I have project requiring the development of a smart meter and part of the process is recycling old components from students from previous years. I have in my possession an arduino gsm shield (see link: http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/ArduinoGSMShield_Front.jpg) from one such student and would like to know if it is possible to interface this module with MCUs from microchip - specifically from the dsPIC30f family? Naturally, I would make use of available arduino boards but we were specifically instructed not to use them in our projects (we were given a plethora of reasons too pretensious to reiterate and whose real motivations I will not bother you with).
Naturally, I've attempted looking this up on the internet but came to a naught. Your help will be greatly appreciated as I need to know if I need to begin making plans to purchase a modem of my own.
That's quite typical among some academics. Arduino sucks, microchip is awesome....
What about ARM? ...Oh arm, never heard about it.... (Which reads, Yes, ARM is awesome, but since I am only paid to deliver the content I never really bother learning anything new, so i say its no good to avoid making a fool of myself XD)...
Well enough of nonsense.
Yes, you can most certainly use PIC. You need to set up a serial connection.
You mentioned GSM... Are you trying to use GPRS or SMS?
For GSM text messages you can find a lot of tutorials. It is relatively painless to set a system to read them
For GPRS you need to set the internal TCP/IP stack on the modem, assuming it does have one. With that you can send data to a server or make a webserver, however this may actually be quite painful to set up as you have to build the stack from ground and I would not recommend it.
If this was my project I would only set up the pic to check the text messages every so often. If a request was made i would read a given value and send it back as another text message to the same number. You may want to check if the number is on the system before doing so, otherwise the message is simply deleted. You can set up the text message as text mode, rather than PDU to make your life easier.
Check that the particular chip you want to use supports the same voltage as the modem, they typically are 5V.
Other than that its just programming and as you may understand this is not the right forum to get help with microchip related programming questions. get yourself familiar with how to use the modem first, using a serial terminal and from there start the compilation of your code.