Category Archives: GSM Auto Dialer

Investigating GSM networks available to us using a CLX SIM

In the article we look at which GSM masts are available to us at our location and see which network will give us the best performance. We also look into establishing a data connection using the CLX SIM card and find the location of our PCB using QUECELL locate system.

We had a board hooked up with 2-way comms to a PC whilst developing the speech storage and playback function on our GSM Alarm Speech Dialler ADs (available at http://www.adventcontrols.co.uk).  We took this opportunity to investigate the network infrastructure we are able to acquire here in our office

GSM Dialler

GSM Speech Dialler with PC connection

Firstly, we send the command AT+CREG? which shows us that the modem is connected and roaming.  We are roaming as we are using the CLX SIM which has access to any GSM network in the UK.

AT+CREG?

+CREG: 0,5

 

Next, we send the AT+QOPS? command to get a list of masts the M66 is able to acquire:

AT+QOPS?

+QOPS: 1,”Vodafone”,”Voda UK”,”23415″

1,0062,305E,1A,22,94

+QOPS: 2,”O2″,”O2 -UK”,”23410″

1,53AC,9BDA,27,23,111       (n.b. 9BDA in hex is 39898 in decimal)

+QOPS: 1,”T-Mobile”,”EE”,”23430″

1,090A,9C47,1F,16,664

 

QOPS: 2 shows us we are currently using the O2-UK mast with location code 53AC and CellID 9BDA.  We can also see masts from T-Mobile (part of EE) and Vodafone are available to us (QOPS:1).  With the CellID we can find the mast we are using on a map

 

O2 Mast

GSM Mast Location

 

Earlier we were using an EE SIM, and this forced us to use a mast in the local retail park which is much further away and out of the screenshot above. This resulted in a signal strength of 16 as opposed to 23 from O2. This is the advantage of using the CLX SIM; it allows the modem to choose the most reliable network.

 

Another advantage of using the CLX SIM is that the GSM device will come with the APN set up correctly by default.  The Access Point Name (APN) tells the network which server your equipment can use. Networks will have different APN for different customers like PAYG or contract.  If you select the wrong one you will have no data access. This is the main cause of issues when using our software and emails. Our boards come with the APN settings for CLX pre-programmed which can be used globally.

 

To demonstrate data connectivity with the CLX SIM cards we will make use of Quectel’s Cellular Positioning System.  This will give is the geographic co-ordinates of the PCB even when indoors.  The modem connects, through the internet, to Quectel’s database of GSM masts and then compares the signal strength from each mast to locate the device.

 

Firstly we must tell the modem the APN which will give us access to the internet as follows:

 

at+qicsgp=1,”connect”,””,””                   …the CLX APN is “connect” with no username or password

at+qcellloc=1                                                     …enquire about our current location

+QCELLLOC: -2.861663,53.353088

 

The at+qcellloc command returns our co-ordinates which we can then paste into Google Maps

QUECLOCATE

Using Cellular Location

The position given by the Quec Locate server is about 0.5 miles out with our high gain antenna.  This is towards a worst case scenario situation given that our PCB is buried deep within a building.  If it were outside it would be much more accurate.

We tried again using the internal adhesive antenna we use for our Gold:Mini Intercom and this time the error was about 0.8 miles.  This is because the internal antenna is optimised for 1800MHz masts which are predominantly located in this direction.

+QCELLLOC: -2.863965,53.361809

GSM ALARM LOCATOR

Low gain antenna location attempt

 

To view our GSM products and for live demonstrations please visit our stand at IFSEC 2018.  We look forward to meeting you.

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Should I buy a 3G intercom or alarm dialler?

We get asked a lot when the 2G network will be shutdown. In Europe, on the whole, nobody really knows yet.  The general consensus is that the 3G network will be shutdown first around 2020 and 2G as late as 2025.  In some countries 2G is no longer in operation (USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore…) but this is not the case in Europe.

