This is a guide for upgrading the external drive. Periodically, as the size of the blockchain grows, you will need to upgrade to a larger drive.
You should make a backup of any important files before proceeding with this operation.
At a minimum, it’s recommended to make a backup of the LND static channel backups.
You can do this with Dropbox via the Static Channel Backups guide
To reduce the potential for data corruption, we don’t want any of the services running while working through this upgrade.
Stop and disable each service
$ sudo systemctl stop btcrpcexplorer $ sudo systemctl stop electrs $ sudo systemctl stop lnd $ sudo systemctl stop bitcoind $ sudo systemctl disable btcrpcexplorer.service $ sudo systemctl disable electrs.service $ sudo systemctl disable lnd.service $ sudo systemctl disable bitcoind.service
It is important to keep the system up-to-date with security patches and application updates. The “Advanced Packaging Tool” (apt) makes this easy.
💡 Do this regularly every few months to get security related updates.
$ sudo apt update $ sudo apt full-upgrade
Make sure that all necessary software packages are installed:
$ sudo apt install htop git curl bash-completion jq qrencode dphys-swapfile hdparm --install-recommends
To store the blockchain, we need a lot of space. As a server installation, the Linux native file system Ext4 is the best choice for the external hard disk, so we will format the hard disk, erasing all previous data. The external hard disk is then attached to the file system and can be accessed as a regular folder (this is called “mounting”).
🚨 Existing data on this drive will be deleted!
- Do not yet connect the external drive to your Pi, we need to check some things first.
- Start your Raspberry Pi by unplugging it and connecting the power cable again.
Log in using SSH, but now with the user
password [A]and the new hostname (e.g.
raspibolt.local) or the IP address.
$ ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
- To change system configuration and files that don’t belong to the “admin”, you have to prefix commands with
sudo. You will be prompted to enter your admin password from time to time for increased security.
The Raspberry Pi 4 supports USB3 drives, but is very picky. A lot of USB3 adapters for external drives are not compatible and need a manual workaround to be usable. We will now check if your drive works well as-is, or if additional configuration is needed.
First, lets get some information about your drive from the kernel messages. Clear the kernel buffer, and follow the new messages (let the last command run):
$ sudo dmesg -C $ sudo dmesg -w
Connect your external drive to the blue USB3 ports of the running Raspberry Pi, preferably with a good cable that came with the drive.
Once the system recognizes it, details are automatically displayed by the
[816984.221283] usb 2-2: new SuperSpeed Gen 1 USB device number 3 using xhci_hcd [816984.252697] usb 2-2: New USB device found, idVendor=152d, idProduct=1561, bcdDevice= 2.04 [816984.252713] usb 2-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3 [816984.252726] usb 2-2: Product: SABRENT [816984.252738] usb 2-2: Manufacturer: SABRENT [816984.252750] usb 2-2: SerialNumber: DB9876543214E [816984.288041] scsi host1: uas [816984.289535] scsi 1:0:0:0: Direct-Access SABRENT 0204 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6 [816984.291894] sd 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 0 [816984.982236] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 2000409264 512-byte logical blocks: (1.02 TB/954 GiB) [816984.982253] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 4096-byte physical blocks [816984.982504] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off [816984.982520] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 53 00 00 08 [816984.982917] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA [816984.983652] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Optimal transfer size 33553920 bytes not a multiple of physical block size (4096 bytes) [816984.988800] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
Make a note of the values shown for
idProduct(in this case “152d” and “1561”). Then, exit
List all block devices with additional information. The list shows the devices (e.g.
sdb) and if they exist, the partitions they contain (e.g.
Make a note of the partition name you want to use (in this case “sdb1”).
