1-Click Temperature Graphs using the Raspberry Pi and Dallas Semiconductor DS18B20

 Brian Mork
© 2022 Increa Technology

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This paper includes several sections, listed below.  The indented steps are about the remote access options.  If you only want to use the Pi with a local keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM), you can do just the four sections that are not indented.

   Remote Access Software
   SSH Server on Pi
   SSH Client on Windows
   Password-less SSH
   VNC Server on Pi
   UltraVNC on Windows
   Xming on Windows
Connect Sensor and Install Kernel I/O Module
Collect Data
Plot Data on Pi KVM
   Plot Data Remote Desktop via VNC
   Plot Data XServer on Windows
   Plot Data after Transfer to Spreadsheet


It’s been a while.  Twenty-one  years ago in the Spring of 2001, I collected performance data to see how a wood burning stove was heating my house and shed during the winters I was telecommuting from home.  At the time, I used a C program and compiler that ran on the Palm Pilot PDA with a data acquisition board.

Now, due to Covid, I am again telecommuting from a home office, and wanted a simple way to sit at my work computer, click on a desktop shortcut and know if I need to go stoke the wood fire stoves.  The Linux Raspberry Pi community is pretty good about collecting data with a plethora of hardware and software available, and I had one of these $35 computers un-used at the moment.  Most of my office work requires a Windows application environment for my main OS and desktop.  I wondered if there was a way to get Linux and Windows playing together.  Standing on the shoulders of many others, it turned out to be an easy and fun project.

This article shows how to use the DS18B20 and a Raspberry Pi to generate temperature graphs for monitoring anywhere your internet connection can reach.  The end results is a Windows 10 desktop shortcut that pops up graphs of data collected with a networked Linux computer. Because of the modular software versatility, there are several other ways of viewing the data, including your smartphone.

The overall architecture is shown in Figure 1.  A short python program reads raw data from a virtual file (no need to program any I/O events), calculates temperature, and writes comma separated data to another file.  The shareware program gnuplot is used to generate plots.   This is accessible from a Windows desktop using an SSH link, reaching across your local area network, or hundreds of miles away through the internet.  Although I used a temperature sensor, you could use other sensors.


Figure 1 - Any number of DS18B20 could be used, with wiring branched out from a common distribution board, or daisy-chained from one to the next.

The temperature sensor for this project is a Dallas Semiconductor DS18B20 (which is also second-sourced from Maxim).  One or more of these can be used, and because the wire carries only a digital signal, you don't get any signal degradation even over long distances. On Amazon, lots of 10 sensors can be had for about $8, and single item cost is about $1.20.  The DS18B20 ranges -55 to 125 Celsius (-67 to 257 Fahrenheit), with 9 to 12-bit default resolution (0.1 to 0.0625 Celsius).  Accuracy is ± 0.5 Celsius.

For lowest cost, you can use the sensor(s), a resistor, and your own wire assembly.  Or you can buy the sensor already mounted or wired up on small interface circuits:
Figure 2 - Sensors available in the Kookye kit.  The DS18B20 board is at the bottom of the middle column.

For the computer, I used a Raspberry Pi 4 model with 40-pin general purpose I/O (GPIO) header.  There is little threat to damaging the GPIO circuits because only a digital signal is connected, powered by the Pi itself.  Older or lower performance models of the Pi, including the $10 Pi Zero W could be used. Only 3 wires are used (Ground, Power, and GPIO4) in the base design.  With the "1-Wire" interface to the temperature sensor, a design could be done without a power wire if slightly degraded performance specs would be sufficient; see the sensor datasheet for details.

stove temp
Figure 3 - Data collection system in place to collect wood-fired stove temperatures.

Remote Access Software

A lot of information is on the web about installing and using the disparate software programs I strung together to make the complete system.  My hope is that you can see how they work together and use some of the ideas.  I'll run through brief crib notes getting the various software set up, and please feel free to consult the web for other perspectives or methods.

If you don't have a Pi up and running, I would recommend using the Raspberry Pi Imager to create and boot a new operating system.  Initially, I recommend using a local keyboard, video monitor and mouse (KVM) until you get a stable SSH link running.  Python comes installed as part of the Raspian OS for Pi, so you should already have that available to you.  Here are the other software programs used in this project:
  1. SSH server on the Pi
  2. VNC on the Pi
  3. SSH client on Windows 10
  4. UltraVNC on Windows 10
  5. XMing X-server on Windows 10
If you do NOT wish to view your data remotely - if you will collect it and view it using only the KVM of the Pi, you may skip these five software configurations and jump directly to hooking up wires.

