Grafana is the open platform for beautiful analytics and monitoring. It allows you to create nice looking dashboards that will give you quick insights into your sensor data.


You will need these components to make it work:

  • InfluxDB - Time-series database

  • Mosquitto - MQTT broker

  • BigClown Gateway - Bridge between the USB Dongle or Core Module in the gateway role and the MQTT broker

Installing Utilities

First, you have to install packages that are necessary for later instalation.

sudo apt install apt-transport-https curl -y

Installing InfluxDB

The database to store collected data.

In order to install InfluxDB and recognize its signing key, you have to put it among the trusted keys.

curl -sL | sudo apt-key add -

Add the InfluxDB as a new repository.

  • On Debian and/or Raspbian Jessie use:

    echo "deb jessie stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/influxdb.list
  • On Ubuntu 16.04 use:

    echo "deb xenial stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/influxdb.list

Update the package list and install the packages:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install influxdb

Now you can start the InfluxDB service:

sudo systemctl start influxdb

InfluxDB Web Interface

If you want to control and configure InfluxDB using the web interface, then you have to update the /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf file:

  • Remove # in front of enabled and bind-address.

  • Set enabled = true and bind-address = ":8083".

Later you will be able to access the web at http://localhost:8083/. Of course, the port number 8083 has to be available and not used by any other application.

Installing Mosquitto

Mosquitto is a popular open-source MQTT broker implementation. The role of this service is to route and distribute messages between the clients (publishers and subscribers).

In principle a sensor tends to be a publisher as it is sharing its value. On the other hand, an actuator normally plays the role of a subscriber. Of course, the mix of publisher and subscriber role for each client is possible. Typically a dashboard can visualize data and at the same time it can have some control button, which triggers an action (publishes a message).

Install the server and client tools for testing.

sudo apt install mosquitto mosquitto-clients -y

Installing Grafana

First install dependencies:

sudo apt install adduser libfontconfig -y

Based on your taget platform, select the appropriate procedure:

  • For Raspberry Pi and Omnia LXC:

    You can manualy download latest version from Grafana, or you can use the following helper to download it for you:

    wget $(wget "" -q -O - | grep browser_download_url | grep armhf.deb | head -n 1 | cut -d '"' -f 4) -O grafana.deb

    Then install the package:

    sudo dpkg -i grafana.deb
  • For desktop (Ubuntu and Debian):

    Add the key to be trusted:

    curl -sL | sudo apt-key add -

    Add the repository to the sources:

    echo "deb jessie main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/grafana.list

    Then update the package list and install the package:

    sudo apt update && sudo apt install grafana -y

Starting Services

Reload the systemd configuration:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Enable Grafana on boot:

sudo systemctl enable grafana-server

Start Grafana server (manually):

sudo systemctl start grafana-server

Installing BigClown Gateway

In order to bridge data from the USB Dongle or Core Module (in gateway role) to MQTT, you have to install BigClown Gateway.

Add the BigClown repository into the trusted keys:

curl -sL | sudo apt-key add -

Add the BigClown repository to the source list:

echo "deb jessie main" | sudo tee  etc/apt/sources.list.d/bigclown.list

Update the package list and install the package:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install bc-gateway

Start the BigClown Gateway service:

sudo systemctl start bc-gateway.service

Connect Mosquitto and InfluxDB

Create a database node in InfluxDB using REST interface:

curl --data "q=CREATE+DATABASE+%22node%22&db=_internal" http://localhost:8086/query

Install Python module for InfluxDB:

sudo -H pip3 install influxdb

Get the Python source for the gateway ( from MQTT (Mosquitto) to InfluxDB. And make it executable.

sudo wget "" \
-O /usr/bin/mqtt_to_influxdb
sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/mqtt_to_influxdb

Note: sudo aka root is required because the target directory /usr/bin/ is only writeable by root.

Download and install from BigClown GitHub new SystemD service describing how to run the MQTT to InfluxDB gateway (mqtt_to_influxdb.service).

sudo sh -c "curl -sL | \
  sed -e 's/User=bigclown/User=root/' \
  > /etc/systemd/system/mqtt_to_influxdb.service"

Reload the SystemD in order to load the service mqtt_to_influxdb.service you have just created.

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Enable the service mqtt_to_influxdb.service on boot.

sudo systemctl enable mqtt_to_influxdb.service

Start it straight away.

sudo systemctl start mqtt_to_influxdb.service

Note: the command above expects that the InfluxDB is running on the port 8086 if not please use your port.

Make it fly

At first download grafana-climate-station.json directly of review it at GitHub and get using the raw link.

You have to configure the Graphana. Open the Graphana web interface at http://localhost:3000. Initial user name is admin and default password also admin.

Next you have to create data source. Just click on Add data source and fill in:

Finish by clicking on Add. At this moment the Grapahana tries to connect to the data source and reports back Data source is working.

Now we have the data but we want to see them. For that you have to click on the top left icon of the Graphana, select Dashboard and then Import. Then use the option Upload give it the file grafana-climate-station.json downloaded before. By that you have the dash board, it needs a data source so choose the data source "node" you just have created a minute ago. After clicking final Import you can enjoy the values from sensors!