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Most of us probably use some type of RFID device every day. Everything from credit cards, security badges, toll booths, inventory security systems, and even identification implants all are beginning to use RFID technology.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to communicate between two objects: a reader and a tag. RFID communication is the same as two way radio communication in the sense that information is transmitted or received via a radio wave at a specific frequency. However, one of the major differences is that RFID systems detect the presence of the other remote device, namely the tag. In addition, passive or un-powered tags can be powered remotely for a short period of time by the reader. Also, all tags contain a small amount of memory that can be read from (and sometimes written to) over the air by the reader. Most of the time, the piece of memory contains some type of unique identification information.
The SparkFun RFID USB board allows you to easily communicate with a 125kHz RFID reader. There is a read buzzer and LED that are activated once a tag has been read.
The SparkFun RFID USB board allows you to control a RFID reader via USB...
...or a microcontroller like Arduino. The breakout pins are 5V tolerant TTL pins. See the reader datasheet for pin descriptions.
The SparkFun RFID USB can use either the ID-20, ID-12, or ID-2 readers.
The ID-20 has the longest read range, the ID-12 is the most common, and the ID-2 is the smallest, but doesn't have a built in antenna like the previous two.
The readers above will read any 125kHz tag that uses the EM4001 card format. There are three compatible tags that SparkFun sells.
From left to right: card tag, button tag, and glass tag.
Here is what you will need:
Here are the steps you need to take to verify functionality of the SparkFun RFID USB board.
Make sure you select the same COM number as shown in device manager.
Also, click on the 'Configure' button and make sure 9600 baud rate is selected.
And finally click the 'Call' button. (Note: if hyperterminal asks you to name your session, just name it whatever you like).
Grab one of your tags and hold it above the reader. You should hear a loud beep, see the 'Read' LED light, and also see a unique serial number pop up in hyperterminal, similar to this one.
If you have gotten this far, your have verified the functionality of the RFID USB!
Check out this cool project to get an idea of what you can do with this now that you have it working!