Dell Wyse 3040 Thinclient for Roon Bridge

If you are after a simple and cheap device to use as a Roon Bridge the this is a winner IMHO.
Dell Wyse 3040 Thinclient.
They are abundant on eBay and going for cheap (Bulk clearance sales especially - make sure you get one with WIFI) (I picked up the 3040 for AUD$55 delivered)
Seeing as Pi’s are rare at the moment and really expensive they make a good option.
It is not going to replace Ropieee with its multitude of functions and it is going to rely on a USB DAC for output.
I use this with a Topping D10s and it makes a wonderfully affordable end point setup - wasn’t sure how it would go but seems to be rather solid and holding up nicely.

For those interested the build steps are below:

First Create bootable Ubuntu Server USB via Balena

Start up the Dell 3040
Should be an option for F12 to bring up boot menu
Boot into bios setup
Unlock 3040 - Google if unsure - many tutorials
Enable USB Boot
Disable secure Boot
Remove/Disable any and all passwords
Enable all USB ports
Disable onboard audio
Disable Network Boot too if you like

Insert USB installer and Reboot
Should be an option for F12 to bring up boot menu
Select USB for boot

Install Ubuntu server
Set Network to both as DHCP
Add your wifi network and enter password
*ensure both have IP before moving on - give it a second
Enable SSH server on install
Add the usual usernames and passwords
Let it go. Will take some time as it will also install security updates
The internal flash storage isn’t as fast as an SSD it seems.

Then SSH in using your username@ipaddress and enter your password - much easier to work on this way.

Run all updates and upgrades
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Install bzip2
$ sudo apt-get install bzip2

Install ALSA
$ sudo apt-get -y install alsa-base

Install Roon Bridge using easy installers
Roon Bridge x86_64
$ sudo curl -O
$ sudo chmod +x
$ sudo ./

Reboot for good measure
$ sudo reboot

I think that’s everything and all being well the unit will pop up on your Audio settings page in Roon!!
Plug in your USB DAC and configure as you wish.

**Addendum to fix a slow network configuration where it waits for the other interface thats not connected:

From SSH CMD prompt

cd /etc/netplan/
00-installer-config-wifi.yaml 00-installer-config.yaml

This shows both network configs from default Ubuntu install.
Need to make a small change to these by adding:
optional: true
to both configs.
You can see the standard texts below with the added line.

Keep the formatting by using space in the editor.

using nano to update these files

First interface:

$ sudo nano 00-installer-config-wifi.yaml

This is the network config written by ‘subiquity’

version: 2
password: yourwifipasswordhere
dhcp4: true
optional: true

ctrl+O then enter to write
ctrl+X to exit

Then the second interface:

$ sudo nano 00-installer-config.yaml

This is the network config written by ‘subiquity’

dhcp4: true
optional: true
version: 2

ctrl+O then enter to write
ctrl+X to exit

$ sudo netplan apply
$ sudo reboot

Should be a lot faster on booting.


Seems like a great idea. Plenty on eBay in the US. How can I figure out which ones have Wi-Fi? Thanks.

Also, is the trick for resetting a non-Fireport bios password the pwclr button or the g-key trick or something else? Just want to minimize the chance I buy a brick. many thanks.

Get 10 for £90, be interesting if you could install Rock. I installed it on an 3 series Nuc thin client as an endpoint and works amazingly well but won’t work wirelessly has to be wired for Rock.

Amended question to above…

  1. Can you post a link to the “approved” bios unlock process?
  2. On eBay I can only find ones that are 2GB/8GB and without WiFi (no WLAN card). Can you put a standard USB WiFi dongle in and Ubuntu Server will find the drivers?

You can tell I’m excited about this idea. $35-40 is crazy cheap compared to the alternatives which I was going to use for basically RoonBridge only. Thanks again!

Couple of things - In terms of using these for a server - the 3040’s are pretty light on specs and doubt they would have enough grunt to do it justice. For a bridge - the 2G/8G versions seem to cope just fine with using the server OS - ie no GUI to take resources. There are other thin clients for sure but the 3040 just looked the right size and is super neat - I always hated how the power for the pi has to come in from the side…

In terms of WIFI - if you need it then it may just require some questions to be asked of the seller. Finding model numbers of those with and without wifi seems to be scarce. However the model I am using is “N10D” running off 5V if that helps. Get the seller to show a picture of the back of the unit - if it has wifi it will show BOTH a MB Mac# and the WLAN Mac# - a solid indication that it was shipped with wifi so long as no one removed the option. Adding a dongle may work - as with most linux installs, things just work unlike windows - just be sure to use one that works with linux and have it plugged in on install so it is seen up front.

So in terms of resetting the bios - there seems to be a fairly common procedure of a hardware reset - on Dell desktops there is a jumper to remove prior to boot. For the 3040 Thinclient, there’s a button near the battery on the board labeled PWCLR. The trick is to hold down the PWCLR button while powering up the system. It’ll show a text mode screen indicating the passwords have been disabled. You can then power off, release the button and then you’ll have a clear BIOS. Yes it will require opening up the unit but seems straight forward by just removing the back cover. Couple of reference post links:

I will be honest, i got this so cheap and the purchase was literally a hail mary to see if i could even get this to work. I definitely lucked out on getting one with wifi - I just ordered a second unit hopefully it has wifi also!! Ensure they provide a power adapter too - otherwise more stuffing around.

