InfluxDB and Grafana for sensor time series

I’ve started using InfluxDB for storing my sensor data as time series. The main reason for this is that it allows me to use Grafana for analyzing the data. This blog post is an introduction to my setup with these tools on a Raspberry Pi.


All sensor data in my IoT-home setup are transformed to MQTT messages that are published to a self-hosted MQTT broker (mosquitto). I have different services that subscribes to the MQTT topics:

To get data for a data source in Grafana, I simply add an additional MQTT subscriber that stores all messages in time series in an InfluxDB database. My setup will look like this:

My self-hosted MQTT system. 433MHz and z-wave signals are bridged to MQTT messages. WiFi-enabled devices produce MQTT messages directly. Multiple subscribers collect the data.

An alternative solution for InfluxDB and Grafana is to let HomeAssistant export all state changes to InfluxDB:

I prefer not to use this approach as I don’t want HomeAssistant to be the central hub in my system. I really like HomeAssistant, but I want it to be a subscriber node that no other node has to depend on.


InfluxDB is a time series database. It is optimized for queries in the time domain, e.g. for graphs with data points measured at different points in time. The database contains named “measurements”, e.g. “temperature_from_sensor_1”, and each measurement contains a set of data points that represents samples of the sensor data. A datapoint has a measurement name, a time stamp and a value. An additional set of values and arbitrary key-value tags can be attached to a datapoint (I don’t use this feature in my setup though).

Creating and using a database with measurement, value and time can look like this:

$ influx -precision rfc3339 // starts the InfluxDB shell and shows time in rfc3339 format
Connected to http://localhost:8086 version 1.2.0
InfluxDB shell version: 1.2.0
> create database demo // Creates a new database
> use demo
Using database demo
> insert mysensor1 value=0.51 // Insert new datapoints
> insert mysensor1 value=0.53 // for the measurement
> insert mysensor1 value=0.45 // "mysensor1"
> select * from mysensor1 // Get the whole time series
name: mysensor1
time value
—- —–
2017-02-26T13:33:49.00279827Z 0.51
2017-02-26T13:33:53.045762633Z 0.53
2017-02-26T13:33:57.015427575Z 0.45

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

If a time stamp is not provided in the insert statement, InfluxDB will create one from the current time. The time stamps are UTC-based so you have to convert to local time when viewing your data. And if inserting time stamps manually, time should be in UTC.

InfluxDB has a HTTP API that can be used for queries. This is what Grafana uses.


Grafana is a web-based data visualizing tool that can connect to InfluxDB and several other data sources. With Grafana, you can setup custom dashboards, alerts and notifications and you can zoom in- and out of the data sets. Grafana has a web front end that is very responsive and cool looking.  It’s open-source and easy to use and self-host. I’m really impressed with this application.

Installation & setup


For an installation of InfluxDB on a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian (stretch version), you need to add an additional apt-source:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
curl -sL | sudo apt-key add –
echo "deb stretch stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/influxdb.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install influxdb

For a simplistic setup, open /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf and enable the http endpoint, the bind-address and set auth-enabled to false:

# Determines whether HTTP endpoint is enabled.
enabled = true
# The bind address used by the HTTP service.
bind-address = ":8086"
# Determines whether user authentication is enabled over HTTP/HTTPS.
auth-enabled = false

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Then restart the influxd service with: sudo service influxd restart

Test that your installation and configuration work by using the influx command and try out the InfluxDB example described above.


Grafana also needs an additional apt-source for the installation on Raspberry Pi with Raspbian. See this wiki for instructions:

Then install Grafana with:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grafana

The Grafana configuration file is /etc/grafana/grafana.ini. You need to enable http as protocol and set a port to use in this file.

# Protocol (http, https, socket)
protocol = http
# The ip address to bind to, empty will bind to all interfaces
;http_addr =
# The http port to use
http_port = 3000

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

After modifying grafana.ini, use sudo service grafana-server restart to apply your settings to the service.

You should now be able to login to Grafana on http://<IP ADDRESS OF RPI>:3000 with the default user admin/admin.

