Creating an IOT or MQTT Dashboard Using Thingsboard

mqtt-dashboard-iconThingsboard is an open source IOT platform for data visualization.

It is available for download and installation on your own hardware or as an online service for demonstration purposes.

In this tutorial we will configure a simple Dashboard to display data from sensors using MQTT and Python.

There are two sensors, a main door sensor and a main light sensor. Our final demo dashboard will appear like this


The first step is to create your own demo account by signing up here.

Once you have an account and have verified it you can login to thingsboard here.

Process Overview

  • Create device or devices
  • Assign device to Widget
  • Assign Widget to Dashboard
  • Add new widgets and edit as necessary

The diagram below illustrates the process:


The first thing you need to create is a device.

Go to devices and click on the add device circle in the lower right hand corner


You will need to give the device a name and add a description. Leave the is gateway box un-checked.


Click ADD when done.

Now click on the device card to edit the device, and then click the tick icon to display and edit the device properties.


Each device is assigned an access token which is used by the device to identify itself to the thingsboard platform.

You will need to copy this access token for use in your MQTT client. You can do this using the copy access token tab.


Or by clicking on the manage credentials tab


The access token you will use as the username in MQTT. There is no password.

The actual physical device is responsible for sending data to thingsboard.

All data is sent to the following topic id:


Note: A device need not be a single device like a sensor as devices publish data as a JSON object.

The device client attributes can be used to manage the device, but these must first be populated by the client. We will not be using device attributes in this tutorial.

The device is now usable and can receive data.

If you follow the introduction on the thingsboard website they use a Javascript client and Node.js to send data.

In this tutorial we will send data using MQTT and a Python client.

Configuring The Python Client

We need to configure the following:

username= access token
password=”” #not used

We also need to package the data in a dictionary object and then convert it to a JSON encoded string to output

Here is my demo script (partial) that simply simulates a light sensor and a door sensor.


The light is either on or off, and the door is either open or closed.

When I run the script this is what I see on the console.


To view the results on the device in thingsboard go the device telemetry tab.


To visualize data from this device we need to configure a dashboard and a display widget.

We start by adding the device to a widget.

To add this device to a widget click on the check box next to last update time


Now select the widget type (cards) and then use the small circles to select the card type, and then click add to dashboard.


You can now add the widget to an existing dashboard or create a new dashboard.


If you tick the checkbox to open the dashboard, when you click ADD the dashboard will open and display the widget.


Adding A new Widget to the Dashboard

To add a new widget or edit the dashboard click on the edit (pencil) icon in the lower right corner of the dashboard.

When adding a new widget you first need to select the type of widget.


Now you need to select a data source for the Widget.


thingsboard-add-new-widget-datasourceNow configure the datasource. In the example below our datasource is called house which is the name of the device we configured earlier and we select the main-light property. The Main-door property we added to our first widget.


Now you can edit the card settings and change colour and fonts etc.


When finished the new widget appears on the screen.


As long as the edit icons are showing you can rearrange and edit widgets on the dashboard.

When finished click on the tick icon.


Making the Dashboard Public

You can also make the dashboard public which makes it visible to everyone.




I’ve also created a YouTube video covering the above which you can watch here.

Here is my demo test house dashboard that I created in the video tutorial. You can download the python scripts here.


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