Is a Lipo Battery required? Can I run the FONA off of a power supply or just the microUSB port?

The microUSB (on the shield, in CHARGE mode and powered via USB or DC power) is only used to charge the battery. Without a battery installed it will flicker on and off so it cannot be used to power a FONA minus battery.

A 1200mAh+ sized Lithium ion/polymer battery is required, nothing else will be able to easily power the FONA and provide the correct voltage range even during 2 Amp spikes.

I really want to run my FONA without a Lipoly battery!

You can't.

We keep getting people who ask "Hey I know its a requirement but I want to build a buck/boost/linear 3.8V regulator and it wil be OK because I said so" and then they realize it doesn't work well

The FONA design depends on a Lipoly battery. The battery is not optional. The battery is essential to function. If you do not want a Lipoly battery you will have to use a different cellular module design. All of our FONAs require, depend and will not work without a Lipoly battery

You can keep the battery topped up with an external 5V power supply for long term usage but the battery is still required even if plugged into USB

Ahh! My FONA was working fine then I sent it some command and its not working right anymore?

You can always factory reset the FONA by sending it the


command. Say with fona.println("ATZ") or using a USB console cable to send commands. If you set an odd fixed baud rate (e.g. you cannot even get an OK when you send AT), a USB serial console cable will be helpful it quickly changing baud rates in your terminal software to get back to a working AT/OK setup!

I'm using FONA as a voice caller and the other person can't hear me!

Note that you do have to use a compatible headset. Not all CTIA headsets will work, the ones we have in the shop are known to work and so do many other Android but iPhone headsets do not.

You can also use 'external' audio on the FONA (electret mic and speaker soldered to FONA) but you cannot mix and match. Either you use headset or you use external audio. You cant use external mic and headset speaker.

You also have to tell the FONA which audio you are using, it does not autodetect. You can use our library and fona.setAudio()

My FONA doesn't work with Arduino Due/ADK/101/Galileo/STM32....

Right now we only know that the FONA library and shields work with Arduino UNO. Any other platforms may require porting work

Can I charge the battery and use FONA at the same time?

Yes! You can use the Lipoly as sort of a 'backup battery' - keep charging it via MicroUSB (on the shield, in CHARGE mode and powered via USB or DC power) during use. If the MicroUSB loses power, the FONA will keep going.

My FONA won't turn on/respond! Or it acts flakey and auto-shuts off sometimes!

We've noticed a lot of problems that are 'weird' that are a results of using batteries with the wrong polarity.

All batteries from adafruit have the right wire colors/polarity for the FONA

Batteries not from Adafruit are not guaranteed to have the right pinout! Using the wrong pinout may damage the FONA and/or make it act 'odd'!

FONA 800/808 requires a 2G SIM, does it work with a dual 2G-3G SIM?

That will work fine, as long as the SIM can register to the 2G network at all, it is acceptable to use

Are you sure I can't use ATT for 2G service? I'm in a T-Mobile cold spot

The AT&T GSM network is going to be live until January 2017. If you're reading this and it's 2017, you're outta luck. If not, you can try to get an AT&T SIM activated to the 2G GSM network but its not going to do that by default. You'll have to call up or talk to an AT&T rep and it may not go so well because they really don't want people to use their GSM network.

You can also call up T-Mobile and say you can't get connected consistently - they may send you a free signal booster

Check out this handy map to see T-Mobile's coverage map in the USA

How long can FONA last on my battery?
We haven't done extensive testing with FONA but from preliminary reports, the FONA draws about 20-25mA while running, up to 200mA+ while actually making a call/sending/receiving data, and has very small spikes of up to 2A. The spikes are short and are absorbed by the onboard capacitors.

A 1200mAh battery can run the FONA on 'standby' for a day or two.
How do I set the Real Time Clock on the FONA SIM?
Please see this forum post!

I'm using a FONA 808 and the GPS commands aren't working

The FONA 808 has two versions, due to a revision of the module itself. Version 1 has two barcodes on the front and is part #S2-10606-Z1F01. Version 2 has a QR code on the front and is part #S2-10606-Z1F02. V2 has a newer/better chipset (MT3337 instead of MT3336) but the commandset has changed. Which is annoying but adaptable!

If you are using V1, use this GPS command document for how to interact with the GPS subsystem

If you are using V2, use this GNSS command document instead.

How do I switch between SMS storage on SIM and in internal FLASH?

You can switch between the storage locations by changing the FONA_PREF_SMS_STORAGE definition in the Adafruit_FONA.h library file.  The definition "SM" selects the SIM, and the definition "ME" selects FLASH.

// Set the preferred SMS storage.
//   Use "SM" for storage on the SIM.
//   Use "ME" for internal storage on the FONA chip
//#define FONA_PREF_SMS_STORAGE "\"ME\""

Then recompile and upload

I'm trying to reset the FONA with my microcontroller/computer and pulling the RESET pin low via a GPIO isnt working?

There's a superfluous level shifting diode that we put on the FONA and FONA 808 breakouts - it turns out it isn't necessary and for microcontrollers with weaker outputs it can keep the FONA from resetting.

You can 'bridge' this diode with a piece of wire, its perfectly safe and may give you a little more headroom. There's already level shifting inside the modules so there's no risk to this mod.

Simply solder a small wire between the two pads, or remove the diode and replace with a 0 ohm resistor or wire.

See more here:

This guide was first published on Jul 02, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (F.A.Q.s) was last updated on Jul 06, 2014.

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