Bobcat Miner OTA Update - 6/10/2021
Bobcat Miner OTA Update - 6/10/2021

June 10, 2021 - Bobcat released an OTA update at 4 am PDT to resolve issues related to beaconing/witness results.

Prior to this update, Bobcat’s routine OTA update on 6/9 at 9 pm PDT pushed the latest helium 2021.06.09.0 hotspot firmware release, which contains a newly generated snapshot to help recently onboarded and previously un-synced hotspots to sync to the head of the blockchain faster.

Hotspots connected to Ethernet/Wifi will receive these updates automatically. No manual intervention is needed.

The manufacture release on 6/10 includes these updates:

  1. Bobcat miner firmware version updated to (The firmware version display has not yet been fixed. You will see the display show 2019, but this will be corrected in the next release.

  2. The web interface has been turned off as it is not being used. Many users have tried configuring this feature but it does not do anything. Any changes made will be cleared when the hotspot receives updates or is rebooted.

  3. Additional format corrections to the local_conf.json file that were causing the zero beacon/no witness issue in the first place.

We believe there is a very high probability this second manufacturer OTA update will fix the remaining miners that had been having 0 beacon and no witnesses in the past weeks.

For all customers, we advise the following steps:

  1. Make sure your miner is connected to the internet to receive updates. Updates will be received as long as the hotspot is connected to the internet

  2. Please allow 24 hours to see the results from this update.

Additional Notes:

Here is an explanation as to why a connected hotspot is sometimes shown by the helium explorer as offline or its LED status keeps switching between green and yellow:

1. The logic of the explorer showing on/offline and the logic of the led status showing green/yellow is not controlled by the hardware but by Helium.

2. When explorer shows offline and/or the led turns to yellow, it could mean several things. It does not necessarily mean that it's offline, but one of the possibilities is that the miner is not receiving peer 2 peer hotspot data very well because it's relayed (or other miners it's talking to are relayed). This means that if you see the status changing constantly, the miner is trying different ways to talk to other miners on the blockchain.

3. The best thing you can do while seeing the frequent on/offline and/or LED status changes is to (a) ensure your internet is working; (b) keep the miner connected to the internet; (c) port forward to remove the relay status of your miner, although this is not absolutely necessary; and (d) there is no need to reboot your miner.

Reward fluctuations and no beaconing activities:

As of June 2021, Helium increased the PoC challenge interval to 480 blocks from 240 blocks. At the target block time of 60s, this should mean that a Hotspot will be targeted on average every 8 hours. However, due to slow block times, this interval could be as much as 12 hours or more. It won't be uncommon to go a day or more without a single beacon, as PoC challenges can fail for several reasons. The rewards should be the same per beacon, but could take much longer to arrive. This will also mean you witness less often, as the Hotspots around you are also beaconing less frequently.

(source: helium general announcement on 6/2/2021. Read more here)

The impact of more hotspots added to the blockchain:

As of 6/2/2021, approximately 1000 Hotspots are joining the network each day. This reduces the per-Hotspot rewards, as the entire HNT pool is now split between more participants. It is important to remember that this decrease is not linear. For example, adding 10% more Hotspots does not necessarily equal 10% fewer rewards. If they have many witnesses, it could be significantly more than 10%. If they are poorly placed with no witnesses, they could have almost no impact at all.

(source: helium general announcement on 6/2/2021. Read more here)

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