Inovato Quadra platform for Kolibri

I recently saw this website about a low cost ($29) device running Armbian / Debian 11, so I thought I would give it a try as a Kolibri “headless” micro-server:

Turns out that the device works quite well with the latest version of Kolibri (0.15.7) installed from the .deb file. We initially tested with serving 20 concurrent videos from Khan Academy and found that the device handled the workload easily.

The device uses the “Turewell T95” tv box which is based on the H6 quad core ARM processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC Flash memory storage. Inovato have produced a firmware image specifically for this device.

It is also possible to use the same firmware for the “T95 Max” device which uses the same processor but provides 4GB RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. This device sells on eBay for $39.
With this device there is 20GB of internal eMMC storage available (after installing the firmware) for content storage without having to use an additional SD card or USB memory.

The device comes packaged in a small case and with a power supply. It has WiFi, Ethernet, SD Card and USB ports ready to use. Internally, the CPU is fitted with a heatsink attached to a metal heat spreader plate in the top of the case which is effective in keeping the CPU temperature low.

One of the nice things about this device is that the built in WiFi works well as an Access point - we have been able to attach 20 client devices without problems (we ran out of devices to test more…).

It’s also possible to plug in a suitable USB WiFi adapter and run a second WiFi service if needed.

We have used a 128GB SD Card to hold Kolibri content, including all of the Khan Academy (US) channel (50GB), PhET, Ted Ed etc.

The device comes complete in a neat package. In a classroom situation you can just plug it in to the power, switch it on and connect laptops, tablets etc by WiFi.

So, for a classroom level device, this offers a good alternative to the RPi platform, at less than half the cost and less setting up. The WiFi support is also much better.

The device may also be used with a keyboard, mouse and monitor as a simple desktop mini-PC as it is set up with the XFCE desktop manager and includes Firefox, with an option to install LibreOffice. Obviously, in this mode the workload can be considerably higher than when used as a headless micro-server so it is not going to compete with your i5 based laptop!

I hope this is useful for anyone looking for a simple, low cost classroom device.

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This looks great, thanks! I’ve ordered ordered one of each of the two models and will try to max out the wifi on them at some point. That has always been one of the pain points of the Pi, which we maxed out at around 16 clients on the built-in wifi.

Hi @tgillett! Thanks again for this recommendation. I have one here now and did some quick tests – installing Kolibri worked well, but I was wondering what technique you’re using for setting up the wifi as an AP – so far, I tried using the nmcli approach, but hit some errors (even after installing dnsmasq, which was the first error I hit). I’m guessing I could get it working by installing and configuring hostapd directly (which I’ve done on a Pi), but wanted to first ask what approach you found was working well (particularly given the 20+ users you saw it could support). Thanks!

Hi @jamalex

Apologies for the late reply as I missed your post while travelling.

To set up the WiFi AP, I used “nmtui” rather than “nmcli” as follows:

  1. Set up the Quadra device with Internet access via the Ethernet port.
  2. From a terminal run “sudo armbian-config”
  3. Select Network, then Hotspot
    Running this menu option will download some packages required to run the AP
  4. Run “sudo nmtui” from the command line.
  5. Select Add, then WiFi
  6. Set parameters Profile Name, and Device (wlan0) etc… as below.
  7. Exit nmtui and restart the device.
  8. You should see the AP running and be able to connect.
    Devices connecting to the AP will be issued an IP in the range 10.10.10.x and the Kolibri server will available on:

I have put together a firmware image which includes:

  • Kolibri installed,
  • Access Points configured for wlan0 and wlan1,
  • Run from SD in headless mode without auto install to eMMC,
    The image is 10GB when installed on SD card, and can be expanded to use the whole card space (tested on 128GB cards).
    Burn the image onto an SD card using Etcher, plug it in to the T95 device, connect power and it will boot up with AP and Kolibri running.

You can download the image (2.7GB) from here:
0 byte folder on MEGA

Hope this helps.

Profile name: AccessPoint-0
Device: wlan0

SSID Quadra-Kolibri-0
Mode <Access Point> 
Channel <B/G (2.4 GHz)> 11 
Security <WPA & WPA2 Personal> 
Password ********


Routing (No custom routes) <Edit...> 
[ ] Never use this network for default route 
[ ] Ignore automatically obtained routes 
[ ] Ignore automatically obtained DNS parameters 
[ ] Require IPv4 addressing for this connection

[X] Automatically connect 
[X] Available to all users