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Old 07-21-2014, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Newbie Saying Hello and asking a few questions

Hello All,

Long time lurker, first time poster. AVS is usually my first stop shop for most of my problems related to entertainment devices. I'm finally getting around to building my first HTPC/NAS (but not my first PC) and just going through all the stickies and build guides made me realize that I will be posting a question sooner or later so I thought I would say hi.

Last edited by Tesshin; 07-23-2014 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Updating Title
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:25 PM
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Hello. There are quite a few helpful people here at the forum.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I've noticed, I'm just trying to go through the guides already posted so I can avoid asking dumb questions lol.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, so I've been doing my homework and the HTPC build should be up and running some time next week. I ran into an issue that I can't seem to figure out, the answer is probably due to some basics that are implied but please bare with me since I've never worked with *nix or any form of HTPC SW. I'm more than willing to go through some guides to find the info if anyone can please point me in the right direction.

I have my media scattered all over 5-6 mixed HDD, my new build is from new hardware and I can't figure out the best way to get all my movies and music on to the new build. I'm going with Openelec on a 8GB USB3 or on the new 120GB SSD (Samsung 840 Evo) if that's a better route (suggestions?). New 4TB WD Green HDD will house all the media till I transform one of my other PC's into a UnRaid machine. I know I need to organize all the files so that XBMC recognizes them but not sure if I should dump all the files to the new 4TB then organize once I install OE or organize on my current PC then move it over once OE is up and running. BTW this is the new build, please let me know if I should be looking to upgrade some components sooner rather than later. Thanks in advance

ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac
Intel Core i3-4130T (w/ stock heatsink)
Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) (CMZ4GX3M2A1600C9)
SAMSUNG 840 EVO 120GB (MZ-7TE120BW)
WD Green 4TB (WD40EZRX)

Upgrades to follow - recommendations?
CORSAIR RM Series RM550 550W
Noctua NH-L9i 95mm (Corsair H100 later)

Last edited by Tesshin; 07-24-2014 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesshin View Post
Alright, so I've been doing my homework and the HTPC build should be up and running some time next week. I ran into an issue that I can't seem to figure out, the answer is probably due to some basics that are implied but please bare with me since I've never worked with *nix or any form of HTPC SW. I'm more than willing to go through some guides to find the info if anyone can please point me in the right direction.

I have my media scattered all over 5-6 mixed HDD, my new build is from new hardware and I can't figure out the best way to get all my movies and music on to the new build. I'm going with Openelec on a 8GB USB3 or on the new 120GB SSD (Samsung 840 Evo) if that's a better route (suggestions?). New 4TB WD Green HDD will house all the media till I transform one of my other PC's into a UnRaid machine. I know I need to organize all the files so that XBMC recognizes them but not sure if I should dump all the files to the new 4TB then organize once I install OE or organize on my current PC then move it over once OE is up and running. BTW this is the new build, please let me know if I should be looking to upgrade some components sooner rather than later. Thanks in advance

ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac
Intel Core i3-4130T (w/ stock heatsink)
Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) (CMZ4GX3M2A1600C9)
SAMSUNG 840 EVO 120GB (MZ-7TE120BW)
WD Green 4TB (WD40EZRX)

Upgrades to follow - recommendations?
CORSAIR RM Series RM550 550W
Noctua NH-L9i 95mm (Corsair H100 later)
Welcome to AVSForum.

Just a few thoughts: the i3 should be more than sufficient for the server. I would reserve the EVO for your client machine. Servers don't generally need fast boot times like the clients do. If you're using a 64-bit copy of Openelec, I'd go with more RAM (the 4Gb should be more than enough for your client PC, too). It is usually wise to separate boot drives from data drives. I suggest this only because you're starting from scratch and it would be convenient to configure your machines in this way.

Since you're relatively new to this, I'll offer my standard $.02. You're choosing a linux-based OS for your server. That's a fine thing if you understand linux to a level where you'd feel comfortable doing disaster recovery from the command line. I know some linux, but I'd have to admit that I'd be terrified to have to recover a drive from a command prompt. When you design a server, you do it for reliability, security and redundancy.

So my advice is this:

Don't make the mistake of complicating a system to such a degree that even you can't find you're way out of trouble. Call it the KISS principle for HTPC's.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:07 PM
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Welcome !
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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:10 PM
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Flexraid server would allow you to add all your existing drives (even with data on them) or remove them at any point. If that matters. Unraid I think you need to copy the data and the pre-clear them before adding, and removing they won't be readable in windows machines. FLEXRAID allows you to remove a drive and it's readable in any windows machine. You seem comfortable with linux though, so that might not matter ?

