It's not the same as pins. The software inside a GT is the same hard drive regardless of whether or not it's a commercial or home edition. It's the security chip that tells the hard drive what version of the software to boot when the game is turned on.
You cannot operate a commercial live machine online at home, due to the fact that I.T. needs you to "register" the machine with them as an operator with an operator agreement. You also need a commercial live security chip, and a Cabinet ID device (CID) that is available for activation as a commercial live unit.
A home edition machine requires registration with I.T. as well to be online, but there is no revenue agreement operator paperwork required to activate a home edition machine online. You do, however, need a home edition security chip (not the same as a commercial live chip) and a CID that has been "activated" as a home edition CID with I.T.'s servers. Once you activate a CID as a home edition machine, there's no going back. That CID cannot be used as a commercial live unit again.
This is why you can buy a commercial unit used and bring it home and run home edition on it. I.T. simply sends you a home edition security chip, and you call them when you're ready to activate your CID as a home edition. They "flip the switch" on the CID on their end, and you connect your machine to an ethernet cable and *boom* your commercial live machine has now been converted into a home edition machine.
Of course, this means that the coin mech and the dollar bill acceptor on your once-commercial machine are now pretty much useless, as you cannot use a home edition machine for revenue earnings - it's set to free play automatically by the security chip. That's why brand new home edition machines ship without a coin vault - they don't (and can't) use them.