Many operators underestimate the likelihood of machine failures. Understanding failure rates on machines is almost impossible because there is such a wide variance of conditions they are ran in, but also variance in quality and components in the machines between production runs. Even though the rate of failure may be unknown, it is clear that it a certainty that must be faced. There are some good rules of thumb to go off of to try and minimize failure rates.
Rules of thumb to try and minimize machine failure
- Run the machines in ideal operating conditions
- Do not buy the first production run of a new model
- Stick with manufacturers that have a proven track record
There are a lot of miners that mine in extreme conditions which is fine. If this is the case, you will most likely experience higher failure rates and may even void your manufacturer warranty. It is important to understand the manufacturer warranty terms before deploying machines. A lot of people choose to void their warranties by putting their machines in immersion, or some other reason, which is an economic calculation that needs to be considered carefully.
Often times, early on in a production run, machines will have more issues that theoretically get ironed out later on. It is a very similar idea as buying a new car the first time a model is released. It is a good idea to wait and collect anecdotal data from other people first before purchasing the miner.
There are always new ASIC manufacturers popping up on the market. Sometimes these producers make a really good product that should be considered. They will offer unbelievable deals to try and get you to buy them. Sweet deals will not do you any good if the machines have a lot of issues and do not hash for you. Buying hardware is definitely a major gamble and risk should be mitigated.
Generally the turnaround for a machine going to a certified warranty center is about a month. Sometimes it is significantly faster, and other times it can take longer. The warranty center will often times swap the bad unit you send in with a good one they have already repaired to try and minimize the turnaround time.
Manufactures will cover machines for x amount of time. That time begins when it leaves their facility. This is why it's good to check the serial numbers on the machines before you buy them. Just because you buy the machine brand new does not mean that the machine will have the same amount of time on it as if you just received it from the factory. If the machine sits in a warehouse for a year, you may get a brand new machine not covered under warranty.
Out of luck and not covered by warranty
It is important to understand that sometimes things go wrong and are not covered by warranty, especially for small time home miners. The hashboard pictured above was in a S19 that was being run in perfect conditions inside of a data center. Bitmain does not cover burned or exploded boards, even if the fault was caused by a defect. There is always the risk of something like this happening, and the board being unrepairable. It does not happen often, but it is a possibility and is a massive nightmare to deal with especially if you are buying a small amount of machines.
The aftermarket for hashboards on new generation machines is almost non existent. On other parts such as control boards and power supplies, there is a very liquid market for replacement parts. These are costs that need to be considered as sometimes it makes sense to have replacement parts on hand to quickly get your machine up and hashing versus paying for shipping and waiting a month for the machine to come back hopefully functional.
You can buy replacement parts on the Kaboomracks Parts Store
There are two warranty centers I would highly recommend in the US. For Bitmain repairs, Kaboomracks uses Great Voyage in New Hampshire. For Whatsminer we use HM Tech in North Carolina. We have used both of these facilities for years and have built relationships with the owners. They are both incredibly reputable and have good track records. There are other good warranty centers around the world, but it is important to choose a center based on reputation and track record versus connivance. Sometimes the manufacturer will ask you to send the machine to a different warranty center which okay too.
If you are outside of the US, warranty centers may not be in your country and it may be difficult to get warranty repairs in an economic and timely manner. This is something that is good to research and may influence which manufacturer you end up choosing.
The warranty process is not fun. Machines that are not turned on are depreciating and not earning you income. It is an incredibly important process to understand and discuss before purchasing mining equipment. Having a basic grasp of this process will help ensure you are successful.