Casa Node FAQ

Remember – the Lightning Network and Casa Node are experimental! Please only put funds on your Casa Node and on the Lightning Network that you’re willing to lose.

The Lightning Network especially is early in development. While a lot of the kinks have been worked out by now, it’s still in beta.

The Casa Node is NOT a hardware wallet. Using a Trezor or Ledger or Casa Multisig for the majority of your crypto is still the safest way to store it.

If this FAQ doesn’t answer your question, feel free to email [email protected] for support.

General Questions

Can I make money running this node?
You can make a very small amount of money routing Lightning payments for others. We’re talkin’ pennies. We’ve heard that some of the most connected nodes right now are making about $5 a month in fees. This could grow over time as the Lightning Network grows.

Can I change my password?
Not currently. We are building a way to change your password if you know your current password. There is not a “Forgot Password” button, because Casa has zero access to your device or password.

Does this have to be on 24/7?
The Casa Node is made to run 24/7. This is important for properly accepting and routing Lightning Network payments. The device doesn’t use much power, and it’s small so you can plug it in next to your router and leave it.

Why does my node have to sync when I first start it up?
We pre-sync the Bitcoin blockchain before sending your Casa Node to you, but the node will need to sync the blocks that occur between the time your node is produced and the time you receive it.

Then it will need to sync the Lightning Network. We can’t preload the Lightning Network data at this time.

Generally, your first sync after plugging in your node will take a few hours. We recommend going through initial setup so that everything starts syncing, then leaving it overnight to sync while you have sweet dreams of Lightning fast bitcoin payments.

What’s under the hood? (Node software)

  • Bitcoin node software: Bitcoin Core
  • Lightning software: LND (made by Lightning Labs)
  • OS: CasaOS (a modified version of Raspian)

How much money should I put on this?
Only as much as you’re comfortable losing in case something goes wrong. Don’t get too #reckless.

Can I move the node around?
Yes, just make sure to unplug all the cords completely during transportation so nothing gets bent. We recommend properly shutting down your node from the dashboard before unplugging it, which will reduce the chance of chain data corruption.

Lightning Network questions

What is the Lightning Network?
It’s a payment system that sits on top of Bitcoin. It allows you to send bitcoin much faster than sending it on-chain. For some great explainer articles, check out the Lightning Network section on lopp.net/bitcoin.html

What’s a channel?
A channel is an agreement between two parties to pay each other. Think of it like two people pitching in to a stack of money on a table and moving parts of it back and forth to pay each other. Bob and Alice can open a channel with each other and each deposit 0.5 BTC. They can send their deposited BTC back and forth as much as they want, nearly instantly. When they eventually are ready to cash out, they close the channel and each get the amount owed to them sent to their respective on-chain BTC addresses.

Through some fancy game theory and programming, Bob and Alice can also automatically route payments for other people through this channel that they have open with each other. Imagine Rick wants to pay Jenny via Lightning, but they aren’t directly connected. However, Rick is connected to Bob, and Jenny is connected to Alice. Rick tells the Casa Node that he wants to pay Jenny X amount, and the Lightning Network automatically routes the payment from Rick -> Bob -> Alice -> Jenny. Prrrrretty cool.

What is autopilot?
Autopilot is a feature of LND that automatically opens channels for you to nodes throughout the network. The goal of autopilot is to give you an easy way to connect into the network and route payments through other nodes to your intended payment destination. We recommend turning autopilot on.

Why can’t I create a new payment to someone else from scratch?
Because of how the Lightning Network operates, all payments have to be created as requests from the receiving party. Whenever you need to pay someone, ask them to send you a payment request code. Input that into your new payment screen and you’re off to the races.

Troubleshooting

Casa-node.local isn’t working.
First, try typing http://casa-node.local. If that doesn’t work, check your Network Settings and make sure that your DNS is set to automatic, or use Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 DNS server.

If neither of the above work, you’ll need to type the node’s IP address directly into your browser URL bar. We recommend bookmarking it for easy access.