$ lsblk -o NAME,MOUNTPOINT,UUID,FSTYPE,SIZE,LABEL,MODEL > NAME MOUNTPOINT UUID FSTYPE SIZE LABEL MODEL > sda 931.5G BUP_Slim_RD > └─sda1 /mnt/ext 3aab0952-3ed4-4652-b203-d994c4fdff20 ext4 931.5G > sdb 953.9G SABRENT > mmcblk0 58G > ├─mmcblk0p1 /boot 4BBD-D3E7 vfat 256M boot > └─mmcblk0p2 / 45e99191-771b-4e12-a526-0779148892cb ext4 57.8G rootfs
In the above, the original external drive is
sdaand has partition
The newly attached external drive is
sdband has no partition yet. It’s very important to keep track of which block device and partition applies to the original vs new drive
If your external drive (e.g.
sdb) does not contain any partitions (e.g. no
sdb1), create a partition first using as described here: https://superuser.com/questions/643765/creating-ext4-partition-from-console
Now, let’s test the read performance of your drive. Make sure to use the right partition name (used with the
$ sudo hdparm -t --direct /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdb1: Timing O_DIRECT disk reads: 2 MB in 31.15 seconds = 65.75 kB/sec
In this case, the performance is really bad: 65 kB/sec is so 1990’s. If the measured speed is more than 50 MB/s, you can skip the rest of this section and go directly to formatting the external drive.
Otherwise we need to configure the USB driver to ignore the UAS interface of your drive. This configuration must be passed to the Linux kernel on boot:
cmdline.txtfile of the bootloader.
$ sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
At the start of the line of parameters, add the text
aaaais the “idVendor” and
bbbbis the “idProduct” value. Make sure that there is a single space character (
Reboot the Raspberry Pi with the external drive still attached.
$ sudo reboot
After you logged in as “admin” again, let’s test the read performance once more.
$ sudo hdparm -t --direct /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdb1: Timing O_DIRECT disk reads: 574 MB in 3.00 seconds = 191.07 MB/sec
You should see a significant increase in performance. If the test still shows a very slow read speed, your drive or USB adapter might not be compatible with the Raspberry Pi. In that case I recommend visiting the Raspberry Pi Troubleshooting forum or simply try out hardware alternatives.
Format the partition on the external drive with Ext4 (use
[NAME]from above, e.g
$ sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/[NAME]
List the devices once more and copy the
UUIDof the new partition into a text editor on your main machine.
$ lsblk -o NAME,MOUNTPOINT,UUID,FSTYPE,SIZE,LABEL,MODEL > NAME MOUNTPOINT UUID FSTYPE SIZE LABEL MODEL > sda 931.5G BUP_Slim_RD > └─sda1 /mnt/ext 3aab0952-3ed4-4652-b203-d994c4fdff20 ext4 931.5G > sdb 953.9G SABRENT > └─sdb1 1d9e9dee-87c3-4296-94e2-e833b948a19d ext4 953.9G > mmcblk0 58G > ├─mmcblk0p1 /boot 4BBD-D3E7 vfat 256M boot > └─mmcblk0p2 / 45e99191-771b-4e12-a526-0779148892cb ext4 57.8G rootfs
fstabfile and add the following as a new line at the end, replacing
123456with your own
$ sudo nano /etc/fstab
UUID=123456 /mnt/extnew ext4 rw,nosuid,dev,noexec,noatime,nodiratime,auto,nouser,async,nofail 0 2
Here is an example of the new mount point for the new drive along side the original drive
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0 PARTUUID=738a4d67-01 /boot vfat defaults 0 2 PARTUUID=738a4d67-02 / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1 UUID=3aab0952-3ed4-4652-b203-d994c4fdff20 /mnt/ext ext4 rw,nosuid,dev,noexec,noatime,nodiratime,auto,nouser,async,nofail 0 2 UUID=1d9e9dee-87c3-4296-94e2-e833b948a19d /mnt/extnew ext4 rw,nosuid,dev,noexec,noatime,nodiratime,auto,nouser,async,nofail 0 2 # a swapfile is not a swap partition, no line here # use dphys-swapfile swap[on|off] for that
🔍 more: complete fstab guide
Create the directory to add the hard disk and set the correct owner
$ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/extnew
Mount all drives and check the file system. Is “/mnt/extnew” listed?
