Helium HNT Hotspot Mining Wiki & FAQ

Table of Contents

Introduction

This Wiki is based off frequently asked questions on #hnt-iot-mining
This is a Wiki so please edit as needed or let me know what needs updating

Helium Mining

Explained to a five-year-old style video

A otherwise good starter of the actual mining process and how it is calculated is documented here, in short:

LongFi. Which is the combination of Heliums blockchain and the LoRaWAN frequency, is a low bandwidth and long range network that aims to get all the small things on a widespread network. LoRaWAN is better than using wi-fi as the transceiver and transmitter uses far less power. This means that Location trackers and other LoRaWAN appliances can last much longer on the same battery power.

Helium Manufacturers

What’s the best one to buy?

  • Miss Vosk covers it here in a 29 October 2021 update (Bobcat)
  • Vosk covers it here on a April 2021 update (Bobcat)

What’s the difference between them? Vosk addresses it here. A handy hardware-specs-only comparison is being built up here by crapdeathnel_x

Please use the following links to support Voskcoin and our community. Nebra , Bobcat , RAK .

Each hotspot vendor will provide everything you need to get your first miner up and running. One thing to note is that hotspot miners come with different frequency bands. Please make sure you are picking the correct selection for your region.

A list of each vendor and how many Helium miners are deployed is listed here

A spreadsheet tracking all the new vendors and where they are in the approval processes is available here

All certified vendors for Helium are listed here

Bobcat

Currently still (December 2021) recommended by Vosk. This is because they have proven delivery estimates which currently stands at roughly ~28 weeks.

Congratulations!
Your order number #XXXX is successful. We’d like to begin by thanking you for your time and patience throughout this process.
Your miner will ship in 20-28 weeks from the time you placed your order.

  • Bobcat explains the Shipping label order process here so you can understand the shipment process better
  • Serial port details of your Bobcat, MicroUSB cable at the back runs at 1500000 baud, 8N1, credit
  • There is talk about improving the antenna circuit within the Bobcat in this Sorin video, US & UK part for reference

Bobcat - Shipping update

19 January 2022:

Link

15 January 2022:

12 January 2022:

Link

5 January 2022:

Link

29 December 2021:
Link

Nebra


Sold out since 24 April 2021 due to component shortages

Nebra Outdoor:

Please do not order via Parley Labs and order directly through Nebra to support VoskCoin. Parley does not make their miners.

Nebra - Shipping update

18 January 2022:

Blog post

10 January 2022:

Nebra’s update

16 December 2021:

Support said this to a user on Discord:

“I see your order is in Batch 4, we are projecting to ship batch 4 in December/start of next year. As we are 2/3 done with shipping batch 3 and starting on batch 4. Again we thank you for your continued patience.”

7 December 2021:

Newsletter update

28 November 2021:

A discord member got this about their batch 4 order:

image

Cal-Chip / RAKv1.5 / RAKv2

NOTE: Significant delays see the shipping calculator. No orders are currently being taken due to supply issues

  • Manufactured by RAK however distributed by CalChip
  • Vosk referral link with 3% off - or use code ‘voskcoin’
  • Vosk’s review of the CalCHip RAK V2 published 9 May 2021
  • RAK has produced mostly miners for Emrit and other whitelabeled vendors at this stage on behalf of Cal-Chip
  • Bundled with a 2.8dBi (US) or 2.3dBi (EU)
  • Datasheet here
  • Weatherproof enclosure video
  • Rak V2 teardown
  • Check out the Shipping calculator to find out where you are in the order backlog
  • Public letter (June 3 2021):
  • CalChip distributed this on 15 October 2021 with regards to their delays and the RAKwireless offerings
  • RAKv2 SD card replacement howto BFGNeil explainer here

Cal-Chip - Shipping update

27 October 2021 Update:

September 30 Update:
PDF
image

September 22 Update:

PDF

NA RAK orders from Turtle batch or later has to choose between waiting until Q1 2022 OR choose other options

RAKwireless MNTD


  • Order link
  • 15 November 2021 Vosk’s review of the MNTD
  • 22 October 2021 Miss Vosk Medium Post explaining the origins of MNTD and how their drops typically work
  • On 11 November 2021 vosk asked if anybody was interested in a green VoskCoin-endorsed version here, register your interest!
  • On 5 October 2021, RAkwireless started producing MNTD see about it here these appear to be in stock sooner than RAKv2 units
  • RAK has confirmed the US915 band editions will autoswitch for AU915
  • Bundled with a 2.3dbi antenna (EU) or 2.8dbi antenna (US)
  • Keep an eye on their Twitter feed and subcribe to their newsletter for upcoming drops
  • You can find the RAK rep on our discord with nickname jmarcelino
  • MNTD SD card replacement howto BFGNeil howto here

Syncrob.it & SP North America

Syncrobit is the official manufacturer and producer of their Helium hotspot miner and released a co-branded miner with SP North America.

  • Keep in mind Voskcoin does NOT recommend ordering Syncrobit - as per this 21 Nov 2021 video
  • Get $25 off with coup code VOSKCOIN at Products – SyncroB.it::Shop - new orders has been paused from July 14 2021 to keep on with demand, this will re-open once they have caught up on orders and are fulfilling in-line with projections
  • VoskCoin’s update video on SyncroBit and SPNA on 3 November 2021
  • VoskCoin’s review of the miner - 8 June 2021
  • Lowest manufacturing capabilities compared to the other manufacturers on this page that we are aware of
  • Datasheet of the product
  • 11 May 2021 update - Due to chip shortages price has increased to $650
  • As of July 10 2021 if your Miner Height ever falls more than 250 blocks behind the blockchain, a resync will automatically be initiated
  • For those struggling with POE - You cant use a standard splitter, the mini usb is not universal, you were supposed to get one in the kit - contact support
  • Outdoor Enclosure Installation Tutorial
  • SyncroB.it Gateway Set Up Guide

Vosk edition miner

  • 16 January 2022 update:

US Shipments started arriving at doors

sdfsdfsdffdsf

Noteably the extra antennas did not arrive with the shipments

  • 7 Jan 2022 update:
  • On 9 September 2021:
  • Previous update: SyncroBit confirmed delivery for September (and October) for the VoskCoin units - these will NOT be delivered sooner than other orders. (Fully expect these to be delayed though given their current run-rate)
  • This was sold out within 9 hours of the announcement, thank you all!
  • Order link went live on 8 June 2021 for 1337 units (archived version)
  • VoskCoin Medium article with a ton of information on this edition
  • Youtube video discussing the VoskCoin edition miner
  • No, it will arrive no later than the ‘official’ SyncroB.it version

SyncroB.it - Shipping update

20 December 2021 Update from Discord:

  • Our next Batch for EU is in transit our warehouse tomorrow, this will cover orders up until #SB7435. To be fulfilled by the end of the year
  • Our next Batch for NA is in transit to our warehouse in Kentucky. This will cover NA orders up until #SB7987 and it will be fulfilled by the end of the year.

13 December 2021 SPNA Update:



And then a clarification was sent:
image

13 November 2021 SPNA Update:

21 October 2021 NA Update:
Source

We are currently in the process of shipping orders placed in April and are fulfilling through SB#5442 for North America.

A small batch of units went out last Friday. And more are going out this week and through the end of October.

If extremely larges orders hit customs it can double the wait time for clearance , so we are shipping smaller batches more frequently in a effort to avoid these delays.

For some insight into the process. we send hotspots to our distribution partner at which time they get marked as fulfilled in Shopify. Once the distribution partner packages and ships them we receive the tracking numbers and then pass them along to you via a automatic email notification.

Antennas are in stock and are being shipped as hotspots are fulfilled. If your hotspot has arrived and your antenna order does not show as shipped please notify support and we will check on this for you.

21 October 2021 EU Update:

Source

Regarding shipping for Europe. We are currently in the process of shipping orders placed in April.

We have already fulfilled through SB#3613 for Europe.

Another batch for Europe will go out in approximately 10 days.

If extremely larges orders hit customs it can double the wait time for clearance , so we are shipping smaller batches more frequently in a effort to avoid these delays.

For some insight into the process. we send hotspots to our distribution partner at which time they get marked as fulfilled in Shopify. Once the distribution partner packages and ships them we receive the tracking numbers and then pass them along to you via a automatic email notification.

Antennas are in stock and are being shipped as hotspots are fulfilled. We are currently fulfilling all the free EU antenna orders that were pending, and then will ship all antenna orders paid in full that were not paired with a gateway,

LongAP


LongAP - Shipping update

9 July 2021:

  • All fiat-payment orders have been shipped. A few crypto-payment orders are still to be shipped

6 July 2021:

We can accept orders for antennas and cables for LongAP One for the Netherlands with bank-transfer as payment only at the moment: https://longap.com/collections/longap-one-accessoires We are discussing options to accept orders for other countries again

LinxDot

Another Helium manufacturer, orders are now open to all

  • Page here use discount code ‘Voskcoin’ for 3% off
  • Voskcoin’s review of the Linxdot on 11 November 2011 written version here
  • Fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • US/EU/AU approved
  • Their HIP19 application is here and got approved on 28 July 2021
  • 3dbi antenna (no longer a 4)
  • Batch2 onwards will feature a new Rockchip board instead of a PI CM4
  • Uses the Syncrobit ‘instant sync’ feature as it is the same firmware

Linxdot - Shipping update

30 November 2021:

Via e-mail shot from Linxdot:

Greetings!

Here is the latest manufacturing and shipping news.

Since the last update, we have been and will continue to ship small numbers of batch 2 orders each week.

In the meantime, we have almost resolved the production issues in China and expect to begin mass manufacturing Linxdot Hotspots in December. The previous shipping estimates are no longer achievable so we have been working closely with the factory in China to establish a new and more realistic timeframe for you all.

Batch 2 (was estimated to ship in late October), shipping now and will be completely fulfilled in January 2022.
Batch 3 (was estimated to ship in late November), and will now ship in January 2022.
Batch 4 (was estimated to ship in late December), and will now ship in February 2022.
Batch 5 (was estimated to ship in late January), and will now ship in February 2022.
Batch 6 (was estimated to ship in late February), and will now ship in March 2022.
Batch 7 is scheduled to ship in March 2022.
To work out which batch you are in, please double-check the ‘shipping method’ on your original order confirmation email. For example, if your email says “Shipping method: Late-October via UPS, FedEx, DHL”, then you are in batch 2.

Breakdown of the new timeline:

December 2021:

Mass manufacturing begins
Manufacture batch 2 and 3
January 2022:

Ship batch 2 and 3
Manufacture batch 4 and 5
February 2022:

Ship batch 4 and 5
Manufacture batch 6 and 7
March 2022:

Ship batch 6 and 7
We apologise for the further delay, and any inconvenience this has caused. It has taken us slightly longer than anticipated to get going, but we are almost there! Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Whilst we know that this is not ideal, we are confident in the new timeline and can not wait for you to receive your hotspots! Alternatively, if the new shipping timeline does not work for you, just drop our support desk an email (hello@linxdot.com) and we will cancel your order upon request. Please include your: your order number, email address, and registered shipping address (for verification purposes).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Team Linxdot

2 November 2021:

Customers who have open orders received this update via email:

What does this mean?
Your estimated shipping dates will be pushed back by a few weeks. Once manufacturing is underway, batch 2 (late October), batch 3 (late November), and batch 4 (late December) will be sent out consecutively. Batch 5 (late January) is still scheduled to ship at the end of January as planned.

