Build a Bitcoin Lightning Node with RaspiBlitz + CryptoCloaks 3D Printed Case
Update June 18th, 2020: I’ve made a video showing you assembly for the updated Lightning Shell case that now accommodates the awesome passive cooling case for the Raspberry Pi 4.
Update May 5, 2020: This guide was updated to include the Aluminium Case by Pimoroni which solves issues with using the shim fan.
With the global COVID-19 pandemic causing chaos in global markets there has never been a better time to setup a bitcoin + lightning network full node. Contribute to full autonomy from the crumbling fiat financial markets with this subversive little kit =)
Part I: Assembly —Parts, setup the microSD, build the fan, and assemble within the Lightning Shell case.
Part II: Install — RaspiBlitz setup, tweak the fan/LCD, port forwarding, and the RTL web GUI. Note the passive cooling update @ 1:13 - CryptoCloaks now sells a case for passive cooling vs using a fan, which is the topic of the next video.
Part III: The Upgraded Lightning Shell — Rebuild the lightning node to include a passive cooling case Raspberry Pi4 and assemble it in the upgraded Lightning Shell from CryptoCloaks. Temps are now 10–15°C lower and it’s completely silent!
Hardware List in USD
I’ve included links to Amazon.com that should help you nail down exactly what to get.
- Raspberry Pi4 4GB $66
- CryptoCloaks.com Lightning Shell Case $60
- 1TB Samsung T5 USB SSD Drive w/ USB cable $150
or USB HDD/SSD with outside dimensions less than (134.6mm x 83mm x 18mm)
- RaspBerry Pi4 Power Supply w/switch $12
- RaspBerry Pi4 Aluminium Cooling Case $14.50 → Note the passive cooling update in the 3rd video above! You can also reference Pomoroni’s install instructions.
- 3.5" Raspberry Pi4 LCD Display 480x320 $25
- 32GB MicroSD Card $13
- 1GB/s LAN cable $7
- Hex Wrench size 2.5 and 3 $10
Flip the LCD & Enable Touchscreen
You probably noticed it would be hella cool if the LCD screen could be flipped so it can sit properly without cable issues. Well of course it can! In the RaspiBlitz menu scroll to SERVICES > LCD ROTATE. Make sure this is NOT checked and hit OK. After a reboot the LCD will rotate properly for the Crypto Cloaks case.
While you’re messing with the LCD you can also install the touchscreen at SERVICES > TOUCHSCREEN.
Cooling the Raspberry Pi4
Raspberry Pi4 has been known to get quite hot especially when syncing the blockchain. Temperatures around 80° will throttle the pi so you need to keep temperature well below that. Original designs from RaspiBlitz included a fan shim but it was replaced by an aluminium passive cooling solution in May 2020. The guys at CryptoCloaks also updated their Lightning Shell design to include this new component:
The passive cooling makes this build a whole lot easier with no fan shim software to muck around with. That said, hotter climates might still require a fan setup and CryptoCloaks is about to release a shell to accommodate this for cases, but only those without an LCD. See below:
Fan Shim Software and Setup
Because you might still be using the Pomeroni I will explain how to set that up. On the Pomeroni fan shim install page they mention some commands for controlling the fan. When syncing the blockchain the Raspberry Pi4 tends to get hot so I suggest using the fan with an aggressive setting to do your sync. Like the video mentions I used:
sudo ./install-service.sh --on-threshold 65 --off-threshold 55 --delay 2
Once the sync was done I found using the following settings worked good and the fan rarely got triggered idling around 70°C:
sudo ./install-service.sh --on-threshold 75 --off-threshold 60 --delay 5
That said, I think passive cooling like this will be the best option for most and CryptoCloaks has already updated their Lightning Shell case for it. Silent is nice =]
RaspiBlitz: https://github.com/rootzoll/raspiblitz — Start here! All of the software configuration is done with this amazing project. Follow https://twitter.com/rootzoll and https://twitter.com/raspiblitz for updates, and keep an eye on the issues tab at github.
CryptoCloaks Lightning Shell Case: This beautiful 3D printed case wraps this project up sooo nicely. It’s just been recently updated to support the passive cooling case from Pimoroni.
Passive Cooling Case by Pimoroni: Grab this passive cooling case if you decide to not use the fan shim.
Assembling the Aluminium Passive Cooling Case by Pimoroni: https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/assembling-the-heatsink-case — Detailed build guide for this amazing little case which now fits into the latest Lightning Shell from CryptoCloaks.
Fan Shim by Pimoroni: https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/getting-started-with-fan-shim — For detailed instructions assembling the Fan Shim including software to control it.
Ride the Lightning: https://github.com/Ride-The-Lightning/RTL — RTL is a full function, device agnostic, web user interface to help manage lightning node operations.
BTCPay Server: https://btcpayserver.org — BTCPay is a self-hosted, open-source cryptocurrency payment processor. Use it to invoice anyone in bitcoin without any pesky middlemen. Total financial autonomy = achievement unlocked.