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I'm trying to find a GSM module to pair with a PIC32 microcontroller for a project and I've found some nice ones. The one I'm really interested in is the SIM800C GSM module. Many of them say they are "arduino compatible." Does that mean they aren't compatible with other microcontrollers? As an example, take a look at this one.

It says it's compatible with arduino and raspberry pi which is great but I'm going to be using the PIC32. Do you think it will work?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No it is a generic module. You can use with PIC \$\endgroup\$ – Mitu Raj Oct 22 at 6:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to EE.SE. Note that you can make pretty URLs using the syntax [Text to be displayed](www.example.com?page=xyz) or by using the link button on the editor toolbar. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Oct 22 at 6:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a worrying lack of data, instructions, software, drivers or anything else that will help you use it. All too common on places like eBay, sadly. \$\endgroup\$ – Finbarr Oct 22 at 6:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Arduino has 5V I/O raspberry-pi has 3V3 I/O. Check your PIC32 voltages! \$\endgroup\$ – Oldfart Oct 22 at 6:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's probably not a lot of reasons to use 5V logic, it's just gonna be a pain in the neck when working with RF modules. Pretty much everything-radio uses 3.3V today. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 22 at 12:51
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The term "Arduino compatible" basically means nothing.

Many sellers use the term more as marketing ("You can make this work with your Arduino!") than anything else.

The Arduino is (usually) just an ATMega microcontroller on a board, that ATMega is very similar to many other microcontrollers. Nearly all of them work with a supply between 2 V and 5 V as does the Arduino. If a peripheral also works within that supply voltage range (and almost all of them do) then you could call that peripheral "Arduino Compatible". But it will work with almost any other microcontroller just as well including your PIC32.

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When it say it is compatible with something you know that it will work with specific platform (if seller doesn't lie). To check if it will work with your specific platform you can check if specification are compatible with your platform. For modules you usually check power supply range, interface type and interface voltage. In your specific case these are:

Power supply range: 5 V - 18 V

Interface type: UART TTL up to 115000 baud

Interface voltage: up 5 V

So it will work you PIC, and you can check same for your next module.

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It will be certainly compatible with any microcontroller. The keyword "Arduino compatible" generally means that some of the following are true (from most to least likely):

  • Module likely uses 5V signaling, or is at least 5V tolerant
  • It likely interfaces using one of the hardware interfaces available on Arduino (serial, I2C, or SPI)
  • There may be an Arduino library available
  • It may have pin layout that works as Arduino shield (but probably not, unless it's specifically advertised as a shield)

But, it may also be that none of the above are true. Sellers oftentimes use "Arduino" as a catch all keyword to attract sales without any regard how well it works with Arduino.

As you can see, none of those features mean that it is proprietary to Arduino and won't work on any other microcontroller with appropriate hardware capabilities. Whether there is an existing library for that microcontroller is another matter, you may have to implement one yourself. But most popular micros will have libs for most common types of hardware.

Your specific item listed supports both 3.3V and 5V signaling and it interfaces using TTL serial, which makes it hardware compatible with practically all general purpose MCUs.

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