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Old 07-24-2014, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Welcome to AVSForum.

Just a few thoughts: the i3 should be more than sufficient for the server. I would reserve the EVO for your client machine. Servers don't generally need fast boot times like the clients do. If you're using a 64-bit copy of Openelec, I'd go with more RAM (the 4Gb should be more than enough for your client PC, too). It is usually wise to separate boot drives from data drives. I suggest this only because you're starting from scratch and it would be convenient to configure your machines in this way.

Since you're relatively new to this, I'll offer my standard $.02. You're choosing a linux-based OS for your server. That's a fine thing if you understand linux to a level where you'd feel comfortable doing disaster recovery from the command line. I know some linux, but I'd have to admit that I'd be terrified to have to recover a drive from a command prompt. When you design a server, you do it for reliability, security and redundancy.

So my advice is this:

Don't make the mistake of complicating a system to such a degree that even you can't find you're way out of trouble. Call it the KISS principle for HTPC's.
Thanks for the advice! and I already ordered upgraded ram (8GB). For some time now I have made the habit of seperating my boot drives from my data drives so that won't be an issue and this is a learning adventure for me so I can midigate loosing anything valuable by not incorporating it into the server or client PC. I know zero about linux or unix so this project is a way for me to learn.

Sounds like I need to up my time frame and build the server along with the client to avoid future complications. I will relegate one of my other computers to server duty, it will have to be my AMD Phenom 9950 w/ 4GB or RAM (for now). I'm sure the processor can handle what ever I throw at it. As for the i3, this was chosen since I'm new to the HTPC world and I didn't think I would need more power for an entry level client PC. I thought I would start with this till I can upgrade the i3 which would then become the new server.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Welcome !
Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Flexraid server would allow you to add all your existing drives (even with data on them) or remove them at any point. If that matters. Unraid I think you need to copy the data and the pre-clear them before adding, and removing they won't be readable in windows machines. FLEXRAID allows you to remove a drive and it's readable in any windows machine. You seem comfortable with linux though, so that might not matter ?
I'm not comfortable with anything other than Windows lol. As I mentioned to ajkrishock, this is going to be a learning experience in which I'm diving straight into the deepend Looks like I need to do a deeper comparison of UnRaid to Flexraid since I originaly ruled out Flexraid as I thought it didn't meet my needs.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:55 PM
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Flexraid installs into windows, it's only a program or plugin. (although they have a linux version too) It's not an OS.

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Old 07-24-2014, 05:02 PM
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Mfusick is right on the server option. Unless you're building a new machine and starting from ground zero, unRAID would not be a good option for you. I built one myself and its been running trouble-free for over 3 years but I started with all brand new drives and filled it up as I went along.

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Old 07-24-2014, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesshin View Post
I have my media scattered all over 5-6 mixed HDD, my new build is from new hardware and I can't figure out the best way to get all my movies and music on to the new build. I'm going with Openelec on a 8GB USB3 or on the new 120GB SSD (Samsung 840 Evo) if that's a better route (suggestions?). New 4TB WD Green HDD will house all the media till I transform one of my other PC's into a UnRaid machine. I know I need to organize all the files so that XBMC recognizes them but not sure if I should dump all the files to the new 4TB then organize once I install OE or organize on my current PC then move it over once OE is up and running
Greetings

Beginning thoughts and suggestions
  • Openelec works great on usb - just realize sleep/resume is currently disabled for USB boot (if you want to re-enable it I can post the instructions)
  • If you want to use the evo for boot it would also work great, but you won't notice much if any improvement in your OE box
  • unraid is a fine product, similar to openelec -- in that both bring linux to the consumer market in such an easy way that you can really dive in without knowing anything like ls, rm, -a, mv, etc
  • Flexraid will suit you well if you are already extremely comfortable in windows and want to run windows applications on your server
  • unraid or flexraid would make better use of your SSD for different usage, in that flexraid would run atop a windows OS which the only reason I could see you going that route is to run windows applications. I believe unraid can use it as a cache
  • Once you have the server up and stable on your network, any PC can take the task of organizing (server doesn't need to run windows for this to be easy either)
  • I wouldn't recommend trying to organize all of that in OpenELEC if you have a large collection in need of some maintenance
  • Just browse your shares on a windows machine and get all the movies in one folder. Then you can use the Files2Folder shell extension to put each movie in it's own folder with the name matching the filename (minus the extension)
  • After running that little shell extension gem, you can load up mediacentermaster and let it go to town at guessing your names. I'd recommend have it use blocking IMDB verification prompts on your first run, and let it rename all your folders/files to the Moviename (year) for you
  • Then setup XBMC w/ mysql on your server (or a different client if using unraid) and let it build your database. Point openelec towards the mysql server ip with an advancedsettings.xml and everything will show up within seconds of booting OE (no need to rescrape)
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:03 PM
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Greetings

