Guide Umbrel Node

Many people now start installing this software, easy solution for Bitcoin / LN node, Umbrel – https://getumbrel.com/

Umbrel guys did a great work, so people without IT skills can install in simple steps a BTC/LN node.

So if you are a new user of this software Umbrel, here you have some links and a simple guide about how to use this node.

First and foremost: default password of Umbrel node is moneyprintergobrrr

Important links:

Umbrel FAQ page: https://info.umbrel.tech/troubleshooting.html

Umbrel Telegram group: https://t.me/getumbrel

Umbrel Discord server: https://discord.gg/Qu7cgcKc

Umbrel Github page: https://github.com/getumbrel/umbrel

Video tutorial (by BTC Sessions) about install/setup an Umbrel node from zero

Hardware tutorial using RaspPi for Umbrel node

As a general note: if you are new into this area of LN (Lightning Network), please educate yourself, at least the basics of LN, BEFORE starting the Umbrel node. Meanwhile your new node is syncing, at least go and read these amazing guide about LN, plenty of information there to give a general aspects about how to use a LN node:

Lightning Node Management – by openoms

Lightning Network Resources – by Jameson Lopp

Wiki Lightning Network – by ION Radar Tech

LightningWiki – by BitcoinStickers

Beginners LN Guide – by Bitcoiner Guide

What is Lightning Network – by Binance Academy

Video tutorials about LN – by René Pickhardt

Video tutorials about LN – by Ministry of nodes

Alex Bosworth Talks Routing Nodes – by Lightning Junkies

An Overview of Lightning Network Implementations

GENERAL RULES:

1. Channel size.

When you open channels, DO NOT start with small amount like 20-50-100k sats. That ridiculous low amount will not be enough not even for the open/close fees. Low amount channels are doing more harm than good, to you and for the rest of the network.

Example: If you have a 20k channel open with my node:

  1. that will barely the open/close fees and remains only dust to spend.
  2. If I want to use that channel to send 50k sats it will not be possible. So the channel will be useless and will lower the node score for both nodes.

Open channels with min 500k-1M sats. That will offer a better routing, for you and for all others that will route txs through your node.

“Bigger is better” DO NOT apply too much in this case, so now don’t go to the other extreme and open massive 0.5BTC channels. Much better the approach of having 5-6 outbound channels with each between 500k to 1M sats and also, depending of your needs, 3-4-5 inbound channels, with the same amount.

Now, yes, more channels is better, because your node will be better connected and will find a better route and faster.

Open channels with different type of software nodes (LND, C-Lightning, Acinq, Electrum). This could be just a personal observation, but I notice that, for example if my node is LND and I want to send to a Acinq/C-lightning wallet, happen 2 things: the fee is higher or couldn’t find a route immediately and I get timeout. So what I do, is going to ln.bigsun.xyz and check the full list of nodes and select one from each type of software used and open a channel.

2. Node Operator.

Operating a node, doesn’t mean automatically “I will get rich earning sats“. Move away from this wrong mentality.

A. You run the Umbrel node to protect your privacy, to protect your keys, to protect your money, to protect the custody of your wallets.

B. Yes, you will earn some sats, but only if you will manage your node in the right way. But even then, those earnings will be insignificant to be considered “earnings”.

C. You run this node to LEARN more about Bitcoin and find solutions for real life applications. Umbrel is offering that opportunity with many apps included (see LNbits, BTCPay, LN Pool, Whirlpool) ready for use cases.

BASIC USAGE:

Now, what I suggest, for any new node user, in special with Umbrel:

1/ Wait to sync the blockchain. It will take time, I know, but be patient. It will get through, no worry. Don’t do anything (stupid) until is not ready. Depending on your hardware configuration and internet speed, it could take between 3 and 12 days. After the sync, it will take another 8-12h to sync the index for Electrum Server.

2/ Keep your software updated (and not just Umbrel, if you are not using the Pi version). So once is synced, check if there are new updates and apply them. If you are using RaspPi option, updating Umbrel will update also the OS. If you are using a Linux machine with Umbrel in docker, you will need to do also: sudo apt update && apt upgrade.