Please check your order confirmation email to find your original estimated shipping date. Here is the new forecasted timeline for delivery:

  • Batch 2 (was due to ship in late October) will now ship in early December.
  • Batch 3 (was due to ship in late November) will now ship mid-December.
  • Batch 4 (was due to ship in late December) will now ship early January.
  • Batch 5 (due to ship in late January) - still scheduled for late January shipping.

We understand that these delays are not ideal and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to ramp up production and get your hotspots ready to ship as close to the estimated delivery date as possible.

Thank you for your patience and support. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at hello@linxdot.com.

Smart Mimic / Finestra

image
(credit: CreditCardBuffet@Discord)

A vendor who already sells a few LoRa gateways and sensors who appears to want to create a miner.

This miner is manufactured by Cal-Chip and not yet available, pre-orders only.

Note that this miner requires validators to be offloaded from the miners, which is schedule to happen Q3-Q4 2021, to quote Kerlink:

Kerlink will release miner software to run inside the gateways (full miner), but that requires the HIP25 (Validators) to be in production (to eliminate the high CPU usage on the gateways due to the Consensus Group work).
Kerlink will eventually switch to light gateways, as any other manufacturer.

Note that eventually all miners will have their software converted to a light hotspot - per the light hotspot roadmap detailed on this page.

Kerlink - Shipping update

  • 27 September 2021 Update:
    Source

image

  • 6 August 2021 Update:

Update on the Helium Network Compatible Kerlink Gateways! Helium and the DeWi Alliance finalized their testing of these units and have given the green light for shipping. The #HeliumNetworkCompatible Kerlink Gateways are estimated to start shipping within the next 2-3 weeks!

Tweet

SenseCAP


  • Vosk’s 18 Dec 2021 review of the Sensecap M1 and Voskcointalk article here
  • Sensecap utilises several distributors you can check out - this list keeps updating continually
  • The Sensecap hosted Dashboard encountered a “security issue” in early Jan 2022 - this video summarises it
  • On 16 June 2021 SEED / SenseCAP has been approved by Helium Inc to take pre-orders after completing hardware audit, onboarding integration and adhering to regulatory certification
  • HIP19 application with Helium
  • Bundled antenna was going to be 1.2 dBi but now it will be 2.6dBi for US & 2.8dBi for EU
  • USB-C powered
  • Spec Sheet
  • FCC & CE certified June 22 2021
  • SenseCAP M1 FAQ
  • SenseCAP M1 Local Console Guide
  • On 17 August 2021 they released a management dashboard
  • On 11 October 2021 they released a local dashboard as well as ‘Turbo Sync’ (like fastsync)
  • Modo Tech has a good video on how to replace the SD cards on Sensecaps here
  • For those curious about the different models and the RAM they have onboard - model numbers starting with ‘2’ has 2GB, ‘4’, has 4GB and ‘8’ has 8GB in this table:
    • 2915 - 4915 - 8915 for the US models
    • 2868 - 4868 - 8868 for the EU models
    • 2923 - 4923 - 8923 for the AS models

SenseCAP - Shipping update

20 August 2021:

To our lovely customers who purchased SenseCAP M1 at Seeed, here comes the update!

We have shipped Batch 1, 2, and 3, and are now in the process of manufacturing and shipping the rest batches. Please check the following picture of order info.

Today we have started to ship batch 4. However, due to a large number of orders, it may take a few days. We will try our best to dispatch all orders before August 31. If you have any questions about the shipping date, please contact us at order@seeed.cc.

Thank you for supporting SenseCAP M1!

12 August 2021 part 2:

To our friends from Australia and New Zealand, hope you will be excited for this update.

We’ve got the RCM certificate for SenseCAP M1 Indoor Gateway. We will share updates on the sale of the AU915 version soon.

12 August 2021:

New sale for US and EU. NO COUPON THIS TIME. Shipping is done by November 10th! Max Purchase is 100x units. For more Infos, check the latest pin.

Please check product page:
US915:
https://www.seeedstudio.com/SenseCAP-M1-LoRaWAN-Indoor-Gateway-US915-p-5023.html
EU868:
https://www.seeedstudio.com/SenseCAP-M1-LoRaWAN-Indoor-Gateway-EU868-p-5022.html

23 July 2021:

This is a warm welcome letter.
 
Dear everyone,
As we promised, we are going to have some updates in late July, so here I am. :blush:
I hope you are excited to see this update.
 
The production of SenseCAP M1 are going well as scheduled, more than 10,000 pieces will be shipped out by next week.
Some batches will go to our partners, more distributors will be updated next week.
While some batches, - BREAKING NEWS - will be sold on Seeed online store!!!! :partying_face: 
 
Please go to page below to get more information about  “How to purchase SenseCAP M1s on Seeed online store”.
https://www.sensecapmx.com/welcome-to-the-room-for-purchasing-sensecap-coupon-code/

Long story short:
1. You are welcome to come to Seeed store to purchase SenseCAP M1 on July 25th 10:00 AM (GMT+8).
2. We are going to release 100 pieces US version as our first trial to test our limits and traffic pressure.
3. Then we are going to release more in the days coming after, EU version will be available at that time too. The experience we learn from the sales of this first 100 pieces will help us improve the performance for the coming batches.
 
Looking forward to meet you in Seeed.:face_in_clouds: 
See you soon.
 
Sincerely,
Shuyang

8 July 2021:

  • The Global MSRP of SenseCAP M1 is USD $519. The actual price at our partners’ platforms might include shipping costs and VAT, hence the actual price might vary.
  • Available quantity for our first batch is 745 pieces (445 US version, 300 EU version), I know it is a small number :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: , but we have better news on the second batch: a few thousand pieces will be available in late July. We will give exact number later.
  • For the first batch, SenseCAP M1 will be sold through distributors. Please be aware that it will NOT be sold through www.sensecapmx.com
  • To make sure more people can get the devices, for the first batch, all the stock will be exclusively to the community, there will be limits on purchase quantity per person per order. Our distributors will release more info about the restrictions and plans.
  • Distributors will have their own release plan. They all try their best to provide fair opportunities to everyone, thus they won’t just put the products online quietly without advance notices, they will keep you updated to make sure you are well aware of the order date and time.
  • We are starting to ship to distributors this week, they should receive the products around mid of July.
  • At the same time, we are talking with other partners / distributors, will release more info later.


Pisces Miner


  • Pisces Miner is EU only, ordering is via waiting list so join their list if interested
  • Pisces Miner was fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • First batch was a small batch sold with USDC (ERC-20) at around $600
  • Someone made a replacement dashboard for it
  • Pisces P100 Troubleshooting guide

ClodPi

  • ClodPi was fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • ​Pre Orders began on 6 August 2021 at 9AM IST here 45k Rupees
  • One of the only manufacturers for the India market

COTX Networks

NOTE: COTX has been placed on Helium’s naughty list on 27 September 2021 see this and should be on this listed until April 2022 before they will take new orders

  • Vosk’s Order link - email them to get on their order list here
  • Vosk’s review of the COTX Helium miner on 7 Jan 2022. Vosk also have a written guide which goes into the temporary suspension of them here
  • Cotx Networks
  • COTX networks Helium Hotspot info page, do not sell direct and only via distributors, listed below:
  • COTX Twitter
  • FCC approved on 23 September 2021
  • 4dbi antenna
  • Crypto Gossip talks about them here on 11 August 2021

COTX - Shipping update

From Cubify ~1 December 2021:

Controllino




  • Controllino
  • Batch 1 pre-orders only at this time
  • BFGNeil has a review here

Heltec Automation

  • Heltec Automation - HIP19 approved
  • If out of stock on their main website above, there is a ‘offline order’ system available here
  • First unboxing/review
  • Manual
  • In late Nov 2021 some complaints has been picked up on RSSI values - see thread here as it develops, this was updated on 15 December 2021 with:

Regarding the receiving sensitivity of some devices, we have been attaching great importance to it recently and have been doing related tests and experiments. Compared with other miners using SX1302 chipset, SX1308 has the following differences:

  1. The receiving sensitivity of SX1308 is lower than that of SX1302;
  2. In the reference design of SX1308, the FEM chip used is SE2435L, while the recommended FEM of SX1302 is SKY66420-11. The SE2435L has lower amplification gain and higher noise figure;
  3. SX1308 will generate a lot of heat during operation, this will cause the center frequency shift.
    Combining the above reasons, the receiving sensitivity will be about ~5dB lower than other machines using the SX1302 version. Antennas and coaxial cables may affect the overall receiving sensitivity.
    Why should we choose SX1308?
    We started preparing for the Helium project in April 2021. Under the circumstances at the time, SX1308 was the least likely to be out of stock.
    solution:
    We will incorporate the temperature drift into the RSSI calculation in the V1.2.8 update;
    We are developing and testing filters and two-way signal amplifiers that can be used to correct the problem. This device can correct the inherent deficiencies of SX1308 in hardware;
    Starting from December 2021, this problem has been improved on newly produced miners;
    We are applying for a new generation of Hotspot based on the SX1302/3 baseband chipset.
    If you have any questions about such issues, please send an email to xiaohong@heltec.cn for feedback and consultation. Your data and feedback are very important to us.
  • To login to the local dashboard, username is: HT-m2808 and the password is the last 6 digits of the MAC in lowercase, no colons

PantherX

image

  • Approved 27 September 2021
  • Website
  • The X2 has a 1.8GHz processor, 4GB of memory, 32GB eMMC and 64 GB TF card and comes with a 3dBi antenna
  • Vosk talks about them on this 14 December 2021 video
  • Vosk talks about them on this 8 Dec 2021 video make sure to check the later section as well where he is not recommending them
  • Vosk’s Voskcointalk thread on the PantherX
  • Panther X1 CN470 manual
  • Panther X2 CN470 manual
  • Panther X2 EU/US/AU manual
  • Coupon codes,
  1. A coupon for $30
    Units required to purchase: 1 hotspot
    Code: PantherX2Buy1Get30USD

  2. A coupon for $120
    Units required to purchase: 3 hotspots
    Code: PantherX2Buy3Get120USD

  3. A coupon for $240
    Units required to purchase: 5 hotspots
    Code: PantherX2Buy5Get240USD

  • Appears to be CN470 / EU868 only for $499 USD
  • Approved for China, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on 3 December 2021

PantherX - Shipping update

10 Jan 2022:

Link

image

4 Jan 2022:

In reference to Batch 1 shipping (orders taken December with the ‘45 days’ statement)

Source

Hummingbird

Milesight

RisingHF

Browan/MerryIoT

Helium Inc (OG)

The original Helium Miner manufactured by Helium is no longer for sale.

Other manufacturers (inbound)

These are yet to be HIP19 (or just) approved and not for sale yet - these will move to the above section once they are approved and nearing a state of pre-ordering.

Naughty list

Manufacturers who has accepted pre-orders before HIP19 approval from Helium get on a naughty list , so far first offenders are,

Airbit

image

They also appear to have stolen some images:
image

And…

RevoFi

In late August 2021 their HIP application were denied

This was received on 10th July via email from RevoFi (ie, ignoring above and before they have been approved by Helium):

COTX

On 22 October 2021 this was released:

As previously announced, the Manufacturing Oversight Committee (MOC) has voted to place COTX Networks under a 6 month probation for its involvement, if only negligently, with partners who constructed massive illegitimate hotspot deployments that attempted to receive Proof-of-Coverage rewards without actually providing network coverage. As part of this probation, COTX is prohibited from accepting and shipping new hotspots orders for six months, starting retroactively from September 27, 2021.

