Replacement:SEN-09963. The new revision uses SMD headers for the RFID module, and has a solder jumper which allows you to disable or enable the buzzer. This page is for reference only.

The RFID USB Reader is a simple to use, USB to serial base unit for the ID-2, ID-12, and ID-20 readers. Simply plug a reader into the headers and attach a miniUSB cable. Open a terminal program of your choice at 9600bps 8N1, then scan your 125kHz ID tag and the unique 32-bit ID will be shown on the screen. The unit is based on a FTDI chip and comes with a read LED and buzzer.

This product does not come with the RFID reader. ID Readers are listed below.

  • 1.4x1.2x0.57"

RFID USB Reader Product Help and Resources

SparkFun RFID Starter Kit Hookup Guide

May 5, 2015

Learn the basics of how to get started with the SparkFun RFID Starter Kit.

RFID Basics

February 23, 2017

Dive into the basics of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • alfmar / about 14 years ago / 2

    Do not try it at late night: the buzzer is somewhat loud (I'm willing to cut its +5V trace; I hope next version will have headers for the led and the buzzer instead of soldered components).
    Worked great both with ID12 and ID20; the ID20 I got had short pins, so it did not sturdily fit in the 2mm header.
    Plug and play: on Ubuntu Linux for PowerPC did not need any additional software driver.

    • wwr / about 13 years ago / 1

      You don't have to cut the trace to disable the buzzer.
      Just pry the plastic top off and remove the metal disc and put
      the plastic top back on.

      • joeyc7 / about 13 years ago / 1

        should probably note to 'carefully' pry the plastic top off... I just pulled the whole buzzer off mine, lol. Oh well, no more beep.
        PS, plug & play on Windows 7 worked for me also.

  • Member #241469 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Is there a way to connect the RFID USB Reader to the Arduino UNO?

    • MikeGrusin / about 13 years ago / 1

      Yes, the header on the opposite side from the USB connector has a TX pin that is Arduino-compatible.

      • Yes, but if you're looking to just connect to an Arduino, you might want to just use the RFID Reader Breakout. With the USB Reader, you would be bypassing the FTDI, which is the majority of the cost of the board. You can just use the breakout, a module, and hook it directly up to your Arduino.

        • Member #426717 / about 11 years ago / 1

          RobertC, quick question, if I was to use the TX pin to the Arduino, will the buzzer still sound? I am using this board for a "temporary" school project, so just for this project it is ok for now. I will use the board for another project later, but I was curious if I could connect this board to an Arduino and it transmit the data to the Arduino Uno ok, and if some one might have a schematic that showed it worked would be very helpful as well.

          • yes. the board really doesn't do much, but just breaks out pins on the ID module. the buzzer is just attached to the buzzer pin on the module. So, if you bypass the FTDI (just use the TX directly into the Arduino), the buzzer still does what it does.

  • Member #162093 / about 13 years ago / 1

    will the id 20 with this reader be able to read an HID card?

  • Member #151952 / about 13 years ago / 1

    cant wait to get mine. I would like to ask if someone knows where could we get the same buzzers as the ones on the circuit? I havent find any similar on the market.

  • Member #133495 / about 13 years ago / 1

    I am having major problems when using this unit instead of wiring it to an Arduino. I am trying to communicate with flash but when I use the usb unit directly connected to my computer I keep getting some white space before and after the code i.e. instead of printing "190035E5B57" it prints " 190035E5B57 " this makes it difficult to compare values in Flash..Has anyone else had this problem or could you point me in the direction to get an answer?

  • jma89 / about 13 years ago / 1

    So... Who else would love it if these came with the ATmega8U2 like the Uno instead of the FTDI chip?
    Would make having the cards appear as keystrokes a whole lot easier. :-)
    [Unless some kind soul has an FTDI driver built that will make it appear as a keyboard...]

  • Dimi / about 13 years ago / 1
    1. Could anyone post a closed-form software to actually read An ID-12? <br />
      <br />
    2. Maybe Sparkfun can provide extra information about the interface lines of the breakboard (Tx, TxR, CP etc.).<br />
      <br />
    3. Can this board be used to drive an external actuator? Any newbie (like me) would appreciate starting such a project.<br />
      <br />
      Many thanks in advance!
  • Member #165097 / about 13 years ago / 1

    iv got a rfid scanner but need software for it doe anyone no any gd free ones out there thanks:D

  • Rechena / about 13 years ago / 1

    Greetings, <br />
    Although it shows in the video that is possible to connect this to an Arduino, I haven't actually found anything about that, does anyone ever done that? Not connecting the ID-20 or other one, but connecting the USB Reader, does it need to still be connected to the the USB port of any computer or can I use the 5V in the arduino pin?<br />
    <br />

    • You can power it with the 5v on the Arduino, and just connect the TX (output) from the reader to a RX (input) on the Arduino.

  • franklovecchio / about 14 years ago / 1

    If I wanted to not use USB and get power from the Arduino (just using this as a shield) which connections would I use? This tutorial -> http://hcgilje.wordpress.com/resources/rfid_id12_tagreader/ really doesn't help.

  • oleole / about 14 years ago / 1

    I just bought 2 sets of the rfid glass capsule & rfid usb reader for our university project. Work fine except one of the rfid glass capsule not working. Now my problem is how can we write java program that will identify the rfid and link the unique rfid capsule with the java program. Or perhap if you can tell me if there is a java SDK that will be used for the rfid driver?

    • N8B / about 14 years ago / 1

      Hmm, SparkFun doesn't have any such program...unless someone has been holding out on us.
      It can't hurt to peruse the forums to see if someone has done something similar. I wouldn't hold your breath though.

  • pdirkse / about 14 years ago / 1

    I agree. Could you make your sketch available??

  • Pleasantlygrim / about 14 years ago / 1

    How about posting your sketch?

  • swarga / about 14 years ago / 1

    I just bought this breakout board and an ID-20 reader module. Like alfmar, the pins on my ID-20 are too short and do not make good contact with the sockets on the breakout board. The contact is so poor/intermittent that the ID-20 does not work at all. If you have/are buying an ID-20, save yourself $25 and do not buy this breakout board.

    • Hi - we've discovered that the latest shipment of ID-20s have a pin length problem. Let us know if you need a replacement (techsupport@sparkfun.com). We're getting them fixed. We've removed all the problem units from stock.

  • someguy7234 / about 14 years ago / 1

    Does anyone know if this will read the RFID tag used to "microchip" a dog?

    • glocketz / about 14 years ago / 2

      It sure will. In fact, the video above showcases the exact microchip that goes into dogs, cats, and many other domestic and domesticated animals.

      • SomeGuy123 / about 13 years ago * / 1

        The tag in the video does not use bio-glass. Tags that do not use bio-glass have the potential to shift beneath the skin of the animals.

  • donpdonp / about 15 years ago / 1

    the description for the ID-2 reader says it needs an antenna. does this base unit also provide an antenna?

    • wd6cmu / about 14 years ago / 1

      qkits.com has some RFID antennas.

    • This board provides serial only. You would need to hook up a 125kHz coil antenna to the ANT1/ANT2 pins on the board to drive the antenna for the ID-2.

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