cjdawson
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:15 pm

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:26 pm

Hi everyone.

I've got a lovely media center that's based around a Rasberry PI 3B+ now, well it was using a 3B until I upgraded. However, I've suspected that there's been a problem for a while and I've now confirmed it.
My PI was installed in a MediaPi case. Plugged into the PI was a wireless keyboard dongle. There's also a WD Passport drive (4TB) which was running from one of the USB sockets. Actually, the MediaPi case has it's own USB sockets, so I was connecting to that instead of directly to the PI.

However. When running this setup with my Pi 3B I'd get the lightning bolt quite a lot. Normally it wasn't really an issue. However, over time, I had a problem that the OSMC install would get corrupted. After upgrading to the 3B+ It's now struggling to play films. Actually, it appears that the Hard drive is shutting down.

So, as an experiment, I decided to try running the PI and the HDD from a powered USB Hub. Low and behold all the problems went away. It's an Anker 10 port USB Hub that I'm using, 3 ports are dedicated to charging, the rest are USB 3 ports.

The hard drive ran stable, the PI ran without a lightning bolt showing up for long.

This has me thinking that I want to get the PI and hard drive out of the Media PI case and put it into it's own enclosure, with a good power supply.

What I'd like to do is build a custom box for the PI to live in.
The key points are as follows....

1. Must house, both the PI and the Passport drive, so that I can leave them both plugged in together all the time. (I copy files onto it via the wired network)
2. I must be able to run the box from either 12V DC, or Mains.
3. I want to add active cooling to the BOX, have a 90mm fan that I think would be great.

The PI itself will be running OSMC, and RetroPie. Actually, it already is as I have that setup and running lovely.

Before I go crazy and design a case, does anyone know of any that will help to make my life alot easier with this project?

cjdawson
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:15 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:05 am

As there's been no replies. I'm guessing that there isn't anything that I can use out of the box. So it's time for me to build a box.

Here's my thoughts, before I get started properly.

I've got a plan to build a box for my PI, WD Harddrive and my Anker 10 port USB HUB.

The HUB will power the PI and the other periphals.
In order to get the maximum performance from the PI, I've decided that only the USB hub will be plugged directly into the PI, everything else will be connected to the HUB. This should minimise the power draw on the PI as much as practical.

My Anker 10 Port USB hub has 3 ports for charging devices. I'm going to use one of these for powering the PI, the other two, I'm thinking would be good to break out to the outside of the box, this will give me a convenient place to charge the game controllers that I use with RetroPie.
I'll also put in a breakout for the network port as that's how I keep the PI updated etc.

The USB Hub will have both the WD Passport Drive that contains all the files, and a logitech wireless keyboard dongle.

I want to work a 90mm fan into the box as well so that the PI gets better than excellent cooling. I'm also thinking about taking another PI case or maybe even glue it into the box, so that I can use the risers, to mount the PI inside the case.
Finally, I'll be looking to mount the Hard drive into the box as well. I don't want anything slopping around loose.

That's the basic idea of what I'll be building.

maurice1
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:55 am
Location: Dublin

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:56 am

When you use the official Pi Hub that is in the shape of a raspberry, there is an USB to firewire cable to connect the hub to the pi USB.
Your 10 port hub doesn't look like it has a firewire outlet.
I don't think the 5v power USB on the Pi carried data.
I presume you have tested it without the box and it is successful.

I find my Rpi3B with a 2Tb drive plugged directly in on a 5v 2A supply works fine (no hub) using OSMC

I put it in an Aerial washing machine tablet box (to stop dust) and stuck it under the floorboards which is a lot cooler than room temp, A 1 Litre ice cream tub is too small !!
IKEA do a range https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/sma ... -60316068/

It would be handy if your fan was 5V and feed it from the hub via the pi's GPIO pins through a relay.
You can monitor the temp from the Pi CPU itself
Will the fan's noise be distracting?

Nowadays electronics seems to be able to handle 70 degrees C no problem

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 17838
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:02 am

maurice1 wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:56 am
When you use the official Pi Hub that is in the shape of a raspberry, there is an USB to firewire cable to connect the hub to the pi USB.
Your 10 port hub doesn't look like it has a firewire outlet.
I don't think the 5v power USB on the Pi carried data.
I presume you have tested it without the box and it is successful.

I find my Rpi3B with a 2Tb drive plugged directly in on a 5v 2A supply works fine (no hub) using OSMC

I put it in an Aerial washing machine tablet box (to stop dust) and stuck it under the floorboards which is a lot cooler than room temp, A 1 Litre ice cream tub is too small !!
IKEA do a range https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/sma ... -60316068/

It would be handy if your fan was 5V and feed it from the hub via the pi's GPIO pins through a relay.
You can monitor the temp from the Pi CPU itself
Will the fan's noise be distracting?

Nowadays electronics seems to be able to handle 70 degrees C no problem

there is an USB to firewire cable to connect the hub to the pi USB.

What rubbish, FireWire is a completely different protocol and connectors.
Adieu

HiroProtagonist
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:45 am

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:12 am

cjdawson wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:26 pm
What I'd like to do is build a custom box for the PI to live in.
The key points are as follows....

1. Must house, both the PI and the Passport drive, so that I can leave them both plugged in together all the time. (I copy files onto it via the wired network)
There is a need for a pi case that provides for stuff like HDD inside the case. Sadly, such a beast does not seem to exist.

I suspect the reason is cost. An internal HDD would need to connect to USB, which means in order to connect the HDD and provide access for USB + Ethernet to the outside world you have 2 choices:

1) Mount the Pi with the Ethernet & USB ports accessible to the case exterior & have a USB cable going back inside the case for the HDD [ugly & kludgy].

2) Mount the Pi inside the case & provide sockets on the case exterior that cable back to Ethernet & USB on the Pi [expensive].

[email protected]
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 8:04 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:01 pm

try the mediapi case, I have one, its awesome



Matt

DarrenHill
Posts: 183
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:03 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:06 pm

One thing I would draw your attention to is the WD PiDrive Cable, if you can find one.

https://thepihut.com/products/western-d ... 5687541512

I'm not sure they're still in production (the PiDrive itself isn't I don't think) but I'm sure a bit of web searching may yield a reseller.

It's designed to work with their specific PiDrive, but will also work with a MyPassport (I have a 4TB one which I use the cable with). Basically it splits the power between the Pi and the drive, and with a suitable power supply (I normally use the official foundation one) it can power both but in parallel rather than passthrough.

You plug the PSU into the female micro USB connector, then it has normal USB3 and full-size USB3 for the drive-Pi connection, and a micro-USB male to power the Pi itself. Mine works fine, and is a bit smaller/neater than a powered hub.

geoffpalmeruk
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:45 pm
Location: Exeter, Devon, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media center build

Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:21 am

I have a pidrive case: https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/ca ... -6x6-black
It houses my pi3b and 2.5inch 2tb WD HDD. It all works with no modification and no need for extra hub etc!

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