I would like remote on/off control for two heating zones and hot water. There are many more or less smart thermostats which can do this, however they require internet access. The trouble is my phone is my wireless router - if I leave the house, so does the internet connection. Alternatively there are a few thermostats with GSM radios like this one, but with more limited functionality/channels or they come with locked SIM modules and poor value subscriptions.

So as I have some programming skills, I thought about setting one up myself using a normal thermostat and having my own thing as an on/off override switch, perhaps between the thermostat and heating devices.

This option looks fairly simple, and if it all goes wrong, I can probably use the "wingle" on its own. That being said, I might not need an integrated WiFi router for this purpose!

So what I really want to ask: What embedded or mini-computer board and SIM module would make sense for a beginner with programming experience (beginner meaning the integration of the two should not be too hard)?

I suspect a Raspberry or similar thing might be an idea because of the luxury of the screen output making debugging easier?

Second priorities would be low standby power and lowish cost. Thank you.

  • If you are still interested, The Arduino GSM Shield 2 might do what you are looking for. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Have a look at this: https://store.open-electronics.org/index.php?route=offers/salescombopge&page_id=6

Its from a quick Google search.

A plus of going with a Pi is having ModemManager (software for controlling modems). Ive seen a working SMS manager connected to ModemManager written in around a hundred lines of Python. Or if you have access to a regex library its fairly simple to write AT command software yourself.

Going with Arduino or other MCU-based solutions is also a way, but the major budget element is the GSM board itself. And MCUs are way more limited.

If you go with a Pi3 you should be able to power it with a single 5V (havent checked exactly), remember to get at least a 3 amperes one. Thats slightly above 15W power at maximum draw.


Havent looked through your question that carefully, Im too focused on embedded stuff and havent noticed a USB modem is an option. Get some cheap modem, but dont bother with all that usb mode switch stuff manually in my opinion. ModemManager is good enough for that. Or that shield with SIM900 - it uses UART.

As for screen output - thats nonsense IMO, unless you work with the kernel. You can launch a GDB session iver ssh or telnet. Or do any kind of stuff via ssh actually.

Also if you get a decent modem (like the USB one you posted) the Pi has WiFi and it should be possible to configure it as a router.

edit2 Blame me... Seen this in the feed and didnt check the question date.

  • Thanks - no need to blame and point on screen output noted.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 9:08

We have an industrial based solution for this. Our SMS-530 is a SMS Alarm controller. It works on ATT's 3 G network. It has 10 DI and 2 DO. You can send SMS messages to the controller to control as well as monitor for Door and windows opening for security purposes.

SMS Alarm Controller

  • OK thanks, looks nicely integrated. Unfortunately it is about 3 times more than I would like to spend and 5 times the retail cost of individual devices mentioned above plus a few accessories.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 11:57
  • Who's "we"? I assume it's the company you work for, but what company is that?
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 21:45

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