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!


This DIY guide is for EmbassyOS version 0.2.13. A substantive change will be made to this guide for EmbassyOS v0.3.0 scheduled for release in Q3 2021. When 0.3.0 launches it will REQUIRE hardware updates, which you can find here.


There are four 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.


Components (EmbassyOS versions 0.2.x)


For newer versions of EmbassyOS (0.3.0 and above), please see the new hardware requirements here. These pieces are in addition to the hardware below.

  1. Raspberry Pi 4B (8GB)

  2. Power supply for Raspberry Pi 4B

  3. Case for Raspberry Pi 4B (passive cooling recommended *)

  4. High endurance microSD (recommended 128GB or more)

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

  6. Ethernet cable

  7. MicroSD → USB adapter (if no microSD port on your computer)

* If you 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.

Assembly Instructions

  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

That’s it. Place the Raspberry Pi 4 board (with speaker attached), into its case.

Getting EmbassyOS


You can purchase EmbassyOS here. This is by far the easiest path to get up and running.

Depending on your Internet speed, the download should take between 5 and 30 minutes.

Building from Source

If you have the proper tooling and are comfortable using the command line, you can build EmbassyOS from source, which is made available under the Start9 Personal Use License.

Thanks to our community members who have kindly put together these guides!

Installing EmbassyOS

Whether you purchase EmbassyOS from us or build it yourself, you 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.

  4. Click Select Image, then find and select your copy of EmbassyOS.

  5. Click Select Target, then find and select your micro SD card.

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

    Balena Etcher Dashboard
  7. Once the image is flashed and verified, you may remove the micro SD and insert it into your Embassy.

  8. The Embassy is now ready for use, and you may following the normal setup instructions. *

* The first time you power it on, your Embassy will make more noises than future attempts, and it may take several minutes to finally complete.