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  1. Member
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    Thinking about it, issues using multiple drives with an Android box isn't unique and I suspect may be linked to the USB 2.0 port, hardware or firmware in addition to the voltage, amperage the standard allows. I remembered that one of the signs my WDTVs (Plus and Gen 3) were dying is that the drives would start disappearing just like on my Android Box. Power wasn't an issue, since the drives were in a four or eight bay standalone enclosure with it's own power supply. Before I got the enclosures, I ran 10-12 (forget which) external 3.5" drives simultaneously on my WDTVs. All were individually powered and run through two powered USB hubs. If I didn't use a powered hub, some of the drives wouldn't be recognized or disappear.

    Since I switched to my PC and laptop a couple of years ago, everything's (*knock wood*) been fine.
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  2. PCs typically have a ~500 watt power supply (not all on the 5V rails) and has no problem providing provide a full 0.5 amp (2.5 watts) to each USB port. Android TV devices are typically powered by a 5 watt 2 amp wall wart, 10 watts total.

    Also, use short, heavy gauge, USB cables. The voltage drop over cheap cables can be significant.
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    A quality 350 watt PSU can outperform a cheap 500 watt PSU because of lower quality components. I can't remember offhand exactly how, but there's a formula to calculate how much power (I think checking adding up the amps on the 12V rails) your PSU is really capable of. Also a 500W power supply on prebuilt PCs is being generous. Looking up the specs on Dell Optiplex business PCs, the PSUs max out a ~300 watts.

    Also, some motherboards, especially cheap ones combine two USB ports together, sharing the power and the bandwidth. You can tell by plugging a portable hdd or optical drive with a Y-splitter (for extra power) into two adjacent ports. The drives may not spin up correctly if the ports are sharing the power. I have a cheap Lenovo SFF PC for playing MAME (old arcade games) and I use a modified Tankstick, with two programmable joysticks, a trackball and an spinner, five low power USB plugs that I had to carefully try on different USB 2.0 ports to get them all working correctly.
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    the question of why would I do it is because I can, because I had them laying around, and I like the challenge of using something for other purposes. so all of what I did costed zero (beyond the initial purchass), was about 15 minutes of work from the clipping of wires to the soldiering and the heatshrink on the wires. my question is why not do it. why put an on off switch on my pi same reason, tinkering. why build a htpc server and home network because I can. why buy a 3.0 usb when the pi takes a 2? all that speed is wasted and the extra cost is not why I bought a pi. I was offering a cheep solution and 15-30 minutes of work with products some may have laying around. if they can find a use and are happy with the results why not do it
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    typically the usb 2 spec supplies 2.5 amps across its bus while a usb 3 spec has 4.5 amps available. the charger I use is the high cap charger and provides the amps that the usb 3 uses. another reason to do what I did
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    Nice that you have are able to do the mod, but not everyone has the knowledge, skill, extra power supply or even soldering iron (I have one somewhere) to properly modify a hub. For people like me, too easy to solder to the wrong wire or have solder overflow bridge the connectors. I'd rather spend a few extra dollars than risk frying my device or drive.

    The amperage and and bandwidth on a hub is shared by all devices attached on an unpowered hub. A powered USB 3.0 hub gives extra headroom and doesn't cost much more than a USB 2.0 one. Your two powered drives may be fine, but three may not. Also, devices like optical drives and some portable drives require extra power to work. I have a USB 3.0 portable drive that won't work in a USB 2.0 port unless I use a Y-connector and connect it to two different ports, not just two ports on an unpowered hub which just splits the power. I also have a USB 2.0 optical drive that came with a Y-connector that requires being plugged into two different ports. I tried a drive with a single USB 3.0 plug and it didn't work on my powered USB 3.0 hub.
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  7. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Hey everyone, thanks for the helpful replies. After some consideration I decided the easiest option is to put Kodi on a cheap laptop with two 8 TBs and control it with a remote.

    I've actually gotten quite far in educating myself on Kodi but cannot understand why there is such sparse support. Are we still in the wild west for this kind of thing? Youtube videos are unprofessional, numerous and with many down votes. Kodi's own forums clearly help some folks but isn't too busy it seems. And the software itself has a very ancient layout for building smart playlists in the first place.

    Is that really how it is?

    Also, a tech question on Kodi: how in the hell do you edit an existing video playlist? I have a collection of Bogart movies and they look great loaded into Kodi (I used Mediaelch) and I want to put them in release date order. Nothing in or out of Kodi seems to do this. I'm not even sure what file format I might import if I do it outside Kodi.

    P.S. Is using a VPN truly recommended?
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  8. Member
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    a vpn is for streaming and only for questionable sources then. the servers offer a good bit more arangment for movies than kodi does. kodi is an all in one option to turn a pc into a quick htpc. the advanced part is to get the plugins and interacting with servers correctly.
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  9. You don't need a VPN if you're only accessing local files or files on your LAN -- and even if you install one it won't be used for those. You want to use one if you are using a bittorrent client to download copyrighted material. Or if you are going to stream from sites that illegally host videos. You might also want to use a VPN to prevent your ISP from spying on you (even with HTTPS they can see what sites you visit, though not the content). Of course, then the VPN provider can see what you do. The industry is starting to add encrypted DNS lookup to close that loophole.

    Playlists are plain text files. You can used any text editor to create/open, and edit them. I recommend you use simple m3u playlists -- just a list of the files, relative paths, full paths, no quotes, forward / not backward \. Keep in mind that Linux is case sensitive -- so Filename.mkv isn't the same as filename.mkv.
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  10. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Playlists are plain text files. You can used any text editor to create/open, and edit them. I recommend you use simple m3u playlists -- just a list of the files, relative paths, full paths, no quotes, forward / not backward \. Keep in mind that Linux is case sensitive -- so Filename.mkv isn't the same as filename.mkv.
    Thanks Jagabo. I've used Jet Audio for building and exporting M3Us for my Cown PMP so I understand the principles, but I really have no idea what program to use for video that would be clean for me here: linear but still more gooey than command line/edits in Notepad, and export/synch to Kodi.

    Any recommends?
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  11. I don't often use playlists. But when I do I use Notepad or Wordpad.
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