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Pax Instruments' Low-Cost Nokia 3100 GSM Shield Project

Gareth Halfacree

The Arduino's ability to communicate with other devices over various serial protocols makes it easy to add various networking facilities to your projects, but these often don't come cheap - in particular when you're talking about GSM mobile connectivity, although prices have dropped considerably in recent years. Charles Pax of Pax Instruments has an eco-friendly solution: building an extremely low-cost Arduino Shield which will allow an old Nokia 3100 feature-phone - a common sight in second-hand markets and recycling centres - to be connected directly to an Arduino using its standard 'pop-port' and stock USB cable. Using existing documentation on Nokia's F-Bus protocol coupled with code samples from around the web, Charles has been able to retrieve information from the device but has fallen short of sending a text message - the most common reason, alongside GPRS data connectivity, for wanting to interface your project with the GSM network. Charles is actively investigating why sending a message has failed, and is asking for help from anyone in the community with a greater knowledge of the F-Bus protocol or experience with serial-level control of an old Nokia handset. Should a solution be found, Charles has suggested he would be able to sell a complete kit - including Shield, power and data cable, and the Nokia 3100 handset itself, for as little as $20 (around £13).

We saw a fantastic opportunity to save a heap of phones from the recycling bin and save people a pocket full of money. We can make a positive impact on the environment if we reuse some of these phones that we are literally tripping over in the streets. Let’s make an Arduino to GSM network bridge for just a few dollars.

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