In this section, we'll walk through the steps necessary to configure to receive your alarm data. Fortunately, it's pretty straightforward and works extremely well.

Step 1 - Create a feed for your alarm data

Go to and log in with your credentials. If you don't have an account there yet, you can request one from that page. Your credentials wil be the same as they are for other parts of the Adafruit environment.

Once you have logged in, you'll need to create the feed. Navigate away from your default landiing page by clicking the "My Dashboards" button:

This will bring you to a screen that has a site navigation bar on the left side. It will look like this:

Click on the "Your Feeds" link (second from the top) to take you to your feeds management page. Once there, you'll see a page that looks like this, except it will have your feeds instead of mine:

Once you're at this point, create a new feed by clicking the light blue button on the far right, labeled "Create Feed." If you look closely at the image above, you'll see that I already have a feed titled "alarms." This is the feed you need to create first. The feed creation page should look like this for you:

When you have entered the feed information as shown (I recommend you keep the "alarms" feed name and will assume you have done so) click the "Create Feed" button in the lower right to create your feed.  The system has a feed limit in place right now, so you may need to delete another feed (or two) to create the new alarms feed.I am hopeful that with the success of Adafruit.IO we'll soon have a paid tier available where we can buy extra feeds and dashboards (but that's not up to me - I'm just a wishful customer).

Step 2 - Create the dashboard for the alarms

The next step is to create the dashboard to display your feed information. Remember, the "smarts" of the system are in the Python program. We don't need to create separate feeds for every alarm sensor we have, as we would need to do for some other projects. The Python program will essentially "multiplex" all the alarms into this single feed.

Back in the navigation section on the left, click the button labeled "Your Dashboards." It's the fourth one down in the list. This will bring you to the dashboard management page, which looks like this:

Click on the light blue "Create Dashboard" button on the far right. This wil bring up the new dashboard creation page. It should look similar to this:

Enter the name for your new dashboard (I used "security_system") and click the "Create Dashboard" button in the lower right. You'll be shown a blank dashboard page like this:

(You can see that I used the name "security_system2" since I already had a dashboard for "security_system.") See the row of colored boxes/buttons on the right? The blue one, second from the left, will create a new block object on the dashboard. Click it. You'll then see a dialog box with all the different kinds of blocks you can add to your dashboard. The one we want is the text block. It's the fifth one down from the top:

Click the "Create" button next to the text block. This will bring up another dialog box that lets you select which feeds will appear in the block. We only want one feed - the "alarms" feed you created above.

Click the "Choose" link next to your "alarms" feed. Then click the blue "Next Step" button in the lower right corner.

This brings you to the final configuration dialog for your new block. You can change the font size or name that's displayed on the box. I just left the defaults, but you can put what you like here. Whatever is most aestheticly pleasing to you. When you are done editing the information, click the light blue "Create Block" button in the lower right.

The default text box size is a little small, so grab the double arrow in the bottom right corner and resize the text block until it looks right to you (you can always tune it up later if it's not quite right.)

That's it! Your security system alarms should now appear in this text block on your dashboard! You can test it be opening a door or window and then checking to see if the alarm shows up.


If you don't receive alarms, there are a few things you can check.

  1. Does the ESP8266 have power? (Don't judge.)
  2. Is the ESP9266 properly connecting to your network? You can check this by connecting a micro-USB cable to the device and opening it with CoolTerm or another terminal program.
  3. Is Mosquitto running on your Raspberry Pi, and does it have the proper topic names? You can use the mosquitto_sub command to check this.
  4. Is your Python program configured correctly and communicating with Remember, you'll need to make sure your Adafruit.IO key is copied correctly into the program.
  5. Finally, are all your names properly matched up (e.g., "alarm" in one place but "alarms" in another)?

Next: Configuring IFTTT to text

This guide was first published on Jun 23, 2016. It was last updated on May 01, 2024.

This page (Configuring was last updated on Jun 23, 2016.

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