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.

INSTALLATION MODES:

First and foremost: default password of Umbrel node is moneyprintergobrrr

A. Using a Raspberry Pi 4

B. Using a normal PC/laptop/NUC

Once is installed and running, it start syncing the Bitcoin Blockchain. In this moment you just relax and wait to be synced. It will take 4-12 days, depending on the hardware and internet connection. Meanwhile I invite you to learn more about Lightning Network and how to use and be preapred to use an 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.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

Official Main Umbrel Page Lightning Network Resources – by Jameson Lopp
Get Umbrel Page Lightning Node Management – by openoms
Umbrel Troubleshooting Page Beginners LN Guide – by Bitcoiner Guide
Umbrel Community Telegram Group LightningWiki – by BitcoinStickers
Umbrel Community Discord Server Wiki Lightning Network – by ION Radar Tech
Umbrel Github Page What is Lightning Network – by Binance Academy
Alex Bosworth Talks Routing Nodes – by Lightning Junkies An Overview of Lightning Network Implementations
Video tutorials about LN – by Ministry of nodes Node Doctor – Nice tool preview over your node
Video tutorials about LN – by René Pickhardt ln.bigsun.xyz – LN nodes explorere and statistics
LN channels mangement – by Alex Bosworth 1ml.com – LN nodes explorer and statistics

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.

OUTBOUND Liquidity – You have a LN node to make LN payments, buying stuff, sending to friends, paying services etc. So try to open LN channels with those merchants you are willing to trade (merchants, exchanges, wallet operators, LN services, friends with nodes).

INBOUND liquidity – So find some peers that are willing to open some channels TOWARDS your node. Check the Umbrel Discord server and Telegram group, where you can ask for peers to open channels with your node. The inbound liquidity IT IS NECESSARY in order to be able to receive LN payments.

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 RPC Explorer – Blockchain explorer and tools
  • Mempool – watch mempool fees, blocks, check txs, blockchain explorer, very handy

4 – Install 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.

BlueWallet + LNDHUB wallet:

  • Install in Umbrel the app LNBits. This will activate the option to create various LN wallets on your node, that can be linked using lndhub connection.
  • Create a wallet in your LNbits module, activate the LNDHUB extension and link it to that LNbits wallet. Use the onion address for this procedure, NOT the local IP or umbrel.local. The wallet have to be visible over internet and the only way is through Tor.
  • Open your Bluewallet, go to add wallet, click import and scan the QR code displayed on your LNbits LNDHUB. You have two options: as admin (full rights over the wallet) or invoicing only (limited rights only for creating invoices).
  • REMEMBER: Use Bluewallet under Tor service (Android Orbot app) otherwise will not read that QR code.
  • Done. Now you can use that wallet as a normal LN wallet in Bluewallet, no need for opening channels etc it’s all linked with your LN node, so it depends of your node liquidity. This is a good option if you have a small shop with employees that can charge using LN, without having full permissions to your node.

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 / CONNECTING 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. Are you going to do some shopping with LN? Good, then go and open channels with those merchants you are planning to buy from. In this way, you get to pay less fees, your txs will get through faster, you help also the merchants to have better inbound. Optional you can ask them to lower the fees for your channel. Even if you are not planning to do that shopping with them, doesn’t matter, just open the channels. It will be used also for routing, if there are with a good amount.
  4. 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.
  5. Video Tutorials about how to open/fund LN channels:
  6. Lightning Network Ring of Fire.
  7. 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 500 mSats for that channel. I usually open a mutual channel if I have available funds.

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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.

HAPPY LIGHTNING!