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External Drive Problem

#1
I just installed PlexPi and started using it but every time I start playing a movie, it stops shortly after. It seems like my hard drive is falling asleep (the light is no longer on) and it takes a restart to make it work again. It kinda seems like it stops as soon as I exit the web app (I'm watching the movie on my Apple TV). I know it's not an issue with the hard drive, because I have been running a Plex Server on my computer for the longest time and it works perfectly. 

Can anyone give me an idea of how I can fix this? Also, I'm using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B if that helps. Thanks in advance!
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#2
Welcome to PlexPi!

What kind of external hard drive? Does it have separate power, or is it just plugged into the USB? It sounds to me like it is drawing too much power from the Pi USB port and you need to add supplemental power for the external drive.

This can be achieved with a POWERED USB Hub.

Let me know.

Robbie
Robbie Ferguson // The Bald Nerd

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#3
You’re absolutely right! I didn’t even think about the current draw of the HD. I’ll get a powered hub and let you know if that fixes the problem. Thanks for your help!
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#4
So the powered hub definitely helped! I am still having an issue with movie playback though. My Pi (3+) is hardwired to router and I'm playing Plex on my AppleTV which is right next to the router but the movie constantly freezes. I've lowered the quality to the lowest 1080p setting available but it still doesn't help. I have 400 Mbps download so I don't know why I would have any issues internet wise. Are there any other settings in the Plex media server menu that I can adjust to get better playback?
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#5
Glad the powered hub helped! That fixes one issue anyways. Next up, take a boo at the files you're feeding to the PlexPi. Keeping in mind a Pi 3 is still what it is: a low-powered system, you may need to try a variety of file formats to find which work best. H.265 for example is extremely CPU heavy, and a Pi 3 does not have much in the way of a CPU... so you would be better to use the H.264 codec (just an example).

I'd suggest loading up a handful of files, see which play the best, and then look at the specifications of those files - try to find the similarity, and encode your files in the format the plays the best.

Let us know how it goes!!
Robbie Ferguson // The Bald Nerd

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#6
It looks like most of my movies are in the H.264 format. Just to try though, I also have a few in HEVC that I’ve tried and they constantly pause and buffer too. I’ve even tried using the “Optimize for TV” option on Plex and the new version was actually bigger than my original and it froze more. Is there anything else I can do to help?
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#7
What version of Pi? Could it be a bad SD card?
Robbie Ferguson // The Bald Nerd

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#8
It’s a 3+ and a brand new 32 Gb SD card so I don’t know how either of them could be the problem. I’ve also tried a 3B and a 16 Gb SD card I had and they both had the same problem. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s an issue with my hard drive because it’s doesnt look like it’s constantly reading and the light isn’t blue (it’s a toshiba external hard drive)
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#9
Hi ainvisibleninja, are you using subtitles? Some types of subtitles force plex to transcode the video even if it's in a compatible codec and that's where the pi struggles. I can suggest opening the web interface while playing the movie and check in the Status > Now Playing section, hovering over the tile showing what is currently playing, how is that movie being streamed:
- if it says direct play or direct stream, you should be ok so the issue is not in the PMS/PI configuration
- if it says transcoding on the audio bit you should still be fine according to my experience, as long as there's only 1 transcoding file at the time
- if it says transcoding on the video bit, then I found it buffering continuously even if it's within your local network because of the lack of CPU power in the pi.

Check those things and let us know!

Bye
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#10
It is transcoding! Both audio and video too. It’s transcoding from H.264 to H.264 though, and I don’t understand why.
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