For more configuration options, see

Integration with my existing system

As mentioned in the introduction, all sensor data from my IoT-nodes are transformed to MQTT messages that are published to a locally hosted mosquitto broker.

Integrating InfluxDB is as simple as adding an additional MQTT subscriber that takes a received sensor message and store it as a value in an InfluxDB database. I use a Python 3 script (as a service) with paho-mqtt for subscribing to MQTT topics and the influxdb-python library for writing the values to the InfluxDB database. See these links on how to install the required Python libraries:

For Python 3.* you can use pip3 for installation:

pip3 install influxdb
pip3 paho-mqtt

I use the MQTT topic as measurement type for the data. This lets me get for example “Home/Outdoor/Temperature” as a time series from InfluxDB. In this implementation I set the time property of the data that is uploaded (have to use UTC-time!). If the time property was excluded, InfluxDB would have created a time stamp from the current time.

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt
import datetime
import time
from influxdb import InfluxDBClient
def on_connect(client, userdata, flags, rc):
print("Connected with result code "+str(rc))
def on_message(client, userdata, msg):
print("Received a message on topic: " + msg.topic)
# Use utc as timestamp
# Convert the string to a float so that it is stored as a number and not a string in the database
val = float(message)
print("Could not convert " + message + " to a float value")
if isfloatValue:
print(str(receiveTime) + ": " + msg.topic + " " + str(val))
json_body = [
"measurement": msg.topic,
"time": receiveTime,
"fields": {
"value": val
print("Finished writing to InfluxDB")
# Set up a client for InfluxDB
dbclient = InfluxDBClient('', 8086, 'root', 'root', 'sensordata')
# Initialize the MQTT client that should connect to the Mosquitto broker
client = mqtt.Client()
client.on_connect = on_connect
client.on_message = on_message
while(connOK == False):
client.connect("", 1883, 60)
connOK = True
connOK = False
# Blocking loop to the Mosquitto broker

Grafana configuration

With Grafana installed, you can log in as an admin and add an InfluxDB database as a new data source where you specify the http settings for InfluxDB’s http api:

InfluxDB configuration in Grafana

Setting the access to “proxy” (this option is called “Server” in later versions of Grafana) will make Grafana access the database from the server side. You have to use this when using Grafana outside your LAN (with port forwarding) while InfluxDB is only exposed within the LAN network. The default access is “direct” (“Browser” in later versions of Grafana), which means that the browser front end will fetch the data over http (that’s why it will not work outside your LAN unless both Grafana and InfluxDB has been port-forwarded).

With the data source defined, you can create a new dashboard that can be filled with rows and panels. On each panel you select one or several metrics from your datasource.

Graph panel configuration in Grafana

You can use the drop downs to build up the query or switch to raw mode where you write the query in plain text. Grafana is really easy to use and as the result of a change is shown immediately one can just play around with the settings to learn how it works.

For showing a momentary value, you can use the Singlestat panel:

A Singlestat panel that shows that last value from the ground floor temperature time series

The Singlestat panel can be configured to show the last value for a time series (in the selected range). On the options tab you can select color and unit for the panel.


My current main dashboard contains an overview of climate sensors and detected events (front door-opened events):


I have also added system monitoring measurements from my three Raspberry Pi:s (temperature, CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage):



Adapting my system to store the data as time series was easy as all data was available as MQTT topics. With the data in place in InfluxDB, connecting it to Grafana was a breeze. I’m really impressed with the ease-of-use, flexibility and performance of Grafana. I think the Grafana dashboards will be my new favourite tool for analyzing my collected data.

Both InfluxDB and Grafana works great on a Raspberry Pi without using much resources.


23 Thoughts

  1. I am running mosquitto broker on rpi3 and python script from this article also on rpi3. It creates “dht” database in influx but it does not wirite any measurements from topic “out/#”.

    InfluxDB version 1.2.2
    Python 3.4

    Any clues how to deal with it? 🙂


    1. Hi Marcin! The script in this blog post subscribes to topics starting with “Home”, e.g. “Home/Outdoor/Value” or “Home/MyValue”. Have you modified the script to subscribe to “out/#”? What are your published MQTT topics? What values? The script only stores values that can be converted to floats. You can add additional print statements in the on_message callback function to see how far you get. Here is a Gist with more print tracing


  2. Are the colored rectangle boxes current temperature, etc? Or the temperature for the range you selected? If the former, how do you achieve this?


