Well, that didn't last long: chia small farming experience

I started a small chia farm earlier this year out of curiosity. My plan was always to run it unobtrusively on a headless Pi. After about 10 weeks of intermittent farming, my 8TB pool plots drive is toast and my 1TB and 2TB spare drives are close to finished too. The Raspberry Pi 4B 4Gb is now too slow to run the Chia GUI or CLI on Ubuntu. The drives blew up before I had a chance to fully try out Ubuntu Server.

In the end I didn’t earn enough XCH to have anything released to my wallet. Overall, I wouldn’t advise anyone to pick up farming as a hobby unless they’re going with a medium to large-scale operation. I plotted on a Windows desktop, and transferred everything to the Pi for farming. A critical issue I ran into is the need to run Chia off of a static dedicated IP, which added the need for a VPN with this service. Setting up the VPN took about 6 weeks as the service had no set-up for Ubuntu 20.04.

After running the CLI and GUI versions of Chia, I can say that I prefer the CLI. It takes up less RAM, and you can check in via SSH on your desktop or even an SSH app on your phone.

For my ~$700 investment, I got:

  • 1TB used server grade ssd
  • RPi4 4Gb kit
  • 2 years VPN
  • 8TB drive (busted)
  • SD cards, cables, etc.

I also learned a lot about networking, including:

  • port forwarding
  • shared folders
  • SSH
  • Remote Desktop between Windows and Linux

I learned a lot about crypto through this process, and have come away with the opinion that whatever else it might be, Chia is not a sustainable currency given the current state of technology. Overall, if you’re interested in learning some new sysadmin skills, and maybe getting lucky in the challenges, might be worth it to you - especially if you’ve got the equipment lying around. However, your drives will blow out sooner rather than later.

We’re they new drives?
I have hdd that are over 8 year old and still work fine.

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Brand new drive. Reputable store, unopened box.

Should at least be able to get a replacement of the supplier hopefully, won’t be quite as dim an outcome.

Best of luck.

Then rma it, still under warrenty
Still sucks though

Sorry to hear that.

If you take a look at any reliability charts, those are U shaped with a wide bottom. The failure rates are high when devices are new, then stabilize, and when they get to the end of their life, they start to go up. So, it is a dice game to pass through those initial few months, and apparently, you had bad luck with that.

However, any drive has at least 2-3 years warranty, so there is no problem to get it replaced. Potentially, you have to pay $10 for shipping, and replot again, but that will help you recover some of your $700 investment.

Another thing is that some/most of those external drives are passive cooled, and tend to get hot (say over 50C). If there is anything that drives don’t like (except tossing) is the high temperature. So, either you just break the cover and add a small fan (40-60mm running really slow), or just shuck it, and add a HD specialized fan for $5-10 (or go with that 40-60 and mount it somehow).

As far as you not being paid at all, that is a problem with some pools. If your pool would be paying at 0.01 XCH rate, you should be getting paid about once a week. I have three drives that I connected to three different pools, and that is what I am getting. Although, the first pool default payment was 0.1 XCH, and initially I didn’t notice that there was an option to change it. In my opinion, that is kind of a scam that basically hurts smaller farmers (i.e., like you).

Don’t take me wrong. I am also new to bitcoins, and this is my first project. I am also not shilling for Chia.

Do you know whether that is for your box to talk to chia network or rather to your pool provider? It may be that there is a bug with either one, as dynamic IPs are not that popular anymore (I would think), as such that setup may not be tested at all by them. A quick chat with chia or your pool potentially could resolve that problem.

Also, how often your IP changes? Once per day? Maybe you could monitor your IP, and on changes just restart your node (a fairly simple script, sub-minute disruption).

Connection issues are something I spent a lot of time looking into, and discussing on forums and my pool’s Discord. I’m behind a CGNAT, and the port forwarding options on my router weren’t connecting to Chia network through ports 8444 and 8447. It was only after I purchased a dedicated IP through a VPN that I was able to connect successfully to the pool. Here’s the official chia project advice on sitting behind a CGNAT.

That’s great advice about returning under warranty. I have two other old SSDs in the 1-2TB range that I was farming regular plots off of, and one of those has failed as well (although less spectacularly than the 8TB) so the cooling issue you mentioned may be part of it.

I suspect this had as much to do with my number of plots (~10TB worth) as it did the pool.

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If your HD fails due to the temperature, that most likely means something around bearing. The old saying is to not touch such drive, wait for the new one. When you have the replacement, put the old to the freezer, and you may get lucky to get some data out of it. You may be able to do that freezing part few times. Although, you may need to pay extra (or just give them your CC) to get the new one without returning the old one first. This way, you may save some time on replotting.

Also, Seagate has some program that they will recover your data, but I have no clue how does it work.