While this suspension is designed to establish a message with all manufacturers that direct involvement in “gaming” is not a tolerable nor sustainable business practice, the MOC recognizes that the Helium Network’s most ardent and effective asset are hotspot hosts – customers who have and will continue to enthusiastically purchase hotspots from approved manufacturers. As the MOC’s rulings do not spread as far and wide as any manufacturer’s marketing efforts, we’ve set an order fulfillment cutoff date for one week after the suspension.

This means that, with exceptions, consumer orders placed by October 4, 2021 will be allowed to be fulfilled. The full ruling is as follows:

  1. Orders must have been made on or before 1 week after the 2021-09-27 suspension. This comes to 2021-10-04.

  2. The order quantity must be 20 units or fewer, or

  3. If the order quantity is more than 20 units, it must satisfy all of the following:

3.A The customer gives COTX permission to identify the customer to the MOC, and

3.B COTX forwards the customer information to the MOC, and

3.C The MOC approves the order.

  1. For all orders of quantity 21 or more in which the three items 3.A, 3.B and 3.C cannot be satisfied, we ask the COTX and/or its distributors issue a refund.

On 14 October 2021 this was released

COTX Suspension/Probation

The Manufacturing Oversight Committee has voted to convert COTX Network's suspension into a 6 month probation period. Under this probation COTX's ability to on-board hotspots will be restored to allow existing orders to be fulfilled subject to certain restrictions, but COTX will be prohibited from taking new orders until the probation period has ended.

We are requesting data from COTX and will describe the fulfillment process in more detail once that data arrives. We will also explain the rationale behind the suspension and probation in further announcements

This was released on 27 September 2021:

Temporary Manufacturer Suspension: COTX

The DeWi Manufacturing Oversight Committee (MOC) has voted to temporarily suspend COTX Networks’ ability to onboard hotspots due to troubling patterns we have observed with COTX hotspots that have been deployed by their partners and employees in advance of sales to the general public at large. In the meantime, COTX will continue to provide the MOC with explanations and reports to help rectify, and hopefully, resolve the issue.

What does the suspension do?

While the suspension is in effect, new COTX hotspots will not be able to placed on the blockchain. Existing COTX hotspots will continue to function normally.

Why the suspension?

We’ve identified a population of COTX associated hotspots that show troubling signs of “gaming” – attempts to earn rewards while not providing real coverage for the Helium network. While we acknowledge that any manufacturer’s hotspots can be abused this way, we are compelled to take action when the hotspots are directly under the control of the manufacturer or its major partners.

When will the suspension be lifted?

No date has been set to re-instate COTX’s onboarding ability. The suspension will only be lifted once the MOC has completed its investigation and is convinced that COTX’s deployment and sales plans will benefit the network overall.

Miner Placement

There are various things to consider when positioning your miner and maximising earning potential. Considering that Helium operates on a Proof-of-Coverage algorithm, placing your miner in a location where it can communicate with other miners is the goal. The more hotspots it can communicate within a specific range, the higher probability of earning more coin over time.

Range is important. On paper (reality is a bit more technical), it is advised to space miners 300 meters apart from each other (of any type). With that said, it has been reported that if line of sight is good as well, 300-350 meters can potentially be too close. If miners are too close, witnessing can become invalidated, resulting in reduced reward pay-outs. Note that all vendor’s default antennas are good for several miles of range assuming no obstructions in line of sight.

This is why you do not see mobile phone masts every block, it does not expand network coverage in a optimal way. Do not cluster.

To get a visual representation of how your exact location may communicate with neighboring hotspots, please check out Hotspotty. Input your address to review the sweet spot range. Your hotspot miner will be the black dot. Any additional miner that is within the red-colored heat map is considered an “invalid witness zone”. Alternatively, look at helium.vision, there is a good video demo on ‘If your place is good for Helium Hotspot Mining

PLEASE NOTE: This is a over-simplified explanation, and the technical details are in HIP17. ie. You can’t have more than 1 hotspot within a res 8 hexagon (to maximise your reward scale) unless that hexagon has 2 other populated hotspots as neighbours - this of course gets complicated to explain in scale, so please see the HIP17 link for further detail.

On 18 May 2021, Helium announced Disco Mode - you can use this (once you have a miner setup) to compare locations for the best rewards. Ed Ballou talks about it here (24 May 2021)

Other links,

  • 26 November 2021 Vosk talks about where to place your Helium hotspot miner
  • 15 November 2021 Vosk talks about helium placement and what the hexagons mean
  • Vosk talks about ‘What is the correct placement for Helium miners’ on this 19 Sep 2021 video
  • Vosk runs through using the explorer-beta.helium.com on 14 June 2021 and how to optimise spots
  • To add a semi-social element, future hotspot owners can plan and add their hotspots-to-be on this map
  • A video on how to use Helium explorer here
  • Vosk answers ‘How many Helium miners can I have in my house?’ in this 11 May 2021 video

How much will I make?

Please understand that the current hotspot population is growing by the day. What may be virgin territory today could be a strong hotspot region over time.

If you are curious as to if a desired location (whether it be your residence or a family friends) will be profitable, please use Helium Explorer . All you need to do is type in your city, and a list of active hotspots will generate.

Click on the 3 word seed phrase to open that hotspot account. From here, you’ll see a map of it’s connections, 24 hour/prior 24 hour and 30 day/prior 30 day payouts, the profit % change, along with witness and nearby hotspot information. This resource is the best tool for gauging approximate profitability in your area.

If you reviewed your territory and noticed there are no neighboring hotspots near your location, what is the next best option? Time to phone a family or friend! A plausible option is to let a fellow contact “host” your hotspot miner. That way, you are maximizing your miners profitability.

You can also (after paying a small fee) get a rough indication of what you might earn for a particular location by using hotspotrf.com - more on them below.

  • Voskcoin on this 18 Dec 2021 video explains “Your earnings will vary”
  • HODLHelium has a good explainer around “Is It Worth Getting Into Helium Mining: Winter 2021” - to answer the ‘is it worth it’ questions
  • Vosks updates on how much miners make on this 29 October 2021 video
  • Vosk talks about ‘How much am I going to make?’ on this 19 Sep 2021 video
  • Vosk talks about Helium mining profitability in this video on 19 August 2021
  • Vosk talks about the mining earning variability in this video on 28 July 2021
  • Vosk talks about how much you make depending on your proximity to other miners on June 1 2021 here
  • Vosk talks about ‘How much money will I make’ here
  • Also try the Helium Hotspot Earnings Calculator
  • Vosk talks on 8 June 2021 about how the Hotspot reward system works
  • Vosk talks about how the Hotspot reward system works here
  • Miing Chamber talks about the reward system here
  • Keep in mind you can only practically witness 18 hotspots

How does seeing more miners increase my earnings?

@Toby’s example:


image
image

Just to let you all know my scenario and what rewards looks like here is my setups in stage 1 2 and 3 (Stage 1 = 1 hotspot, stage 2 = 2 hotspots etc)

Week 1-10 average 1.5
Week 11-13 average 11
Week 14 36

(Numbers = HNT)
Orange lines = Witness

  • A video discussing this as well, here
  • Vosk discusses witnessing here (9 May 2021)

How do I setup my miner?

It takes about 5 mins, turn it on download the app on your phone (links can be found at the bottom of the helium.com website and usually on a QR code with the miner), bluetooth search for it, pair it up assert location on the map on your phone connect to WiFi or Ethernet and boom done.
Video tutorial here

  • Vosk runs through the setup process here on 8 June 2021
  • Vosk runs through it again here as well

Antenna Placement

Antenna Strengths

  • Vosk discusses this topic on this 8 Dec 2021 video
  • Vosk answers ‘What is the best antenna for Helium hotspot miners’ here
  • As mentioned, the standard antennas are GREAT - 10km+ in NYC has been achieved by a discord member as an example here -

    (RAK v2 unit at 30ft elevation)

This image best describes what higher dbi antennas do:

Please realise the donut shapes these make, especially at higher dbi - pictured another way:



(Credit to @2thdoc)
This is why you don’t put a high dbi in a city for example:

(credit @Shwetty)
Don’t be fooled by the picture of a 2dbi antenna either - the ‘bubble’ is huge:
image
(credit @Shwetty)


Note: 3dbi can reach out to almost 20 miles line of sight

  • Keep in mind, lower dBi antennas have more vertical range and less horizontal range. Higher ones have less vertical range and more horizontal range. Find a good balance that hits your nearby hotspots.
  • Careful with 8dbi or you will overshoot hotspots that are close to you and won’t witness/challenge them
  • Higher gain does not mean better or stronger all it means is that it’s more directed. Think of it like a flashlight or a garden hose. The more focused the light becomes the more direct the light goes
  • Antenna are environment dependent. If it’s in an urban environment a higher gain is not good you need a lower gain. If you are in open area trying reach specific point in an area than a higher gain is better
  • Antenna gain is just for penetration through buildings, trees etc. Your better sticking a 3dbi high up. and a 5.8 on ground for example
  • Angle of elevation also matters. If you mount a long range (narrrow beam) antenna on a high elevation and all the other miners are at a lower elevation your signal will just go right over the other miners and not link up. So in the picture with the two cars a 3dbi antenna will reach the other car but the 6dbi one will not since the signal just goes right over the other car.
  • This Eigen Tech video is a very good explainer on how gain, dbi’s, antenna strengths work and what kind of antennas to get to maximise your earnings
  • Keep your antenna cable runs low - a handy refference for signal loss over cable lengths here and a video showing this here, Gristle King writes a good piece about it here as well
  • Here is also a good cable length loss calculator
  • Jimmy is Promo discussing antennas here
  • Advice on maximum antenna strengths discussed in the FAQ below
  • Helium Noob has a good video about 'Is your Antenna Legal’ - US-centric but the math applies anywhere
  • EU equivalent on antenna power limits
  • Losses through typical materials:
  • Want to know more about LoRa at the protocol level and how it relates to antennas? Read this
  • Want to understand Gain/dB/dBm/dbI better? Read this
  • Useful dBm (and others) calculator
  • Gristle King has a good video on testing your antenna ‘the right way’

Antenna Connectors

Handy chart from Phayu:


(high res link)

This post explains all that is to know about RP-SMA, N-type, as well as PoE options etc.

The short version - all miners thus far have a Reverse Polarity SMA Female connector (RP-SMA-Female) on the casing (other than the Nebra outdoor which has an N-type Female and PantherX using SMA Female)- therefore you need a RP-SMA male on the antenna cable end for most miners.

.

First to understand is that the ‘bit in the middle’ (like with other cables) does not make it male or female - it is the outer edge that does:
image

And here’s a great graphic presentation :slight_smile:

(credit: @Paul)


Antenna Reviews

I’ll put some antenna reviews people pointed me to here and break out into sections over time.

RAK

  • 3.0 dBi - poor VSWR > 2 (2.49 at 904.5 MHz)
  • 5.8 dBi - Excellent VSWR < 2 (1.09 at 904.5 MHz)
  • 5.8 dBi & 3.0 dBi + info on the Vector Impdance Analyzer
  • Sorin testing between 4.5dbi Paradar, 5.8dbi RAK, 8.5dbi Paradar, 9dbi McGill & 6.5dbi MiktoTik
  • Sorin testing McGill 9dbi vs RAK 8dbi & McGill 6dbi vs RAK 5.8dbi here on this 25 Dec 2021 videos

Antenna/Cable Vendors

Please ensure you read ALL of the above sections before upgrading your antenna (bigger != better, etc). If you are here nontheless and are looking at outdoor options, here’s some we came across:

Helium App Questions

This is a attempt at collecting and answering a number of issues/errors that occur in the Helium App

Registering the miner

Issues with pairing or going through the registration progress (where the miner get their name)?