Beginning thoughts and suggestions
  • Openelec works great on usb - just realize sleep/resume is currently disabled for USB boot (if you want to re-enable it I can post the instructions)
  • If you want to use the evo for boot it would also work great, but you won't notice much if any improvement in your OE box
  • unraid is a fine product, similar to openelec -- in that both bring linux to the consumer market in such an easy way that you can really dive in without knowing anything like ls, rm, -a, mv, etc
  • Flexraid will suit you well if you are already extremely comfortable in windows and want to run windows applications on your server
  • unraid or flexraid would make better use of your SSD for different usage, in that flexraid would run atop a windows OS which the only reason I could see you going that route is to run windows applications. I believe unraid can use it as a cache
  • Once you have the server up and stable on your network, any PC can take the task of organizing (server doesn't need to run windows for this to be easy either)
  • I wouldn't recommend trying to organize all of that in OpenELEC if you have a large collection in need of some maintenance
  • Just browse your shares on a windows machine and get all the movies in one folder. Then you can use the Files2Folder shell extension to put each movie in it's own folder with the name matching the filename (minus the extension)
  • After running that little shell extension gem, you can load up mediacentermaster and let it go to town at guessing your names. I'd recommend have it use blocking IMDB verification prompts on your first run, and let it rename all your folders/files to the Moviename (year) for you
  • Then setup XBMC w/ mysql on your server (or a different client if using unraid) and let it build your database. Point openelec towards the mysql server ip with an advancedsettings.xml and everything will show up within seconds of booting OE (no need to rescrape)
Excellent mini guide for getting up and running. I remember back when I started putting together a media collection a lot of these tools didn't exist yet (or certainly weren't common place) and it required a lot more manual work. (had to write my own script to put all of my movies in separate folders, etc)

Just out of curiosity, how does XBMC/OpenElec deal with actor images? Does it also use the ImagesByName setup similar to MediaBrowser? If so it might be worth getting that configured in MediaCenterMaster prior to processing all of your movies so all of that data gets downloaded and stuck in the right spot the first go around.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:15 PM
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Unfortunately xbmc does not have a centralized actor image location option yet. They are scraped for each title separately
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:49 PM
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MCM will put a video file inside a folder automatically. That's easier than a file to folder execution. That extra step is cool, but not necessary.

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Old 07-24-2014, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Flexraid installs into windows, it's only a program or plugin. (although they have a linux version too) It's not an OS.
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dropkick Murphy View Post
Mfusick is right on the server option. Unless you're building a new machine and starting from ground zero, unRAID would not be a good option for you. I built one myself and its been running trouble-free for over 3 years but I started with all brand new drives and filled it up as I went along.
I am starting with a new 4TB drive but I get what your saying. Moving everything over is becoming a road block if I go with Unraid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
Greetings

