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Description: 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).

Warning: Ensure that personnel do not stand in the radiation beam of the antenna unless they are more than 21cm away from the face of the antenna (to adhere to FCC limits for long-term exposure). See Datasheet for more information.

Get Started with the Simultaneous RFID Reader Guide

Features:

  • EPCglobal Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C) with nominal backscatter rate of 250kbps
  • Separate read and write levels, command adjustable from 0dBm to 27dBm in 0.01 dB steps
  • 0.84W in ready mode
  • 0.00025W in shutdown mode
  • Up to 150 tags/sec to read 96-bit EPC
  • 80msec typical for standard write of 96-bit EPC

Documentation:

Recommended Products

Customer Comments

  • An idea to allow mounting a heat-sink to this product while still being able to use it as an Arduino shield: Put stackable headers on your UNO-compatible (best if you can get one without any header sockets pre-installed to avoid the hassle and potential damage of desoldering). Then you can stack this board under the Arduino.

  • Hello, is possible to write to multiple tags at the same time? Thanks

  • baeb / last month / 1

    The firmware version of the M6e Nano is 1.03.02.4A. The current version according to ThingMagic’s website (1) is 1.7.1 (“CRITICAL firmware release for the ThingMagic Nano modules. (Prevents issue of CRC error with no method of recovery.)”) of Dec 2016. It would be very kind of Sparkfun to provide the recent firmware as the current one may permanently kill the board!

    (1) http://www.thingmagic.com/index.php/manuals-firmware#Nano

  • Will this read implantable glass capsule tags (I think 125 kHz, though not sure)? And if so, if hooked up to the UHF RFID antenna, at what distance could it read such a tag?

    • For 125 kHz tags you’d use something more like this: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11827. It isn’t likely you could attach a UHF antenna and get good results. The read range with the model linked to says 120 mm. Other models get more but that’s with their internal antenna.

  • Can anyone confirm that this board actually works with the Universal Reader software? I was able to fish around and find and download the software and get it installed. Soldered in a header and connected a FTDI. The red light on the board lights up, software gives all indications of connecting, but can’t get tag data to show in the application screen. Log files show some kind of activity but not making sense to me. My RFID tags are a couple of years old, but I’m –pretty– sure they’re GEN2. Guess I’ll order a couple tags from here to see if that’s the problem.

    UPDATE: I purchased some tags from SparkFun (non-sticky https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14147) and the reader works flawlessly with them. I guess EPCGlobal GEN2 standards have changed since 2005 when my old tags were manufactured. Now that I have working product maybe I can figure out why the old ones don’t work.

  • P.S.-Didn’t receive the ‘Thermal Gap Filler’ with my order

  • Got mine. Been trying to download the Universal Reader software and server doesn’t respond. Went to ThingMagic and don’t see it there.

  • WILL SPARK FUN BE SELLING THE NANO MODULE ALONE. IF SO AND BOARDED PROPERLY, WOULD IT WORK USING THE FTDI CONNECT AND WINDOWS SOFTWARE OUT OF THE BOX OR DOES IT NEED PROGRAMMING TO ACCOMPLISH THAT?

    • We have no plans to sell the module alone, but we don’t do any programming of the module.

      • So essentially, if you had the module, you’d only need the left hand part of your schematic ‘RFID module’ and an FTDI adaptor to run that windows gui, yes?

        • Essentially, yes, that’s all you need. Depending how you lay out your PCB you would will need to re-characterize your 50 Ohm micro strip to get the max power output from your PCB or u.FL antenna connection.

          • Excellent, although I’m going to start out with your breakout board just to be sure. The thing about the PCB antenna vs. an external antenna is I don’t see a comparison of what you get out of your PCB board power out versus best case external antenna. From what I read it seems to imply that the PCB antenna can still give a respectable 16 feet. Would you agree? Also, the warning that output should be 8 inches from a person to comply with FCC rules kind of trips up me wanting this to be a wearable. I don’t suppose there is a way to directionally guide that output by ‘steering’ it somehow?

  • How secure is this? I’m interested in using it for a keyless entry/start for my car.

    • That’s a really tough question to answer as it depends on how you implement your specific system. If your system just looks for a given EPC, then I can create a tag with your same EPC and act like you. This is how I think I may have copied my ski pass.

      If your system looks for a given TID, then it’s more difficult (but not impossible) for me to create a tag with your TID.

      However, if you get more advanced, the Gen2 protocol has key authentication challenges meaning you can’t just duplicate a tag’s ID or EPC. For the vast majority of applications this is very secure. But as we’ve see with the recent SHA-1 hacks that took over 10 years, everything is vulnerable eventually.

  • Do you sell the external antenna? Also, do you plan on stocking a gen2 keyfob tag?

    • An external antenna will be listed in a few weeks. We don’t have plans to sell a keyfob Gen2 tag.

Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

Based on 1 ratings:

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Game Changer For Makers

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.

Related Tutorials

Simultaneous RFID Tag Reader Hookup Guide

February 23, 2017

A basic guide to getting started with the RFID Tag Reader breakout and how to read and write multiple RFID tags over multiple feet!

RFID Basics

February 23, 2017

An overview of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.