Mobro Standalone Install on Existing RPi Woes

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Hey guys.

Using the RPi image you provide it seems to work great, although wastes the rest of the use of an existing Pi, which I would rather avoid. Initially I planned on installing this and a clock on an existing RPi primarily being used as a PiHole since that's all it was doing. I bought a small touchscreen display with the intention of being able to switch in and out of the Mobro app, or ideally have it run on startup and then have the “screensaver” set as a fullscreen terminal clock that I prefer. That way it would automatically go back and forth, sounds perfect.

Well, with your image there wasn't much else I could do within the Pi OS, so I explored other options. I tried the process from a support article ( however it is a little dated. My current install seems to do everything right, but despite the Pi already being connected to my WiFi network with zero issues between it and my PC, it just loops through the hotspot screen over and over until it times out and reboots, and then again and again. I may try to reflash the SD card again with another Bullseye image and skip over the above guide's part about the hotspot, but I have little faith that it will fix anything. I've reflashed between Bookwork, Bullseye, your image, one 3B+, and two different 4B Pis. I would think that it should be possible to just have the Mobro service launch at startup and search for the PC and call it a day, but even with this setup and it already connected to my WiFi (ex. I am using SSH to it right now) it just loops and loops trying to create a hotspot that never works, and shouldn't be needed since it's already on the network. If I connect via ethernet then obviously it skips that part, but then still cannot see the PC on the same network. That DID work on your image before, but I would prefer to have a full Pi OS build with your app autolaunching and try to get the screensaver to launch my terminal clock in full screen if the PC is not detected.

I really wish there was a more accessible way to simply install the software on a Pi without devoting the entire Pi to this software, and it seems some people have figured that out, however the results (for me at least) usually don't work and vary wildly. I think publishing or at least putting an installable package on Github would be a fantastic idea.

Anyway, after the last attempt following the article above and changing the PHP version number, I'm basically stuck in your install script where it tries to create a hotspot, never does, if I connect ethernet it skips the hotspot part, but still cannot find the PC. What would be ideal would be if I could make it skip the entire hostpot and potentially discovery phase and just edit a config file somewhere to enter the IP of my PC that I wish for it to connect to. Is that possible? Thanks!

Replies 1 - 4 (4)

Hi @Brittle73& 

Our Raspberry Pi image is targeted at users unfamiliar with a Raspberry Pi or Linux in general. We primarily wanted to ease the installation and setup process for those. Hence the decision to create a fully customized version that would essentially completely take over the Pi.

However our image is not required for MoBro to work. You can also simply install the official Raspberry Pi OS and just open your MoBro dashboard in a browser window like described here.


Hi @Brittle73& 

Our Raspberry Pi image is targeted at users unfamiliar with a Raspberry Pi or Linux in general. We primarily wanted to ease the installation and setup process for those. Hence the decision to create a fully customized version that would essentially completely take over the Pi.

However our image is not required for MoBro to work. You can also simply install the official Raspberry Pi OS and just open your MoBro dashboard in a browser window like described here.

Hey man.

So using that method was how I initially got it set up and running. Which works great… the issue is that I am using a cheap little display more or less as a clock when NOT running MoBro, but would like to be able to use MoBro when I want to without having to mess with a KVM or VNC to switch out of the fullscreen terminal for the clock app I am using. Essentially what I want is to have it more or less automated with the full blown app, autostart, but also the ability to close/minimize/alt+tab out of it and utilize the Pi OS desktop as needed. If I am reading this correctly, then if I just use the browser method, I cannot utilize the screensaver functionality, correct? The best way I have thought it out (please, provide suggestions if I am off on this) is to install normal Pi OS, install MoBro (if I can) and have it autostart, skip the network part of the configuration, but get to set the screensaver, etc. in the rest of the configuration so that basically it'll automatically load MoBro on boot and if it finds my PC it turns on MoBro, if it doesn't then I have seen some forum articles where it looks like I can make it run a script. I would then have the script run the terminal app I want with the parameters I set, and then HOPEFULLY if I turn my PC back on with the MoBro app launched, it will load the MoBro display back up on the Pi/little display. And vice/versa. Can it even work like that?

