News

Date added: 22 Aug 2014 Scrypt ASIC Tape-out

Black Arrow has completed the design of a energy efficient 28nm Scrypt ASIC and it is ready for tape-out. ASICs can be received in early December should we tape-out in the following few days.

We are currently looking for partners. Depending on investment we can offer wafer price.

At this point it is possible to manufacture ASICs to double the whole LTC network (1 Petahash) with a reasonable price. Please contact us if you are interested.

The efficiency of this chip is better than 3Watt / Megahash.

Date added: 21 Aug 2014 Minion reference design

As a continued effort to provide the best value for our customers, Black Arrow has stared making available a low cost reference design for Black Arrow Minion PCB.

Please note that the design is not yet tested.The firmware and the heatsink design are not yet ready but will be published on github in the next few days.

The files can be found on github here: https://github.com/blackarrowsoftware/

We have stocked a large quantity of chips to build the pre-orders. If you are choosing to exchange your X1 or X3 for ASICs please contact us should you need the mosfets, controllers, inductors and 220uF capacitors as we can provide a better price than retailers.

Date added: 06 Aug 2014 Important Customer Annoucement

It has been recently reported to us that some of our clients have been contacted by email by another party claiming to be a genuine business who purchased our clients database.

We are strongly denying any of these allegations and urge our customers to be vigilant. We are currently investigating these claims to identify if our network security has been compromised and are working diligently internally and closely with the law enforcement agencies assisting in their investigation. We will spare no effort to solve this issue and will seek to identify the culprit(s) behind this vicious attack on our company.
Based on our findings to date, we are not aware of any specific increased risk to customers as a result of this incident.
We value the trust of our customers and wanted to re-assure you that we will continue to work to prevent these types of events from occurring in the future. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to any of our customers.
Black Arrow Software

Date added: 06 Aug 2014 ​Bitcoin Miners progress update - 06 August 2014

Prospero X-1

This month we have manufactured and have shipped Prospero X-1 miners. During the latest shipments they also included LCD, touchscreen and WIFI.

Because of several manufacturing issues we have not been able to clear all X1 orders yet but we're working hard to clear all queue in the following weeks.

Prospero X-2

Has been put on hold due to lack of human resources.

Prospero X-3

First units have been shipped to our resellers 3 weeks ago for testing. However, this showed that the glue holding our inductor heatsinks was not strong enough to withstand the DHL shipping and hashboards can get out of their socket during transportation. It took us about 1 week to fix these issues as a new component was required to be manufactured for our cases. Since last week we have begun shipping of X3s and now we are ramping up assembly and shipping.

Rent-A-Minion

Will start in the following few days.

Compensation

We are working on a new design in an attempt to lower the BOM and increase the compensation offered. This design is almost finished and we plan to manufacture the prototype in the following days.

ASIC exchange plan

We are now increasing the number of ASICs offered to our loyal customers who wish to exchange their order to Minion ASICs. The dispatch for this option is next day.

    -Each X3 preorder can be exchanged for 120 Minion ASICS

    -Each X1 preorder can be exchanged for 7 Minion ASICs

    -Each $45 paid for Rent-A-Minion service can be exchanged for 1 ASIC

Note that customers who choose to exchange their orders for ASICs forfeit the compensation announced previously.

Please contact our customer support should you wish to go ahead with this option.

Pictures

We have posted some pictures from our assembly factory here: http://ecointalk.net/gallery/album/60-30072014-upd...

Date added: 06 Jul 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update - 06 July 2014

Shipping has started!

Minion

We have tested the Minion powered at 0.6V and the efficiency is 0.5W/ghash at the wall while hashing at 50Ghash. This translates into $1.1/Ghash at this outstanding efficiency.

Prospero X-1

    1.Shipping: This week we have manufactured and have been shipping Prospero X-1 miners (Control Board – Original Design). We will clear all X1 orders by the end of July. Customers will be receiving their shipping information as soon as their order will be processed.

    2.LCD has been tested successfully with the touch panel using our hardware. Following this we are putting it to mass production on Monday and it will be attached to miners as soon as it arrives.