$ sudo mount -a $ df -h /mnt/extnew > Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on > /dev/sdb1 938G 77M 891G 1% /mnt/extnew
Presumably, the new external drive is more performant then the original. We will temporarily move the swap file to the new mounted location.
Edit the configuration file and replace existing entries with the ones below. Save and exit.
$ sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile
CONF_SWAPFILE=/mnt/extnew/swapfile # comment or delete the CONF_SWAPSIZE line. It will then be created dynamically #CONF_SWAPSIZE=
Recreate new swapfile on ssd (will be active after reboot)
$ sudo dphys-swapfile install
We’ll use rsync to copy the files, preserving permissions and extended attributes
$ cd / $ sudo rsync -avxHAX --exclude=swapfile --numeric-ids --info=progress2 mnt/ext/ mnt/extnew/
The output will show file progression
> sending incremental file list > ./ > bitcoin/ > bitcoin/.lock > 2,147,483,648 0% 81.22MB/s 0:00:25 (xfr#2, ir-chk=4327/4334) > bitcoin/.walletlock > 2,147,483,648 0% 81.22MB/s 0:00:25 (xfr#3, ir-chk=4326/4334) > bitcoin/banlist.dat > 2,147,483,685 0% 80.19MB/s 0:00:25 (xfr#4, ir-chk=4325/4334) > bitcoin/bitcoin.conf > 2,147,484,131 0% 80.16MB/s 0:00:25 (xfr#5, ir-chk=4324/4334) > bitcoin/db.log > 2,147,484,131 0% 80.16MB/s 1:04:17 > ...
While reading from one disk and writing to another can be fairly performant, don’t be surprised if this takes a few hours. If you are unfamiliar with rsync, here is how to interpret the above output by column
- filename and relative path
- overall percentage complete
- transfer speed
- time remaining (e.g. 1:04:17) and then changed to time taken (0:00:25)
- xfr is the file number transferred
- ir-chk=4324/4334 is the incremental recursion check. files remaining / files total
Over the course of the synchronization, the incremental recursion check can increase until it transitions to show
to-chk in place of
ir-chk as depicted below. Once this happens, it has discovered all files to copy.
> bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206971.ldb > 360,288,743,724 84% 59.23MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19033, to-chk=1695/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206972.ldb > 360,290,914,611 84% 59.23MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19034, to-chk=1694/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206973.ldb > 360,293,085,490 84% 59.23MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19035, to-chk=1693/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206974.ldb > 360,295,256,251 84% 59.23MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19036, to-chk=1692/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206975.ldb > 360,297,427,362 84% 59.22MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19037, to-chk=1691/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206978.ldb > 360,299,598,549 84% 59.22MB/s 1:36:41 (xfr#19038, to-chk=1690/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206979.ldb > 360,301,769,513 84% 59.22MB/s 1:36:42 (xfr#19039, to-chk=1689/20739) > bitcoin/indexes/txindex/206980.ldb
And when it finishes it should look something like this
> lost+found/ > 426,795,633,281 100% 54.07MB/s 2:05:28 (xfr#20717, to-chk=0/20739) > > sent 426,901,227,575 bytes received 393,910 bytes 56,674,626.15 bytes/sec > total size is 426,795,633,281 speedup is 1.00
You can do a cursory check to verify the used space is equal between original and new drive
$ df -h > Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on > /dev/root 57G 5.4G 50G 10% / > devtmpfs 1.8G 0 1.8G 0% /dev > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /dev/shm > tmpfs 2.0G 8.8M 1.9G 1% /run > tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup > /dev/mmcblk0p1 253M 53M 200M 21% /boot > /dev/sda1 916G 398G 472G 46% /mnt/ext > tmpfs 391M 0 391M 0% /run/user/1001 > /dev/sdb1 938G 398G 493G 45% /mnt/extnew
Turn off the current swapfile
$ sudo dphys-swapfile swapoff
Edit the configuration file and replace existing entries with the ones below. Save and exit.
$ sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile
CONF_SWAPFILE=/mnt/ext/swapfile # comment or delete the CONF_SWAPSIZE line. It will then be created dynamically on restart #CONF_SWAPSIZE=
Remove existing swapfile (the one on /mnt/extnew)
$ sudo dphys-swapfile uninstall
Verify it is gone
$ ls -la /mnt/extnew/swapfile > ls: cannot access '/mnt/extnew/swapfile': No such file or directory
Now that the new drive contains all the old files, we will remount it in place of the original.
Unmount both drives
$ unmount /dev/sda1 $ unmount /dev/sdb1
fstabfile. Comment or delete the existing /mnt/ext, and rename /mnt/extnew of the new drive to /mnt/ext.
$ sudo nano /etc/fstab
Here is an example of the change. Note that both refer to the same mount point and we commented out the line for the original drive.
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0 PARTUUID=738a4d67-01 /boot vfat defaults 0 2 PARTUUID=738a4d67-02 / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1 # This is the original drive #UUID=3aab0952-3ed4-4652-b203-d994c4fdff20 /mnt/ext ext4 rw,nosuid,dev,noexec,noatime,nodiratime,auto,nouser,async,nofail 0 2 # This is the new drive UUID=1d9e9dee-87c3-4296-94e2-e833b948a19d /mnt/ext ext4 rw,nosuid,dev,noexec,noatime,nodiratime,auto,nouser,async,nofail 0 2 # a swapfile is not a swap partition, no line here # use dphys-swapfile swap[on|off] for that
Save and exit
Remount the drives
$ mount -av > /proc : already mounted > /boot : already mounted > / : ignored > /mnt/ext : successfully mounted
Check the free space
$ df -h > Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on > /dev/root 57G 5.4G 50G 10% / > devtmpfs 1.8G 0 1.8G 0% /dev > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /dev/shm > tmpfs 2.0G 19M 1.9G 1% /run > tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup > /dev/mmcblk0p1 253M 53M 200M 21% /boot > tmpfs 391M 0 391M 0% /run/user/1001 > /dev/sdb1 938G 398G 493G 45% /mnt/ext
Power down the Raspberry Pi
$ sudo shutdown --poweroff now
You’ll be logged out of the SSH session.
You can power off the Raspberry Pi
Unplug the original drive
Remove the original drive from the Raspbery Pi.
The only external drive connected now is the new drive.
Power on the Raspberry Pi
Turn on the power switch, and wait for the system to boot up
From your local system, log back in with admin
Verify the drive mounted
Note that it changed the device handle from /dev/sdb1 to /dev/sda1
$ df -h > Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on > /dev/root 57G 7.4G 48G 14% / > devtmpfs 1.8G 0 1.8G 0% /dev > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /dev/shm > tmpfs 2.0G 8.5M 1.9G 1% /run > tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock > tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup > /dev/mmcblk0p1 253M 53M 200M 21% /boot > /dev/sda1 938G 398G 493G 45% /mnt/ext > tmpfs 391M 0 391M 0% /run/user/1001
Enable and start the services
$ sudo systemctl enable bitcoind.service $ sudo systemctl enable lnd.service $ sudo systemctl enable electrs.service $ sudo systemctl enable btcrpcexplorer.service $ sudo systemctl start bitcoind $ sudo systemctl start lnd $ sudo systemctl start electrs $ sudo systemctl start btcrpcexplorer
Unlock the LND wallet
Unless you have auto-unlocking enabled, you’ll need to unlock the wallet for LND
$ lncli unlock > Input wallet password: > > lnd successfully unlocked!
Congratulations, you have now completed the upgrade of your external drive! As the blockchain continues to grow you’ll be able to repeat these steps in the future.
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