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Connecting a USB Modem to Grid 2

This note shows how to use a USB modem to send and receive SMS messages with Grid 2. Since Grid 2 has been written to support the widest number of phones and modems, the actual procedures for your system may differ. If you need assistance setting up your system please phone, but not when you are rushed.

Setting up the system requires the followings steps:

  • Get the correct equipment
  • Activate a SIM card and get some credit on it.
  • Install the modem on the computer and install the software that came with it.
  • Checking you can send messages with the modem
  • Configure Grid 2 and test.

Before you Start

You will need the following

  • Uninstall unwanted phone software. If you have previously installed software for other USB modems or phones and it is not needed, uninstall it before installing the Zoom software.
  • USB broadband modem. There are two sorts: ‘locked’ that can only work with a particular network; and ‘unlocked’ that will work with any network. This example uses the Zoom 4945 modem which is unlocked and available for about £70 from a number of dealers (Ebuyer or Dabs). If you are buying a ‘locked’ modem, it is worth getting one on the same network as your phone.
  • A sim card. There are two types of sim card: those intended for use with phones; and those that give a broadband connection. Although you will probably be able to send & receive messages with both types, phone sim cards work out cheaper unless you need mobile broadband. Most network operators will provide phone ‘sim only’ packages for a nominal charge. In this example I am using the SIM card from my phone.

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Install the modem software.

When you connect the modem to the computer, Windows will give it a ‘port number’. The port number will change if you plug it into a different USB port. Since Grid 2 needs to know the port number, its best to always use the same USB port.

Plug the modem into the computer and wait a few minutes while Windows detects it and installs drivers. You may need to reboot the computer and then re-insert the modem.

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Checking you can send messages with the modem

Start the Zoom software running. It should detect the phone and show it is connected to the network:

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Configure Grid 2 and test.

Start Grid 2 and go to UserSettings->Workspace Settings->Mobile Phone

Click the ‘Autodetect’ button. Grid 2 may report more than one phone has been detected. If so open the Com port box. After the autodetect has run, it shows the identification for any modems or phones found. In this screenshot it has found the on board dial up modem on Com 3 and the USB modem on Com 9.

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Once you have selected a port, you can test the connection. The checkboxes next to the test button will show if the connection is working.

Problems

Autodetect fails:

  • With some devices, Grid 2 cannot access the modem while the manufacturer’s software is running. Try shutting down the manufacturer’s software.
  • Windows may have allocated a com port greater than 16 to the modem. See ‘Changing the com port for a USB device.’ for more details.

Cant send:

  • Make sure you are in an area where reception is good.
  • Check you have credit on the sim and can send using the manufacturer’s software.
  • Some software turns the transmitter in the modem off when it exits. Check if there are options to prevent this.

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