In this post, I will be covering how I install external Helium miners in single & double-story houses. This will not be the standard install where you place a stock helium miner in the window. We will show you how to install an external antenna with some LMR400 cable, a lightning arrestor, earthing, data, power, and how to route all your cables.
Townhouses will require a little more work than a single-story house due to the extra height involved but the increase in earnings is worth it.
As an electrician with over 20 years of experience, I want to share some of the tips and tricks I have found in installing external antennas and network cabling. So adding helium miner cables is easy.
Please take care when working on ladders and on high roofs as falls are common. Always wear a harness with fall protection when working at heights. Always use a licensed electrician when working with electricity.
Table of Contents
- 1 Helium External Antenna Placement
- 2 Cable Routing inside your house
- 3 110/240V Power Installation for helium miners
- 4 Helium Antenna Earthing
- 5 Waterproof External Inclosures
- 6 Do you need a UPS for your helium miner?
- 7 Conclusion
Helium External Antenna Placement
Anyone can purchase a helium miner and install it in the window of their single or double-story house. To get an increase in helium rewards from proof of coverage (POC) you will need an external antenna and lots of extra height.
Double-story houses are great as they give you that extra height without not having to have an extra-long external antenna with long guide wires.
You can use a standard TV antenna mount on double-story houses for ease of installation or you can make your own mast. I went with a DIY custom 3/4 water pipe mast due to having some spare galvanized pipe sitting around. Plus I like to save money where I can.
Take a minute to think about where you will be placing your Helium hotspot. Is it inside the house, in the attic, or externally in an enclosure?
Heat tends to kill electrical devices over time so I like to mount the helium miner inside the house as close to the external antenna as I can get it. Between 2-10m is where I like to be away from the antenna and remember to take into account the height of the antenna mast when ordering an LMR400 cable.
Be aware that you will most likely need a few feet/meters of LMR400 cable to get between the attic space and the run-up of your antenna mast.
Attic vs Roof antenna
An external helium roof antenna will always outperform an attic antenna. I do see people installing their antennas in the attic alongside their miners. This is fine and will outperform a stock window hotspot but I still want my helium miners out of the heat of the ceiling space. Especially in the summer times when the average temperature can get up to 40 deg Celsius plus outside, 104 Fahrenheit for you American folks.
Just think of how hot it will get in your attic space with limited insulation and ventilation. Your poor helium miner will be roasting.
If you do need to install the antenna in the attic mop grippers work well to hold the antenna in place on the wooden cross beams. It is a great DIY option if you don’t have access to a U-bolt or saddles for the antenna mast. Most fiberglass antennas have a diameter of 18 to 24mm. So a 20mm or 25mm conduit saddle works well as another support option.
Chimney Mount with Galvanized Steel Straps
Chimney mounts are designed to support a 1-1.25 inch mast to your brick chimney using metal straps. This makes for a fast installation and spreads out the load.
- DESIGNED TO MOUNT 1″ – 1.25″ ANTENNA MAST TO YOUR CHIMNEY. 4″ STAND OFF.
- 2 LENGTHS OF 12′ GALVANIZED STEEL TRAPS TO WRAP AROUND CHIMNEY & INSTALLATION HARDWARE
People with metal colorbond sheet and thin tile roofs tend to go with a tripod antenna base. They are perfect for the angle of the roof pitch. These will stabilize the antenna mast to three points on the roof space. They are good where no other mounting options are available.
An advantage of Tripod mounts is that you can mount them almost anywhere. From the peak of a rooftop to a flat platform, this tripod can handle it.
Make sure to fully screw it down through the tiles into wood stud batten beams. We don’t want the antenna flying away in a storm. Use silicone on all bolt and cable entry points.
Roof Cable Entry
There are lots of ways to get an antenna cable into the roof or wall space. For a metal roof, the easiest way is to use a conduit entry gland. It has an aluminum base that can be formed to suit your roof profile. They can be used for roof tiles as well but you will need to drill a hole in the roof tile using a diamond hole saw.
If you don’t want to use flexible conduit you can use these double cable entry glands. Perfect for antenna cables and POE ethernet. They are a waterproof cable glands used for all cable types from 2mm² to 6mm² in diameter. Widely used in the solar industry when routing cables. So perfect for us in the helium mining industry.
Cable Routing inside your house
Running cables in a new house build is easy as you can just drill holes in the stud wood beams wherever you want to go. With a completed house you have to think where the best place to run your electrical cables.
It is easy to run cables on all external walls of your house rather than the internal walls due to the stud beams shown above. As the drywall and insulation cover the wall without any gaps it is hard to run cables between internal walls.
For internal walls, I like to install my helium miners in closet space and come down from the attic. See the picture below.
This keeps the helium miner cool and I can have easy access to check the status lights and reboot it if required. In fact, lately, I am rebooting the helium miner every four weeks due to a full SD card issue. You can read more about my helium miner troubleshooting guide here.
Running cables through cavity in external walls
There will often be a gap between the outside brick wall and the internal plasterboard walls. This is called a cavity wall and is standard in most houses.
There will be insulation usually in the form of glass fiber and it will only partially fill the gap between the brick wall and the internal wall. Fiberglass insulation is one of the most frequently used insulation materials in your home. It is made of recycled glass fragments and pure sand.
I use an electrical fish tape to feed through the cables I need to get to a lower level. They are great for pushing through the insulation that may be in the cavity wall.