Beginning thoughts and suggestions
  • Openelec works great on usb - just realize sleep/resume is currently disabled for USB boot (if you want to re-enable it I can post the instructions)
  • If you want to use the evo for boot it would also work great, but you won't notice much if any improvement in your OE box
  • unraid is a fine product, similar to openelec -- in that both bring linux to the consumer market in such an easy way that you can really dive in without knowing anything like ls, rm, -a, mv, etc
  • Flexraid will suit you well if you are already extremely comfortable in windows and want to run windows applications on your server
  • unraid or flexraid would make better use of your SSD for different usage, in that flexraid would run atop a windows OS which the only reason I could see you going that route is to run windows applications. I believe unraid can use it as a cache
  • Once you have the server up and stable on your network, any PC can take the task of organizing (server doesn't need to run windows for this to be easy either)
  • I wouldn't recommend trying to organize all of that in OpenELEC if you have a large collection in need of some maintenance
  • Just browse your shares on a windows machine and get all the movies in one folder. Then you can use the Files2Folder shell extension to put each movie in it's own folder with the name matching the filename (minus the extension)
  • After running that little shell extension gem, you can load up mediacentermaster and let it go to town at guessing your names. I'd recommend have it use blocking IMDB verification prompts on your first run, and let it rename all your folders/files to the Moviename (year) for you
  • Then setup XBMC w/ mysql on your server (or a different client if using unraid) and let it build your database. Point openelec towards the mysql server ip with an advancedsettings.xml and everything will show up within seconds of booting OE (no need to rescrape)
Awesome, thank you for the pro tip. This definitely got me back on track.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Since I'm waiting on some hardware, I dusted off some of my old hardware and rigged something up. The only issue is that the drives are old IDE 30&40 GB HDD but I will try loading unraid since it's free. Maybe I will learn something lol.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Project old hardware has failed I can't seem to get the system boot from the thumb drive. I tested it on my laptop and it worked just fine. I will give it another try tomorrow but if anyone has any suggestions I'm willing to try. It's an old AMD Athlon XP2600+ on a DFI AD77 Infinity Pro (KT-400) MB w/ 4GB of RAM.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:26 AM
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Not all motherboards from the IDE HDD era supported booting from USB, so it's possible that your aren't going to be able to do anything to make that work on the older board
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Not all motherboards from the IDE HDD era supported booting from USB, so it's possible that your aren't going to be able to do anything to make that work on the older board
The mobo allows me to boot from USB-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP, and USB-CDROM. Since it's an older board, nothing really comes up on Google.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Upgraded RAM is still not in and it's holding up the project. Anyone have good luck with Bluetooth remotes?
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:37 PM
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I've used the following, no bluetooth

Flirc
Pulse-eight's USB HDMI-CEC adapter
WMC HP Remote & Receiver
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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The Pulse-eight looks interesting, thanks for the links.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:44 AM
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The Pulse-eight looks interesting, thanks for the links.
No problem. Honestly the flirc is a more powerful ir receiver than most you'll ever experience. You don't need line of sight for it to work, but I've never tried to completely close it away in a cabinet

HDMI CEC is nice, because you typically still have IR access to your TV no matter what your setup. However, not all tvs implement very much in the way of HDMI-CEC control. Sony, for example, runs XBMC quite well. You get context menu, home button, playback controls, arrows, back, etc. Vizio on the other hand just gives arrows, enter, and back in my experience. No playback controls, but of course they are available on screen in xbmc. There is very little standardization, but when it works it works nicely. Also, sony sends wake from suspend to my openelec box, so the tv power button sleeps and resumes the htpc along with the tv
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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No problem. Honestly the flirc is a more powerful ir receiver than most you'll ever experience. You don't need line of sight for it to work, but I've never tried to completely close it away in a cabinet

HDMI CEC is nice, because you typically still have IR access to your TV no matter what your setup. However, not all tvs implement very much in the way of HDMI-CEC control. Sony, for example, runs XBMC quite well. You get context menu, home button, playback controls, arrows, back, etc. Vizio on the other hand just gives arrows, enter, and back in my experience. No playback controls, but of course they are available on screen in xbmc. There is very little standardization, but when it works it works nicely. Also, sony sends wake from suspend to my openelec box, so the tv power button sleeps and resumes the htpc along with the tv
The power button sleeping and resuming the HTPC is a huge perk.
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Updates: OE is running smooth and I'm almost done managing all my Movies and TV Shows. Using Ember and it's made it pretty easy to handle everything. The only Issue I ran into is for a few movies that are being flaged when using the bulk rename feature. Even though I manually update the file/folder names, it's still trying to change them. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong but I will just leave it till I have some additional time to research it.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm still lurking and wanted to say thanks to all for the info.

Updates: The new box has been up and running since my last post and recently added a Logitech diNovo mini and it does the job. Slight lag sometimes, distance isn't that great, and I'm having issues when trying to wake up from sleep. I sure it's a settings issue and I've seen topics around here but haven't had the time (lazyness) to look into it.

S/W: Openelec (Gotham)

Hardware

BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case (Arctic White)
ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac
Intel Core i3-4130T
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1866
Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SATA III SSD
WD Green 4TB HDD
Rosewill 500W ATX12V
Logitech diNovo mini Keyboard
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:31 AM
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Not sure which issue you are having with sleep resume, but the openelec board will probably be the place to get help unless you are having some simple issue like sleep being disabled because you are booting from USB in which I can help you
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't swung by the Openelec boards to look into the issue but that's my next step after I go through the settings again. I'm sure it's a simple fix. I set it to sleep after idling for 15 minutes but once that happens, I can't get it to wake up using the diNovo. I will try plugging in my wireless mouse and see if that also has the same issue.
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