    3.WiFi – For the reasons explained in our previous update, WiFi antennas will be delivered together with the units containing LCD.

    4.Units will be dispatched without LCD and WiFi until the LCDs will be delivered to us.

    5.User Manual can be downloaded from http://www.blackarrowsoftware.com/store/prospero-support.html.

    6.Photos from our assembly line are available at http://ecointalk.net/gallery/album/42-06-july-update/

Prospero X-2

    1.Following market trends, we decided to manufacture a new product which can achieve a lower price per GHash. LCD, WiFi and build in PSU will be not included in the X-2. The idea behind X-2 is to use 1 hashing module from Prospero X3 and power it up with an ATX PSU. Several modules can be powered by one single ATX supply.

    2.The hashing power will be around 240 GHash/s.

    3.We are now in testing phase of the prototype and we will have a case designed and ready under a week time.

    4.We will put this product to sale from stock only.

Prospero X-3

    1.We have completed the assembly of first prototype using the new Backplane of Prospero X-3. Testing results have been successful. Following this we progressed to next stage and we have placed the order for mass production.

    You can find a short video with our testing at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfwnKZTeAG8

    2.We have already manufactured 10% of the X-3 backplanes which are now in SMT line for assembly. We expect to deliver them by 12th of July

    3.Deliveries of all X-3 current orders will be completed by the end of the month.

    4.LCD will be attached to the miners as soon as they are delivered. All units will be dispatched without LCD. until LCD parts will be delivered to us

    5.To prevent interference in the datacenter this product does not have WiFi module/capabilities.

Rent-A-Minion

    The service will start according to the place in the queue as soon as the hardware is ready.

Compensation

    Currently we are unable to raise the compensation more than announced previously. The final decision will be made after we complete all deliveries in order to calculate the yield and our final costs.

    However, we have done all preliminary calculations possible right now and due to our design focused on quality including:

    -8 layer PCBs

    -heatpipe heatsinks

    -aluminium case

    -included power supply

    -long life 4 wire 5000 RPM fans

    -genuine parts (capacitors, resistors, mosfets, inductors etc)

    -capacitors that cannot explode

Our current design will not be able to directly compete on price with competitors’ design most of which are using one or more of the following:

    -4 layers PCBs

    -extruded aluminum heatsinks

    -steel cases or case-less units

    -no power supplies

    -1500 rpm 2 wire fan (no speed control, no rpm reading)

As currently there are lower cost designs for our ASICs, at this point we would like to offer our loyal customers the possibility to exchange their order to Minion ASICs. We are now offering to exchange your order to ASIC at a discounted price of lower than $0.5/Ghash as follows:

    -Each X3 preorder can be exchanged for 100 ASICS

    -Each X1 preorder can be exchanged for 6 ASICs

    -Each $55 paid for Rent-A-Minion service can be exchanged for 1 ASIC

Note that customers who choose to exchange their orders for ASICs forfeit the compensation announced previously.

Dispatch for the Minions is available immediately

Date added: 27 Jun 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update - 27th of June 2014