SSH Server on Pi

The newer Raspberry Pi Imager allows you to specify to run SSH when the OS is installed.  However, if SSH server was not configured to run upon installation of the Raspbian Pi operating system, you can install it using these commands.  On the Pi, open a terminal command-line window and run


Choose "3. Interface Options", then enable SSH and exit the config program.  If you use a non-standard SSH port (something other than Port 22) set that in the /etc/ssh/sshd_config configuration file, and there may be other options you wish to modify.  Reboot the Pi computer, which should start SSH.  You can confirm whether sshd is running with the command:

systemctl status ssh

VNC Server on Pi

In a Pi command-line window run


Choose "3. Interface Options" and enable VNC.  Reboot the Pi computer and the VNC server should run.  You can confirm with the command

ps -ef |grep vnc

Modify the Pi VNC server configuration using the "hamburger meanu" icon along the top of the Pi desktop to choose Options.  Select authentication with a VNC password, and set the password on the Users & Permissions page.  Check the Connection option and note the port number - probably 5900. Choose other options as you desire.

SSH Client on Windows

Newer version of Windows come with SSH client installed.  On Windows 10, try opening a command line window and enter this command, substituting in any port you specified in the Pi computer file /etc/ssh/sshd_config, and the IP address of your Pi computer.

ssh -p22 pi@

You should be queried for the "pi" user password, and then obtain a Linux command line. 

Password-less SSH

In order to bring up an SSH link without typing in a password each time, you’ll need to use certificate keys.  If you don't mind typing in your Pi password each time you access data remotely, you can skip this section.

To generate SSH keys, at a Windows 10 command prompt, navigate to C:\Users\{yourusername}\.ssh, and enter the command

ssh-keygen -b 2048 -t rsa

Two new files will be made in the current directory.  You can use a different length or type of key, if you want (read about the -b and -t option).  nThe file without an extension is your private key.  The ".pub" file is your private key.  If you want, you can rename both files to include some memory aid so you remember what day or what computer created them.  Keep the ".pub" suffix on the public key. 

Keys were made on the client computer (Window), and you need to copy the public key onto the Pi computer by appending the ".pub" key into the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the Pi.  You could do this with a USB drive transfer if you want, but there's an easier method to send it over the network if your password SSH is already working.

In order to receive the public key, first make the required Pi directories and files with the correct permissions.  At the Pi command line, type:

cd ~
mkdir .ssh
cd .ssh
touch authorized_keys
chmod 700 ~/.ssh/
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Then, use the Windows command below, substituting in your information (the id_rsa filename, port, and IP),  to copy the public key from Windows to the Pi:

type %userprofile%\.ssh\id_rsa.pub | ssh -p22 pi@ "cat >>.ssh/authorized_keys"

Check the authorized_keys file on the Pi and make sure the id_rsa.pub file was appended into the file.

cat ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Stop and restart the SSH server on the Pi.

sudo systemctl restart ssh
systemctl status ssh

Open a Windows command line window and try opening an SSH link, and this time the Pi server should not ask you for a password.  Once the certificate login is working, if you want to disable password login to your Pi computer SSH server, go back and edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file on the Pi and change two lines to read:

PasswordAuthentication    no
ChallengeResponseAuthentication    no

UltraVNC Viewer on Windows

Download a copy of UltraVNC for Windows, and install.  When you run UltraVNC (click on the desktop icon), specify your Pi as the server

and substitute whatever port number the Pi VNC server showed in the Connection options menu.  Enter the password you configured into the Pi VNC and you should see the Pi desktop open in a window.

Xming X-Server on Windows

On Win10, download the Xming X-Server, and install it so Windows KVM can be used by a program running on the Pi.  Choose the option to create a short cut on the desktop.  XMing v6.9.0.31 was released public domain; later versions require a donation of £10. You can also download the Xming manual.  After installing, run Xming with the desktop icon:

Xming.exe :0 -clipboard -multiwindow

and then run SSH again to the Pi, adding the "Y" option to skip X-server authentication:

ssh -Yp22 pi@

Once at the Pi's SSH command prompt, this time run a program that requires a GUI, such as xterm.  A windows should pop up on your Win10 box.  If you want, install the Geany editor on your Pi and try to run it over the SSH link, which offers most of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) through the SSH link.

Setup Hardware and Kernel Module

With power REMOVED from the Pi computer, connect the DS18B20 temperature sensor to the Pi general purpose header with 3 wires.  In the TO-92 sensor package version of the DS18B20, Pin 1 is ground, Pin 2 is data, and Pin 3 is +5v power.  The table below also lists the Kookye interface board I used.  If you are not using an interface board, install an approximately 4.7 Kohm pull-up resister between Data and Power.  Instead of the 4.7 Kohm, the Kookye board includes a 1Kohm resister in series with an LED so it blinks whenever the data line is pulled low.

