Plotly + Arduino Data Visualization

Picture of Plotly + Arduino Data Visualization + Arduino Data Visualization

I've been a fan of Arduino for years now, and have used it for building everything from MIDI controllers to simple LED flashers. One thing that has always intrigued me has been visualizing some of the data that I read off of the Arduino Pins. makes this simple. Really simple.

The purpose of this instructable is to demonstrate how to hook up an Arduino + Ethernet Shield and send data to's Servers and create beautiful graphs. We will be using a dual temperature+humidity sensor (DHT22), and sending the results directly to Plotly.
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Step 1: What you will need:

Picture of What you will need:

(We will explain how to install the libraries in a later step)

  • Two pieces of (2 1/2" x 3 1/2" ) wood (1/4" thick)
  • Four (10-32x2in) Machine Screws
  • 12 Hex Nuts (10-32 Diameter)

Step 2: Hardware Setup

Picture of Hardware Setup
Step 1:
Connect your Arduino to your Ethernet shield

Step 2:
Connect the DHT sensor:
  • DHTpin1 -> 5v
  • DHTpin2 -> digitalpin2
  • DHTpin3 -> not used
  • DHTpin4 -> gnd

Step 3: Uploading the sketch to your Arduino

Picture of Uploading the sketch to your Arduino
Step 1:
  1. Download the Arduino IDE if you haven't already (We're using 1.0.5)
  2. Install Arduino onto your system

Step 2:
Download Libraries: (If you haven't already done so!)

You'll want to drop the library folders into your Arduino application folder. Ours is in: '/user/Documents/Arduino/libraries'. You can always check your Arduino preferences to find out where yours is if you cannot find it.

Once you find your Arduino folder, it should look like this:

  • Arduino/
    • hardware/
    • libraries/
      • plotly_ethernet/
        • plotly_ethernet.cpp
        • plotly_ethernet.h
      • DHT/
        • DHT.cpp
        • DHT.h

Once you've put the libraries in the correct place, restart the Arduino IDE.

Step 3:
  1. Download the Arduino/Plotly sketch for Temperature and Humidity visualization
  2. Open the sketch and change "username" and "api_key" to your plotly credentials.
  3. Upload the sketch to your Arduino!

Step 4: Building the Enclosures

Picture of Building the Enclosures
We were inspired by this Instructable, and wanted to create something similar for this project. Simplicity would be key, as we wanted to have an aesthetically pleasing, yet still minimal and low-cost, finished product.

This design is so simple and wonderful, we'll leave it up to you! Its just drilling 8 holes, and assembling!

Remember to be accurate with your holes, as they have to match up. Measure twice, drill once! :D

Step 5: Wrapping it all up!

Picture of Wrapping it all up!
001 blank.jpg
By now, you should be all set up and ready to go! You should have:

  • an Arduino that is programmed (not plugged into your router yet!)
  • an Arduino that is nicely bundled up into some kind of enclosure

Final Steps

  1. Plug in your Arduino to your router with the Ethernet cable
  2. Plug in your Arduino to power with the 9V Wall adapter
  3. After a few minutes, check your filewell on Plotly, and you will see your data! Refresh it to see new data as it is added! (With the example sketch, your plot will update every five minutes)

Happy Plotting!

Click here to check out an example using data taken from our living room in Montréal!
Shirk279 days ago

Been having a problem with the programming side of this, getting an error that seems to be from the IDE not including the libraries correctly.

plotlyethernettemphumid:13: error: no matching function for call to 'plotly::plotly()'

Here is the console

Nook1 Shirk2722 hours ago

I'm having the same problem.

As mentioned in the site the libraries should be placed like:

  • Arduino/

    • hardware/
    • libraries/

      • plotly_ethernet/

        • plotly_ethernet.cpp
        • plotly_ethernet.h
      • DHT/

        • DHT.cpp
        • DHT.h

But after downloading the libraries , I'm getting:
I think that's the problem.

drmpf7 days ago

If you want to do something similar but plot and save the data on your Android phone via bluetooth or wifi check out

"Simple Remote Data Plotting using Android / Arduino / pfodApp"

and "Arduino for Beginners, now with data plotting, controlled by Android"

TSJWang3 months ago

Hey nice project!

What about using Processing to sketch out data sent to the serial port? Would that decrease the delay?

Armandur TSJWang3 months ago does this with very little delay, imperceptible from realtime plotting.

plotlygraphs (author)  Armandur1 month ago

Woah, that's awesome! We just made a "real-time" version of our plotting available, and plotted data with that hear-rate sensor. Here is the video:

TSJWang TSJWang3 months ago

I guess it is a LOT cooler to have data online.

It depends on the purpose: quick testing that does not need to be recorded [processing]

data collection to be shared and displayed [plotlygraphs]

long term data collection, portable [analogRead values stored in SD card, then excel]

plotlygraphs (author)  TSJWang3 months ago

Hey! Thanks for checking out our Instructable. Our goal for the Plotly project is to let you send data right into the browser. Then, you can edit, share, and analyze your data and graph all in one place. So, here is our humidity and temperature graph you could share and edit with others:

kerimil1 month ago

can't get the library to work... I follow the instructions and I can't even install it properly

amcdawes3 months ago
Great example for One tip for making cases like this is to hold the top and bottom together when you drill... that way you only drill four holes and they automatically align.
plotlygraphs (author)  amcdawes2 months ago

Great tip. Thanks!

eagleapex2 months ago

That's a quality enclosure. Kudos

plotlygraphs (author)  eagleapex2 months ago

thank you! super easy to make + low cost too!

procastino3 months ago

I've just put it to work, nice and clean! thanks for the instructable! :)

ICStation3 months ago

Nice project. It brought us a lot of inspirations in design products/projects.


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