10TB should give you that 0.01 XCH every 5 or 6 days or so (if the payout is 0.01 based). Of course, that does not apply to self pooling.

Just read about it right now. Man, why would you stick with such provider (if you have a choice of course). That is rather horrible. If you do any development at home working with some servers outside, basically nothing works just your HTTP/HTTPS connections. Some (most) hotels have it, but I though, that’s it.

This also means that if such trend is growing, the obvious solution would be to add IPv6 stack to your product, as that is just IPv4 restriction. However, writing a one page explanation about how bad is that CGNAT, and how easy it is to for out few $$$ by end users is less expensive than getting that second stack done in house. Again, that is a different story.

The need of VPN or dedicated IP is not a Chia issue.

I’ve been running fine since May with dynamic IP. Static IP is not even possible for me due to my remote location (no cable option at all, onlly 4G connection).

I’m running over 50 HDDs that were 90% used, only about 10% new. Most of them from 2008-2012 and none of them have failed during the 4 months I’ve been farming.

Also using Flexpool and Flexfarmer now and I don’t need to run a full node anymore at all. Flexfarmer is also optimized for RPi and it runs very smoothly on it.

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I spent a month playing with network settings for Ubuntu and Windows, and only a dedicated IP allowed me to connect. Another forum member had the same problem and resolved it through purchasing a static IP. Forum leader @cultiv followed up with a step-by-step for dedicated IPs through VPN, which has resolved the issue for many other people. I’d love to dump my static IP and save some money. What is the specific type of IP and router you are using? Can you pass on port forwarding details for your provider? Other people encountering this problem can be found here.

That’s great to hear about your HDDs. 2/3 of my HDDs were destroyed within 2 months so I guess I’m unlucky.

I have the Asus RT-AX58U router which is connected to Zyxel LTE7460 (bridge mode).

I didn’t have to do any port forwarding to get it to work. I don’t really know what else to say about it as it worked for me pretty much out of the box.

I didn’t mean to sound like a douche about the HDDs but like others have said you should get them replaced by warranty if they were new.

Chia farming in itself isn’t using a lot from the HDDs lifespan as there’s only some reads being made to the disks. Especially if you keep the HDDs spinning by using some sort of KeepAlive setup.

I’ve had the full node on both Windows and Ubuntu machines during my Chia experience.

I have about 130TB in pooling plots and still 70TB in OG solo plots and I’ve gotten around 6.9 XCH from my farming. I got really lucky with OG plots and won 3 times with them. The rest of the .9 XCH is from pooling. My estimated earnings are ~.7XCH per month with those 130TB

I agree that there’s not really a point to start farming Chia if you don’t have at least 50TB space.

It all might change soon though if the coin value shoots up.

Then use our farmer a Pi3 can run it. Version 2.0 out soon!

I not only farm but also plot using one and the same RPi. Works great. No issues at all. You want to keep discs spinning primarily for fast access to proofs, but it also keeps mechanical wear and tear on the HDD low. For details see How to Farm and Plot Chia with just one RPi.

Dynamic IP and CGNAT are two completely different things.

The first one just assigns you a new IP address from time to time, and that us usually not a problem for a well designed network protocol, if not easily addressed with a fairly simple batch/script file. Where the second is preventing you from using anything else than HTTP/HTTPS on your home network; therefore, nothing can be done on the client side to help.

By getting a VPN or a full static/dynamic IP, you are basically bypassing that CGNAT problem, everything else is just an icing on the cake. Whatever router you have at home at that time is really irrelevant - everything will work.

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I have no experience with CGNAT so not saying anything about it.

But the OP wrote in the first post like it would be a Chia issue that he couldn’t connect when it’s not. He also included a 2 year VPN subscription in his investment calculations when talking about Chia experience.

I can’t complain to a game developer that their multiplayer experience sucks if I have Strict NAT at home and that’s why I cant connect.

I also need an apartment or a house to hold my farm but I’m not including rent or mortgage in the cost of my Chia experience.

That is exactly the point. That CGNAT really breaks everything, so no one can do anything including Chia Net, and I didn’t imply that they can or should. It is basically a super strict NAT that is run by your provider, basically to screw you over, and extort money to upgrade to what everyone else has.

On the other hand, both static and dynamic IPs are very popular. It is assumed that when you play your game, the likelihood of IP change (for that dynamic IP) is basically zilch, so no point to address it in the software. On the other hand, when you have a service that requires 24/7 connection, the only thing that is needed is to not store anywhere the IP you got when the service started, and just adjust to those changes, and that means that Chia Net should make sure that they are not affected by those IP changes.

Again, CGNAT and static/dynamic IPs are two different animals.

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Hello people

what do you think is the best and fastest:
xhPool or SpacePool or any other?

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