Wiring Instructions
DS18B20 Pin
without interface board
Pi 40-pin GPIO Header Pin
Kookye Interface
Board Header Pin
GND (pin 6, 9, ...)
2 Data
GPIO4 (pin 7)
+5V (pin 2 or 4)


If you choose, you can parallel wire multiple sensors and they will each be accessible to the python program. A Linux kernel module does all the I/O operations.  On the Pi, each sensor shows up as its own numbered directory inside the /sys/bus/w1/devices directory.  Inside the numbered directories, various virtual files provide the data from that sensor: name, power status, alarms, temperatures, etc.

Install the Pi kernel module to use the 1-wire communication protocol used by the temperature sensors.  On the Pi, edit /boot/config.txt to include the line


Reboot the Pi computer, and when it reboots, ensure the temperature sensor is communicating with the Linux kernel.  Use the command


to confirm if modules are present to read the sensor data. Look down the list for the line entires "w1-gpio" and "wire".  If you don't see these two line entries, force the issue with the two commands

sudo modprobe w1-gpio
sudo modprobe w1-therm

You can now see the device data at /sys/bus/w1/devices.  Each temperature sensor will have a different directory name starting with "28-xxxxxxxxxxxx".  Look in the numbered directory to see all the information available.  Type out the "temperature" file to see the Celsius temperature (divide the number you see by 1000).  To get a bit more extensive data, we'll use the data in the w1_slave virtual file.

Collect the Data

Save the following python program into a file "DS18B20temp.py".  I like to use the Geany editor, which also does syntax highlighting and compiling to check errors and offers a command line window.  It also offers a built-in command line tab so everything fits nicely into one SSH session.

import os
import glob
import time
import datetime
import sys

os.system('modprobe w1-gpio')
os.system('modprobe w1-therm')

base_dir = '/sys/bus/w1/devices/'
device_folder = glob.glob(base_dir + '28*')[0]
device_file = device_folder + '/w1_slave'

def read_temp_raw():
    f = open(device_file, 'r')
    lines = f.readlines()
    return lines

# example data we'll be processing
# pi@rasp4:/sys/bus/w1/devices/28-3c01a816f0b9 $ cat w1_slave

# 99 00 55 05 7f a5 81 66 1a : crc=1a YES
# 99 00 55 05 7f a5 81 66 1a t=9562

def read_temp():
    lines = read_temp_raw()
    while lines[0].strip()[-3:] != 'YES':
        lines = read_temp_raw()
    equals_pos = lines[1].find('t=')
    if equals_pos != -1:
        temp_string = lines[1][equals_pos+2:]
        temp_c = float(temp_string) / 1000.0
        temp_f = temp_c * 9.0 / 5.0 + 32.0
#        return temp_c, temp_f
        return temp_f

while True:
    now = datetime.datetime.now()
    #print(' C =%3.3f F = %3.3f'% read_temp())
    print('"'+str(now)+'","%3.3f"'% read_temp())

I'm still experimenting with the column labels in the first row of the data file.  Gnuplot doesn't seem to care if they're there or not (at least as currently scripted).

Run this program using the command below (use your own chosen filenames).  If you want the program to read the temperature at a different rate, change the time.sleep(30) command to however many seconds you want between readings.

python DS18B20temp.py | tee -a templog.csv

or, if you compiled the source code with the Geany editor (or any other way)

python DS18B20temp.pyc | tee -a templog.csv

The program reads the psuedo-data files created by the Linux kernel and writes a CSV-formatted temperature data to stdout. Although all sensors are available to the program via the folder name globbing statement, only the 1st (index [0]) is used to f.readlines data. The temperature data goes to the console screen, and tees to append data to the csv file (skip the "-a" option if you want to replace prior data files).

You can run through an SSH link for testing, but if you're going to let the program run for hours, I would recommend running the command line window natively on the Pi using VNC or a KVM plugged directly into the Pi.  That way, if the network link dies (or you simply turn off your laptop computer), the data collection window will remain alive on the Pi.

So long as the python program is still running on the Pi, stdout data will be collected into the csv file.  To start/stop the python program, I use VNC to access the command-line window on the Pi desktop.  If you want to start a new log file, just stop the program, rename or delete the existing file, and the tee command will start a new file when you run the python command again.

Plot the Data

A graph of the data can be viewed at least four ways:

  1. Directly on the Pi computer with a local KVM.
  2. Duplicate the entire Pi desktop on a remote computer using VNC
  3. Using X-server, run the gnuplot program on the Pi, but use KVM of a remote PC
  4. Copy data to a remote PC and use separate spreadsheet tools.

1. KVM directly on the Pi computer

Data graphs can be generated from the command line of your Pi.  Install the gnuplot package, if you don't already have it.  Create the following gnuplot script file; I used the name example.gnuplot.

