Raspberry Pi GSM Hat

The Spark Electron was released a few days ago, giving anyone with the Arduino IDE the ability to send data out over a GSM network. Of course, the Electron is just a GSM module tied to a microcontroller, and you can do the same thing with a Pi, some components, and a bit of wire.

The build is fairly basic – just an Adafruit Fona, a 2000 mah LiPo battery, a charge controller, and a fancy Hackaday Perma-Proto Hat, although a piece of perf board would work just as well in the case of the perma-proto board. Connections were as simple as power, ground, TX and RX. With a few libraries, you can access a Pi over the Internet anywhere that has cell service, or send data from the Pi without a WiFi connection.

If you decide to replicate this project, be aware you have an option of soldering the Fona module right side up or upside down. The former gives you pretty blinking LEDs, while the latter allows you to access the SIM. Tough choices, indeed.

12 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi GSM Hat

    1. This one allows for a better antenna and a nicer form factor, plus it has a jack for headphones + mic. While I can see someone preferring the USB dongle, I wouldn’t call this extremly unclever.

      1. The usb dongles also allow for external antennas, and altough I can see why you’d want to have external audio I/O, using a soundcard and asterisk would’ve still been cheaper and more versatile.

  1. first… Woooooo, I just did this write up on my pi hat the other day!!
    second I agree a usb probably would end up working easier but I happened to have it all laying around and just wanted to make it look better than the breadboard hell I had it living on initially,

    also I really wanted an excuse to use my hackaday perma-proto :D

  2. I agree a USB modem is the way to go, but if you’ve got a Fona, might as well use it – at least while you can. AT&T is shutting down GSM at the end of 2016. I don’t have hard dates on other providers, but it’s likely they’ll follow suit soon after.

  3. from what ive heard, tmobile is gonna hang on to gsm for a while, at least its pay as you go in case they do dump it, also justifying the fona, it allowed a more compact way to handle the cell radio and power for the pi in as small a package as possible.

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