The question "Receiving empty data from GPRS module" was voted off-topic with the comment "Questions on the use of electronic devices are off-topic".

I totally disagree with this vote. This is a programming question re an embedded application. The members voting this question off-topic seem to be confusing using cell phones with the programming and interfacing of M2M (machine to machine) cell modems in an embedded application.

I am currently working with a PCB that has four radio modems (cell, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, and proprietary). It is very difficult to get them to work correctly some times. I have spent days communicating back and forth with the FAEs of the manufacturers of the modems.

I located and downloaded the "datasheet" describing the software interface for this modem. It is 250 pages long.

This question is no different than the dozens of other questions on this site re how to interface with some sort of peripheral connected to a microcontroller.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree it's not off topic. But, it's not a great question since it mixes up details of the tools used with what the real object of the question is doing. Unless you happen to know that particular tool, this question makes little sense. So it got closed for the wrong reason. Oh well. That's a risk you take when you don't write a question well. People don't always read it all the way thru or think about it hard when it doesn't make sense. Again, oh well. Don't write a bad question in the first place. Going back to reopen it, then closing it for the right reason would be pointless. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ To further drive this home... the question is for a wireless module - that comes in a 145 pin LGA package \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've voted to reopen. I saw "AT commands" and "modem" and incorrectly interpreted it as a question about configuring a modem or similar device (similar to how I used to use terminal programs to configure telephone line modems). \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ For me, I think the outcome was OK. Makes no diff whether we're talking about a high density LGA package GSM module talking with a microcontroller or an 1180 baud acoustically coupled modem talking to a VT100 terminal. "I sent an AT command and didn't get back what I expected" doesn't reach my level of an electrical engineering question. I probably wouldn't vote to close, but I can understand why some would. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman -- it's already been established in Meta that questions re embedded software or programming of peripherals is on-topic. See for example this question. Examples of questions that would be off-topic involving an embedded system would be a general algorithm in C, or an embedded Linux question (except maybe a driver?). \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I went ahead and reopened the question with 3 other reopen votes. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO: Now that it's open again, I voted to close on account of it not being clear what is being asked. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I @tcrosley, the example question you posted is not in quite the same realm. The peripheral in question in the current case is the USART, not the GSM module. If the question were "my serial communication is garbled", and not "My AT command doesn't get responded to", I'd say yes, this is an EMBEDDED programming question. As it stands, this is a programming question, at least to me. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman The M2M modem is a peripheral, just like an accelerometer, or a touch screen, or a LCD controller. That it is connected by a UART is not important; I've seen plenty of other modems connected by SPI or I2C interfaces. The OP not getting an expected result from an AT command is no different than someone trying to program an LCD screen with a particular pattern of colors and getting nothing. It could be failing for any number of reasons. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think with all the attention this thread is getting, and the fact that it hasn't attracted an answer yet, is probably an indication that the poster's path to enlightenment involves reading the 250 page data sheet or talking to the application engineers. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 23:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman just cause noone has an answer doesn't mean it should be closed either \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Apr 3, 2014 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


Sometimes things don't get closed for the right reasons. Don't sweat it. It is very very rare (can't think of a single case) where someone posts a well-written and appropriate question that ends up getting closed. Ideally we explain exactly why a question got closed, but then again, the OP has a obligation to read the rules and follow them before posting.

Here is another question that got closed for the wrong reason: LM358 output voltage non-zero even though input is zero. I thought what the OP wanted was quite clear, although I did downvote because personally I think posting a schematic with one set of values, then saying a different set of value are in use in the text is obnoxious. Perhaps people interpreted this inconsistancy as ambiguity, or perhaps they were just annoyed at the schematic that didn't match the circuit and voted the nearest handy close reason. In any case, the point is this was a flawed question. If the OP had taken a little more care or even just fixed the problem after it was pointed out instead of arguing about it, this wouldn't have happened.


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