Building a Lightning Node
Background image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Building a Lightning Node
Hello Ecencians and Bitcoiners
A while ago I built a lightning node including a Bitcoin node which is mandatory for the lightning node. You don't need much technical know-how to build this. When you worked with computers and know how to set up an operating system, you will be able to set up a lightning node too. You can also buy a complete ready-to-go node, but where is the fun? It's also possible to run it on a Linux-based system but I went for the Raspberry solution.
Things you need:
I bought a one-time used Raspberry Pi on eBay including the power supply and case. The storage drive, drive enclosure, and the 16GB microSD I got from Amazon. I had a cable at home.
I just describe the way I did it and what I used. You will find other ways on the internet.
Raspberry Pi 4
hard drive with case
Raspberry Pi opened
The installation process is easy. You get umbrelOS from the website umbrel.com. There is also a step-by-step guide. Download the umbrelOS file and the flash software to flash the umbrelOS on the microSD card. You do this on your computer with a card reader. The flashing process takes a while but not too long. After the flash is finished, you insert the microSD card into your Raspberry Pi. Connect the SSD and connect your ethernet cable with your router and your Raspberry Pi. Connect the power supply and turn your Raspberry Pi on. After ~5min the installation should be ready.
Go to your browser and enter umbrel.local
You will probably see another start screen the first time and you have to choose a username and a password.
The umbrelOS is pretty much like a phone and works with apps. Easy to use!
Check the app store and look for the Bitcoin node and install it. Get a coffee now or go for a walk. It will take several hours until the blockchain is completely synced. You can install the lightning node app too but it needs the Bitcoin node fully synced first to be able to work. Look at the size of the blockchain. It's huge!
After syncing is complete open the lightning node app. Here you have to deposit some BTC. I think it was around $300 in BTC which is needed. You need to open channels to other nodes later and there is a minimum requirement of BTC in your wallet. I think it was 0.01 BTC at least. Click deposit and scan the QR code with your favorite Bitcoin wallet.
Now you can open channels to other users and support the lightning network. Yeah, I know and I've heard it before.. It's not a network.
There are some websites with lists of channels but I found another app in the store which shows your node to others and you can start a triangle (3 nodes) or pentagon (5 nodes) capacity. I really like this idea. With the triangle, the first node opens a channel to the second node. The second node opens a channel to the 3rd node and the 3rd node opens a channel to the first node. You'll find lightningnetwork+ in your umbrel app store.
It's called liquidity swap. Check the requirements first before you open for application.
At the end a little warning. When you are in your lightning node app, you will see a difference between the BTC wallet and lightning wallet. Don't send BTC from the main blockchain to the lightning wallet or the other way around. It should not work but just in case.
Any questions? Leave a comment!
Images and screenshots are from me, umbrel.com, my node and zbd