3/ Install minimum required apps like (see the Umbrel Apps section):

  • Ride The Lightning (RTL) – management for node, wallet, channels, routing.
  • ThunderHub – management for node, wallet, channels, routing, chat, tools.
  • BTC Explorer – Blockchain explorer and tools
  • Mempool – watch mempool fees, blocks, check txs, blockchain explorer, very handy

4/ Optional apps:

5/ Connect some wallets to your node:

Electrum Desktop https://electrum.org/#download:

  • You need to install and run Tor service on your computer. Here is a guide for Linux and also a guide for Windows
  • Go and copy the onion address from your Umbrel node for Electrum.
  • Open Electrum, go to Network – Proxy and activate Tor with local proxy enabled. Go to previous main tab and unselect “use random electrum server” and paste your Umbrel onion address.
  • Restart Electrum. Done, now you are connected to your node and all your txs will be validated by your own server.
  • Open a channel towards your node. Go to your Umbrel node – Lightning and copy the node URI onion address. Then go to Electrum – channels – open, paste your node URI, put the amount 1M sats and click open. Done, wait until the tx is confirmed and your channel is ready to be used (to send sats from Electrum). This channel is good for your node as inbound capacity. But keep in mind, when your Electrum wallet is not open, the channel is not online, so cannot receive payments to your node or route others txs. Another aspect of this is that you can easily make swaps in/out from LN with this channel, into Electrum.
  • You can also open a channel FROM your Umbrel towards your Electrum Node ID, if you want a private channel to move sats around. You can see your Electrum node ID in “Wallet Information” menu.

Zap wallet – https://zaphq.io/ :

  • On your mobile you will need to have a Tor service running and setup to use Zap app.
  • Go to Umbrel node – Lightning and copy the node URI
  • Go to Zap and connect it to your node by pasting that URI
  • Wait to connect and done, from now on you have full control of your node (onchain and LN), opening channels, make/receive payments

Zeus wallet – https://zeusln.app/ :

  • With the latest version 0.5.0 Zeus have already integrated Tor service, no need to run any other one on your phone.
  • Go to Umbrel node – Lightning and copy the node URI
  • Go to Zeus – settings, activate Tor box. Restart app.
  • Go to add node and paste the onion URI, but add in the beginning the “https://” if is missing. Click and save node.
  • Wait to connect and done, from now on you have full control of your node (onchain and LN), opening channels, make/receive payments.

6/ Connect your onchain node wallet with Bluewallet. Yes, now you can connect directly to a mobile app, the onchain AEZEED wallet. Just use your Umbrel node seed in Bluewallet (adding it as new wallet) and done.

Use cases:

  • you want to have at hand a way to deposit quick to your node wallet (onchain)
  • you need to have access to your onchain funds in case your node is crashed and want to recover / access the funds.

FUNDING YOUR NODE

  1. Go to your Umbrel main interface, Bitcoin wallet and click “receive”. From any other wallet send some funds (usually for 3-4 channels, each 1M sats). Wait to be confirmed then go to next step.
  2. You can use Lightning wallet, from the same main Umbrel interface, but I suggest to use Thunderhub app. Why? Because you can control better the miner fees for opening the channel. Also RTL app is good, but still you can’t see how much fee in total you are paying. So use one of these 3 interfaces and go to open channels. Select a node desired and put at least 500k-1M sats and open a channel. Start with one good node (see https://ln.bigsun.xyz or https://1ml.com )which node has longest history or number of channels) and later continue with other users nodes. Help new users that post their new nodes URI in the Umbrel Community Telegram group and ask for new channels. TOGETHER STRONGER.
  3. On Umbrel Discord server https://discord.gg/VY3SsPZZya you can also find a room where new Umbrel users can exchange info to open mutual channels. That will help a lot the new users, to start with some known node operators and with some liquidity.
  4. Video Tutorials about how to open/fund LN channels:

If you appreciate this mini-guide, you can open a channel with my Umbrel node if you like and I will lower the base fee to 0.9sats for that channel. I usually open a mutual channel if I have available funds.

035e3aa81503b67d61589270c043bcf6dcf083e40bc8630eeeeb08f85570be0fc9@gttoo2zb6vd3h3b2wlauahx3u3ayrzyi6pe2k4eike6rwzcacni6agad.onion:9735

5. Wait for the opening channel to be confirmed (usually 3 confirmations) and done, you are ready to start lightning, using the wallets I indicated before.

FEATURES NEEDED IN UMBREL NODE:

  • I would like to see future Umbrel releases that can open channels using all onchain wallet balance, deducting automatically the fee. Guessing the correct fee always end with some dust sats remaining in the onchain wallet. That’s not good.
  • Streaming services. Would be nice to have a streaming service, as a separate app. Maybe as pro/paid feature, so the devs can receive something?

HAPPY LIGHTNING!

Your node is ready and you want to test a payment? Tips with LN are appreciated, here is my LNURL from Telegram LNtxBot: https://lntxbot.bigsun.xyz/@DarthCoin where you can send some sats to test your node. Use Zeus wallet or ThunderHub, that recognize LNURL standard (I hope all LN wallets in the end will introduce this LNURL standard so we can really use LN directly for donations).

Do you want to read another interesting guide, using Lightning Network?

Here you have one about a wonderful tool in Telegram, the LNtxBot, send sats, tips, fundraising, lottery, coinflips , also connecting it to your Bluewallet app and use it as a normal LN wallet.