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The smartphone market is still a multi-trillion dollar opportunity and has engaged some of the best minds of our generation. Today, thousands of the best hardware engineers, software developers, and user-interaction designers work to come up with the next best-seller in the hyper-competitive smartphone industry. As a beginner, it may seem too daunting to understand and build a smartphone from scratch but this is exactly what I will show you today. So put on your seatbelts and let’s understand how you can build your own smartphone using GSM module.

What is a GSM Module

You can buy a GSM module off-the-shelf from nearby electronics components retailer or order online. A GSM module is …

Raspberry Pi or Arduino: Choose your Processor

How to build your own mobile phone using GSM module

Building your own mobile phone sounds like an almost crazy idea. Probably you might not have even thought that you can actually make your own mobile phone. Here I will discuss how you can make your craziest dream of making a mobile phone come true using a GSM module. Using a GSM module you can make a touch screen as well as a normal phone. Here I will discuss how you can make your own mobile phone both touch screen and normal phone using a GSM module.

Why to try making a mobile phone by myself

The first thing that comes to our mind is that when we get thousands of mobile phone available in the market both of high as well as of low budget then what is the utility to make a mobile phone. Well the answer to that is although a self-made mobile phone can never be compared to that of the phones available in the market and as a matter of fact the making would also cost some money with which a mobile phone can definitely be purchased from the market. But the main reason as to why you will make your own mobile phone is that you will be happy by a creation and also if you are a gadget lover this will definitely be of your interest. And also that you get to know that how these phones are made. Moreover assembling a phone with your own hand might give you a different feeling altogether.

Can I make a mobile phone myself without any specialized knowledge?

Making a mobile phone yourself does not really require the knowledge of electronics in great detail. But a basic knowledge of configuring software, the knowledge of soldering and laser cutting will be of help. Because if you do these for the first time then it might become really difficult for you to do in one go. But never worry if you do not know then try for a few times or learn the basics of these using the internet and you are ready to build your own mobile phone.

Precisely in 6 steps, I would explain how to make your own mobile phone. Here I am starting with the making of a Simple mobile phone.

Step 1: Order all the necessities like the circuit and all other components

You will first have to order the circuit board (PCB). It is easily available both online and at certain places offline. But you buy it online or offline you would not get it instantly and you will have to place an order for that, the delivery of which would take quite some time. The other components of the board required are mainly available from three online sites that are easily available on the internet like Arduino.

Apart from this, you will also need to have a good set up for soldering like a good tipped soldering iron, tweezers, etc. For the microcontroller programming, an AVR in-system programmer is required and a 3.3V FTDI cable. You would also need a mini USB cable for charging your phone’s battery. This is all easily available products but if you are still worried as to where to look for these products then make a visit to the local hacker’s corner or to any persons who keeps small things like this. If you still cannot find them then try out to look for in your local vicinity you will certainly find one.

For your laser cut enclosure, you would only need a piece of plywood, some adhesives, and a few screws.

You would also require a full size (not mini or micro) GSM SIM card for your mobile phone that you are about to make.

Step 2: soldering of the electronic parts

The most important part of making your own mobile phone is this. Although it is not much technical but a little experience is required for soldering the small parts (small means really small). If you are not much sure about the soldering techniques then learn it from the internet (a lot of good tutorials are available).

Although soldering is not difficult but a few points must be considered in order to avoid any accident-

  • The polarity of large capacitors as they may explode if you solder them backward.
  • Get handy about the polarity of the other parts so that you can avoid any unnecessary trouble.
  • When you are soldering the antenna try to start with the pad that faces the GSM module as that one is mainly responsible for catching the signals and the others are for the support. Failing to proper soldering of the antenna might lead to disturbed signals of your phone.
  • The speaker soldering is a typically difficult soldering as it d not have any stand, therefore, you might need a little help for this but for a tip first do the soldering of the pads attached to the PCB and then continue.

Once you are done with the soldering part you are already done with a major part of your mobile phone making. You have prepared the structure of the mobile phone by soldering the different parts. And now all you need is to start your phone.

Step 3: you will need to upload the software

Uploading the software is a technical process but you can do it all by yourself with the help of the various videos available in the internet. Here in the article I really cannot elaborate the process of uploading the software since that is all programming related and can be easily found.

Once you are done with the uploading of the software you have crossed half the way of making your own mobile phone.

Step 4: get connected to the network and make the phone ready to use.

If you are making your mobile phone for the first time there may occur a lot of problems after you finally switch it on. If your mobile phone gets connected then bingo you have done it but if it shows ‘connect’ you have to check for the possible problem that might have occurred and is creating the trouble. The main reasons for the error might be-

  • The problem in the soldering of the SIM card slot or just check that if you have not forgotten to put the SIM card in the slot out of your excitement.
  • The problem might also occur due to wrong soldering of the antenna or the resistor or both.
  • Network issue. Try using the phone outside of our room or check if you have activated the SIM card or check if the SIM card is blocked for other phones.

Do the serial debugging of the phone and get thee phone book and the networks ready to use. Check the procedure for the programming on the internet and do as your requirement. You can customise your requirements by using the various programming. Although it is true that internet is not very perfect to learn the program commands but just for the purpose of customizing your phone requirements get it done just by following the steps available instead of trying to learn it and make a set of your own command programs.

Step 5: use your phone and check everything

Start using your phone now and check if all the function including the brightness adjustment, the calling or the receiving of messages or talking etc are perfectly functional. Check the locking of the phone and unblocking it and save contacts and do all other activities that you wanted in your phone and see if all is working fine.

If after checking you find any of the components not working properly you should re check the soldering of the components.

Step 6: make an enclosure for your phone

If everything is good with your phone you now need to prepare an enclosure so that you circuit and you soldering remains safe. With the help of laser cut, cut the plywood in the shape required and assemble them all with the help of screws. Get your phone inside the enclosure and use the adhesive now so that you can open it up in future without breaking the structure and also the screws do not really give a very good look to your phone from outside.

Paint the plywood or use stickers you make you phone looks attractive.

For making a touch screen phone yourself follow all the steps written above just use a touch screen display in place of a regular display. And the making of the enclosure will be only like that of a cover protecting the wires instead of a solid structure like that required for a normal phone.

Now that you have known how to make your mobile phone all by yourself then, go ahead and quickly get the things ready that are required to make it and go for it. Good Luck!

How to Build your own Mobile Phone using GSM Module
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