"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time"
Jar Jar Binks
It’s 2019. End of April, beginning of May. Setting up the RaspiBlitz took like forever, mostly because of a nasty coincidence. It turned out, my desktops hard disk drive was dying and the raspiblitz image was corrupted. At the beginning, we did not notice the actual problem, but downloaded an image via laptop instead. So the RaspiBlitz started and everything went well until the blitz had to be filled with the Bitcoin blockchain. As I had no other full node available at that time, we decided to trust rootzoll and download the chain via torrent. Of course, the torrent file lacks the blocks of the last few days. In combination with the very limited processing power of the raspi (3b+) this lead to some additional days of synching with the blockchain. Thinking I was super clever, I setup a Bitcoin Core node at my desktop PC (still running the dying HDD) to speed up things. So I started the RaspiBlitz setup again from scratch, this time copying the blockchain data validated by myself from my desktop pc to the raspiblitz hard drive via USB. After some funds were transferred to the node and a few channels were opened everything went straight downhill. The Blitz reported a corruption of the blockchain and suggested a download of the data once again. Thanks! No! At this point I have had enough for the moment. In hindsight, I have to admit most of my experience was based on bad luck. The very last thing I did was taking a backup of all the lightning channels. Then it got quite…..
Temple Of Retribution
Fast forward. January 2020. Finally, the second attempt. This time wih a fresh and fully functional desktop hdd and bitcoin core running at the desktop. The setup went nearly flawless, only I was not able to copy the blockchain data as described in rootzolls manual via SCP command over the network. However, lil’b recommended using WinSCP, and et voila, after five hours the file transfer of the roughly 270GB was finished. Some more hours of synching and the main menu was accessible. Now I loaded the eight months old channel backup file and, surprise, surprise, one of the channels was still active showing the correct balance and transactions. The other two were inactive and didn’t go active within the next week, so I closed them. Closing channels hurts because it costs a lot of sats. Maybe I do something wrong, but every forced channel close cost me something around 65000 sats. Anyway, even though our node has only one open channel, the few transactions I started, all went through in about ten seconds. It works.
Next Level Shit
The 2019 me accessed the RaspiBlitz using Zeus via mobile. But only within the home network. 2020 me read the Zeus manual more carefully (Or maybe this section was new. Who knows.) and was guided to another manual from openoms, who explains how to connect Zeus app via Tor to the Raspiblitz. I CAN ACCESS MY LIGHTNING NODE FROM EVERYWHERE VIA MOBILE PHONE. That’s cool. Moreover, as the CombinatLN is intended to be a shared node of the combinat, both, @pntmg and @gegenlicht connected via ZeusLN to the node and we both can receive and send funds. Feels like a company account.
Use the manuals and read them properly.
- RaspiBlitz – @rootzoll – https://github.com/rootzoll/raspiblitz
- Zeus – @ZeusLN – https://github.com/ZeusLN/zeus
- Openoms – @openoms – https://github.com/openoms/bitcoin-tutorials
RaspiBlitz manual should be fairly self-explanatory. It is to set up your own RaspiBlitz. Zeus is the mobile app to access your RaspiBlitz. And finally, openoms manual explains how to connect Zeus via Tor to the RaspiBlitz.
Have some up-to-date blockchain available to be copied onto the RaspiBlitz. The other options take really, really long.
WinSCP is a great tool for transferring data within the same local network. Works excellent between Windows and Linux based OS.
If you have to start from scratch, formatting the SD card is not enough: wipe the whole thing using diskpart.
Give dem Raspis their power. Not joking. Get 5V/3A power supplies. Some of the failures I experienced probably originated from not enough power for either the Raspi or the attached hard disk drive.
Big lightning nodes are not that bad. The LNBIG.com [lnd-25] node was the only one still present after eight months inactivity from my side. All other channels I had to close manually to free the locked up funds.
Opening and closing channels is not negligible. My funds depleted quite quickly when playing around with opening and closing channels…
Nobody needs fancy cases and TFT screens. At the beginning it’s really nice to look at. At the latest after a week you stop thinking about it. I removed the screen and the case and the temperature of the raspiblitz dropped from ~70°C approximately 10°C to ~60°C. Putting the Raspi behind my NAS fan reduced temperature even further to round about 45°C. That’s cool. Almost as cool as the perhaps cheapest “case” for the RaspiBlitz ever. Made of popsicles and hot glue.
Addendum – Update from v1.3 to v1.4
Ofcourse I had problems with the update. First of all, my desktop PC does not have an “inbuilt” SD card slot. So I used a USB card reader. This fucking thing managed to write the images with errors. Every single time. At least the Balena etcher reported after writing the image a difference of the hash of the image in comparison to the expectation. The laptop card reader did a better job finally.
It also makes sense to re-connect the display when starting the RaspiBlitz with the new version 1.4 SD card for the first time, because your password A was set to default. This default is displayed at the TFT display. Without the default password you cannot conect via SSH.
Now I am curious to check out the new features.