Wait until the miner is ‘ready’ on Bobcat’s this means the LED must NOT be Yellow

Syncing to the Blockchain

  • Initial syncing can take between 1 and 8 days - watch this video which runs through the same points
  • It takes even longer from 99.1%-99.999% than 0-98%
  • If it has been “stuck” at 0 blocks or 1 blocks synced see the last bullet
  • It is quite normal (as blocks are generated every ~67 seconds) for the percentage sync to drop over time as it falls behind
  • If your hotspot has been at the same block for more than 24h we suggest a reboot, or trying a wired connection, otherwise - just leave it
  • Some miners offer a fast-sync option, see how to access those menus here a special Bobcat guide to do that is here as well
  • If you do not have this option, put it in diagnostic mode and check progress that way - do not rely on Explorer/The mobile App alone

If you are feeling techie and want to pass the time whilst this is happening,

  • If you have a Bobcat
    • Since 7 September 2021 the ‘fast sync’ method was introduced - read up on how to use it here
    • You can browse to the IP address of the miner and click on the link that says “Sync Status” and see the difference between your height and the blockchain height, OR,
    • You can browse to the IP address of the miner and click on the link that says “Miner (5s, miner slow down)” - take the miner_height value and compare with the blockchain_height value
  • For anything else, you can
  • Or - Install this app and go into the diagnostic screen to see what the miner ‘thinks’ is the current height - observe over time

Bobcat Random Syncing

Do you feel like your Bobcat is falling in and out of the status of syncing or have you just setup your Bobcat recently and want to avoid a long initial sync delay?

NOTE: The Explorer and the App is lagged and not always up to date and cannot be relied on (Sept 2021), it might simply be saying your hotspot is ‘syncing’ when it is definitely not, since Bobcats allow you to check this directly with the miner we can check for it here.

Video guides to this process,

  • Vosk runs you through fast-sync on this 29 Oct 2021 video
  • Alternate video,

Or just follow these steps,

  • Browse to the IP address of your Bobcat on your local network, if you are unsure how to do that, see this section
  • Once successful, the page should look something like this:
    image
    – If you do not see a webpage, you either have the IP address wrong or the miner’s webserver is unavailable, wait 30mins and check again, if that fails, turn it off, wait a minute and turn it back on and wait 10 minutes generally resolves this
  • Click on ‘Sync Status’, a perfectly running one will look something like this:
{
  "status": "synced",
  "gap": "-1",
  "miner_height": "1022841",
  "blockchain_height": "1022840",
  "epoch": "26492"
}
  • Take a note of the ‘gap’ line,
    – If the value is negative it is synchronised
    – If the value is 10 or less, the status will say ‘synced’ and everything is OK (regardless of what Explorer says)
    – If the value is 400 or less, the miner is busy syncing and will eventually appear sync - reload this page every 10 minutes or so to check
    – If the value is above 400, follow from step 5 onwards under ‘Bobcat Perpectual Sync Issue’ below
  • If the ‘gap’ over a period of several hours have narrowed to less than 100 and then suddenly jumped back up to a high value (above 400) you might have the ‘Perpetual Sync Issue’ please follow the steps to resolve that in the section below

Bobcat Perpetual Sync Issue

This issue starting arising week-of 13 September 2021 - this may or may not help some Bobcat’s perpetually syncing.

FIRST: Be 100% confident your Bobcat is perpetually syncing, this means that you have checked your Bobcat’s Status screen (/status.json) and seen that the ‘gap’ number decreases slowly and then over time (3+ hours) reset back to a much higher again (instead of being below a gap of 10).

NOTE: The whole process takes about 6 hours

[Credit] (Discord)

THIS METHOD IS NOT A GUARANTEED FIX.
USERS WHO USE THIS METHOD DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK.
PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY (especially where it says IMPORTANT)

  1. Switch to Ethernet if you can
  2. Access the miner dashboard by entering the miner’s IP Address into the browser. From the menu, click on Reset Miner
  3. Go through the steps to get this started (type in ‘I Agree’, enter username: bobcat password: miner)
  4. IMPORTANT, WAIT FOR THE MESSAGE BELOW TO BE DISPLAYED (might take ~20mins):
    1: your miner is going to rest
    2: housekeeper was sent home
    3: dockerd is stopped
    exit status 1
    5: detonated a bomb, old blockchain data gone
    6: detonated another bomb, miner gone
    7: the housekeeper is back, but everything is gone
    8: rebuilding everything
    9: cleaning up
    10: cleaning bomb resedue
    your miner has successfuly started, but it may take 15 minutes to load files, please be patient. you can run the diagnoser after the light turns green
  5. Go back to the miner dashboard and click on Sync Status. Do no proceed to the next step until you see your miner height above 900,000. The reason for this is because the blessed snapshot isn’t confirmed as loaded until this happens. If you do this step too early, start at step
    1 again.
  6. Once confirmed, click on Fast sync(Alpha)
  7. Again, go through the steps to get this started (type in ‘I Agree’, enter username: bobcat password: miner)
  8. IMPORTANT WAIT FOR THE MESSAGE TO BE DISPLAYED:
    Synching your miner, please leave your power on.
  9. This concludes everything you need to do to fix the perpetual gap problem

Update Hotspot

Your initial assert might take a long time as your miner is probably not synced or there is a issue with the blockchain. Just be patient and have a look at the explorer under the activity tab to see if/when your assertion has gone through.

Failed Transaction

This has been seen when updating location / antenna / height, suggestions:

  • Check on the blockchain explorer if you have not already asserted (activity tab)
  • As suggested - possibly try again in ~30mins

How to transfer a miner

  • Note that the hotspot being transferred should be fully synced (or within roughly 1200 blocks) to allow for a transfer
  • The original owner has to go the cog/settings of the miner, which will show this screen:
  • Then go to ‘transfer hotspot’:

Characteristic error

Leave the device for ~30 minutes, close the app, open it again and it should be showing that it is syncing.

Onboarding Error

Error saying invalid_onboarding_address


This typically happens when the blockchain or onboarding servers (which can at times be vendor specific) has issues.

If this happens to you,

  • Retrying in 15-30 minute intervals typically helps
  • Keep a eye on http://status.helium.com
  • If this fails for more than a day, contact the vendor

gateway_already_active

Usually means that this has already been registed, force-close and try again in 30mins, you will probably see it has registered.

Constructing Error

image

‘There was an error constructing the Add Hotspot transaction. Please try again.’

Simply force-close the app (as it likes to cache) - and try again in 30mins - this is apparently a onboarding server issue however we have seen this occur more during busy times on the Explorer website especially.

My hexagon is not showing?

Helium has a ‘tileserver’ which sometimes get backed up due to the big amount of hotspots going online, over time this ‘job’ will re-run and add your hotspot to a tile.

  • Example issue from 22 October 2021
9 Likes

FAQ

Tipping Jar

Keeping this post up to date takes some effort, if this has been helpful in any way and you wish to buy the dude some coffee, you can tip some HNT to,

killtheplanet

  • 13k9BE5RGGg1WRLcWqAV7ofcavxk4cLYE8jkSvaQMHaasdrsuxk
  • Vosk’s confirmation
    image
  • Hat tip to y2kanonomous, Phayu94, Steverino, sk8er1113 and arronblackll

Paul

Networking

  • All manufacturer units support WiFi or Ethernet
  • Expect to use approx. 20-40GB of traffic per month for your miner, this will reduce once validators go online, reference

What static or DHCP reservation mean?

Typically you want your router to assign a static IP (or sometimes called a DHCP reservation) for your miner, so that it always gets the same IP address on your internal network.

This in turn ensures that your portforwarding (see section below) works as intended.

There is a good guide to explain how this works here

What does relayed mean?

  • Ensure you forward TCP port 44158 to your miner from the internet to ensure your miner does not appear as ‘relayed’ (more info here), video tutorial here, similarly see ‘Fixing Relayed Hotspots
  • A good tool to check your own port forwarding - do NOT use your hotspot’s IP address, use the IP that shows up on the web page!
  • A written guide on what to do
  • Gristle King and BFGNeil talks for 43mins on this 17 November 2021 about relayed issues
  • Here is a great workflow as well credit to Jason on Helium’s discord - keep in mind that the cellular workflow mostly applies to US only (v4):

The 4 steps to relay freedom

  1. Reserve an IP address for your hotspot on the router
  2. Port forward TCP 44158 to that same IP address on the router
  3. Validate that port 44158 is open: Open Port Check Tool - Test Port Forwarding on Your Router (do not put your hotspot IP address into the web site. Only change port 80 to 44158 and click Check)
  4. Wait 2-15 days for the App/Explorer to update your status

How long does it take to not be relayed?

  • Check that you have validated that your port 44158 is really open using the tool described in step 3 above
  • If it is OPEN - it can take the blockchain up to 8 days to be updated with this gossiped information
  • If it’s closed - start again with the section above

Still need relayed help?

If you still need help, reach out to @Paul#2702 on discord, via the ‘#Relayed Help’ channel - Vosk discusses this good man here

How relayed status affects your earnings

One of the vendors summarised it well from the original Helium pages:

Relayed Hotspots & the Importance of Opening Ports

Relayed Hotspots do not just affect the Hotspot owner, but can also affect its neighbors and the network.

Relayed Hotspot as a Challenger

When a relayed Hotspot issues a challenge, the receipt (or acknowledgment of the challenge) by the challengee and witnessing Hotspots may not arrive in time to be accepted. This is due to the receipt having to traverse various other Hotspot connections to arrive at the relayed challenger.

Any witnesses that heard the beacon will have issues submitting their receipts to the challenger in a timely manner.

The Challenger does not earn HNT, Challengee does not earn HNT, witnesses do not earn HNT!

Relayed Hotspot as a Challengee (Beaconer)

A Challenger that sends a request to the Challengee expects an acknowledgment or a receipt by the Challangee within a certain period of time.

If the Challengee is relayed, the initial request can take too long to arrive at the relayed Hotspot, and the request becomes stale and invalid.

The Challenger does not earn HNT, Challengee does not earn HNT, witnesses that respond do not earn HNT.

Relayed Hotspot as a Witness

Hotspots that witness Beacons have to submit their receipt to the Challenger in a timely manner in order to earn HNT.

If the witnessing Hotspot is relayed, then they are unlikely to submit their receipt in time.

How do I see more technical relay info?

  • Find your miner’s ‘long address’ - ie, not the three-worded name, but the long address as shown here:
    image
  • Now browse to https://api.helium.io/v1/hotspots/<THE_ADDRESS> - replace “<THE_ADDRESS>” with the long-form address as shown above.
  • A UPNP relayed hotspot will have something like this in the listen_addrs field:
  • ie. a UPNP relayed miner contains a app/session id and ipv4 address
  • A non-relayed one will look something like this:
  • A relayed one will look something like this (with just p2p info):

What is CG-NAT and why is it bad for me?

CG-NAT stands for Carrier-grade NAT.

Due to the exhaustion of IPv4 addressing space, many smaller internet providers, and most mobile carriers, have their clients behind CG-NAT.

What does it look like?

When you are CG-NAT’d it means that the modem/router you are using gets a external (NOT LAN) IP address from the ISP/carrier that is in the RFC1918 address space, in other words, a private IP address, such as 192.168.x.x, or 10.x.x.x, or 127.16-32.x.x

Your LAN ‘behind’ this modem/router would typically be on a similair (but different) RFC1918 address space as mentioned above.

Your ISP/carrier then takes the traffic across ALL over their subscriber base on these private IP addresses and then CG-NAT’s them across a pool of public IP addresses.

