Mouser PSoC 6 WiFi/BT MBED: L8 Amazon AWS MQTT Thread – Part1

IoT Design with Cypress PSoC® 6 MCUs and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth using Arm® Mbed™

# Lesson GitHub Project
0 Introduction
1 Developer Resources
2 Your First Project & The Blinking Thread
3 Display Thread
4 Temperature Thread
5 CapSense Thread
6 WiFi & NTP Thread
7 The CY8CKIT-062-WiFi-BT 
8 Amazon AWS MQTT Thread - Part1
9 Amazon AWS MQTT Thread - Part2

You can “mbed import“ to make a copy of the project in your workspace.

The final architecture of the thermostat looks like this.



In this lesson we will plumb in the ability to talk to the Amazon Web Services MQTT broker.  Specifically to publish messages from the broker to change the setPoint of the thermostat.

To implement this I will:

  1. Discuss MQTT
  2. Import Lesson 07
  3. Add the Cypress AWS IoT Middleware
  4. Add the Cypress Connectivity Utilities Library
  5. Create an AWS Policy, Thing, and Certificate
  6. Modify the keys to “C” format
  7. Create and Code awsThread.h
  8. Create and Code awsThread.cpp
  9. Update main.cpp
  10. Build, Program and Test


There are five basic ideas that you need to understand when using MQTT.

  • (Message) Broker
  • Topic
  • Subscriber
  • Publisher
  • Messages

The Broker is a TCP/IP server sitting at the middle of an MQTT network.  It is responsible for receiving Messages from Publishers and forwarding them on to Subscribers.  A broker can run multiple simultaneous communication channels called Topics.

Topics are ad-hoc (application semantics) and are just a string of characters … like “setPoint” or “thing/setPoint”

Messages are just a string of bytes.  Typically formatted as JSON.  This is by convention and is not a requirement.

MQTT clients can be Publishers or Subscribers or both.

Import Lesson 07

Start by importing Lesson 07.

Add the Cypress AWS IoT Middleware

Cypress has built a library which will help you manage connections to AWS.  We call it the aws IoT middleware library.  Go to the library manager and add it:


Use the master branch:

Add the Cypress Connectivity Utilities Library

The AWS IoT library needs to use another library of connectivity functions.  Add it:


Select the master branch:

Create an AWS Policy, Thing, and Certificate

In order to make a connection to AWS you need to have a policy attached to a certificate.  In addition it makes sense to have an AWS “Thing” to represent your system.

Start from the AWS Console and press “Secure->Policies”.  Then press “Create”

Give your policy a name.  Add all “iot:*” and all resource and “allow”.  Then press “Create”:

Once the policy is created you will see it in the catalog:

Create a new Thing by clicking “Manage -> Things”.  Then click “Create””

Press “Create a single thing”:

First give your thing a name (in this case mouser) then click “Next”:

Click “Create certificate”

You MUST DOWNLOAD these files now.  You will not be given another chance. Press activate:

Which will show the certificate as active.  Next press “attach a policy”:

Then pick the Mouser policy:

Now you have your new “Thing”.

Modify the keys to “C” Format

In order to make a connection to AWS you need a valid certificate, the private key that goes with the certificate and the CA certificate of AWS.    You just created these files in the previous step.

These keys come looking like this:

But you need them to look like this so that they can be read in by the Mbed TLS library.

There are a number of ways to change the format including manual editing.

For this lesson I put the keys into a file called “aws_config.h”  There are bunches of bad stories out there about people finding encryption keys on the internet (like these).  I am going to disable the keys as soon as this workshop is over, but you should be careful with yours.

Here is my aws_config.h

Create and Code awsThread.h

Now create a new header file for the awsThread:

This file just contains the thread function prototype.

Create and Code awsThread.cpp

Now create the awsThread.cpp file for the aws implementation:

The basis for this code is again taken from a code example that is provided by Cypress on GitHub. You can find that code example here:

The awsThread starts with my evil extern.

Then I declare a function which is called when a message comes in from the MQTT broker.  I ASSUME that the message is an ASCII message formatted as %2.1f and I use sscanf to convert it to a float.  Many bugs have been made with this EXACT scheme.  It is expedient way to show people but it is a horrible habit.  I then send it to the temperature controller.

The main awsThread starts by initializing the AWS Client library, then connecting to AWS.  Lastly it subscribes to the setPoint topic.  Then it goes into an infinite loop calling the yield function which is responsible to listening to the aws MQTT socket and doing something with the data… specifically calling the callback.

Update main.cpp

The last step is to start up the awsThread in main:

Build, Program and Test

When you build and program the development kit.  You will be able to publish messages to the “setPoint” topic which will then change the setPoint on your system.  Remember that my parser is really not safe so just send %2.1f.

In the case below you can see that I publish 51.1:

Which changes the setPoint on my board.