How humid is my apartment right now? Let me text my FONA!

While smart-home applications like as Apple's HomeKit are great - they use a large amount of cellular data and take time to load information you may not care about.  Instead of using a WiFi connection, an Adafruit FONA cellular module lets you obtain sensor readings from anywhere with cell reception.

In this guide, you will build a text-able environmental monitor using the Adafruit FONA shield, a Metro M0/M4 development board and a Bosch BME280 precision sensor. Using CircuitPython, the Feather can send and receive SMS messages using the CircuitPython FONA library and read environmental data from the BME280 sensor with the CircuitPython BME280 library

Code with CircuitPython

CircuitPython is the easiest way to program an Internet of Things project. We've built a helper library, Adafruit_CircuitPython_FONA, to make interfacing with the FONA module's SMS capabilities incredibly simple. 

Adafruit FONA

The Adafruit FONA is an all-in-one cellular phone module that lets you add voice, cellar data, location-tracking (FONA-808 and FONA-3G only) and SMS to your project. The FONA shields fit right over shield-compatible CircuitPython boards.


Angled shot of Adafruit FONA 808 Shield - Mini Cellular GSM + GPS for Arduino.
Cellular + GPS tracking, all in one, for your Arduino? Oh yes! Introducing Adafruit FONA 808 GSM + GPS Shield, an all-in-one cellular phone module with that lets you add...
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Adafruit FONA Starter Pack with battery, antenna, speaker and headset
Build your own cellular project and get off the grid with FONA. This pack comes with an SMA-antenna type FONA and paired with hand-picked accessories. It's the Adafruit...
Out of Stock

On its own, this shield can't do anything. It requires a microcontroller like a Metro M4 or Metro M0 to drive it! 

Angled shot of a Adafruit Metro M4 feat. Microchip ATSAMD51.
Are you ready? Really ready? Cause here comes the fastest, most powerful Metro ever. The Adafruit Metro M4 featuring the Microchip ATSAMD51. This...
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Angled shot of a Adafruit METRO M0 Express - designed for CircuitPython.
Metro is our series of microcontroller boards for use with the Arduino IDE. This new Metro M0 Express board looks a whole lot like our 
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The Bosch BME280 precision sensor can measure humidity with ±3% accuracy, barometric pressure with ±1 hPa absolute accuracy, and temperature with ±1.0°C accuracy.

Adafruit BME280 I2C or SPI Temperature Humidity Pressure Sensor
Bosch has stepped up their game with their new BME280 sensor, an environmental sensor with temperature, barometric pressure and humidity! This sensor is great for all sorts...
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You will also need some required accessories to make the FONA work. These are not included with the FONA shield or breakout!

You will need a Mini SIM card to do anything on the cellular network.

If you're in the USA, we suggest picking up the 2G SIM Card from Ting.

Angled shot of a GSM SIM Card from Ting & Adafruit - Data/Voice/Text
Adafruit is now a phone company :)  Or, well, we've sold DIY cell phones for awhile now but you've never been...
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You will need a LiPoly battery (500mAh or larger) to run the FONA module.

Angled shot of a Lithium Ion Polymer Battery 3.7V 500mAh with JST-PH connector.
Lithium-ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light, and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This...
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Lithium Ion Polymer Battery 3.7v 1200mAh with JST 2-PH connector
Lithium-ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light, and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This...
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You will need a external uFL GSM Antenna, we like this slim sticker-type antenna:

Slim Sticker-type Cellular Quad-Band Antenna
That's one slim cellular antenna! At just 75mm long from tip to tip and and with a thickness of just 2mm, this 3dBi GSM antenna is slim, compact and sensitive, with a 3dBi...
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If you want to use a SMA antenna instead, you'll want to pick up a uFL to SMA adapter cable.

1 x uFL to SMA Adapter Cable
SMA to uFL/u.FL/IPX/IPEX RF Adapter Cable


The supplies listed below are both helpful and necessary for completing this project.  

1 x MicroUSB Cable
USB cable - USB A to Micro-B - 3 foot long
1 x Shield Stacking Headers
Shield stacking headers for Arduino (R3 Compatible)

This guide was first published on May 20, 2020. It was last updated on May 20, 2020.

This page (Overview) was last updated on May 14, 2020.

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