Introduction: Arduino RFID UHF Reader

About: Thinkify, LLC focuses on applications of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. We provide system integration services, contract R&D, custom software and a collection of focused hardware and sof…

The purpose of this Instructable is to provide an easy to understand example of a Microcontroller interfacing with a UHF RFID reader. The reader we are using is the Thinkify TR-265. The demonstration consists of three UHF tags each with a unique ID. Each unique ID is assigned a specific color. The reader and Microcontroller are communicating over TTL. When the Green tags is presented to the reader the green LEDs will illuminate green. The same correlation will occur with the red and blue tag.

Step 1: Hardware Needed:

1. TR-265 or a TR-65(No Enclosure) with antenna.

2. Three uniquely encoded UHF tags

  • EMAIL: for purchase.
  • Use Thinkify Gateway to program your own

3. TR-265 RS232/TTL Communication Harness.

  • EMAIL: for purchase.

4. Arduino UNO


Step 2: Talking to the TR265/65 Reader

Connect the TR265 (With Case) or the 65 (Without Case) to your Windows PC via USB. Download the TR265 and 65 Getting Started Package and follow steps to get drivers working. Then install the demonstration software (Thinkify Gateway) from the folder.

Step 3: Reprogramming Tags: Part 1

Place one tag in front of the reader and remove any other tags away from the reader. Note: the TR265 and 65 have a read range of up to 5 feet, so make sure the other tags are out of range.

Step 4: Reprogramming Tags: Part 2

Launch the Gateway Software downloaded from Step 2. The reader must be in a COM Port between 1-20. Once the software has been launched, you will see a button that says Start Reading. Click the button and tag data will start displaying. There should only be one tag displaying, if there are multiple tags displaying that indicates the other tags are still in read range. Double click the Tag ID (EPC) and there should be red text that appears in the bottom left corner, this means the tag has been selected and is now ready to be programmed.

Step 5: Reprogramming Tags: Part 3

With the tag selected, click on the Programming tab on the top. Then in the the input text field of EPC To Program insert a hex value of what you want the color green, red or blue to be. In our example, green = AAAA1111, red = AAAA2222 and blue = AAAA3333. You can put any hex value here you want but will have to change the Arduino code to match your changes. If you use the same values above, there will be no changes necessary. Once you decided what you want to reprogram the tag to, click Program EPC button and you should be prompted with the Success text. Repeat the progress from Step 4 for the other two colors as well.

Step 6: TR-265 BaudRate

The TR-265 has a default serial port setup for 115200. We will need to change this to 9600 in order for the Arduino to communicate with it. Open up the Thinkify Gateway and navigate to the Command Line tab. Send NB0 to set the Baudrate to 9600 and then send BRS (Big Reset). This will allow the TR-265 to talk at 9600. To set it back to 115200 send NB4 followed by a BRS.

Step 7: Switching From USB to Serial Communication

The TR265/65 is done communicating over USB now, we will change it to communicate over Serial to talk to the Arduino. If you have a TR265 ( With Case) unscrew the case off. Refer to the image to set the jumpers to serial (Just pull them out and push them in place).

Step 8: Schematic

Using the schematic above hook up the hadware as shown. You will need two USB connections. One for the UNO and one for the TR-265.

Step 9: Upload Code to Arduino

Download the code for the Arduino and boot the reader and Arduino. Upload the code to the Arduino, make changes if you reprogrammed the tags a different EPC.

Step 10: Let's Change the LED Colors.

Simply move the pre-programmed tags near the antenna and the LEDs will change color to match the color associated with the object.