In this example let’s assume,

  • Your miner’s LAN IP is 192.168.1.5
  • Your router’s WAN IP is 192.168.0.1
  • Your ISP/carrier’s CG-NAT pool is: 80.80.80.1-50

Therefore - if you were to browse to something such as whatismyipaddress.com the internet site will see the IP address to belong to the ISP/carrier’s CG-NAT pool, ie. 80.80.80.1-50, and not that of your router’s WAN IP address (as would be the case without CG-NAT).

NOTE: Your ‘WAN’ IP address NOT being a RFC1918 address does not exclude you from being a CG-NAT specifically, it could just be that the address range is not routeable outside of the ISP/Carrier

Why will a port forward not work?

The only place you can put a port forward is on your router, 192.168.0.1 in the example above, this IP address is a private and non-route-able address range and therefore is only useful for traffic between your carrier and you, not the internet.

Can my ISP/carrier not put in a port forward for me?

Think about it - using the example above, you might come from 1 of 50 IP addresses across all of their customer base, for which you are asking to ‘hog’ one port on each of the 50 to your router, it is easier to lose the customer for this obscure request.

What can I do about it if I need to use a CG-NAT provider?

A bit more ‘level 2’ difficulty, however the most practical would be to utilise a router with VPN support, get a VPS running with a dedicated IPv4 address, and you can simply VPN all the traffic to/from the miner over the VPN link.

NO - you should not be looking at your standard pay-for-VPN offerings as you typically can choose the specific port you need forwarded, and unless it’s tcp:44158 you will be stuck.

If you are still not scared off from doing this - Modo Tech has a good video that touches on the subject on doing this.

KTP also wrote a howto for this kind of setup here

Can I setup WiFi remotely?

If you are sending a miner to a third party who will NOT be in control of your wallet (which controls the miner) you can let the person at the remote site,

  • Install the Helium App
  • Get the miner into Bluetooth pairing mode - as if setting up a new miner in the Helium App
  • Make it connect to their Wifi network
  • The Helium App will NOT let them control the miner as only the wallet owner can do that
  • Video showing this method here

Bandwidth requirements and consumption

Bandwidth

On average (measured Nov 2021) we see about 650kbit/s being utilised by a functioning (and not relayed) miner, therefore a 1Mbit service would be “more than enough”

Consumption

This changes as the number of miners increases, this is roughly true for November 2021:

  • A non-relayed miner will consume 120-500GB per month as the number is dependent on the number of non-relayed miners on the network)
  • A relayed miner will consume in the range of 100-150GB per month
  • The Helium team is aware that most of this traffic is wasteful and are in the process of reducing the amoung of wasteful data use
  • In the longer term, as hotspots will long term not have to keep a copy of the blockchain, this data usage should dramatically decrease as well (no ETA)

Can I access my miner remotely?

There are three kinds of access methods typically found,

  1. Bluetooth onboarding/diagnostics
  2. Network based (typically a webpage)
  3. Cloud based (typically a management dashboard)

Accessing the miner over bluetooth

This typically involves,

  • Opening the Helium app on your mobile device
  • Going to the miner’s name and clicking the cogwheel (or pressing the + to onboard a new miner)
  • Adding a new miner / Pushing the ‘diagnostic’ button

Accessing the miner over IP

Some miner’s have a web interface you can connect to by browsing to the miner’s IP address on your local network.

  • If you do not know the IP address of your Bobcat on your network,
    – Put it in diagnostic mode, pair it to bluetooth and look at the diagnostics screen
    – Login to your router and look for the Bobcat unit in the active clients/DHCP leases table, it typically describes itself as the miner vendor type or model number or even hotspot name
    – Use a tool such as ‘fing’ to find stuff on your network

  • These miner’s have local accessible webpages you can browse to from your browser by typing in the IP address:
    – Bobcat
    – Linxdot
    – Sensecap
    – Syncrobit

Accessing the miner's cloud based dashboard

Some vendors offer a management dashboard, they are:

My miner is offline/needs attention?

Is your miner saying it is offline or that it needs attention? Here’s some tips:

  • The Helium App (not in Bluetooth Diagnostic mode) and Explorer website are hours to days lagged/behind to ‘what is now’, everything might just be fine
  • On the App/Website the ‘trigger’ for being offline is purely that it “thinks” it has not heard from your hotspot for a while (this is called gossip), this trigger can be a bit sensitive due to the amount of miners joining the network every day and the back-end systems needing to try and keep up
  • Your miner might have fallen off the blockchain rendering them ‘offline’, the same advice applies here
  • Therefore, you should just check that your miner is functioning as it should and most critically, that it is up to date on the block-chain, the method for doing this is different between manufacturers, see “Can I access my miner remotely
    – Check what heliumstatus.io says IGNORE the line that says “Helium API Status” as that’s most probably why you are here
    – Ensure Inbound&Outbound shows as OK
    – Once you have access, observe the ‘gap’ or ‘blockchain height’ vs ‘your height’ or ‘sync progress’, if you are using the Bluetooth Diagnostic tool click on the ‘send email’ button to get this information
    – You typically want to be within ~50 blocks of the current block-chain height
    – If you are more than 400 blocks behind, your miner might have a ‘fast sync’ or ‘turbo sync’ feature to help you narrow that gap, here’s the Bobcat way of doing that as an example
    – If you have no options available and there is still a gap all you can do is wait - check every few hours to ensure that the ‘gap’ decreases
    – If you have just followed the above advice and you still see the App/Explorer saying you need attention / the miner is offline, keep the first bullet point in mind
  • If you have tried all of the above and it is not related to blockchain height,
    – Some have reported that working miner’s even report this error, it might be normal and just a network anomaly, which will work itself out
    – Check connectivity (can you see the miner on your LAN in a ping, etc, does your router see it? Does it have internet access?, etc.
    – If your block height has not increased in several hours, try rebooting the miner
    – If your block ‘gap’ INCREASES (but height increases) it means it is struggling keeping synced - you typically have a local/internet issue then, if it is on WiFi, take it off it (this is a common issue)

Security

What about the security of these miners?

  • See Helium’s comment on this here
  • As with most IoT devices technical peeps tend to put these devices on a segregated network segment

But you can see me on the map?

NOTE: On 17 June 2021 a update was released that will start moving miner positions into their hex-res8 positions please see this section for more information.

The protocol is ‘Proof of Coverage’ the location is literally the point. Not that it isn’t a consideration before getting into it but it isn’t connected to your name and the dot on the map is within 300m, so that house you think its in, it may not be, could be any of the houses within 300m of that.

If you’re the only one within 300m, then yes its obvious which house it is, but not who lives there. If Satoshi Nakamoto had one of these it wouldn’t give you a way to find him.

It is not much different than someone having your IP address which they can get by embedding a tracking pixel into anything you consume online. You, personally are just more aware with this now because you saw the map, its not that your pseudonymous ID is not already linked to an address its just that you are ignorant to it.

The geo location is also not specific enough to find the exact house someone lives in, unless a) it is the only house in that area so impossible to be wrong, or b) the house has a 8-10 dbi antenna stuck on the side of it.

It is good practice in mining anyway to move currency from a wallet you use to mine to another wallet (on exchange, hard wallet, Helium app on another phone)

My miner is generating security alerts?

Some “firewall” / “security” software or services MAY flag your miner as a security threat as your miner are receiving and sending many connections to/from many other nodes on the Helium network all the time as part of the normal operation of the device.

This ‘pattern’ of traffic is typically associated with peer-to-peer software or command & control malware systems. However in the case of Helium miners it is perfectly normal behaviour.

You can therefore ignore the warnings / turn off those specific alerts / throw it in the bin as it adds no value.

PS: The above picture is from Comcast Xfinity - you can turn off XFI security by navigating to More and selecting My Services. From here, select Disable under xFi Advanced Security and follow the on screen prompts. Once disabled, you will lose 24/7 threat monitoring and real-time reporting on your home network.

See the security section if you have more questions.

Hacking/Gaming?

This section discusses circumventing the reward structure for your own benefits, rather than the security aspect of it (check security for that)

In short - there is no official way to report hacking, however there is a site for users to look at for patterns into this kind of gaming here. Helium itself currently has no report or deny-list as there are no definitive rules to determine “gaming”. Nor is there a defined process as to how to address it even if someone could somehow be confirmed to be doing something wrong. This is being worked on and will be proposed in HIP-40

Some other hacks mentioned in less detail than the specific sections below:

  • HNT RSSI cheat/hack discussed here on 29 Dec 2021

POC Hacking

As the network grows, especially in more congested areas, bad actors will be motivated to assert their miners in a way to maximise their benefits. Since Proof of Coverage is the mechanism to verify positioning, these bad actors will manipulate positioning in a unethical manner for maximised returns.

As the network grows this problem will grow in complexity as well as detection and of course remediation steps however will continually be worked on.

Interesting links on this topic,

  • This 28 Dec 2021 video discusses the current state on POC hacking with the infestation in Europe
  • On 14 July 2021 a Helium dev said:

If we released a statement every time someone wrote some FUD about helium i dont think we’d ever get anything else done.

  • On 13 July 2021 tactical investing did a video about the article below and spoofing in general
  • On 2 July 2021 it was mentioned that online validators can hopefully assist in POC abuse situations
  • Helium’s CTO discusses it here on 1 May 2021
  • Helium’s Dirty Secret - POC Hacking explained - from Jan 2021
  • Notably a Helium developer responded on these particular examples here

Credit: @Sound

Beacon Hacking

  • First noticed 24 September 2021
  • Example wallet
  • Mr Huge discusses it on 25 September 2021 on this video
  • This issue appears to have been addressed somewhat by 7 October 2021 but has been seen since again:
    image
    (source)
    After this post the above-mentioned (and other) such hotspots stopped earning those tremendous amounts.

Cal-Chip Witnessed Beacon Hacking

  • Noticed around 9 October 2021, specifically some Cal-Chip hotspots started Witnessing the maximum amount of witnesses (18 at the time of writing) every 1-2minutes, thereby increasing their earnings dramatically, two examples:
    Magnificent Mercurial Yeti
    Exotic Taupe Frog
  • We know these have been reported but have not seen a response yet

Can a hotspot be banned?

Capcom on 27 September 2021 said here:

We see the question often of “why isn’t this Hotspot banned???” when suspicious PoC behavior is observed. there is currently no mechanism to ban Hotspots from the network, nor has any serious discussion ever taken place about how such a system would work. I wanted to drop this template of a proposal around how a denylist could be implemented by validators that would effectively turn suspected Hotspots into data-only Hotspots. please note that neither myself nor Helium Inc are actually proposing this, but I did want to get some discussion going on the subject, and give people a template with which they could decide to make a serious HIP proposal (see HIP/0007-managing-hip-process.md at master · helium/HIP · GitHub on how to create a real HIP). the template for the denylist idea is here: denylist.md · GitHub

What's the future for Helium & HNT?

  • 5G
  • Topical video link (bullish speculation of $80-100 USD per HNT)

What about more miners coming online?

You make more money mining with more miners near you vs none, it’s not like normal mining. Video discussing it here.

Will PoC go away?

Thanks @Sound for the eloquent contribution -

Yes - in around 20 years, every year it will get less and less till it’s finally eroded away - see this.

So you will earn less from miners coming online + every year the POC % goes down + halving every 2 years.

This can be offset by,

  • IF the value of HNT goes up, more partners come online(in dense populated with good spacing?).
  • When the founders take a % cut in their payouts as well. Though there is no telling if their loss is the miners gains.
  • Become a validator and make hnt from the census group

What are data credits?

