Building Lightning node

There was a need for a Lightning node and fortunately nearly at the same moment an older notebook found its way back to be. Quite old but still powerful enough to run all the needed software. I installed Linux Mint (just to have a nice graphical user interface I will never use), CTX containers and started installing all the needed Lightning node (further in the text just LN) applications into the container. Why into container? Just to be able to clean-up the notebook from all these components easily. 

Installing software

There are pre-built OS images with LN installed for Raspberry Pi. If you want to run LN on your Raspberry Pi you can have it in minutes. For other platforms, it’s necessary to install a bitcoin node application, lightning node application and probably same management tools to have a more comfortable way how to monitor and manage the node without going to the command line all the time.

To find the right component stack is quite easy – there are some proven apps and their alternatives.

I have chosen the proven ones:

  • Bitcoin core – bitcoind
  • LND
  • LNDConnect to be able to connect my mobile phone wallet easily

and some add-ons to have a web user interface for common tasks:

  • Ride The Lightning
  • ThunderHub
  • Lightning Terminal
  • Bitcoin Explorer RPC

Thanks to LNDConnect you can easily connect iOS (mobile) Lightning Wallets to your node, I use:

  • Zap
  • Zeus LN

It took me (bitcoind actually) two days to synchronise the block-chain and in then I added all the other components in quick succession. Not big issues, I just needed for read some „solved issues“ on GitHub from time to time.

Connecting my node to others

The funny part is which channels should be opened and how to maintain the node. I have seen a youtube video where the guys called Lightning node “Tamagotchi”. It needs your attention otherwise it dies.

I decided to open two channels at the beginning and add a new one every one or two days. It seems to be quite a good approach as it shows some continuous “grows” in number of channels and also capacity to others. To find the right “peers” for the channels is kind of magic. Fortunately there are online tools which can help you to evaluate 16000 other nodes to find some good candidates for future friends.

First routings

Routing Fees

And it came! The very first routings of 3rd party payments. Yes, for a few Satoshis but they are there! And the same routings as a nice graph:

Routing Graph

Now it’s time to find a final home for my node – I will migrate it to a Raspberry Pi computer I bought for it.

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