# usage:
#  gnuplot -p example.gnuplot

set datafile separator ','
set xdata time
set timefmt "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"
set format x "%H:%M"

set ylabel "Farenheit"
set xlabel "Time"
set style line 100 lt 1 lc rgb "grey" lw 0.5
set grid ls 100
set style line 101 lw 3 lt 1 lc rgb "#f62aa0"

#set xrange ['2022-02-21 10:00:00':'2022-02-21 11:00:00']
plot "~/Documents/kookye-sensors/templog.csv" using 1:2 with lines ls 101

Using a KVM directly on the Pi, open a command-line window and run the command:

gnuplot -p example.gnuplot

In a few seconds, you'll see a window open up and show the data plotted.  Research other gnuplot options to make it more suitable to your needs.

2. Remotely Access the Pi Desktop with VNC

Instead of using a normal KVM plugged into the Pi, you can use VNC to remotely open a Pi command-line window and run the plot command and view the results.  This works for any computer with a VNC client application.  Figure 4 is a screenshot of my smartphone viewing the data with a VNC client app on a smartphone.  Because smartphone keypads are awkward, it might be a good idea to create a linux script with a short name such as "doplot.sh", or even "dp".

smartphone view
Figure 4 - Smartphone VNC viewer used to run the plot command and view data charts.

3. View X-Server Graph Windows on Windows 10

Using VNC to fully reproduce the video screen and keyboard interaction is sometimes slow and unresponsive.  Displaying just the graph window through an SSH link often gives better performance. To do this, be sure to run Xming first so the Windows computer you're sitting at properly serves its screen for gnuplot to use.  Use a desktop icon on the Win10 desktop that runs Xming:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Xming\Xming.exe" :0 -clipboard -multiwindow

After running Xming, use a second desktop shortcut that creates the SSH link, runs gnuplot on the Pi computer, and displays the output at your Win10 computer.  Specify the following in the shortcut target field.  As always, substitute in your username, IP address, and gnuplot scriptfile name.  The syntax here assumes the example.gnuplot scriptfile is in your Pi home directory, but you could include a full path to an alternate location if you want.

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c set "DISPLAY=localhost:0" && start ssh -Y pi@ gnuplot -p example.gnuplot

When done this way, the X-window frame and menu options are visible on the Win10 desktop by clicking on a single desktop icon! See Figure 5.

example data plot
Figure 5 - Use SSH to remotely run the gnuplot command and a graph pops open on the windows desktop.  It comes with Print and Save menus, too!

Using the menu at the top of the X-window, you can print or save in various formats (bmp pdf png svg).  Figure 6 shows an overnight heating stove using the .png save option, typically best for web pages.  The .bmp format offers the best quality, .pdf seems the easy to read with small file size, and .svg vector format is best for situations where zoom/scaling may be required.

heating curve
Figure 6 - Showing a png plot.  Also available in bmp, pdf, or svg formats.

4. Copy Your Data to a Different Computer

If you want to copy the data log file to your Win10 box to plot or analyze with a spreadsheet program, you don't have to stop data collection first.  Just run this command in a Win10 command-line window.  Substitute in your LAN IP address and your directories. 

scp -P22 pi@\kookye-sensors\templog.csv destination.csv

Browse to the destination.csv file.  Double click to open in Excel.  Highlight Colums A and B, and use the menu icons to insert a scatter graph.  Adjust as desired.  If you want to see the time column differently, highlight the time column, and format the the visual display of the cells.  If you click on any one cell, you can seed the actual and entire time/day in that cell.


With this project complete, I can sit at my work desk computer and every 1/2 hour or so simply click on a desktop shortcut to see a heating stove chart and determine when I should go add more wood.  If I open an SSH port or VNC port forward through my router, I can view the data from any internet location.  With just a few solder connections and building on software applications already created by others, I ended up with a very capable and versatile design.  It's modular enough to use certain pieces of the architecture for your own project.  What is your favorite reason to monitor temperature or other sensors?

Feedback, comments, and kudos appreciated!

Bibliography / Additional Resources

  1. Kookye instructions - 4/20/27 version, with more emphasis on the python program.
  2. Kookye instructions - 6/1/2017 version, with more emphasis on the hardware.
  3. Kookye DS18B20 Circuit Module - using an Arduino computer instead of a Pi.
  4. DS18B20 documentation from Dallas Semiconductor or Maxim.
  5. Getting started with the Pi Zero W.
  6. Bootstrapping a Pi Zero W without KVM.
  7. Howto Configure Xming on your computer.

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The skeleton of this document was originally created using AbiWord under a Gnome desktop.  It was subsequently edited by KompoZer to become the web page you are reading.  Last updated v1.0 February 2022.