Vodafone-will-not-switch-off-2G-until-2025

old phone

2G Phone

4G is obviously great for data but until recently many phone masts did not support audio on 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE).  Audio on 4G uses a system developed by Qualcomm known as VoLTE.  Originally 4G was data only and your phone switches to 2G or 3G for calls.  Audio on 4G is really only being implemented now by most networks.

https://www.4g.co.uk/what-is-volte/

So, that leaves 2G and 3G for handling calls.  3G uses 2100MHz in Europe.  In general a higher frequency will result in a shorter range.  Also, on the higher frequency bands, your phone is limited by the amount of power it can transmit to 1W.  For comparison, on 900MHz 2G your phone can transmit 2W of power giving a better range.  The lower frequency of 2G and 4G bands will also penetrate walls better than the higher frequency 3G band.  3G also only has one frequency band allocated to it whereas 2G has two.

Europe-could-go-alone-in-waving-goodbye-to-3g-first

3G phone

Early 3G phone

3G therefore doesn’t really offer anything anymore.  It is slower than 4G for data and the coverage is usually worse than 2G which is why the network space is better allocated to 4G, 4G NB and 5G.

So, should you buy a 3G intercom or dialler?  We were developing 3G products but decided to stop simply due to their limited life-span.  They will work on 2G when 3G is shutdown but why pay the extra for a 3G unit?  There is one reason; in the UK the 3 network only offer 3G & 4G so you can only use a 3G unit on this network.  They may continue 3G beyond 2020 for this reason.  Also you may find you have no coverage in your area on 2G but there is coverage on 3G.  This would of course be a temporary solution for you!

3G Alarm Dialler PCB

3G Alarm Dialler

We gave up on 3G and I would not recommend paying extra for a 3G unit.  We are developing 4G products but these have many extra complications with VoLTE and network specific frequency bands so our 4G units are taking some time to develop – but 4G is the future!  We expect to be first with our 4G diallers and intercoms in Europe.

VoLTE Intercom

4G VoLTE Intercom

For further reading please see:

https://www.mobileworldlive.com/featured-content/top-three/operators-vendors-forecast-long-life-2g/

 

Honeywell Accenta/Optima GSM Dialler SMS Sender – Set and Unset Alarm Remotely

Our C4 for Honeywell Accenta & Optima alarms allows you to remotely set and unset your alarm from anywhere in the world.  It will dial, text and email you when the alarm is triggered and armed and disarmed.

v1.07 Software Release for setting up Diallers and Intercoms

Our software allows you to change your dialler and intercom settings, numbers and messages remotely using the internet.  It requires a small amount of data allowance to be available on your SIM.  A session will use a couple of kB.

v1.07 will work with any firmware release from 5.10 onwards.  We can remotely update your dialler and intercom with the latest firmware if required (you must have at least v5.10 to start with).

The software is available from our Downloads page:

http://www.adventcontrols.co.uk/pages/downloads

Please note currently we do not require installation of the software which is available as a raw EXE file.  If you download this from our website you can trust it.  You may need to click ‘run anyway’ on the Windows security message box.  We will release an installation version over the next few weeks.

Wiring guide GSM Alarm Auto-dialler with Texecom Veritas R8 with Alarm Reset

GSM SMS Sender to Veritas R8 Alarm

GSM Dialler Wiring Diagram

We have a simpler wiring diagram for basic connection available here.  The above diagram allows for controlling the alarm via your phone and monitoring it’s status.  To power the GSM Dialer you can use the auxiliary output on your Texecom panel.  The positive (+) terminal is connected to one of the VIN terminals (the lower one is best as it has on-board thermal fuse protection) and the negative (-) terminal to GND on the GSM Dialer PCB.  You then connect the BELL terminal to input A.

For switching the alarm on and off you wire the output relay to zone 8 using the NC&COM terminals (either way around).  To monitor the status of the alarm you connect the SW terminal to input B.