  1. Shipping: the shipping of the X-1 (Control Board) test batch has been completed. The production of X-1 (Batch1 and Batch2) is close to completion and shipping will resume within days. Please note that the X-1 (RPi) units have been discontinued and are no longer available on order.
  2. The delivery for the boards for all X-1 currently on order will be completed by the SMT factory tonight. Product assembly for mass production is already booked.
  3. Following a thorough reviewing, the X-3 backplane has been put in production. The first batch will be delivered this weekend. We have several designs to our disposal and we have to decide which one was the best choice. We will be able to inform our customers on the X-3 shipping schedule within a few days.
  4. LCD - The software team are modifying the driver to work with our MCU. The LCD feature will be added to the miners within 10 days after the driver will be released. We kindly remind our customers that the LCD has been added on their request. Our initial design did not have this option which was added at the beginning of this year. However, once available, the LCD will be installed on all units regardless of the time of the order being placed.
  5. X2 – First batch of Prospero X2 will be assembled and tested next week. More detailed updates on X2 will be provided with our next weekly progress update.
  6. Wi-Fi – External antennas have been tested and Wi-Fi is working. Please note its functionality is linked to LCD/touchscreen functionality. Units with Wi-Fi will be delivered as soon as we have LCD available in our products.
  7. Rent-A-Minion: the first site to host this service has been completed. The delivery for the mining equipment will be done in parallel with the shipping for Batch1 & Batch2. Customers will be notified when their quota will be available according to the shipping queue.
  8. Compensation Package: this has proved to be a hot topic over the past few weeks. The internal assessment on a potential compensation package is under way and the final decision will be made public when the shipping of Batch1 and Batch2 will be completed.
  9. Customer Service: it was reported to us that some of our customers who are not active on forums would be happy to receive the important notifications by email. We will also send newsletters to our customers when we post the progress update on our website. However only the subscribers to our Newsletters will receive email notifications.
  10. Communications:  please note that we will suspend the weekly progress update as soon as the shipping for X-1 and X-3 Batch1 and Batch2 will be completed. All queries should be addressed to the Customer Service Team.
  11. The surprise: there were various speculations regarding the nature of the surprise. We are not keen on sustaining the suspense any longer however we believe that the moment of disclosing the secret has to be well prepared so it can benefit our customers. Without disclosing any details, we can only ask for our customers to bear with us. We are hoping that the waiting will be worth it.

Date added: 20 Jun 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update - 20 June 2014

1. The X-3 issue has been found and fixed.

2. We have finalized 2 versions of the backplane which we will send to the factory tomorrow. Once the backplane is ready we can start shipping. We estimate that to be around the end of next week pending factory's schedule.

3. We have finished the test batch of the X-1 which is currently shipping.

4. All X1 and X3 boards are now into the SMT factory.

5. We are going to review the compensation after we have shipped all orders.

6. Rent-A-Minion will start based of the shipping queue.

7. LCD samples have finally arrived, the software team is updating the driver.

Pictures http://ecointalk.net/gallery/album/37-20-june-update/

Date added: 13 Jun 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update – 13 June 2014

1.We have found the issue that was preventing our control board from working with our ASICs.

2.We have started manufacturing the X1 with our control boards.

3.The LCD + Touch sample was supposed to be delivered today but was postponed until next Wednesday. This is the 5th factory of LCD that fails us. We are planning to ship X1s without LCD if the customers approves. We will contact each customer individually for approval before shipment.

4.We have received and tested successfully a board to connect a single X3 Hashboard to RPI. This solution was planned to be used as a testbench in order to find a solution to get multiple X3 hashboards working together and just now we’ve been able to start 2 boards at 400Ghash using the same RPI. We are still testing to see if the solution is stable and we are planning to start using this temporary solution for Rent-A-Minion programme.

5.We’ve been working daily with the 1st design company and we have been reviewing and optimizing the new design for X3 (5 hash boards, 10 chips). We are going to tape out the sample board this week or next Monday. Development of this board took longer than we had hoped as we kept modifying it based on the findings from testing. We now know that if we would have taped out this board as planned it would have failed.

6.The 2nd design company has hoped to finish the design of the Hashboard last Monday but has not finished it yet.

7.The 3rd design company did not promised us a date so far but yesterday we’ve received an almost completed design of the new Hashboard.

8.The 4th company made no progress on the design as they are still trying to find the issue with the current solution.

9.We have started developing X2 @ 240Ghash using the X3 boards as we have the boards already manufactured.

10.We are actively looking to hire more PCB designers. All interested candidates are invited to send their CV to hr at blackarrowsoftware.com

Date added: 06 Jun 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update – 06 June 2014

Minion ASIC

All ASIC chips orders have been dispatched.

Software

We have quickly ported our software to Raspberry Pi which is now included in the SD Cards delivered with Raspberry Pi solution (preloaded). [Pictures attached]

Prospero X1

Control Board / Raspberry Pi

The shipping of Prospero X1 (Raspberry Pi version) is ongoing.

We are using Raspberry Pi instead of our custom designed control board because we have identified an issue with cgminer not working properly with our control board. We have not yet found still where the issue occurs (hardware or software).

