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Google Drive/Remote Pi Access/Home Automation

Huh Before I begin, I apologize in advance for a long post; I’m completely new to “Pi world”, so please bear with my “greenness”.

I have a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, but I haven’t yet set it up under PlexPi 1.3 as of yet.  I’m in the process of gathering all of my and my family’s music, photos, and videos from multiple sources (both hard drive-based and cloud storage-based).  Once everything has been gathered and put into a 1TB external hard drive, I’ll run a duplicate file scanner and delete all duplicate files.  Afterwards, I plan to upload everything to my 1TB Google Drive cloud-based storage with 3 folders - Music, Photos, and Videos.

Some of my files have already been backed up from my 2 Windows 10 computers using Google Backup and Sync.  What’s the best way to move the files backed up with that program onto the proper corresponding folder (Music, Photos, Videos)?  I want to have a neat and efficient setup for everything.

Next, I have decided - at this point in the process - to install RealVNC Connect onto the Pi to connect to it from my iPhone 8 and either of my 2 Windows 10 computers (one of which is 12 years old and is about to be discarded) using RealVNC Viewer.  It connects via the cloud, meaning that I don’t have to deal with port forwarding, using a service like duckdns.org to refresh my dynamic IP address into a consistent one, etc.; will this work fine or should I consider other options that would involve port forwarding, service-based IP address modification, etc.?

Finally, I want to get into Pi-based home automation; is Home Assistant or OpenHAB better for a “newbie” in the home automation area like myself?

Thanks for bearing with my long post; I look forward to any and all helpful responses.

“Mark the Auditor”
Edmond, Oklahoma, USA
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had the questions in my post.
Will someone please respond?  I’m wanting to get this up and running this weekend and really need some feedback.
Please help me.
Hi Mark,
Sorry for the slow response to this one. I do my best to stay on top of the forum / community support but it has been a busy time. Thanks for bumping the post and notifying me of the oversight.

First, with regards to setting up your folders for use in PlexPi, organizing by Music, Videos, Photos is fine. My personal preference is to be even more organized than that though...

My structure looks more like this:
  • Videos
  • Videos/Television shows
  • Videos/Drama
  • Videos/Sci-Fi
  • Videos/Crime
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Music/Country
  • Music/Jazz
  • Music/Dubstep
Just for example. That way, when I add the media to PlexPi, it is very well organized in the interface, and Father Brown is not listed alongside The Orville.

I would highly recommend you watch this video:

Can it be done via Google Drive? Well, I suppose... but I'd advise against it. Yes, your 1TB drive will be better. But perhaps you're just using Drive to consolidate, and then copy the files to the local storage.

No, I would not use VNC for this. Instead, just open Port 33400 to your PlexPi server and then visit yourdomain.duckdns.org:32400/web

I have not yet put any work into remote access, though you'll see in the upcoming features list I have plans to build a reverse proxy into PlexPi to improve performance from outside your home network.

I'm not at all familiar with home automation (yet) so I can't speak on that one. Though keep in mind PlexPi is based on Debian (or Raspbian to be specific) so any tutorials helping you get setup with Debian/Raspbian should translate fairly easily to PlexPi.

Hope this helps! Good luck and please keep us posted! I'm open to feature requests as well.

Robbie Ferguson // The Bald Nerd

Did I help you out? Appreciate what I do? Please consider saying thanks:

Thanks for the quick reply!

I’ll definitely be more organized than just “Photos”, “Music”, & “Videos”, but I’m going to place everything first than create sub folders for each category afterwards and then move each file into the appropriate folder-subfolder structure.

My thought behind using Google Drive to store the media was this: “Since my family (myself and 3 others) all have iPhones, we could upload anything in the aforementioned 3 categories to my Google account, where the 1TB of storage space ‘lives’”.  I’d be open to using the 1TB external USB 3.0 hard drive (via plugging it into a powered USB hub) for media storage, but would that prevent any of our iPhones from uploading to the Plex Media Server?  I’m wanting to get to the point where I’ve got a constantly-updated library working with any and all iPhone uploads.  That was my idea behind using Google Drive - the easy “upload ability”.  But if there’s a way any of our iPhones could upload something to the 1 TB USB HDD via a remote connection, I’ll choose that option instead.

As far as remote access to PlexPi from outside my home network, my Arris TG1682G router lists 5 DDNS services that it can work with, but DuckDNS is not listed.  Would DuckDNS still work with my router/gateway from Cox Communications even though it’s not listed as an option in the settings function?  I’d read about DuckDNS and would definitely consider using it instead of RealVNC if it can work properly with my router/gateway.  I’d also looked into ZoneEdit, which *is* listed as an available DDNS option on my router/gateway.

On the home automation front, I know that’s a new but very-quickly-advancing area; I’ll follow your advice and ascertain whether Home Assistant or OpenHAB would work better with Debian/Raspbian.  I’ve seen some YouTube videos on those, so I’ll contact those 2 providers and get further guidance.

I’m looking forward to jumping into “Pi world” - once my media files are organized/structured.  Over almost 17 years of marriage, along with having 2 daughters, 2 dogs, & 2 rabbits (!), we’ve accumulated literally thousands of media files, so it takes time to sort them, scan for and delete duplicate files, etc.  All of this makes me wish I’d been more organized/structured over this long period of time!  It’d make my current task MUCH easier.

I enjoy the show greatly; you, Jeff, & Sasha make a great team!  Jeff’s humor is very entertaining, too!  Keep up the great work you all do!

Whatever I find out works better for home automation using a Pi will be passed on to Cat 5.

Mark the Auditor
Me again... I posted a reply to Robbie’s message the other day (& I watched the video twice to make sure I “caught” everything).

Also, on the iPhone, what’s your recommended app on the iPhone (8) for “SSHing” into the Pi remotely?  I plan on using either Putty (in Windows 10) or Microsoft’s own OpenSSH (currently in beta) for Windows 10.

As for remote access to PlexPi, my research reveals that I can use DuckDNS.org even though it’s not an option listed as a supported DDNS service in/on my router.

I really do wish that I could join the chat room during the live show, but it occurs during my church choir’s rehearsal time, so I can’t.  But I always watch it every Thursday after I’m home from work and settled in for the night.
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