To program the dialer the following commands are sent:

master <your number>.   This gives you control of the dialler

callnuma <number 1 etc…>.   This sets the numbers to call when the alarm sounds

textnum <numbers>.    This sets the numbers to text when the alarm sounds or is set

Alternatively;

textnuma <numbers>.    This is just for when the alarm sounds (a)

textnumb <numbers>.   This would be just for when the alarm is set/unset (b)

To get a message when the alarms starts and stops send:

inlevela both

To get a message when the alarm is set and unset:

inlevelb both

 

To program the Veritas Panel zone 8 must be set as a key-switch input:

From the Programming Menu, press # followed by the
zone number (8). The Zone Type currently selected will
indicate i.e. Entry/Exit.

veritas-zones

Press the Zone Type number required – in this case 8 (keyswitch). Press PROG.
The system will chime to confirm the new Zone Type has
been accepted.

The defaults settings will be correct for the SW output.

 

 

The GSM Dialler is available from our online shop here

GSM Dialer

GSM Alarm Auto-dialer

May 16 Update Video: Dialler PCBs, Gold Intercom and PC Software

Video Timing

  • New Roller Shutter PCB (2-in 2-out PCB) 0:20s [C4 Webpage ]
  • D4 Analogue Voltage Measurement and 6 input PCB 0:36s [D4 Webpage]
  • D4 PCB also PCB tested in software 3:20s [D4 Webpage]
  • G2 GSM Intercom 0:55s [GSM Intercoms]
  • New A4 PCB 1:55s [2-Input GSM Dialler]
  • PC Control Software 4:40s [PC Software Download]

In the video we mainly demonstrate the PC software.  This connects via the internet to your PCB and allows you to view settings and numbers as well as monitor the system live.  The PC software in on the whole done we’re waiting for our server software to be complete.

Wiring Advent Controls GSM Diallers to a Honeywell Accenta G3 Alarm Panel

Our basic GSM Auto Alarm Dialer is ideal for this application.  As a minimum it requires only 3 connections to the panel PCB (+VE, 0V and Bell -) and may fit within your alarm enclosure.  If there is no space then your can use the external enclosure available on our dialer page.  If set/unset control and silencing are both require the C4 unit available here (GSM Control and Monitoring System) is required.

Honeywell Accenta G4 to Advent Controls GSM Dialer

Honeywell Accenta G4 Dialer Wiring

You can also connect the three wires to the communicator connection (centre left) using the 13V, 0V and COMMS terminals as above however this will require the engineer to active these terminals within your panel interface.

To set the system up for basic operation will then require just two messages to be sent to the SIM card number:

master <your number no spaces within the number>.   e.g. master 07830111222.

callnumA <recipient number>.   e.g. callnuma 07574222333

textnumA <recipient>.   For anyone wanting a text message when the alarm sounds.

We strongly recommend adding a textnum as, should there be a fault or network error at the first attempt and texting, the system will continue to try to send the message until it is sent.

honeywell-accenta-g4-dialer-wiring_set

Input B can be connected to the SET terminal next to the BELL – terminal.  This allows you to see if the alarm is SET and will notify you of this when it changes state.  You may wish to setup CALLNUMA(s) for the alarm so it dials only when the alarm sound and have seperate TEXTNUMA and TEXTNUMB if you use the input B for this purpose.

PTS Wiring GSM dialler

Push To Set connections

There are two methods of wiring the Advent Controls GSM dialler in order to set the system remotely.  The recommended means of wiring the dialler is in ‘Push-To-Set’ mode.  The COM and NO terminals are connected to a zone (we recommend zone 8).  The zone is then set up as a PTS zone.  A call or SMS reading OPEN will set the alarm.  The alarm cannot be unset in this mode.

SMS alarm Wiring diagram

GSM Keyswitch Wiring Diagram

The output relay on the GSM Dialler can be wired to remotely set and unset the alarm panel.  In this case the COM and NC connections are used for the connection to zone 8.  To set the alarm the word ON is sent in a SMS text.  To unset the alarm the word OFF is sent in a text.  The zone should be set as a keyswitch input.  We strongly recommend the SET terminal is monitored by input B when controlling the alarm in this mode.

Further details can be found on page 6 of the G3 installation manual.

Accenta G3 Installation Manual

This panel is very similar to the one shown in the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F4T-54yb_8

The GSM Dialer is available from our website here GSM DIALER

GSM Dialer

GSM Alarm Auto-dialer