    1. Hi James, yes the boxes show the last value for different time series in the range specified in Grafana. I use the Singlestat panel in Grafana for this. I have updated the blog post with an example on a Singlestat panel setup. Hope this helps!


  3. Great post. It will take me a bit to understand it all but all the installs went off without any problems. I’m using a MySensors system and feeding the data to MQTT. If anyone out there is using MySensors and has this working please post how you made it work. Thanks again.


    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’ve made an update with a link to the grafana-on-raspberry-wiki that has information on installations for RPI 1 and also for Raspbian versions other than Jessie.


  4. Grat Post!
    I have an error when I run the script:
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 1481, in loop_forever
    rc = self.loop(timeout, max_packets)
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 1003, in loop
    rc = self.loop_read(max_packets)
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 1284, in loop_read
    rc = self._packet_read()
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 1849, in _packet_read
    rc = self._packet_handle()
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 2311, in _packet_handle
    return self._handle_connack()
    File “/home/ubuntu/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/paho/mqtt/”, line 2372, in _handle_connack
    self.on_connect(self, self._userdata, flags_dict, result)
    TypeError: on_connect() takes 3 positional arguments but 4 were given

    Any ideas


  5. Wow, solved!!! Thank’s
    One more question…
    I have a a mqtt payload like this:


    and i will display Temperature, pressure, humidity therefore I must modify the script.
    Do you have any suggestion?


  6. A efw steps are missing:
    – installing python driver for influxdb
    sudo apt-get install python3-influxdb
    – installing python paho client
    sudo pip3 install paho-mqtt (also pip3: sudo apt-get install python3-pip)


  7. Hi Lars

    Thank for a great post.
    I have an error when running the python script. Hope you can help 🙂

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “Documents/Python scripts/”, line 5, in
    from influxdb import InfluxDBClient
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/influxdb/”, line 9, in
    from .client import InfluxDBClient
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/influxdb/”, line 19, in
    from influxdb.line_protocol import make_lines, quote_ident, quote_literal
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/influxdb/”, line 13, in
    from dateutil.parser import parse
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/dateutil/parser/”, line 2, in
    from ._parser import parse, parser, parserinfo
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/dateutil/parser/”, line 50, in
    from .. import tz
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/dateutil/tz/”, line 1, in
    from .tz import *
    File “/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/dateutil/tz/”, line 19, in
    from six.moves import _thread
    ImportError: cannot import name _thread

    Im running on a OS X El Capitain


    1. Hi Peter! Sorry, I can’t help you with this one. I’m running on RaspberryPi and I have not seen this issue. It looks that there is some problem with the dateutil python package on your Mac. Maybe you can search for “python dateutil ImportError: cannot import name _thread” and check for similar problems.


  8. Hi Lars,
    With the most recent HASSBIAN on a raspi 3B+ (

    Distributor ID: Raspbian
    Description: Raspbian GNU/Linux 9.4 (stretch)
    Release: 9.4
    Codename: stretch

    Regarding the influxdb installation I found

    apt-transport-https is already installed!

    sudo apt-get install influxdb
    does not install the influx binary, so you need to run
    sudo apt-get install influxdb-client

    This is sufficient for influxdb, no need to edit /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf.



  9. influxdb as installed by my previous post is still the 1.0.2 version – unfortunately.
    Strangely enough – if you select “stretch stable” in the repository the 1.6.1 version is installed but
    the post install script for starting the service fails.
    The “jessie stable” installs correctly with the recent HASSBIAN and the service is started.


    1. Thanks for your comments and corrections. I made this blog post more than a year ago with Raspbian Jessie. I have now updated the installation parts with information for Raspbian Stretch.


  10. Regarding the failed install of influxdb under stretch stable & fixing it:
    Starting the influxdb (1.6.4-1) service fails because the unit file is masked.
    After unmasking with “sudo systemctl unmask influxdb.service”
    the service can be started as usual: “sudo service influxdb start”


Leave a Reply to Ralfo Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s