Measuring mining rig electricity use isn’t difficult. And, it something we’re regularly doing. As we’ve gone from a single cryptocurrency mining rig to many, we’ve tried more than a few tools to report back how many watts we’re consuming.
There’s three basic types we’ve toyed with:
- Electrician-type clamp-on meters
- In-line electricity meters/monitors
- Internet connected electricity monitors
Why we measure mining rig electricity consumption
There are many reasons why we measure how much electricity our mining rigs consume. First, we pay for our electricity. Many miners do not, and likely have little concern over how many watts their mining rig or rigs are pulling. Second, we are doing this as a business. After computer components and rent electricity is the biggest cost we incur. We want to be accurate about our mining ROI, and can only do that if we know how much power we’re using. Finally, we can offset our tax liability by deducting our electricity expenses.
Electrician clamp-on meters
Clamp-on meters were new to us when we started mining cryptocurrency. These would be better named if they were called clamp-around meters as they need-not touch the wires they are measuring. This type of meter has a stand-out point of difference: you can quickly move from mining rig to mining rig without unplugging and replugging anything in.
While the flexibility of moving from rig-to-rig without having to stop mining is a huge bonus, clamp-on meters have shortcomings, too. They lack the ability to monitor electricity usage over time. And, if you remotely monitor your mining activity, you won’t be getting any updates or cycling power to one of your rigs.
The DL369 is the most expensive single-product we have tried at right around $70. However, when considering the other solutions below that may have you buying two or more of them, this might not be that expensive after all.
In-line electricity meters/monitors
When we only had a single mining rig we used a Kill-a-Watt type electricity monitor. They’re pretty straightforward. You plug the in-line meter into the socket and then plug the mining rig into it. As far as functionality goes, they do provide more information than most clamp-on meters, offering anticipated electricity use over different time periods.
What’s the tradeoff? If you want to move an in-line power meter from one mining rig to another, you’ll need to interrupt mining on not only one, but both miners.
Most in-line usage monitors provide usage estimates for a day and month. The P3 P4400 will calculate power usage and cost by the day, week, month and even year. There is a more expensive model by Kill A Watt, but it doesn’t provide anything that makes it worth more than the sub-$20 P3.
If you have one or two mining rigs and don’t need remote reboot or monitoring, this is the best value out there.
Internet-connected electricity monitors
Smart plugs are the only choice if you need remote monitoring. Find a good solution and you’ll not only get monitoring, but the ability to reboot remotely. This helps if your miner hangs or freezes and you’re not physically near it. At work and your mining rig locks up? No problem, grab your phone and reboot the rig. Historically, there’s been a catch, however. Smart plugs have historically been somewhat buggy. Luckily, we were introduced to a smart plug that is dependable, inexpensive, has great reporting capabilities and will perform remote reboots.
Wemo’s Insight Smart Plug does everything you’d expect an in-line meter to do and then some. When we read the feature list we thought the price would be a barrier, but it’s not. Each Smart Plug current costs right around $35. Considering what it is capable of, it’s a great deal if your cryptocurrency mining operation is anywhere from one to dozens of mining rigs. Final bonus: the Wemo Insight Smart Plug doesn’t require purchasing a hub. The smartphone app is all you need to control it. Belkin says the device is rated to 15A (1800 watts).
IMPORTANT: Be sure to purchase the NEW version, not the legacy version of the Wemo Insight Smart Plug.
One aspect of the Insight Smart Plug we do not have experience with is integration. The manufacturer boasts Alexa, IFTT and Google Assistant compatibility. From reading reviews, these integrations are most users’ source of frustration.
Unless you’re running a large-scale cryptocurrency mining farm, Wemo’s Insight Smart Plug is likely your best all-around solution. But, it could be overkill for your specific needs.