These are solid little units and you may just need to be patient to find one that comes up on ebay with all the goods - I am pretty confident that mine was from a seller who bought a commercial lot from an old business that upgraded things.

Super helpful.

I put in a lowball bid on a couple. Couldn’t find any with a wifi MAC address in addition to the MAC sticker, so I’m going to have to get the dongle search started right away. But if I can get a new Roon Bridge for $30USD plus a sub-$10 dongle, I will be one happy camper.

Thanks for the push / idea.

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I was ssuggesting rock purely as an endpoint if you don’t login into your account on it it runs without the server and as an endpoint only it’s lowly cpu doesn’t matter for this. It’s neat solution to getting it working without the need for Linux knowledge and is low maintenance. It may or not work but it’s it’s intel chipsets it might and worth a punt. One thing I had to do on my thin client was install a small ssd as it would not install on its embedded storage card.

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The Argon One V2 aluminum case for the Pi puts all ports in the back. It’s what I’m currently using for my Pi bridges.

I think I have a couple of those Wyse clients laying around. I’ll have to see if I can find them.

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Just snagged one with Wi-Fi for $35 from eBay. Honestly, with the appearance of all the recent Pi 3A+‘s, I’m not sure it’s financially worth it because I can put RooExtend on those (and install without a monitor or keyboard, which is good because they are port-light) and they run auto updates, and you can get one with a case for about $30 right now. But in the spirit of tinkering, I’m very excited to try this out. And the more “rugged” form factor is pretty cool. Thank you for the suggestion, there additional help, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Apologies for the misunderstanding. This does sound like a good idea as it is a specific install for sure. I wonder if there is a way to get it installed on the internal storage - unless the image is too big maybe?

Solid get at that price. Look forward to hearing how you go.

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No idea the NUC had eMCC as it’s embedded storage for windows or Linux to be installed on but Rock is set to look for a hdd so I guess they mount differently or it can’t be partitioned in the way rock works as it seperates the os and Roon itself. If you have one then you could try to see if it works nothing lost by trying.

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Yeah I did see something about the way it is mounted in the OS.

Also Diet pi might be worth a look at as it’s a minimal os and does run on x64 architecture these days and easy to install Roon Bridge.

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Seems I can’t get the Dell to read any of the images I am giving it for DietPi :frowning: - trying the X86 ones.

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Di you have any luck?

Unfortunately no. It seems to be an issue with Debian and Debian based installs. Couldn’t even get it to see the USB installer. This page shows some mods are needed for the install directory but I haven’t had the time to investigate.


  1. it took a while to get to it. It just sat there on my desk taunting me that I’d have to reset the BIOS password. I didn’t want to get out my wired keyboard or a displayport cable. In short, I avoided it for a week. Then I got around to it on a rainy cold day.
  2. Learning how to navigate that godawful BIOS settings menu was atrocious. It was a reminder of what better looks like. This is not better, this is worse. But your advice was right on and in the end it took 6 minutes.
  3. It took less time than I thought. Your instructions were perfect, and the BIOS password was the normal Fireport. WiFi came up perfectly. SSH was easy. It behaved.
  4. I love the form factor - this is WAY sturdier for my bedside table than the Pi3A+ in an acrylic “protector” I had there. Thusfar it seems wicked reliable, and the auto-on on power loss is nice. It just has more heft and computeriness than a Pi.

I’ll update folks, but as pure RoonBridge devices these are genius. If you don’t need Ropieee or RooExtend’s features, and you like the sturdier / more “professional” form factor, this is fantastic stuff. Lets get Roonies to buy 'em all.

I should say again - thank you for the advice!

EDIT: Now that I have a Ubuntu Server running under my bedside table, I gotta decide if there’s anything else I want to run on it besides Roon Bridge… I haven’t had a “non-black-box” Pi or light machine just hanging out before. I suppose I could run the PlexAmp endpoint, but other than that… looking for inspiration!

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This is great news and I am happy all went as planned.
Keep us informed if you choose to build on it. Be interesting to see how far you could push it.
I literally grabbed a second one and set it up as another bridge just because.

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Ya, I gotta say the killer feature is that it has a “real power plug” that isn’t as fiddle as a micro USB or even USB C, and that the cords all stick out of the same side, and that it has a real power button on a case that has some heft. It’s just an object that was meant to be some place, as opposed to a hobbyist device for experimentation (even with a Flirc aluminum case, connections aren’t super sturdy). I’m not trying to bash Pi’s - if they were in stock I never ever ever woulda looked twice at this. But as cheap inexpensive substitute for what I was using Pi2Zero’s for, this has some real non-trivial advantages. Might get another one for cheap when I can.

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