Being part of the people’s network is an exciting project to be involved with. But over time these Helium miners will require some tender loving care to keep them in tip-top condition.
A user-replaceable part of helium miners is the micro SD card. They may require an upgrade if you start to have connection issues with your hotspot.
Many older helium miners only have a 32 GB micro SD card. As the blockchain gets close to this capacity you will start to run out of space. Currently, the blockchain and firmware are close to 27GB in size.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Micro SD card for Helium Miners Upgrade
- 2 When should you upgrade your Helium Miner micro SD card?
- 3 Helium miner SD card Full Fix
- 4 How to replace micro SD cards in helium miners – Nebra, Sensecap, Rak, MNTD -Flash
- 5 Conclusion
Best Micro SD card for Helium Miners Upgrade
There are two high-endurance micro SD cards I recommend to my clients. They are the SanDisk High Endurance microSD™ Card, and the Samsung Pro endurance micro SD card.
My pick is the Sandisk High endurance 64GB due to its slightly higher write performance and cheaper price. But at the end of the day, there are only a few dollars between the two so get whichever one is in stock.
Some people are upgrading their Helium Miner micro SD to a faster-performance card. While this will be good in the short term it is endurance we are looking for not speed. A faster micro SD card does not mean you will mine more IOT. I want my SD card in the helium miner to last the next 5 years.
But with the introduction to HIP 83 maybe fast micro SD cards will help be a faster witness.
So why buy an endurance micro SD card?
Well, it comes down to how many reads and writes each card can do over its lifetime. Many cheaper cards that are supplied with helium miners tend to fail early in their life due to the huge numbers of reading and write cycles.
All of my helium miners are downloading and transferring over 50GB per month. This puts a huge strain on the micro SD card.
When should you upgrade your Helium Miner micro SD card?
- If you have a 32GB micro SD card.
- Shows “Disk Error” in the diagnostics report.
- Your helium miner is not booting up.
- You cannot connect over Bluetooth anymore after pressing the pairing button on your hotspot.
- Shows a solid or flashing green status LED (Rak) or any other fault code LED for your helium miner.
- Old block height or old firmware version in diagnostics.
- Unable to get it online.
- If it’s stuck in the same block after two diagnostics done 24 hours apart.
Check out our Helium miner troubleshooting guide for extra information.
Helium miner SD card Full Fix
You have a couple of options either upgrade your card to a higher capacity card or reset the blocks on your helium hotspot. Both will require you to sync back up to the blockchain which may take a few hours to a few days. Depending on network speed.
You could also try to reboot the hotspot sometimes this resets a full micro sd card.
How to replace micro SD cards in helium miners – Nebra, Sensecap, Rak, MNTD -Flash
In the event that your microSD card fails, here are the steps to re-flash it or replace it with a brand-new one.
I have had no issues with my Sensecap m1 helium miners but if you want to replace or upgrade the micro SD card then follow this guide here https://docs.sensecapmx.com/m1/troubleshooting/micro-sd-card-errors/flash-new-micro-sd-card-image
- Power off the device, open the front panel, remove the yellow sticker on the top of the micro SD card (you may use tweezers), and unplug and take out the original micro SD card.
- Connect the original micro SD card to your computer with a micro SD card reader and copy the ‘config.json’ file from partition “resin-boot” of the origin SD card, save it to your computer
- Download the SenseCap M1 Image from here: sensecap-m1.img.zip Check to see if there is a new image available.
- Download Balena Etcher tool from here: balenaEtcher – Flash OS images to SD cards & USB drives
- Flash the SenseCap M1 Image to the new endurance micro SD card with Balena Etcher.
- Copy the “config.json” file that we provided from your computer to partition “resin-boot” of the new micro SD card after flashed.
- Unmount and remove the new micro SD card from your computer, plug it into SenseCap M1. Power on the SenseCap M1, connect to the internet (better with ethernet cable), wait for 20mins updates, and check the status on Dashboard (https://status.sensecapmx.cloud/) or run diagnostics in Helium App.
- Note: Please ask Tech Support Agents on Discord to provide a new Jason file for your 64GB micro SD card if you are unable to retrieve the original one.
MNTD Rak Helium Hotspot SD Card Replacement
Follow this guide on how to replace your SD card on a RAK helium hotspot
Where to grab the MNTD firmware from: https://support.getmntd.com/hc/en-us/…
SD Flashing software: https://www.balena.io/etcher/
- Power off the miner (unplug from power)
- Carefully peel off the tape protecting the microSD card slot, it is below the gold/black sticker on the side of the miner where the antenna is, next to the status LEDs.
- Remove the old microSD card inside, there is a small lip on the bottom part which you can use to pull it out, some people prefer to use tweezers.
- Flash card using the balena Etcher app downloaded above directly with the file, this is intuitive:
- Select the archive
- Select the SD card
- 3. Flash and wait for verification
- Replace the new 64GB card making sure it’s correctly inserted all the way with brand side down
- Power on the miner again.
Original V1 Helium Hotspot
Unplug and remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the unit using a Phillips head screwdriver (Note that 1st gen Hotspots will need a T8 bit screwdriver, and also have a GPS antenna wire attaching the top plastic to the board, this should stay connected.)
Carefully remove the installed 32GB microSD card located by the fan – tweezers or needle-nose pliers may help with this.
Format the new 64GB SD card or re-format the existing card into ExFat format. Download and install a program to Flash the card such as Balena Etcher, if needed: https://www.balena.io/etcher
Download the image file to Flash: https://helium-nextgate.s3-us-west-2 image as of 12/1/2022
Download the image file to Flash. Replace the
date part of the following URL with the latest GA tagged release in the Community Discord’s #announcements channel. i.e. new firmware date of
https://helium-nextgate.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/artifacts/2022.01.12.1-sdcard.img.gzand enter that url in your browser
Unzip the file and use Etcher to Flash the newly formatted microSD card with the file. Place the newly flashed card back into the card reader slot. Plug the Hotspot back and confirm that it boots up. Screw the Hotspot back together.
If you are looking to get a rock-solid helium miner then upgrade your micro sd card to the best 64GB high endurance card. There is no need to go to a 128Gb micro sd card as this is overkill. The helium organization has transitioned to light hotspots. So in theory 64GB of internal storage will be enough for all light hotspots so save your money.
With all of my helium miners I used an external 5Ghz antenna. This has increased my IOT earnings 10 fold from the stock antenna. So check out our post on how to increase your Helium IOT earnings.
I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.
I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun.
To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.