It looks like this:

  • 1 Data Credit = $0.00001
  • HNT is burned to create DC
  • How many DC you get per HNT burned depends on HNT oracle price
  • 1 DC is worth 24 bytes of data.
  • So the above packet transfer was a data transfer of 96 bytes

(Credit to @jmznoh)

Is it safe?

Concerned about safety of the miners?

  • kyk13 Did a excellent article on this on this topic
  • Yes, as safe as a cordless phone
  • See this

Which miner should I get?

Since all miners perform the same, you should get the miner that arrives in a timeframe you can cope with at a cost you are willing to depart with.

Which region frequency should I get?

See https://whatheliumregion.xyz/ another list here

Note:

  • Note Bobcat (and several other vendors’) US 915 Band is NOT legal in AU - see this

But I want two miners in one place?

  • Okay, however they will not witness each other which means reduced earnings. See Miner Placement for more.
  • Gristle King also talks about it here

Why does 1 witness give me 0.5 reward?

Hotspots who only have 1 witness has a 0.5 reward scale, read about HIP17 here

  • Another example,

In my situation i found the Hotspots effected weren’t the ones with the lower rewards scale but it was the Hotpots who witness the hotpot with the low rewards scale

example-

I have 3 hotspots 2 with a 0.5 Rewards scale and 1 with a 1 rewards scale

One of the hotspots with a 0.5 Rewards scale but could witness the one with 1 Rewards scale would get 100% of the witness rewards (if that makes any sense)

(Hotspot with 1 rewards scale Beacons, 0.5 rewards scale witnesses and recieves 100% of the rewards
Hotspot with 0.5 rewards scale beacons, 1 rewards scale hotspot witnesses but only recieves 50% of the rewards )

  • Ie, if your miner is within 350m of another miner, the hotspot that is close to you, and that person wont give great rewards to each other, but you can still receive good rewards (i.e 100%) from the other 1.0 Reward scale miners

I witness someone but they do not witnessme?

If you witness another miner and they do not witness me, what does it mean? Ed Ballou address it here.

It means someone (you or theirs not witnessing the other) cannot receive your signal as well as you/they could.

Why did I not get a witness award?

  • Expand it and look at the challenger, if it is relayed you will get no reward
  • If he is not relayed then you are not reachint other hotspots
  • NOTE: The challenger could be anywhere in the world and does not need to be local to you

How do I identify beacon issues / Why do my beacons have 0 witnesses?

If you normally get witnesses, zero witness beacons can be a sign of a hotspot networking issue (usually from relayed status), though not necessarily your networking issue. There are three types of hotspots involved in beacon: 1. challenger, 2. challengee/beaconer, 3. witnesses. The beaconing hotspot is #2, but zero witness beacons are often a sign that hotspot #1 has a networking problem and #3 hotspots can’t contact #1.

Zero witness beacons are/can be caused by the challenger hotspot being relayed, and the challenger can be anywhere in the world.

Because the witnesses to your beacon reply to the challenger, not the beaconer. if the challenger isn’t allowing inbound tcp/44158, then the witnesses cant contact it.

Thanks @Shwetty for this

Why am I getting no witnesses?

If you have read the above and still perplexed maybe you have this issue,

This is caused by over-tightening the antenna, which in turn pries the mini-connector off the board as pictured, you can simply replace the pigtail, some help:

I have too many miners close to me?

But what if you have reduced awards because too many miners are too close to me? VoskCoin answers this well on this 8 June 2021 video

To demonstrate another way:

No hotspots are around me?

I am alone / no hotspots/miners are around me, closest thing is 40 miles away, what do I do?

  • Buying more than 1 miner and placing it closeby (but more than 350m away) would be beneficial
  • Keep in mind that the map will change drastically by the time you get your miner
  • Video discussing the topic here
  • See how location is important here
  • And how witnesses are important here

What is a POC Challenge?

  • This is used to confirm your proof of coverage, and where you are physically compared to other miners
  • See the docs here

Why am I getting witness_rssi_too_high invalid?

Your signal is quite strong and being rejected by (probably close) miners due to PoC calculations.
See this 29 Dec 2021 video for more on the subject and how you can potentially address it.

What about noise filters and amplifiers

Please suggest more content to add here!

  • Network bits talks on this 11 Jan 2022 video about a Noisy Location resulting in missed beacons and the use of a cavity filter

Which mods should I invest in?

It is best to see how your miner performs first with what it came with - all manufacturers send overall good antennas.

Your priorities should be,

  • Elevation
  • Line of site to as much as possible should be your second aim, the less obstructions around the better
  • The antenna cable length should be kept as short as possible (use LMR400 to minimise loss please)
  • If all of the above is problematic, have a read about antenna placements here

What about profit sharing deals?

Emrit IO etc. falls in this category,

Emrit has a application process where you provide your location and they will consider sending you a Helium miner for free. Emrit in turn will give you 20% of the earnings that the miner makes.

Assuming you are approved, this appears as a low-risk and little-investment opportunity to see how a Helium miner will perform at your location.

Some things to consider,

  • Power (~10W, ie. minimal) and broadband use is of course your outgoing costs
  • The miner is never yours, there are T&C’s to agree with
  • As you take no risk, you will only get 20% of the rewards
  • The device is not linked to your wallet
  • Emrit’s terms of service
  • Emrit ‘review

Alternatives,

Do they ship to me?

Reported Scams

DYOR / This is not always current - but some we have heard of:

What about PoE

At the time of writing (June 2021), the only Helium miner that supports PoE “out of the box” is the Nebra Outdoor unit and Syncrobit’s.

You can however always use PoE splitters / injectors - a good post that includes the barrel sizes here.

  • This guy shows his POE injector and splitter used for a Bobcat
  • Gristle King shows PoE injector/splitters in this video
  • This barrel-tipe TP-Link splitter and injector works fine on Bobcat & Linxdot

What about Amazon sidewalk?

  • On 8 January 2022 Amazon Unveiled the Sidewalk Bridge Pro by Ring, read about it here
  • Helium CEO talks about it here
  • Crypto Gossip talks about it here (June 8 2021)

If I have two miners do they challenge each other?

All miners send/receive challanges - see Vosk’s video here

I have a finance/tokenomics/tax reporting question

  • Good site for calculating any tax on your HNT mining at minertax.com
  • Another good HNT Transaction Export tool for reporting purposes
  • Miner history for a period tool
  • The Helium Flywheel: Why Network Growth & Halvings Are A Good Thing! - a good article around the economics
  • Good chat about known risks here
  • Crypto Gossip talks through the Helium Token and Halving here
  • VoskCoin runs through ROI on Helium on this video from 8 June 2021
  • Coin Bureau has a good all-round tokenomics video from 3 October 2021 here
  • See how token allocation will change over time (taken from here) credit: @jonenren1

Is it still profitable?

Yes, reasoning:

  • Even if you put this in your basement with a faraday cage surrounding it, your miner will get challenged (over the internet) and it will get rewarded for responding to those challenges (over the internet), and those rewards most likely will exceed the electricity use, therefore it will be profitable.
  • If the rate of the profit you accumulate is acceptable to you is of course the actual question, we got a couple of section in this very FAQ/Wiki to help make your decision on that,

From all of the above you should glace that nobody can tell you exactly “how profitable” a miner in a specific location will be, however you will have an idea on how to increase your returns by optimising location, antenna and height. You will also have learnt that the HNT earnings will only go down over time (however it may not have a correlation to the FIAT value).

Why is my earnings so low?

Wondering why your rewards are so low? Here’s some (certain not all) reasons:

  • Maximise what you CAN influence - elevation and position - see Placement and lastly antenna
  • Compare your earnings with those close to you
  • More miners come online every day, there is a set amount of HNT for miners per month, therefore the same total amount of rewards are split across a increasing amount of miners every month. Check the tokenomics section in the heading above for more information.
  • On the same topic, KoalaBlast has a good post about it here
  • Understand your transmit scale and what affects it - more miners in your area (not just your Hex!) will scale your rewards down, see sections " What is HIP-17 and the Hexagons about?" and * Miner Placement for more information
  • Those who you witness (and yourself) might have reduced earnings due to being relayed, see " How relayed status affects your earnings"
  • There might be technical issues on the network,
    – You can see the official Helium network status here
    – Miners (yourself and/or others) might be strugglint to keep sync to the blockchain due to a recent change, see " Syncing to the Blockchain" for more information
    – Sorin discusses ’ Low rewards or flat line? This can be your problem - Gossip protocol issue?’ in this 6 Jan 2022 video
  • Environmental factors affect radio performance,
    – Raining
    – Humidity
    – Temperature
    – Cloud cover

Hotspot/Host Management

Some options to look at if you manage a fleet of hotspots/miners for fleet management:

Phayu94 has written a review of the main contenders

Options include,

Hotspot/Host Monitoring/Tools/Scripts/Firmware

Some interesting scripts/tools we have come across:

Firmware,

  • Official firmware can be found here
    Dashboards,
  • HNT_Monitor - Bigdata/Prometheus based hotspot monitor

Others,

  • See the ‘Hotspot/Host Management’ section above
  • Paul has a alerting-script in the works - ask him on Discord :slight_smile:
  • Helium-Status lets you check the p2p peerbook, IP’s, etc. of hotspots, started by BFGNeil

MX2Pro vs Helium?

Still early days for both projects however here is one writeup.

You can use a M2 Pro and Helium miner within the same 300m without any concerns

What is HIP-15?

HIP-15 is the Beaconing Rewards system and covers the reward factor and how Proof of Coverage is rewarded.

What is HIP-17 and the Hexagons about?

Density calculations:
image

  • HIP17 is about the Reward Scale and is documented here
  • Gristle King explains ‘What Hex Am I In? Demystifying Helium Hexes’ in this helpful video
  • The dude from kyk13.com has a excellent video running through HIP17 and density scaling here and another update with more information here
  • On 19 June 2021, Jimmy is Promo is running through the Helium App Update which included the hexagon views
  • On 17 June 2021 Helium published ‘History in Hexagons’ and ‘Understanding Hexagons’ which contains a lot of useful information around Hex res’s
  • HIP17 covers the hex density award scaling for Proof of Coverage
  • Check out hotspotty.net it has quite a good HIP17 fact-gathering system

What is HIP-19?

HIP19 is the process by which manufacturers apply to create Helium miners where they go through a certification process. This is documented by Helium here.

What is HIP-20 / What about halving?

HIP20 (HNT Max Supply) is documented in this proposal and was approved on 18 November 2020 and documented in this medium article.

In a halving you earn half of the rewards you were before yes. and with more miners that reduces the total amount paid per hotspot down yes but typically since its harder to get said coins price increases.

The first halving occurred on 1 August 2021 at 00:00 UTC, here is the transaction

  • Total monthly HNT rewards target that can be earned goes from 5 million a month to 2.5 million a month
    Of that …
  • Helium Investors share goes down from 34% to 33% and can only be earned by HST token holders
  • Consensus share remains the same at 6% and can only be earned by Validators
  • Of the remaining 61% able to be earned by hotspots
  • Max data transfer share increases from 32.5% to 35%
  • PoC Challengers share decreases from 0.95% to 0.9%
  • PoC Challengees share decreases from 5.31% to 5.02%
  • PoC Witnesses share decreases from 21.24% to 20.08%

But as the actual Data transfer share is still very low the figure left over from 35% Data Transfers gets shared within the PoC rewards earnings and so the effective PoC percentage is really these:

  • PoC Challengers approximate share is 2.1%
  • PoC Challengees approximate share is 11.7%
  • PoC Witnesses approximate share is 47.1%

As Data transfer usage gets higher in the next 2 years before the next halving the actual PoC percentages will get lower

What is HIP-24?