As of now… I'm struggling based on the above referenced config at the network configuration step on the Pi. If I have ethernet connected, it tries and tries and fails over and over again to find my PC. If WiFi then it just gets stuck on the “creating hotspot” stage and eventually reboots and that goes on forever if I don't SSH in and use systemctl stop mobro.service. I have tried modifying the config files to simply point at the static IP of my PC, which is really the main thing I need to do if I can set the screensaver to point to a script via the same config file. However, any modifications made to the config files are wiped on reboot and even under sudo su I suspect (again, please correct me if I am wrong here) the terminal does not recognize the set_boot (or root) configurable command likely because it's not using your image. Am I right there? Or do I just need to be chrooting into the right “MoBro” specific root/boot dir?

Sorry, and thanks for your help. It really is a super cool product. I just want it to basically automate between MoBro when my PC is on, and a very basic, minimalist terminal clock when it's not, and then return back to MoBro once my PC reconnects. I know I can get them connected because the browser method works great. But I don't think I can get to the post-initial configuration page to change settings that way, right?

My initial struggles were that I needed to be able to do other things on the Pi because I was planning to use my 3B+ that is just sitting here as a PiHole since it's doing just that - just sitting there and there's no reason it can't be a clock too. I got the article above more or less working somehow before, but the MoBro service was interfering with access to the PiHole, which was obviously the most important bit. So then I tried your image and then had issues getting to a desktop or terminal to launch the clock, etc. So if that is possible then please please please let me know. It kind of blew up my PiHole, so I had to emergency reflash and reconfigure that to get DNS back up and working for the whole network, so I have bailed on that and am using a spare Pi that I had. I didn't want to dedicate an entire Pi as a fancy clock basically lol, but none of the other stuff was working out. I also haven't been able to figure out how to reverse the install via the instructions in that forum article, which is part of why I had to redo the PiHole.

Anyway, any/all of that make sense? Or am I just asking for your software to do things that it is not designed for?

Thanks again!

I guess let me ask this… is there a way to install as close to the “full” MoBro package and either skip or manually configure a file for the network portion, but then still have it autostart and be able to get into the settings ("configuration," trying to avoid that because “network configuration” and “configuration” sound confusing) to configure the timeouts, screensaver, etc.?

Now that I had to bail on the PiHole/MoBro combo bit, I may be able to try your image again, but I've redone this several times now and am just trying to find the most efficient way to do what I am trying to. Am I correct that you cannot (easily, without SSH, etc.) get out of the MoBro app and access a Pi OS desktop, etc.? The display is touchscreen, although unreliable, so I am also trying to work out some sort of floating button, touch/swipe combo, hell even a single key macro pad to toggle back and forth if needed. Being touchscreen might help you, I don't know. Ultimately the ideal scenario would be it more or less being automated like I explained above.

Thanks again, sorry for the trouble!

Just an update FYI.

I took the machine with me to work today to play with it if I have a second. Initially I had it unplugged from Ethernet, and all of the sudden it was creating the hotspot… figured I might be in business. Connected with my phone, went to 503 Service Unavailable. Right, okay, maybe the hotspot part is broken and I don't really need that anyway. Plug in ethernet, it likes the connection and starts searching for the client on my PC, fails repeatedly. Disabled Windows firewall and got the same results, but I did not need to do that on my home PC when I first set it up via your image. It's also definitely talking, because I pulled a netscan, found the IP, and can SSH or VNC into it, but I get the same 503: Service Unavailable error. It looks like it goes to a redirect page, appends /mobro to the end and redirects, but then shows that error. I did some troubleshooting via SSH and noticed that the NetworkManager service was not running. That may be intentional, but I started it anyway for giggles and made sure all of the current network settings looked right. Still no beans. So I restarted and am kind of at a loss for now. I wish I could just get into the GUI on the web and enter the IP of my work computer with the application running, but I'm getting that 503 error. Any idea how to get around that?

Thanks again. Sorry for all of the posts, just trying to get you as much info as possible.

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