Great post on opensource.com about getting started with RFID tags!
RFIDs—we use them every day. With every visit to the supermarket, public library, bookstore, or department store, we handle objects that have an RFID tag, which stands for Radio Frequency Identification. For one, these small tags make it easier for shop owners to keep inventory by tracking the flow of items as they’re brought in, moved around, and purchased. RFID tags are usually composed of a small electronic chip that can store a few thousand bytes and an antenna that commonly takes the shape of a tight spiral—sometimes squared, sometimes circular.
This article is about how I tinkered with the Adafruit PN532 controller shield to read and write RFID tags.
To read and write information onto an RFID tag, you need a device composed of an antenna, radio circuitry, and a few digital electronic components. That’s exactly what the Adafruit PN532 controller shield is. It attaches to an Arduino board that provides the programming logic for reading or writing data.
History: RFID readers have a colorful history that dates back to the Cold War, when inventor Leon Theremin conceived a passive listening device known as “The Thing” that allowed Soviet intelligence to listen to conversations in the U.S. Ambassador’s office in Moscow from 1945-1952.
To start our exploration of the RFD/NFC shield, we need the following items:
- PN532 NFC/RFID controller shield for Arduino + extras
- Assorted RFID tags
- Arduino Uno R3 board
- 9 VDC power adapter
- Standard A-B USB Cable
Adafruit provides a nice starting guide for assembly and testing of the shield…
Featured Adafruit Products!
Adafruit PN532 NFC/RFID Controller Shield for Arduino + Extras: We’ve taken our popular Adafruit PN532 breakout board and turned it into a shield – the perfect tool for any 13.56MHz RFID or NFC application. The Adafruit NFC shield uses the PN532 chip-set (the most popular NFC chip on the market) and is what is embedded in pretty much every phone or device that does NFC. This chipset is very powerful, and can pretty much do it all, such as read and write to tags and cards, communicate with phones (say for payment processing), and ‘act’ like a NFC tag. While the controller has many capabilities, our Arduino library currently only supports reading/writing tags, and does not support phone-to-shield communication, tag emulation (which requires an external ‘secure element’ only available from NXP) or other more advanced features at this time. Read more.
MiFare Classic (13.56 MHz) tag assortment – 1KB: One of each of our favorite Mifare Classic 1K tags – 5 in total!
These can be read by almost any 13.56MHz RFID/NFC reader but make sure it can handle MiFare cards as there are a few other encoding standards (like FeLica) They are tested and work great with both our PN532 NFC/RFID breakout board and Adafruit NFC/RFID Shield for Arduino! Read more.