How can I find my Casa Node’s IP address?
The easiest way is to use a tool like Angry IP Scanner (https://angryip.org/). This will scan your local network and tell you what devices are on it. You should see a device named “casa-node.local” – that will have the correct IP address next to it. You can confirm that by typing the IP into your browser URL bar – the Casa Node dashboard should show.If you can’t use a network scanning tool like Angry IP, you can plug a monitor and keyboard into your node. The node should show its IP address during boot up.

A certain part of my dashboard or Transactions pages isn’t updating. What should I do?
Refreshing the page is your best friend. Since we’re communicating with your Node via a website, you will sometimes need to refresh the site to get updated information. We’re working to improve the site so you won’t need to do this as much in the future.

Lightning is continually spinning/Loading, or the Unlock Casa Node popup keeps asking for your password every 30 seconds.
This is caused by LND repeatedly crashing, usually due to errors with uPnP or port forwarding. You can likely fix this issue by setting up port forwarding correctly in the Casa Node interface.

Enabling Tor on your node will often solve for UPnP issues. This is because Tor assigns your device a static onion address, rather than a dynamic IP address. If you want to use Tor (this is usually easier than port forwarding), see our node tutorial on Running Your Casa Node on Tor. Otherwise, continue reading here.

  1. If you’re repeatedly getting the Unlock Casa Node popup, click Cancel. (If you’re just seeing Lightning “Loading…” but not having the password issue, skip to step 3)
  2. Your dashboard will show that Lightning is “Locked”, but this is ok for now.
  3. Click on “Manage Node” under Lightning. Then click the Details button in the Connection Settings section.
  4. Click “Continue with Port Forwarding” on the Connection Details popup.
  5. Follow the instructions in the port forwarding guide below. Make sure to use the external IP address of your node and port 9735, as detailed in the guide.
  6. After you save the new port forwarding settings, the page will refresh. Unlock the node using your password as normal. After a minute or so, the Lightning node should display the sync status – if you see this, you’re good to go.

My Lightning payment is failing, what should I check?
Enough funds to make a payment (check your “Max Payment Capacity” on the Manage Node page for Lightning)You have channels open. We recommend using autopilot to open channels efficiently. Generally the more channels you have open, the easier it is to successfully complete your payment. You can also open a channel directly with the party you’d like to pay.

Why do I sometimes have to type two passwords to unlock?
You have to unlock your Node and authorize the Lightning network separately. You’ll only need to authorize the Lightning network once after each time your Lightning node restarts. The password is the same for both unlocks, and you set it during initial setup.

Why do my open autopilot channels not match the settings I entered?
This could happen for a few reasons:

  • Your node is still working on opening channels, which can take a while since it requires an on-chain transaction to open each channel.
  • With autopilot, you can set the max number of channels and value per channel. However, the goal of autopilot is to get your node connected as quickly and effectively as possible, so sometimes it could create channels at lower values than what you’ve set. The Lightning Labs team is actively working to optimize autopilot, so it will only get better and smarter from here.

Why does my node always say there’s an update?
Because we’re working hard to keep bringing you improvements as quickly as possible! We iterate and release updates frequently to give you the best experience we can with your Casa Node.

Why can’t I make a channel larger than 0.16 BTC?
This is currently a max value enforced by the Lightning Network software. It’s a safety measure since the software is still in beta. This value will likely be raised when there is a consensus that it is safe to do so.

Tips & Guides

How do I allow incoming connections to my node? (Setting up port forwarding)
To allow incoming connections to your Bitcoin and Lightning node, you will sometimes need to set up port forwarding if your node can’t automatically configure it.