HIP24 is a proposal to have awards split percentage based for a particular miner to several addresses. This is not yet approved.

  • See the proposal here
  • See Helium discuss it here

What is HIP-39 HNT Redenomination?

This was the voting for a 1000:1 split of the HNT token which ended in a ‘for’ vote on 20 November 2021, the announcement on 21 November 2021 said:

73.8% of the community has voted in favor of redenomination, which is above the rough consensus threshold to pass.

The date of conversion will be determined in coordination with the Helium core developers and providers of HNT services such as 3rd party wallets, custodians, exchanges, and market data providers. More detail will be forthcoming as the conversion date is determined.
  • This 6 Jan 2022 update video mentions that the redonimation has been pushed back to late Q2 2022
  • Vosk talks about it on this 8 Dec 2021 video
  • The HIP is here
  • On 9 November 2021 this HIP was put to vote
  • On 6 October 2021 Modo Tech discusses it here
  • August 2021 a 100:1 or 1000:1 HNT price split was mentioned, this video explores this

What is HIP-42? Beacon/Witness Ratio - Witness Reward Limit

HIP 42, if implemented, would regulate the number of witnesses a Hotspot is rewarded for based on the number of successful beacons. This rewards 2-way LoRaWAN coverage and as a secondary benefit offers to limit some gaming due to witness stuffing.

  • HIP-42 document
  • Sorin discusses it on this 12 Jan 2022 video, you can check if your hotspot is affected here
  • Sorin discusses how this is a bad idea on this 9 Jan 2022 video
  • This hip gained popularity when called for a temperature check on 9 Jan 2022

Talk to me about the PoC standards

What is Proof of Coverage? Vosk covers it here on a 15 Nov 2021 video

PoC version v10 is the Proof Of Coverage version - it is expected over time that proof of coverage rewards will be changed.

PoC v10

We are currently (October 2021) on PoC v10, there is a range of RSSI/SnR they want you to be within, for PoC v10 this is it:
image

PoC v11

Was activated on 13 December around 10:00 AM PT / 18:00 PM UTC

  • Vosk talks about what you need to do for POCv11 on this 14 December 2021 video
  • Gristle King on 13 Dec 2021 explains ‘PoCv11 Made Simple’
  • This dude argues a higher gain antenna in EU still makes more sense in POCv11 on this early December 2021 video
  • Vosk covers POCv11 again in this 26 November 2021 video
  • Voskcoin covers this topic on this 21 November 2021 video
  • See Helium’s blog post about everything you should do
  • Hotspotty has a good article describing the changes here
  • Factor in the antenna height and gain you set in the app, right now those values are ignored.
  • Modo Tech did a good video on actionable items for POCv11 in this video
  • Network Bits has done a good video explaining the changes
  • Elgen Tech with a technical video on what to expect
  • We will be given two weeks notice before POCv11 implementation - you have that time to correct your location, dbi antenna and elevation figures if required
    – Note that updating your location costs 1,055,000 DC = $10.55
    – Note that updating your elevation/antenna only costs 55,000 DC = $0.55
  • Source unknown but might be interesting:

Someone mentioned NFT?

This was mentioned in early June 2021 - Zodiac NFT’s for Helium consists of 12 collectable NFT’s you can get for your miner or validator and funds go to charity.

What is a lonewolf?

A hotspot/miner that can not see any other miners to validate. Vosk talks about it here.

Talk to me about validators

Online validators went live on 7 July 2021. This moved ‘consensus awards’ from miners to special online validators.

This made way for enhancements such as,

  • More predictable block generation times
  • Stability in the blockchain)
  • More consistent awards
  • Removing the blockchain syncing from miners, thereby enabling a future of ‘light’ (thus cheaper) miners
  • ‘Data only’ packet-forwarder hotspots with no proof of coverage capabilities

Content,

Validator pools?

  • 11 July 2021 - Spreadsheet comparing Helium Validator Pools
  • 23 June 2021 - Helium has published a list of Staking Providers here - DYOR
  • HIP31 might be problematic for this - discussed in this 18 June 2021 Crypto Gossip video
  • Tactical investing runs through a couple of testnet pools here

Talk to me about how consensus works

See this

Keep in mind that consensus is going to go away to online Validators around Q3,Q4 2021

Tell me about Discovery mode?

Discovery mode is also known as Disco mode - which was released on 18 May 2021. You can use this (once you have a miner setup) to compare locations for the best rewards. Ed Ballou talks about it here 5 (24 May 2021).

Am I too late to buy a miner?

  • Understand and read’Why is my earnings so low?’
  • Vosk talks about it on 19 Sep 2021 here
  • Vosk talks about it on 13 September 2021 again
  • Vosk talks about Helium HNT price predictions here on 19 August 021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 13 August 2021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 14 June 2021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 1 June 2021
  • Should I buy a miner? Vosk talks about it here
  • Understand ‘Miner Placement’
  • Research and do the math yourself

I want a miner quickly / what about Ebay?

If you are impatient, you are probably weighing the cost of a Ebay/other scalper priced miner compared to waiting for one and seeking advice on the topic, some thoughts:

  • DYOR, this is not advice
  • In terms of ROI,
    – See the tokenomics section
    – Understand that HNT being mined will become less and less with more hotspots coming online
    – Understand that returns are unique to every location and position and how to make the best of the options available to you by understanding miner placement
  • In terms of other risks,
    – Be careful with resellers, Helium miners are tied on to a wallet on setup and needs to be transferred otherwise it is locked to the original owners wallet
    – Lots of scalpers are selling positions in queues with vendors rather than in-hand options
    – Be familiar with ‘Am I too late to buy a miner?
  • Read the whole Wiki/FAQ and any other sources until you are comfortable with your decision

Can I make my own miner?

You could in 2020, you cannot anymore, if you create one now it would not be signed by Helium and therefore you would never get rewards.

You can DIY a Helium Light Hotspot with a Dragino LP28 DLOS8 for packet forwarding but will not be compensated for it (yet) if you want to play with the technology.

What is light hotspots?

There is a roadmap for Light Hotspots (or Light Gateways) to go in beta, read about it here

If you want to read about what the plans are post HIP19 (where vendors manufacture for Helium) there is talk of a secure module HAT which can be put on DIY hardware on this HIP proposal

  • kyk13.com wrote a excellent article about Light Hotspots / Packet Forwarders / Regular Hotspots in this blog in late July 2021
  • On 2 July 2021 Helium made some interesting comments on the future light-hotspot miners and how important it is to drive the cost of future miners down
  • On 30 May 2021 Ed Ballou answered “If you must sell your current pre-order if light gateways are coming out” here

This was published 4 June 2021:

Can I put the miner in my car/truck?

No - the position needs to be asserted, see the below on the re-assert fee. Youtube link discussing this

I need to move my miner / remotely assert a miner / can I assert it later?

  • There is a ~$10 re-assert fee to assert a new position (distances more than 300 meters)

  • Vosk talks about the process here

  • Yes you can assert it later, when setting up the miner for the first time it asks:

  • The map picker icon looks like this, put it in the center of the circle, not below the point:
    image

    • It will snap to the center of the res10 regardless

Tell me about 5G?

First photos of prototype of FreedomFi LoRaWAN / 5G hotspot:


To set the scene:

  • NOTE this is US only for now and completely optional
  • FreedomFi’s webpage received some updates on 31 August 2021
  • The idea is that it will provide 5G coverage for areas with bad cell service, therefore expect a lot of Internet use as such a site and expectations of low latency and high throughput
  • Ed Ballou covers ‘How much can I make 5G mining?’ in this 3 Jan 2022 video
  • HIP37 - Omni Protocol is a interesting read on the economic intensives of 5G/data
  • Gristle King has a good 15 Dec 2021 interview called ‘Experts Answer Helium 5G Questions’
  • Ed Ballou does a unboxing of the FreedomFi 5G miner on 8 October 2021 here
  • DISH in the US striked a deal with Helium for 3m 5G units on 26 October 2021 see this
  • CryptoGossip runs through the Freedomfi purchase options on 29 September 2021
  • Good 23 September 2021 video from ‘The Hotspot’ titled ‘5G Omni-Protocol & Proof of Coverage (w/ Boris Renski & James Fayal)’
  • Modo Tech did a good video on 16 August 2021 talking about concerns around the 5G band-wagon and what to expect
  • Buckle Up. Helium 5G is Coming
  • Episode Two: The Path to 5G
  • FreedomFi FAQ here
  • Helium CEO discusses CBRS & 5G here
  • Please note it might be prohibitively expensive for those starting off,
  • (22 May 2021) FreedomFi CTO showing PoC of using the FreedomFi gateway on the Helium blockchain
  • (23 May 2021) FreedomFi Helium Hotspot Update going through the FAQ’s by Crypto Gossip
  • HIP27 discusses 5G/CBRS
  • FreedomFi shows what’s all involved with a LTE (not 5G) setup in this entertaining video
  • Previously we had a mini-rant here, this is deleted because it appears this offering is data-only as well as CBRS which skips many regulatory hurdles, whilst there is still some significant costs (outlined roughly above) they are not as costly as operator-level operations

Can I contact a owner of a miner?

Not directly - however there are a couple of contacting-miner platforms:

What if someone steals my miner?

Theft has little purpose as the miner has your wallet address on it - they would be mining to your address unless you released the miner beforehand.

What about mast installations?

This is a specialised area, cell towers require a contract for the lease with the cell tower owner (or revenue share), certificate of insurance, extra equipment to install (~$1k), extra installation costs ($1-3k), internet and of course power is not always available.

Our resident US expert on this is @jhunter007, some photos:


What about lightning arresters and grounding?

These should be installed on any external installation to a ground wire, some info on the topic:

How do I pitch one to a friend?

Want to put a miner at a friend/neighbour?

  • Quirky introduction video from Helium
  • Gristle King around ‘Why is Helium So Exciting?
  • Discuss that the device does IoT
  • Discuss security, dog-trackers, etc will connect to it, not WiFi or your network
  • Discuss impact to the person - ie. little electricity use, not more than a couple of hours of Netflix use in bandwidth per month
  • Benefits - pay their internet? A %?
  • Video discussing this here

@Tankin kindly shared his strategy,

Ideas For Finding Neighbors/Friends To Network/Partner with HNT Miners.

Facebook Community

Check to see if your neighborhood has a Facebook page you can join. If they do then join it, introduce yourself, and talk a little about HNT mining mention how many miners you have and that you are looking to expand the Helium Network, help fellow neighbors earn a bit of passive income.

If they are interested you can proceed to tell them more details about how it works or you can send them this video and then have them follow up with you with any questions they have.

After you know they are pretty serious this is when you explain that the hotspots need to be 350m+ apart for the best result if you haven’t already and this is when you ask them for their address to be sure theirs will be 350m or more away from the hotspots you have planned.

If they are 350m+ then you can discuss how you will split it.

I have listed a few examples of ways you can go about splitting, but you can get creative and come up with your own ways if you would like.

If they are within 350m explain that you are sorry but they are too close. Don’t end it there though ask them if they know any neighbors in the area that may be interested and if they do reach out to them.

This works the same for apps like Nextdoor as well!

Door to Door

This is a bit more tricky. However, some ideas for this that you could try is picking a start location and map out houses/businesses that are 350m+ away from there and start knocking doing the same thing as above only in person rather than via Social Media.