There are a few different types of electrical snakes also known as fiberglass cable wire running rods on the market. But I prefer the ones that screw in together.
It is often easier to use gravity to help your feed cables down from a higher level.
Cut a hole in the plasterboard and install an ethernet wall outlet to feed the cat6 cable into the lower level. Do the same close to where you will install the helium miner. This makes for a clean installation.
Feeding a cable fish tape through the wall gap is easy on all external walls. A double story wall is harder due to the length and height but it can be done.
LMR400 antenna cable
This is where we decide how to run the LMR400 cable from the antenna to the helium miner. LRM400 cable is better than RG213 so use the best. As I like to keep my cable runs as short as possible I will usually drill into the tiles or sheet metal directly under the antenna. This isn’t ideal as it will now provide a path for water ingress.
When running the antenna cable keep it away from power cables to reduce interference. If you have to pass over a power cable then do it at right angles – 90 deg.
Cables glands, drip loops, and lots of UV silicone are required to stop water from getting into your house. Do not skimp on waterproofing your home.
If drilling through tiles use a diamond tip drill bit or hole saw. This will make drilling fast and prevent cracking of the tile. Use plenty of water to keep the diamond hole saw cool.
Ethernet Data Cable POE
Cat6 ethernet cable will be fine if you are running a POE setup to your helium miner or as a data cable from your hotspot to the router.
I prefer to use ethernet for all of my helium hotspots as WiFi can be slow and drop out sometimes depending on the distance of the miner from the internet router.
When running the cat6 ethernet cable it is good practice to keep it away from other power-carrying cables such as lights and wall outlets. This is good to prevent electrical interference and also for safety.
In fact, I ran cat6 cable to every room in my house which is great for plugging in TVs, computers, smart home devices, Philips Hue hubs, and Helium Hotspots.
Check out the following video on how to run a cat6 cable and install it in an ethernet jack.
Everyone wants to cut the cable nowadays and go wireless but the ethernet cable connection is rock solid and fast.
110/240V Power Installation for helium miners
If you put your helium miner in an attic, cupboard, closet, or hidden location you may need to add in an extra wall power outlet. This will have to be done via an electrician.
External wall power outlets are more simple to install than internal wall outlets due to the cavity wall on the external walls of the house. Internal walls have wall studs and nogging that will need drilling through. These are sometimes called bridging or blocking are timbers Sometimes the only way to feed down cables in an internal room wall is to put discovery holes in them. This then gets expensive.
A shortcut is to run an extension lead to your helium hotspot. The miner that I have at the top of my wardrobe has an extension lead going up to the top ledge. Otherwise, an electrical conduit and some clamps will make a cleaner installation of power to your helium miner.
Helium Antenna Earthing
To be compliant with local regulations you should earth your Helium Antenna mast and use a quality lightning arrestor. I use a 10AWG earth cable that I run down to the earth stake for my house. I earth both the lightning arrestor and the antenna mast together.
I do see people also earth to their solar panel frames and then back to the main switchboard. I prefer to run the cable all the way from the top of the two-story house down to an earth stake. This is the correct way but some extra work.
What this does is protect your helium miner and antenna from a build-up of static electricity that can fry your sensitive equipment. Earthing with reducing this static build-up to 0V.
A voltage surge caused by a lightning event, accidental power contact (power cross), static buildup caused by wind or blowing rain/ snow an unearthed antenna can be dangerous for you and your equipment. So make sure to earth your antenna and cable.
You can read more about the antenna earthing codes and examples here.
Waterproof External Inclosures
If you are looking to put your helium miner outside then pick a suitable enclosure rated at IP65 or better. Do you need an enclosure for just the helium miner or the power supply as well?
Most people run an ethernet cable up to their helium miner mounted outside and use power over ethernet. Make sure to have a POE device that can supply at least 3 Amps.
It is good to have your helium miner as close to the antenna as possible but I have found it is not a big deal to use 10m or less of LMR400 cable connected to your external helium antenna and the miner.
Heat and water can destroy helium miners. The Sensecap m1 gets around this with an internal fan.
This is why all of my 7 helium miners are located inside my house with an external antenna. One less thing I need to worry about. If you keep your antenna cable run less than 10m, then dBi losses are acceptable. Going off-grid with solar is another option if you need to power your helium miner.
Check out our post on how to make a solar off-grid helium miner rig.
Do you need a UPS for your helium miner?
Some people use uninterruptible power supplies for their helium miner. If you do make sure to use a full sine wave UPS. This will increase the cost of your installation but will keep your hotspot online and earn HNT in the event of a power failure.
Make sure to also have your internet router connected to the UPS as you will need an online internet connection for your helium miner.
There are so many ways to wire a double-story house and provide power for the helium miner. If you put some thought into where you will be placing your miner and where the antenna will be placed. This way your cable runs can be short.
Always think about the shortest run and how you can prevent water from entering your roof or wall space. Silicone gap filler is your friend. Use it on all holes you are drilling into your house. Keeps water and unwanted pests out.
For those of you that are renting, it will be hard to drill holes in walls and roof tiles. Attic installs are a good way to hide the helium miner and get better results than stock.
Now if you install your external helium antenna and you don’t receive any witnesses then you have a problem. You will have to do our helium miner troubleshooting guide to narrow it down.
I like to hide all of my antenna and ethernet cables in the walls so I get a clean helium miner installation.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Happy HNT mineing people.
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.