Here’s a guide to setting up port forwarding:

  1. Access your router’s admin settings. You will likely have to do this by typing an IP address into your browser. Each router uses a different IP, so consult your router manufacturer’s support site to find out how to access your router’s settings. Here are some common IP’s to try based on manufacturer:
    • http://192.168.0.1 (some Linksys/Cisco models)
    • http://192.168.1.1 (some D-Link/Netgear models)
    • http://192.168.2.1 (some Belkin/SMC models)
    • http://192.168.123.254 (some US Robotics models)
    • http://10.0.1.1 (some Apple models)
  2. Find the Port Forwarding section of your router settings. This is usually in Advanced Settings.
  3. Keep your router settings open. Separately, find your Casa Node’s internal IP address using these instructions.
  4. Add an entry to the port forwarding table in your router settings. The first entry should have port 8333 as the internal and external port. This will open the Bitcoin node for incoming connections.
  5. For Lightning, you have two options. Enable uPnP (this is another option somewhere in your router settings), or open another port.
  6. To open the port for Lightning, follow the same process as in step 4, but open port 9735.
  7. Open your Casa Node interface, navigate to settings, and shut down the Node. Once you get the message that it’s safe to shut down, unplug/replug the power cable.
  8. After your Casa Node finishes rebooting, navigate to your Lightning Connection Details. If you see your Node connection string but no error, you are good to go (this will only happen if you enabled uPnP). If you port forwarded for Lightning, you’ll see an error like the below screen:
  9. Click “Continue with Port Forwarding”. Enter the external IP address of your node. You can find this on the Bitcoin Manage Node page. This will not be the same IP you use to connect to your Casa Node in the browser.
  10. Enter the port you forwarded to (9735 unless you have an advanced setup).
  11. Click Save. Your Lightning node will restart to save the changes.
  12. Pat yourself on the back and grab a beer, that sucked. Content yourself with the fact that the Casa team is working hard to make this easier!

What should I pay as a channel opening fee?
Opening a channel requires an on-chain transaction, so your fee should be based on how quickly you want your channel opened. We recommend checking a block explorer like https://live.blockcypher.com/btc/ to see the latest fee estimates. In the future, we’ll automatically estimate fees for you.

How do I send a payment?
You’ll need a payment request code. This is generated by the person/party you’re paying. You can then click Send Lightning Payment on the Lightning Transactions page and paste the request code there.

How do I access my Casa Node?
Go to http://casa-node.local. Note for advanced users: SSH is disabled on the device. You can access it directly by plugging it into a monitor, but it will not show a UI. Please see the “Advanced User Tips” section below for more info.

How do I open channels, and who should I open them with?
The recommended way to open channels is to turn on autopilot. However, you can also open custom channels with specific nodes by clicking “Manage” in the Custom Channels section of your Lightning node. You may want to open a custom channel with a node you know is well connected (like the Casa Node!), or with someone you pay frequently.

Security

My browser says this is running over http. Is this secure?
Your Casa Node should only be accessed via http from inside your home network, under the general assumption that your home network is secure. For the best security, we recommend that you access your Casa Node via Tor, which you can learn how to do in our Node Tutorial on Running Your Casa Node on Tor.

How is my Casa Node password stored?
Encrypted on the device.

How should I store my seed phrase?
On a piece of paper, kept in a safe place. Do not save it on your computer.

How is my private key stored on the device?
It’s stored encrypted using the LND software. Remember that this is not completely “cold” storage like a hardware wallet, so you should not store your life savings on the Casa Node.

Advanced Users

What is the device hardware password, and how do I change it?
The device hardware username and password allow you to plug the Casa Node directly into a monitor and use it from the command line. This is not recommended for most users. If you would like to do this, please email us at [email protected]

If I have two nodes running at the same time, how do I access the second one?
For now, you’ll need to access it by typing its IP address into the search bar. We’re working on improvements for this situation so it’s easier to access a second node on the same network.

How Do I Restore My Wallet?
The wallet seed phrase you wrote down when setting up your device is not a BIP39 Bitcoin wallet seed phrase. It’s known as an AEZeed phrase and this is the seed format used by lnd. In order to recover your funds, you will need to run an lnd instance either on another Casa Node or on a different machine you own.