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Introduction to RDM8800 – A 13.56MHz Configurable RFID Module

RDM8800 is another RFID card reader launched by ITEAD STUDIO after RDM6300. RFID is Radio Frequency Identification for short. At present, the most commonly used RFIDs are 12.5 KHz EM4100 card and 13.56MHz ISO 14443 Type A card.

RDM6300 card reader module can be used to read 12.5KHz EM4100 RFID card directly, and the card information will be outputted directly through the serial, an external microcontroller can be easily used to receive the information read from RFID card together with the serial port. While RDM8800 can read 13.56MHz ISO 14443 Type A cards, and the card data will be outputted via the serial port.


It is quite convenient to use both of the card readers to read the RFID card information, as the modules are equipped with an antenna. Once the antenna is connected to the module, and the output serial pin of the module is connected to the microcontroller's serial port and powered up with 5V, the module serial will read the card information when the RFID card is close to the antenna. To make it easier to use, an antenna of RDM8800 adopts standard shielded coaxial connection, and there is a 2.54mm pin hole in the antenna which can be used connect to the antenna pin on module via a Dupont line.

RDM6300 is a non-open reader module, thus it can only be used to read 12.5K EM4100 cards. While RDM8800 is an open source program designed on the basis of Arduino, thus it can not only be used as a simple 13.56M RFID card reader, but can also work as an NFC module for data exchange with NFC-enabled cell phones – of course, it requires new firmware support, as RDM8800 firmware only supports ISO 14443 Type A card reader function when it leaves the factory.

As mentioned above, RDM8800 is not simply a card reader module, which can also be regarded as an Arduino + PN532 NFC-enabled open platform. With PN532 support library on Arduino, you can quickly develop a variety of NFC functions. RDM8800 default 13.56M RFID reader firmware is modified on the basis of Demo in this library. By updating different firmware, RDM8800 will be able to support more types of cards such as ISO 14443 Type B or to perform other functions such as data exchange with mobile phones. The benefits of openness make RDM8800 more flexible to adapt to your needs. Let’s take a 13.56M RFID reader as an example, with a little bit modifications, the module can output card numbers in a variety of ways: decimal or string; you can modify it as outputting card numbers constantly when the card approaches or outputting only once when the card approaches; baud rate output by the serial can be modified to meet your needs; and you can even make the output interface as IIC interface instead of UART.

UART serial of RDM8800 can also be used as an input interface for firmware updates in addition to the data output port. If you want to update the firmware for RDM8800, first you need a USB to serial tool such as Foca to connect TX RX GND 5V and RST to the corresponding pins of RDM8800 as shown in the diagram below.

 Because RDM8800 adopts LGT8F88A rather than Arduino standard chips such as ATMega328, we also need to add a patch for standard Arduino IDE. The patch currently supports 1.0x and 1.5x versions. The patch will overwrite the original file after is extracted into hardware folder. After opening IDE, you can see Iteaduino Lite option in the board options.


 
Connect Foca to the computer via USB adapter, and you can select the corresponding port and the correct board type (Iteaduino Lite) in IDE's menu bar. Then open the corresponding firmware, press the upload button, along with flashes of led indicator in Foca, the firmware will be downloaded to RDM8800. After rebooting the module, it will run with the new firmware.

RDM8800 serial port will output directly a card number of 10 decimal ASCII code which will be followed by a line break "0x0D 0x0A".

Output format: If the card number is 46553491, the output data will be "0046553491", (HEX: "0x30 0x30 0x34 0x36 0x35 0x35 0x33 0x34 0x39 0x31 0x0D 0x0A".