Build a Bitaxe Ultra - Guide (Short Version)

Build a Bitaxe Ultra - Guide (Short Version)

This guide is a re-write of the existing/original guide from the ReadMe on Skot's GitHub page for the Bitaxe.  There is a long version of this guide that is a bit more of a walkthrough.  This one is a quick reference for links and steps to take to order parts and build a Bitaxe Ultra yourself.

I HIGHLY recommend you use the GitHub page in conjunction, if you want to use this guide, as the Bitaxe project is live and evolving.  There are often updates, fixes, revisions to  PCB design, firmware, or parts for the build.

1. Order PCBs

  • Choose and head to a PCB Fabricator website
    (eg. JLCPCB, PCBWay, SeeedStudio)
  • Upload gerbers to chosen PCB Fabricator site
  • Check config/set up (from Bitaxe GitHub readme):
    - 4-layer PCB
    - 6mil trace/space
    - 0.3mm hole
    - 1oz outer / 0.5 inner layer thickness

  • Ensure to get the stencils made as well.  Files are included amongst the gerber files with 'paste' in the files name (one for the front, one for the back of the PCB).
  • Place your order!

2. Order parts

  • Upload to DigiKey to build a list/order
  • Check order / stock availability - place order.

This will cover most of the PCB components - we still need a couple of bits and pieces:

  • Grab a BM1366 ASIC (or as many as you need) from AliExpress seller NTBC - both AL and AG work apparently.  The link is from the GitHub.
  • Get a  0.91" SSD1306-based I2C OLED Module - available on Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, some electronics stores.

3. Solder the components to the board

  • Tools needed:
    - solder paste - no clean, leaded solder paste
    - rework/reflow hot air gun or reflow oven (or a consumer convection oven could work too - refer to the GitHub for tips there).
    - magnifying lenses / headwear or digital microscope (these can be bought cheap on AliExpress / Amazon too)
    (There are some decent digital microscopes if you prefer)
    - Isopropyl Alcohol (for cleaning, re-pasting, etc)
  • - Good set of tweezers for placing the components on the board
    - solder braid, flux, soldering iron.
  • Place the stencil over the PCB - line up with the pads on the board. 
  • Add paste to the side of the stencil and scrape over the gaps with a flat scraper or card.
  • Make sure its covered accurately.  Clean and do again if not.
  • Place components onto their designated spots on the PCB - do one side at a time if need be (reflow station). 
    Component placement is listed in the BOM and in the gerbers (open with KiCad or compatible app on your phone/tablet/desktop).
  • Use hot air station or reflow oven to solder the parts in place.
  • inspect the board for bridges and rouge balls of solder. 

  • If all good - give the board a once over to clean up.
  • Plug in PSU. Fingers crossed.  Is she alive?!
    We want to look for fan movement and the display turning on.

4. Install Firmware - ESP-Miner

  • Go to the Releases page to grab the latest files.
  • Read instructions / download latest .bin file (something like  esp-miner-factory-204-v2.0.6.bin)
  • Plug your Bitaxe into your computer via USB

  • Allow Connection in Chrome/Edge
  • Flash.
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