SUCCESS - FONA 808 GSM/GPS connected to PocketCHIP (SMS & Dialing)


Well it was easier than expected. I had this Adafruit FONA 808 board sitting around from an older projected and figured hey why not try to hook it up to the Pchip. I was able to connect it up, make a call, and send an SMS from the terminal console using the “screen” program. Of course, you must have a SIM card to place in the FONA. Here is a gist of what to do if anyone was curious:


1.Wire the FONA to the Pchip.
Note: the FONA must have its own LIPO/LIion battery hooked into the JST connector in order to work. I supposed you could wire it to the pchip 3v but I DID NOT try that. Also required is the GSM antenna.

I used the break out solder points at the top of the pocket chip
FONA TX -> Pocket CHip UART RX
FONA RX -> Pocket Chip UART TX
FONA GND -> Pocket Chip GND
FONA KEY -> Pocket Chip GND
FONA VIO -> Pocket Chip +3v

2.Power up Pocket Chip:
-you should notice the blue PWR LED of the FONA lit solid and the red NET LED starting to blink

3.Install screen (I ssh’d into my Pocket Chip):
sudo apt-get install screen

4.Disable getty on TTYS0 (this may not be necessary but I did it and it worked fine):
systemctl stop serial-getty@ttyS0.service

5.Start screen
screen /dev/ttyS0 115200

6.You should now see a blank screen where you can type in AT commands:
type: “AT” (without quotes) and you should receive “OK” as a response. this verifies the FONA and Pocket CHIP are talking to one another!
Here are some AT commands to try:

ATI - Get the module name and revision
AT+CMEE=2 - Turn on verbose errors (handy for when you are trying out commands!)
AT+CCID - get the SIM card number - this tests that the SIM card is found OK and you can verify the number is written on the card

AT+COPS? Check that you’re connected to the network

AT+CSQ - Check the ‘signal strength’ - the first # is dB strength, it should be higher than around 5. Higher is better. Of course it depends on your antenna and location!
AT+CBC - will return the lipo battery state. The second number is the % full (in this case its 92%) and the third number is the actual voltage in mV (in this case, 3.877 V)AT+CMGF=1 - this will set it to TEXT mode not PDU (data) mode. You must do this because otherwise you cannot just type out the message.

To Send a text msg:
You will get a ‘>’ prompt for typing. Type out your message and when you are done send a [Control-Z] on an empty line to send

To call/dial:
ATDnnnnn; (Don’t forget the ; at the end!)
If they pick up you’ll hear it in the headset, if no pickup, you’ll get a NO CARRIER return
Once you are done chatting, you can hang up by sending ATH
Of course you need a hands-free headphone/mic device to plug into the FONA in order to hear the your caller and to talk!

7.To exit from screen: Ctrl+a and then Ctrl+z

Next up: create a PPP connection to use the data connection of the FONA with the Pocket CHIP!

3G usb modem on pChip?
CHIPphone Projects
PocketChip connected to FONA 808 video walkthrough
Cellular module - SpargEE - Anyone know if this will work?

so much yes! I know what I’m doing with my.pocketchip! and if data can get working I will more then likely find a nice way to house it in pockchip and ditch my phone! (says alot since I have a lg g4 willing ditch the specs for debian over android!)


Just an update, I’m working on a Python script to create a simple dialpad to easily dial a phone number using the FONA on the Pocket CHIP! I can say that the PCHIP is definitely now a PHONE!


Wow! how is the sound quality? More pictures please! I’m thinking of buying a FONA.


Thanks @Juve021 I’ve included this thread on:


I successfully connected my Fona 3G to the pocketchip. Now i am wondering how to enable ppp to use the data connection. is there any pocketchip related howto? i found a tut from baruch to create a kernel, but it is for chip and i am not sure if i can use it for pocketchip also.


I really enjoy Hardware Hack threads :thumbsup:


@juve021 is there any way to tie into the pocketchip keyboard for dialing and sms?


@dwe517 Not sure what you mean by “tying in” to the keyboard. When you are in terminal and have typed in the “screen” command, you can dial a number or send a text (see above commands).


Hey, I am trying to get a sim800c work on pocketchip. I get it working on arduino, but when using screen when I write a command the letter start flying and either screen terminates or pocketchip freezes. whe using getty is stopped. tried minicom the same problem, tried different baud rate. Any ideas?


I would just say make sure you have your tx and rx hooked up correctly


I have the wires hooked up correctly. I even tries minicon but the result was the same. The letter start flying or pocketchip freezes.

Dont know is this related to the problem but sometimes screen says incorrect password.


Is it possible to use this:

instead of the Adafruit FONA?


Got it working some how. Minicom works ok for now. The new problem is power source. The module turn on but when connecting network shut down. Tried different configures. I when using dc step to give more voltage. Capacitator are some help but still unreliable. Also dried connecting the module trough arduino to pc and disconnected the battery from chip and powered the module with it. Is there away to get module use more power?


Hey, ordered a different module that has its own voltage regulator 5v. When I power the module form pocketchips pins 5v and groud it sometimes turn off. Is there a some sort of a safety mechanism?


Hey, I was able to get gsm module to fit pocketchip. I am using a seperate battery to power the module and I am using the chips 5v power to charges the battery using a lipo charger. But when I start charging the pocketchip shut down. Is the charger drawing to much power?


So you have the pocketchip charging another battery, as in the pocket chip is the only true source of power/is the only battery/source that gets topped up… It does sound like a current draw issue.

Something like this setup always should have the module and pocketchip powered from a battery, not having the pocketchip power the module. These modules can draw upto 2amp+…

The quickest way to find out, power the module via another power source and then see what happens… But i would default to thinking that your drawing way to much…

Personally i would go the option of getting a larger high capacity battery, having that power both the pocket & gsm and having its own charging circuit… Charging one battery from another is not common practice unless your talking something like a 12v charging a 3.7v and even then the 12v would have atleast a few amp hours.


I have tried powering the gsm module through pocketchip but it would just shut down.
The set up is so that the battery charger is connected to the pocketchip 5v source and the external battery is connected to the charger and the external battery is connected to a dc dc step up module and that is connected to the gsm module. between the charger and external battery, and the step up module and gsm module are on/off switches. So when I use the gsm module is in use the battery charger is off and when chargeing the battery the gsm module is off. Does this make any more sense.


Tried a can using the pocketchips battery. But when connect pocketchips shut down, most likely because I have capasitator connected parallel with the power, doesnt work without one.


Think you’ll need to post a diagram of how everything is connected or break it down using some ascii arrows.
(As example )
Device #1 - 5v ----> Device #2
Batt #1 - 12v -----> Device #3