to miner. Also consider that those two antenna cables we just set up have to screw into the rut as well. I tend to stick mine against the sidewall of the enclosure. Once complete, screw in the female connections of the antenna cables to the correct ports on the RUT240. I like to fashion a zip-tie to snug down the excess antenna cable length.
Repurposing the Rut’s power cord for our build:
The last part of this step is to power the RUT240. The RUT comes with a 4-pin power cord and wall wart for an outlet. We are gonna use this wire for our rig. Begin by cutting the wall wart and removing the sheathe to reveal the red and black wires. These wires will be going into our load terminals. We can then plug in our 4-pin to the RUT’s port.
Step 6: Panel Mount
Mounting the Panel
If it isn’t there already, place your 4-5 ft. pole in the tripod’s housing. The solar panel mount comes with two large pieces: the arm and the bracket. We’ll start by using hose clamps to secure the bracket to the pole without the arm attached to it. The hose clamps that came with the solar panel mount will not work for this step, so it is best to fashion our own or buy some that are larger. Moving along, were gonna need to attach the panel to the arm. In my opinion, it is easiest to do this by first laying the solar panel down on its face. Be sure to put a towel or blanket down to avoid damaging the panel. Now, measure out the center of the panel in landscape orientation. The panel is about 23 inches wide, so the center will be at 11.5 inches. Mark a dot on the bottom and top of the aluminum frame at the midpoints. Now take the mounting arm and lay it on top of the solar panel. The dots we marked should be visible once properly aligned. We can then drill holes into our panel and secure the mounting arm with a screw/washer/nut assembly. Proceed by installing the arm onto the mounting bracket. This is achievable with the panel mounts provided hardware. Adjust the height to your liking.
Step 7: U-Bolts & Din Rail
Mounting the Enclosure
Mounting the enclosure is simple. I used to buy aluminum flat bar and fabricate my own piece for this step. However, for simplicity and time’s sake, we’re gonna use prefabricated din rail. This should be a simple piece of aluminum that has numerous predrilled holes already in it. The pictures below do not show din rail, they show my own flat bar aluminum; do not let this confuse you, the only difference is the din rail has a funny shape and a lot more holes.
We’ll start by attaching our mounting brackets that came with the enclosure to the 4 corners of the back of the box. Once this is complete, take two din rails and align them horizontally with the bottom and top mounting brackets. Attach the two din rails to the mounting brackets. If you find that the din rails don’t properly center and looks kind of funny, you can always saw off one end to make each side look even. Depending on the hardware used, you may also need to bore out the mounting bracket or din rail holes in order to fit the hardware. Lastly, we need to throw on our mounting U-bolt assembly. This part is better explained with a picture. The last picture in the slides above shows the U-bolt assembly correctly equipped. Now that you have the mounting assembly all put together, you can throw the enclosure onto the pole.
Step 8: Solar Panel
Powering the Rig Part 2
Our two PG9 cable glands drilled into the side of the box for solar panel wire entry.
Since our panel was mounted in the previous steps, now all we have to worry about is getting the power it generates into the box. We can start by drilling out two holes on the side, or back of the box to fit two PG9 cable glands. It is easiest to use a step drill bit for this task. I have recently found that its much more convenient to drill these holes into the back of the box. Reason being, when we run wires through these holes, they’ll feed nicely into the charge controller.
Put your cable gland assemblies in the holes, and secure then with the locking nuts from inside the box. Do not forget to use the rubber gaskets. We can now run our solar panel wires through these glands. You may first want to cut down the size of these wires, but only enough where we can still comfortably reach the charge controller terminals. Once threaded in, make sure to secure and seal them by tightening down on the outer most nipple piece of the glands. Once again, we cut our wires down to size after estimating how much slack we’ll need to reach the load terminals. Cut away the excess sheathe on the panel cables to reveal the wire, and insert the wires into their respective load terminals.
Notice how in the picture below, you can see part the exposed wires coming out of the charge controller terminals? Try to avoid this if possible, you risk shorting out the system. Get those wires fully hidden inside the terminal.
Step 9: Miner Antenna
Mounting and Wiring the Antenna
The antenna mounting is easy. We’re gonna use our hose clamp kit to fasten the antenna to the pole. Hold the antenna near the top of the pole and use two hose clamps to tighten the antenna down. If you are using the DIY kit, you’ll want to cut the strips down to proper size, then install the clamps. That’s pretty much it for this step.
Step 10: SIM Card & Data Plan
Configuring the Miner, Router, and SIM Card/Data Plan
Configuring the miner, router, and sim card/data plan is a pretty lengthy step.. Instead of fitting all of that information into this guide, I am going to link two great tutorials that will show you how to get your miner connected to the internet. I use these guides for every rig I need to configure.
Gristleking’s Guide (easiest and fastest in my opinion)
HelloDeveloper’s Guide (provides a payed service to avoid relay and other issues)
Please support these creators. There is so much to learn from countless people in the community. Gristleking in particular is a trailblazer who is happy to help others.
Step 11: Rebar
Fabricating the Stakes
The final step is to make our stakes. All we have to do is bend the rebar into a “candy cane-like” shape. You can kind of estimate where to make your bends at; I just shoot for around 2/3rds up the length of the rebar is where I start my bend. If you have access to a vise, this is a great tool to secure the rebar in place while you make the bend. Next, just slide a pole over the part that you want to bend. This will add leverage and allow you to exert a lot more force onto the rebar. Bend it until we achieve that candy cane shape.
You may also need to bore out the holes in the tripod’s feet in order to fit the stakes. The stakes are to wide for the holes, so make sure to do this.
Go Out and Earn!
I hope this guide proved to be relatively easy to follow. I must reiterate, if you find yourself stuck at any point, please reach out. I also love to see what you guys are able to accomplish with these rigs, so please share your deployments and adjustments. This helps me learn, and I get to relay that knowledge in the blog. I plan on featuring your guys’ builds in blogs in the near future!
Content & Delivery Update
Medium John: Deployment
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