Ideas for Splits(You/them)

80/20 forever or whatever % you want

80/20 until the units paid off and then 50/50 or whatever % you want

If they are friends or family offer to take them out for lunch/do something nice for them

Offer them a flat monthly rate or cover their internet cost monthly(I don’t like these as HNT mining can go up or down in profitability so you may end up paying them more than the miner earns. This is why I like the % method best.

Splitting The Earnings

If you are doing a % split you can offer to send them their portion of HNT to their HNT wallet and teach them how they can sell it or you can offer to sell their portion of HNT and then pay them what it sells for via PayPal/Venmo or any other way you choose.
You can make a Facebook page for people in your neighbourhood that are using your hotspots to keep everyone up to date on how they are doing

How much electricity does it use?

Assuming 0.15c/kWh (which is above average):

  • Bobcat says no more than 0.12kWh per day, so worst case: 56c per month
  • Nebra says rated up to 15W, so worst case: $1.67 per month
  • RAKv2 says powersupply up to 5V/3A = 15W, worst case: $1.67 per month
  • SP NA says 21W, worst case: $2.34 per month

I heard the miners reboot all the time?

A issue with miners rebooting due to a OOM (out of memory) condition has been reported, affecting all miners (not vendor specific).

  • Ed Ballou talks about it here (24 May 2021)

19 May Update #2:

Syncing Issues: Update The core developers pushed a blockchain release late last night 2021.05.18.0 which alleviates some issues on RAK and OG Hotspots. About 27K of the online hotspots have picked up this release and we continue to monitor all 40k nodes on the network and their sync status. We’re seeing some improvement on some hotspots but are noticing some new issues that we will continue to address. this is roughly in order of importance. 1. Some hotspots with smaller SD card (32 GB) are filling up in space as the new RocksDB checkpoints are using more disk than they did before. When the disk fills up, the miner is unable to proceed. The core devs are working on a way to force more garbage collection to solve this issue and will be issuing a follow up OTA firmware update that includes this . 2. Bobcat and other mis-configured Docker based Hotspots are unable to maintain a maximum open file limit that the miner needs. This configuration needs to be rolled out to all of the Bobcat fleet but since they automatically update around 21:30 UTC, they will need to skip yesterday’s release. We will be rolling back the latest tag and then rolling it forward again after their update time to accommodate their team’s timezone. We advise that all hotspot manufactures ensure their Hotspots OS settings allow for a max open files setting that matches the Dockerfile. We also advise not using the latest tag directly (and some manufacturers already have this process in place). 3. Some hotspots are having trouble picking up the latest snapshot from peers. The network has generated a more available snapshot and the core devs will be issuing a follow up OTA that includes this . The core devs continue to work on the remaining issues and we appreciate your patience!

19 May Update #1:

Required Blockchain Release: Fixing OOM and Sync The team has a new release tagged 2021.05.18.0 which primarily fixes out-of-memory and sync issues observed on older, less capable hardware, and other bug fixes. This is a follow up release to the prior, paused, 2021.05.16.1 release. This is a required upgrade for all miners and will be automatic for all Hotspots using the Helium firmware when we GA.
Read the Engineering Blog for details: Blockchain Release: Fixing OOM and Sync | Helium Engineering Blog No manual intervention is required if you are operating a Helium Hotspot or RAK Hotspot Miner. Other manufacturers will need to update their fleets and owners will need to wait on their manufacturer to push an update to their Hotspot. DIY will need to manually update and Docker builds will kick off as soon as we tag the GA. We will be specifically testing this release with the Bobcat team this evening to ensure a rollback isn’t necessary again. We have been beta testing 2021.05.18.0 since May 18th, 2021 4:30 PM PT. Current ETA for GA is 9:00 PM PT, May 18th, 2021. Sorry for the late evening ping but as you all know, the core devs have been focused on this issue. Thanks for your patience!

18 May 2021 Update:

Paused Blockchain Release: 2021.05.16.1 The core developers have paused the 2021.05.16.1 release as of yesterday and are continuing to work on the memory and out-of-sync issues. A few miners have updated to the latest firmware and the entire Bobcat fleet automatically updated to the latest Docker tag. This exposed some unforeseen issues causing us to pause the wider roll out. The blockchain continues to be stable and assets (Hotspots, HNT, DCs and OUIs) remain safe. We’re working with the Bobcat team to roll back their Hotspots (which will happen automatically later this evening). The core devs will provide an update and information about the next release soon. We’ve been beta-testing a new firmware and are seeing some promising results. Thanks for your patience!

17 May 2021 release notes for 2021.05.16.1 - here

13 May 2021 initial note:

An Update on Memory / Sync Issues

As much of you know, a small percentage of Hotspots are having an issue with memory / sync issues and preventing them from participating in blockchain activity. The scale of the fix required for this issue is larger than the core developers expected and requiring them to rework the miner to use RocksDB’s checkpoint feature. This is a significant change and needs to be done safely.

There will be a separate release that is being testing tonight to support other efforts but it is not intended to address the memory issues. We should have an update tomorrow on the progress being made.

Thanks for your patience!

LoRa Examples

Example products,

Science stuff,

I want to mine offgrid

Check out this - How to take your Helium Hotspot off grid

What about Enclosures?

If you did not get what you needed from the above section,

Is it benficial to have more than one miner on my account?

Short answer - it does not matter, explainer here

Interesting Apps

  • Helium Hotspot Utility (Android | Apple ), mentioned here. - Useful for quick diagnostics without using a wallet
  • https://hotsbot.net/ Notifies you on Telegram of any activity on your Helium account, the author runs through it here on 22 July 2021

Interesting miners / Fun Facts

Interesting miners spotted -

Fun stuff,

How to use the Helium Explorer

  • First Look at the New Beta Helium Explorer 2.0 Website - 9 June 2021 by Jummy is Promo

Where can I exchange/trade HNT?

You can transfer/buy/sell Helium HNT at,

Talk to me about antenna power limits?

Thanks @jhunter007,

For those of you having questions on how powerful of an antenna you can use, please refer to the FCC rules on the US915 spectrum:

FCC allows for 36 dbm total output power. So if the hotspot is doing 27 dbm (which I think is the max that most of the Helium hotspots use)…you can add a max of a 15dbi antenna, from this site:
image

  1. Maximum transmitter output power, fed into the antenna, is 30 dBm (1 watt).
  2. Maximum Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) is 36 dBm (4 watt).
    You can obtain the EIRP by simply adding the transmit output power, in dBm, to the antenna gain in dBi.

This is for those of you that really want to understand the technology. For those of us that don’t, you’re generally fine up to a 8dbi antenna, no matter which hotspot you chose.

What's the best practice for swapping antennas?

Switch your miner OFF when changing antennas!

Each antenna is a resistor and therefore has impedance, if you made the impedance change whilst the miner is on it could damage the radio.

It can be compared to the same effect of wiring speakers to an amplifier:

Once antennas are swapped - it is safe to turn it back on.

credit: @Shwetty

Can I put two antennas on one miner?

Vosk mentions this question on this 20 Sep 2021 video

Assuming that both antennas are 50 Ω resistive, they will combine in parallel for a 25 Ω load impedance when transmitting. This will cause the transmitter to see a 2:1 SWR. This is a 0.333 voltage reflection coefficient so ~11% of the transmitter power will be returned to the transmitter from the tee junction. The remaining 89% of the power will be split between the two antennas resulting in approximately 44% of power to each antenna. The net effect is an measurable dB loss to each antenna.

The above scenario assumes that the transmitter does not further fold back the output power as part of an SWR protection mechanism nor does the transmitter final burn out due to elevated SWR.

If you wish to deploy an antenna with additional gain, you will be far more successful with a purpose built antenna for that purpose.

credit: @Shwetty

One post said,

Why do I have a 1.2dbi antenna?

Are you concerned that the Helium app/explorer shows you/someone else has a 1.2 dbi antenna at 0 elevation?

That’s because when you asserted your miner you did not choose a antenna type or location.
Currently (POCv10) this data is not used at all for any reward calculations so it does not have to be correct or need correcting.

When POCv11 is announced and available this will however need rectifying as it will form part of the reward calculations, see this

What's with the miner names?

They are randomly generated to make it fun but memorable, the Helium COO talks about it here.

The technical explanation - The swarm_key is an ECC Compact Key used by the Miner to sign all blockchain and libp2p transactions. The three word animal name (e.g. angry-purple-tiger) is actually derived from the public key of the swarm_key. (link)

The three sets of names are available here

What's some funny hotspot names

We’ve seen a few odd ones,

  • Hot Cream Rooster
  • Dry Cream Swallow
  • Huge Cream Swallow
  • Massive Green Duck
  • Muscular White Ferret
  • Bald Oily Beaver
  • Attractive Fuzzy Beaver
  • Big Fuzzy Rat
  • Plain Velvet Beaver

I need Helium Jokes/Memes

Random images found on Discord,


5cl421
ShouldaBoughtAnotherMiner
5cg1aj
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Activation rate

For those interested in how many units of each manufacturer are going online every day - I keep a tally here. Data is from Helium’s Makers hotspot explorer

PS: Another nice graph available here

Want to know where those new hotspots are? This is a useful site

1 Like

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Reserved for future content

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we could nuke the thread and give you post #2 lol

1 Like

I had to nuke all previous comments - but now have all the space for expansion, thanks!

  • The Bobcat section highlights that the antenna is waterproof
  • Read the antenna placements & strengths section to simulate a position, the loss in lengths of cables, etc.

Hi i’m young but i do some social media and would be very interested in buying a helium miner i want to know if it’s still profitable and if there isn’t a hotspot in my city can i still mine?

Hello, I have my Bobcat 300 Syncing for 2 days. On the Helium explorer website, I see that the hotspot is being relayed while syncing. The miner is connected to the Internet via WiFi and the Wifi is actually an extender of my router. A wired connection is not possible. Do I need to apply the fixes for relayed or shall I just wait? Thanks

Syncing has no relation to being Relayed or not.
However being relayed will impact you, see the relay section for that
If you have issues doing this on your router (not miner) visit us on Discord

I living in United Arab Emirates. I contacted Bobcat support mentioning that i am not able to select country “United Arab Emirates”. They replied saying that currently they do not support this country.

Wow, what a compilation of information. People do not realize how long it took to put this together. I seen all these pieces to this puzzle in so many different places. Maybe in another 2 months I would have enough data in my head to put something like this together on ASIC.

Congrats and thanks @killtheplanet

1 Like

I applied a fix for the relayed status by port forwarding. NAT type is none and
±--------------------------------+
| listen_addrs (prioritized) |
±--------------------------------+
|/ip4/XXXXXXXXX/tcp/44158|
±--------------------------------+
All looked good and rebooted the miner. After 2 days being online, helium explorer says that my hotspot is still relayed. What else shall I do?

@BillyGrande Sounds like you didnt set a DHCP reservation for your miner
Once that’s done - set the portforward - that way when either the router or bobcat reboots it will always get the same IP address on your network.
See Helium HNT Hotspot Mining Wiki & FAQ - #44 by killtheplanet

Relayed status disappeared without any further change after 4 days. Does the Internet speed affect the update of the explorer and does it affect earnings?

No and no.
Internet speed does not affect anything
Update of explorer and the app is delayed by hours->days due to the load of new hotspots being added daily.

Not sure who else has seen this, but the big earners (hotspots doing upwards of $4,000 a month) have their location height set over 100m, looks like they are being put on radio towers. Anyone have experience with contacting tower owners like this??

some say it is real numbers, some say it is spoof’ed somehow.

The ones I have been tracking are

Dapper Denim Carp

Blurry Honeysuckle Shell

Some say they hit the consensus group. Not sure I buy into that story.

VoskCoin says he hit it in this video