Helium Not Working – how to fix common problems

Helium miners can experience many technical issues. This can result in lost $HNT earnings. Here’s a list of common problems and how they can be resolved. I’m going to keep adding to this list as new problems are discovered. If you have a problem (and hopefully a solution as well) that you would like to see added to this list, let us know.

Helium Miner not Mining

There are many reasons for this. Here’s a list starting from the most to the least likely:

  • You just joined the Helium network. If this is a new miner and you’ve turned it on recently, it has to sync to the block chain before it can mine tokens. We have discussed how long a Helium hotspot takes to sync in this post here.
  • Your miner may be offline. This is a common problem for Helium miners. They can sometimes drop off the network. I have experienced this many times with my own hotspots. A miner that is on Wi-Fi can lose its connection to the network for the same reasons that your laptop can. A solution to this problem is to ensure your hotspot is placed in a location with strong Wi-Fi signals. To reconnect you have to power down your miner, wait a minute and then power it back up again. It’s also best to connect to it with your Helium app and verify that it’s connecting to the network you want it to connect to. The reason this is important is that your network itself could be down or unreachable. If you have no other devices connected to it, then you won’t know.
  • Other miners. Check to see if miners that you usually witness are in fact transmitting beacons. If they are not sending beacons, then you will not witness anything. This can happen if you are surrounded by a few miners and they are offline.
  • Something’s broken. Did you change your setup with some new cabling? If so, then make sure that you have used the correct connector type. The miner has an RP-SMA-Female connector.

The antenna or cable that connects to the hotspot connector has to be RP-SMA-Male – shown in the picture below.

RP-SMA-Male Cable

The RP-SMA-Male connector mates with the RP-SMA-Female connector. However it can also mate with an SMA-Female connector which is shown in the picture below.

SMA-Female Connector

Since there is no center connector in the SMA-Female connector, there will not be any actual signal connectivity. And when there’s no connectivity there will be no signal and no beacons or witnesses. So check your connectors!

  • Issues with the overall Helium system. When this happens, there’s usually an issue with the reporting and not the mining. But because you don’t see any new tokens being added to your earnings, you might assume that your miner is not mining.The solution to this is to check online to see what the system is doing overall.
  • Firmware issues. Sometimes a miner vendor will roll out a firmware update which will impact mining. This happened recently with Bobcat miners from batch 21. The solution to this one is to reach out to your vendor for a fix. They can roll out a firmware update to fix the issue.

Helium Miner not Syncing

Once you’re connected to the Helium network, it can be a while before your miner shows sync progress. We’ve covered this topic in detail here.

Helium Miner not Witnessing

If your Helium hotspot is synced to the Blockchain then you should start witnessing other hotspots. Here are a few issues that might cause zero witnesses.

  • Antenna connected? Check to see if your antenna is connected to the input connector either directly or if you’re using a cable, then ensure that it’s got the appropriate connector.
  • Are there any miners nearby? Check Helium explorer to see if there are in fact hotspots in your neighborhood or close enough that you will be able to see them.
  • Are the miners that you usually witness online and transmitting beacons? This might be an issue if you rely on witnessing only one or two hotspots for HNT earnings. If you rely on beacons from say 10 different miners, then you can expect that a few of them will always be online.
  • Is your miner in a basement? If so then it’s recommended that you move it to the highest location you can get to and preferably with an antenna upgrade. You can read more about this here.
  • Did you just relocate your miner? If that’s the case, then make sure you asserted your new location and give it a couple of days to settle into its new digs and start witnessing.

Helium Miner not sending a Beacon

If your miner is connected to the network and witnessing, there’s likely nothing wrong with your hardware or it’s connectivity to the network. This is something that sorts itself out – it can take up to a week (as reported by some users). So there’s really nothing you can do about this other than be patient.

Helium Miner not earning or not making any money

The main reasons for this are:

  • You have a new miner and it’s not yet synced to the Helium blockchain. In this case you have to wait until it is synced before it can start mining.
  • There are no miners around you. In this situation you have to either:
    • grow the network yourself by placing other miners at least 300 feet apart
    • convince others in your neighborhood to get miners
    • wait until the network grows in your area
  • Miner is in a basement or other location where it cannot talk to other miners

Helium Miner not syncing to Blockchain

When you power up your miner, set it up and connect to the network, it does take a while to even get started with the sync process. In fact you could be stuck at 0% for a while. We provide further details on syncing in this post.

Helium Miner Offline

If your Helium miner is offline

  • Check your internet connection
  • Make sure that your miner is close enough to the Wi-Fi access point so that it can stay connected
  • Use a speedtest application on your phone to determine which Wi-Fi network – 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz – is faster and more reliable. Connect your miner to the better network
  • Whenever possible connect using an Ethernet cable
  • If you’re in an apartment building don’t use powerline networking – it might appear to work but will most likely be flaky and unreliable

Summary

In this post we have summarized some of the common issues with miners and how to solve these problems. One thing to keep in mind is that the Helium network is very new and it’s a complex system that’s growing extremely fast. We’re bound to face technical challenges as the network expands. We’ll continue to add to this list as new problems are discovered.

______________________________________________________________

Icons by icons8