Sending messages through Signal or Whatsapp

Earlier I described how to send messages from your ESP8266 (or ESP32 for that matter) via the Telegram message app.
Signal is a slightly less known app that is getting more and more popular and it is also possible to send messages from your microcontroller through that app. It is even simpler (in my humble opinion than via Telegram).
Here is what to do:
install the messenger app on your phone and register.
Add the number “+34 603 21 25 97” to your contact list and give it a name (let’s say ‘Signal Bot’)

Yes, the SignaBot has Whatsapp too

Send the following message to that contact:
“I allow callmebot to send me messages”

You should get a reply “New user registered”, followed by an API key

It is now possible to send messages to your phone with https:/<yourphonenumber>&apikey=xxxxxx&text=This+is+a+test

So suppose your international phonenumber =+31612345678 and your Api=123456, and your message is “Hello World”, then the call will become:


Sending pictures is possible like this

Currently it is not possible yet to send messages to Signal, but that supposedly is in the making.

A https connection is necessary, which the ESP8266/ ESP32 can do. Unles you plan to send highly classified material, it is easiest to do away with certificates or fingerprint and use ‘client.setInsecure();’
You can download the program here.

Just a few remarks: My first version of the program worked immediately. However, it did send one message, and somehow it would never send another message. Tried several solutions, but none brought it back to life. Then I picked a basic example of Ivan Gorotkov that I adapted to use with setInsecure() rather than with fingerprint.
As Ivan’s core code was virtually akin to my first program, albeit with some checks on the http request….it did not work. Curious about what the request reply was (hoping to find an indication of the problem), I started fiddling a bit with the cut-off character. Normally this was a “\n”, but that is not very helpful if the first character is in fact a return. To my surprise, using another character, suddenly brought the program back to life and it has been working reliable since (albeit that one time a message took a bit long to arrive). Now it should not really matter in what way i read the reply string in order for the program to function properly, but it does, so I suspect there is a bit of a timing issue before the connection is closed. If anybody can give some insight in this i would be glad to hear it.


The same approach works for Whatsapp as well:

Note that the https request string is slightly different from the one used in Signal. (It is also possible to send messages from your ESP8266 through WhatApp via Twilio and Webhooks)

Telegram & messenger
The ‘callmebot’ supposedly works with telegram and facebook messenger as well.
As far as telegram goes, the approach there is a bit different.
Make sure you have a usename set in Telegram (in ‘settings’. I found this is easiest through a browser)
Authorize callmebot through this link. Or, you can start the bot sending /start to @CallMeBot_txtbot.
The https request to send is:

Then send messages with this call

mind you though that telegram als has its own bot service I refer to that one at the beginning of this article.
As i do not use facebook, I cannot really try that out, but the procedure is described here.


Parametric 3D Box and Lid

Often, when doing a project, it stays i sort of a ‘experimental’ state coz of lack of a proper casing. I designed a universal box and lid in Freecad. It is parameter driven, which means you can just fill in the required measures in a spreadsheet and you are good to go. Mind you that both the lid and the case need to have the parameters set.
You will find a parameter called ‘shim’. That is just to create a tiny bit of space between the lid extrusion and the casing. For a very tight fit set it to ‘0’

The files are available here.

Spreadsheet for the lid
Spreadsheet for the case

Te above will create a box with outer dimensions of 75x55x30 mm. The wall thickness will be 2 mm. two flaps of 5x5mm are added with a screw hole of 3mm (i advise to make the flaps and the hole a bit bigger, say 8xb8 mm and a 4-5mm hole.) It should fit a standard 5×7 cm veroboard.

The casing has 2 holes, one for a 3mm LED and one for cables going in and out. They can b easily removed if not necessary