RasPlex Installation using a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Rii Mini i8+ Remote

Submitted by nigel on Saturday 23rd May 2020
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Tutorial on how to install RasPlex on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with a Rii Mini i8+ remote control. 

Download the RasPlex Image

The Raspberry Pi 3B+ is a little problematic for RasPlex which is borderline abandonware. There is no official GitHub image release for a 3B+, and attempting to install the latest 1.8.0 will result in the Raspberry Pi rainbow screen upon power up. 

There is a long thread here that explains the problems with the 3B+ - however be warned the conversation gets seriously derailed with a nonsense focus on power supplies half way through. There is huge intimation that the fact that RasPlex doesn't boot on a 3B+ is because of the power supply issues. Disregard this - it doesn't boot on an official Raspberry Pi power supply either so power is not the issue! 

Thankfully, albeit partially obscured by background noise, there is a link to a commit that does work. This is RasPlex- and can be downloaded from here

Flashing the Image to MicroSD Card

I used balenaEtcher to flash the image to my MicroSD card although other tools are available. A little care is required here - I could've easily incorrectly selected the wrong media since by default balenaEtcher selected my SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive. I reselected the MicroSD which was in the card reader. 

Boot the Raspberry Pi

Inserting the MicroSD card into the Raspberry Pi slot and powering up will now bring up the configuration screens for RasPlex. I didn't have to change any of the defaults - and it found my Plex server automatically as well! I elected not to enable pre-caching of the assets since my network is quick enough for the images to load practically instantaneously. 

Once the RasPlex 'configuration' is complete, the system loads openPHT which is the user interface for the media centre - i.e. the Plex client. 

Configuring openPHT
No automatic updates

As I mentioned earlier, there is a Raspberry Pi 3B+ working image, which is what Ive used to build my system. It is imperative to ensure the system is pinned at that version and not automatically updated upon a reboot to a newer patch level. To do that change the settings by navigating to:

Left button -> Preferences -> Left button -> Down button (twice) -> Right button -> Down button (four times) to Software Update then untick the first option. 

I also changed the keyboard to be uk, but apart from that there was nothing more to do. 

Rii Mini i8+ Remote

Simply put, this 'just works'. It was already paired to its USB receiver before I used it in a previous Android TV project I've now abandoned for this project. I turned on the remote, inserted the receiver in a spare USB slot, and instantly it was sending keystrokes to the Raspberry Pi. Couldn't have been simpler. 

Bill of Materials
Raspberry Pi 3B Plus
Power Supply
Rii Mini i8+ Remote
Raspberry Pi 3BPLUS-R 1.4 GHz 1 GB RAM 64-Bit £37.67
SD Card LXSINO 32GB Micro SD Class 10 £6.99
Power Aukru Charger 5V 3000mA Power Supply 3A £9.99
Remote Rii i8+ 2.4Ghz LED Backlit Mini Wireless Keyboard n/a
  TOTAL £54.65

The remote isn't available anymore, but models practically the same are for around £8.