It’s been a while (Staind ;-)) since I’ve written a post on my personal blog. I’ve been up to a lot of things, mostly concerning work and upkeeping my house, but for the past weeks the amount of free time for “my stuff” increased, so here I am with some new projects. So I’ll let you take part in my previous journeys with new or not-so-new technologies and projects :-)

Rethinking my infrastructure

The intention for looking into Raspberry Pies comes from me now having a fresh look at how I use my infrastructure at home. A lot of notebooks, a desktop PC for gaming and a media center (Asus O!Play HD2) in use. First of all: I’m mostly in retro-gaming. Old DOS games, older PC games and no consoles. But what do I really use stuff for? Watching movies or TV shows as files from a USB stick on my media center. Using the Desktop to download and one of the older laptops with a capable GFX card to play sometimes, less and less over the past years. So it’s at least two devices due for scrapping, it seems.

What do I really need?

Considering the above thoughts, I concluded: No more desktop PC, No more media center. So, how to compensate that?

  • Every current Smart TV, Smartphone (with e.g. VLC), supports UPnP and/or DLNA
  • Services like usenet, sonarr and so on use web interfaces, so no GUI/window manager needed
  • Storage via NAS or external HDDs
  • Sometimes a working environment with a keyboard and two displays

Conclusion: A single Raspberry Pi 3 B with an external 2 TB WD Passport should be able to handle usenet, backups and serve all downloads/files to the local network via DLNA. Plugged in one of the router’s LAN RJ45 ports, the network speed should also be sufficient for streaming.

Base setup

I bought the Pi 3 B desktop kit with case, AC adapter and a micro SD from element 14 with a pre-installed raspbian (ok, also some coolers ;-)). Since I’ll only need console access, I first enabled boot into CLI and - as all systems accessible via SSH should - disabled root login via SSH and copied my pubkeys to pi. That’s the baseline.


For further provisioning we’ll use ansible to have the whole thing indempotent and especially reproducable. Four roles to do the job:

|- bin
|   |- provision
|- roles
|	|- common
|	|- dlna
|	|- nzbdrone
|	|- sabnzbd
|- user-settings
|   |- settings.yml
|   |- settings.yml.dist
|- rpi
|- rpi.yml

That’s the base directory layout for most of my ansible projects. Non-standard dirs are user-settings for user-defined variable settings, not injected by commandline parameters to override defaults and bin, which holds a wrapper for the provision call that disables e.g. “cowsay”.

I won’t paste all the config/code I use in particular, that’s up to you, but I’ll share some (hopefully) useful snippets and information.


How to add custom-settings for ansible provisioning:

- name: check custom config file
  local_action: stat path="{% verbatim %}{{playbook_dir}}{% endverbatim %}/user-settings/settings.yml"
  become: False
  register: custom_settings_root
- name: include custom settings
    file: "{% verbatim %}{{playbook_dir}}{% endverbatim %}/user-settings/settings.yml"
  when: custom_settings_root.stat.exists == True

Some base packages you might need:

- name: install base packages
  apt: pkg={% verbatim %}{{item}}{% endverbatim %} state=latest
    - apt-transport-https
    - ntfs-3g
    - dirmngr
    - software-properties-common

Some optimizations for minidlna to keep the wear on your SD card low:

- name: create mountpoint dir
  file: path=/var/cache/minidlna
  state: directory
- name: mount tmpfs for caching
    path: /var/cache/minidlna
    fstype: tmpfs
    opts: nodev,nosuid
    state: mounted

A hint on how to install sonarr:

- name: Add mono apt key
    keyserver: hkp://
    id: 3FA7E0328081BFF6A14DA29AA6A19B38D3D831EF
    state: present
- apt_repository:
    repo: "deb stable-raspbianstretch main"
    update_cache: True
    state: present
- name: Add sonarr apt key
    keyserver: hkp://
    id: FDA5DFFC
    state: present
- apt_repository:
    repo: "deb master main"
    update_cache: True
    state: present
- name: install packages
  apt: pkg={% verbatim %}{{item}}{% endverbatim %} state=latest
    - nzbdrone
- name: copy template
  template: src=./nzbdrone.service.j2 dest=/etc/systemd/system/sonarr.service owner=root group=root mode=755
- name: start and enable sonarr
    name: sonarr.service
    state: started
    daemon_reload: yes
    enabled: True

SabNZBD is kinda similar to install. Good luck with your first Raspberry Pi project ;-)

More to come

Next posts will be about how to add dyndns to your box with the help of domainfactory (my DNS provider) and some custom tooling with powerDNS.