The SparkFun Simultaneous RFID Reader is an Arduino-compatible board to get you started with the M6E Nano UHF RFID Reader. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming popular everywhere for tracking practically everything. Whether you want to get started by adding an RFID reader on your toolbox with tags on all your tools or allowing access to the tree house for your secret society meetings, this board may be for you!
With the Arduino shield footprint, you can connect this directly to an Arduino-compatible board, or a different microcontroller. You can also connect directly to your computer using the FTDI header on the board and read data using the Universal Reader Assistant.
Once you’ve started, this board will read EPCglobal Gen 2 tags (see Recommended Products) at up to 150 tags per second. Writing of tags is also possible at 80msec standard write. The board has adjustable power output from 0dBm to 27dBm, meaning that with the correct antenna you can read up to 16 feet (4.9m), or 1 to 2 feet with the onboard antenna.
Note: Your reader ships with a piece of gray, nonconductive Thermal Gap Filler to help with both heat dissipation and to cover the exposed ground plane (to prevent circuits from shorting against it).
There might be some interference if the M6E Nano RFID reader is trying to read a pile of RFID tags. This can cause issues reading a few tags that are directly on top of each other. It would be better to spread the tags at a certain distance from each other or move the RFID reader around to get a clear read on all the tags in range.
Based on 12 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I can read a tag from over 5 meter away using a 80mm ceramic antenna.
2 of 3 found this helpful:
The reader works great, even without the antenna the range is better than any other hobbyist RFID devices I’ve found for this price. The supporting documentation is very thorough and helpful. If you want to add a bigger range to your rfid projects, buy this.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
the board works well with the supplied thingmagic software, however the arduino library does not connect to the board.
No support from sparkfun for 4 days so far, may as well buy the chip diectly from thingmagic and bypass the sparkfun board.
Sorry about the delay for support - the only case I see that you have open is #220744 that was submitted 23 hours ago. While our technical support team is very dedicated to offering the highest level of service that we can, at the same time they are a small department of 7 technicians that handle cases in the order in which they were received.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
This is mostly a great board. It works as advertised, and I’ve had no trouble using it. (I’m using it with Mercury API on a Raspberry Pi.) Based on that, I would have given it 5 stars.
However, the mechanism for switching from the internal to the external antenna leaves a lot to be desired. The solder jumpers that need to be changed are very small, and I ended up ruining my first board trying to switch to the external antenna. I bought a second one, and succeeded in enabling the external antenna on that one. But, I am cranky that I had to spend $400 instead of $200.
Also, it would be nice to be able to switch back and forth between the internal antenna and the external antenna. Some sort of DIP switch rather than a solder jumper?
Now that I’ve got the external antenna working, I’m a bit disappointed in its performance. I’ve sometimes been able to read tags 8 feet away, but other times I’ve had trouble reading tags 3 feet away. And I haven’t been able to pick up tags at anything close to the advertised 16 feet. (This is at maximum power, of course.) Also, if you want to read the user memory, the tag needs to be closer than if you just want to read the EPC.
It works as advertised. Range was not better than 8 feet with the recommended antenna at max power, however changing the antenna to the 80mm ceramic the range improve above the 18 feet. Thanks Sparkfun and Vince5 for your posting.
I am not harsh but unfortunately, it worked well and produced good results for 2 hours and suddenly the board is dead, no response at all. I do trust this company and product. I just reorder it. Hope this (new piece) will live way longer than previous one. Also when we order from India, we end up paying 100% import duty that is a bit hard.
I am willing to come and change this rating as soon as I receive the latest order and it works for me.
I’m sorry to hear that! Please contact our technical support team for help with this. They will be glad to help.
I’m using the SRTR to count laps for a charity walkathon. So far, I’ve soldered the header for Serial Basic, connected them via USB to my Ubuntu machine, and programmed with a python wrapper to the Mercury API (see github). Tags are read and written successfully using the PCB antenna. I’ll try the high-gain antenna soon. I appreciate SFE comments on power and thermal management, as those will definitely be a concern for my project.
Sparkfun went a long way to make this approachable to makers and hobbyists. First, it is an Arduino shield so much of the hardware connecting is taken care of out of the box. Second, their tutorial was thorough and the included examples made reading the first tag a simple matter. Third, this was on the low-end of the price scale for UHF modules but it used a high-end chip. I used an Arduino UNO clone to start and had no troubles. Don’t forget to buy the Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL (WRL-00662) if using the external antenna, it was not listed in the Hookup Accessories.
0 of 3 found this helpful:
After installation of the Universal Reader Assistant utility under Windows-7, and connection via a known working FTDI USB-to-Serial controller, the software will not connect to the device. It just hangs and so is useless. This has turned into an expensive “boat anchor”.
No issues what-so-ever. I followed Sparkfun’s tutorial (well written) and was reading RFID tags in a short time. Using windows 10 with Arduino.
Longest range I have ever used on an RFID. Works a bit strange sometimes, but sparkfun tech help gave me some advice. Used in a large art installation. Going to purchase a second one for a zoo project!