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DIY Guide

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Board

By popular demand, we are pleased to present this “Do it Yourself” (DIY) guide for the Start9 Embassy personal server!


There are several reasons you might prefer to build your own Embassy instead of purchasing one from us:

  1. You already own the necessary hardware and would like to re-purpose it.

  2. You live outside the US and want to save on shipping costs.

  3. You do not trust Start9’s supply chain.

  4. You do not want to share your shipping address.

  5. You just like building things.


The first thing you’ll need to do is gather the hardware and assemble it.


  • Raspberry Pi 4B (8GB)

  • Power supply for Raspberry Pi 4B Make sure this is at minimum 15w and 3a.

  • Case for Raspberry Pi 4B (passive cooling is recommended). This means no moving parts and no noise.


    If you prefer to use a fan, do not use the official Raspberry Pi fan, as it requires the same GPIO pins as the audio speaker. Instead, we recommend this fan.

  • A 32GB microSD card (no need for bigger).

  • GPIO mini speaker/buzzer (These often sell out, please let us know if this link needs to be refreshed)

  • Ethernet cable

  • MicroSD to USB adapter (or you may have a microSD port on your computer)

  • SSD (minimum 1TB) that connects over USB 3.0 This can be an external drive, or an internal drive with an USB enclosure. Currently the only tested and supported external drives are the Samsung T5 and T7


  1. Insert mini speaker/buzzer into GPIO pins 6/8/10/12 with the word “speaker” facing out, away from the board.

    Speaker board spec
  2. Place the Raspberry Pi 4 board (with speaker attached), into its case.

  3. Plug in the external drive to one of the USB 3.0 (blue) slots

Getting EmbassyOS

After building your device, you need a copy of EmbassyOS.

  • Visit and enter the product key xxxxxxxx (all lower case) to download an image of EmbassyOS.

Installing EmbassyOS

Whether you purchase EmbassyOS from us or build it yourself, you’ll need to flash it onto a microSD card.

  1. Download balenaEtcher onto your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer.

  2. Insert the microSD card into your computer, either directly or using an adapter.

  3. Open balenaEtcher.

    Balena Etcher Dashboard
  4. Click “Select Image” and select your downloaded copy of EmbassyOS.

  5. Click “Select Target” and select your 32GB microSD card.


    Be certain you have selected the correct target microSD card. Whatever target you select will be completely erased and replaced with EmbassyOS.

  6. Click “Flash!”. You may be asked to (1) approve the unusually large disk target or (2) enter your password. Both are normal.

  7. After the flash completes, you may remove the micro SD from the adapter, insert it into your Embassy’s SD card slot, and continue to the Initial Setup instructions.