The initial feedback from the customers using this solution confirmed our endurance test results. The miners are hashing steadily at 1.2Ghz. Average speed is 118Ghash and peaks at 131Ghash.

Please note that we will continue to ship the Raspberry Pi solution until we will complete fixing the control board issue.

The X1 Prospero (RPi) miners will be packed with 8 GB SD cards which will contain the latest software package.

LCD / Touch Screen / Buttons

The X1 Prospero (RPi) will not contain LCD, Touch Screen and Buttons because RPi does not support these features.

The X1 Prospero (with control board based as per original design) will contain the LCD, Touch Screen and Buttons solution but will be shipped at a later date.

Customers who prefer waiting for the LCD & Touchscreen are asked to contact us immediately so we can postpone their shipment until LCD is available.

WiFi

The cases for X1 Prospero (all versions) will continue to be manufactured from metal which will interfere and disrupt the WiFi signal therefore we decided to suspend it. Any customer has the option to request for the WiFi solution to be included. We will be happy to include this solution on request when it will be available.

Power supplies

In order to optimize the shipping time we have started shipping power supplies in advance.

Prospero X3

Control Board / Raspberry Pi

We decided to try to use 10 x Raspberry Pi per X3 as a quick fix to be used temporarily. Initial results are encouraging (hashing performed). The test board will arrive tomorrow. If this quick fix will prove satisfactory, we will consider shipping X3 Prospero (RPi) solution on temporary basis until the control board will perform as per original design.

X3 Backplane, X3 Hashboard PCB

1.The only problem that we have with X3 can be explained very simple: any hashboard (2 ASICs) will work (240Ghash) in any socket of the backplane but they will not work if we plug more than 2 hashboards in into the same backplane.

Investigations took us 2 weeks working 16-18 hours/day as we went through everything from debugging the power supply to debugging the cgminer code and reviewing the ASIC code.

We now strongly believe that the problem is due to noise on the 3.3V line which is currently shared between all hashboards. Unfortunately the 3.3V line is inside the backplane (layer 2) and inside the hashboard (layer 3) and we cannot separate them in order to get the current backplane working.

We have now almost finished a new design of the backplane which includes all the technical solutions solving the SPI noise and we aim to send it to PCB Factory on Monday. We already have the hashboards manufactured and if the new backplane works as expected we will be able to ship very soon.

2.One of our partners, which is specialised in ASIC manufacturing, has completed brand new versions of X3 Backplane and X3 Hashboard. They are currently running simulations and will send the PCB to manufacturing on Monday.

3.Three other companies have started to redesign other boards for us but their progress is not as advanced as our own. We will be taping out their design when ready and if it performs better we will use it in the next versions.

Notes

We received queries and suggestions regarding compensation packages. We will address the compensation issues as soon as we resume the shipping of the full spec Prospero X1 and Prospero X3 miners. We recognise the importance of this topic and our management team will address it accordingly.

Few months ago we announced that we have a surprise in store for our customers. We will disclose the full details as soon as we resume the shipping of the full spec Prospero X1 and Prospero X3 miners.

There are no Prospero miners X1 or X3 which are hashing on any of our facilities.

Date added: 29 May 2014 Bitcoin Miners progress update – 29 May 2014

Minion ASIC

We have dispatched all Minion orders.

Prospero X1

The first Prospero X1 miner was sent to the first customer.

The first version has included a Raspberry Pi. This is a temporary solution until we will have the clearance from our engineering team that the control board is bug free and passes the endurance test.

The X1-Miner was produced at full spec and contains an aluminium case. It does not contain the LCD. However, we will equip the miner with LCD and Touch Screen once the control board will be incorporated.

Mass production in under way and shipping will start from the beginning of next week.

Prospero X3

The technical issues discovered with the backplane PCB were not fully resolved.

The 3 teams pursued different avenues with the same goal and encouraging progress was made. One team will be completing a brand new design by tomorrow. The 2nd version of the PCB will be also ready in the next 2-3 days. The other teams continued the debugging process and replaced some of the components with view to stabilise the performance.

Note:

There are no Prospero miners X1 or X3 which are hashing on any of our facilities. Our first priority is to deliver the miners to our customers.