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RFID Reader System Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Robotics and Automation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1056.1 - 24.1056.10



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Paper Authors


David R. Loker Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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David R. Loker received the M.S.E.E. degree from Syracuse University in 1986. In 1984, he joined General Electric (GE) Company, AESD, as a design engineer. In 1988, he joined the faculty at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. In 2007, he became the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Program. His research interests include wireless sensor networks, data acquisition systems, and communications systems.

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Stephen A. Strom Penn State Behrend

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Stephen Strom joined the faculty of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and the School of Engineering in Fall 2010. He is a lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Steve comes to Penn State Behrend with more than thirty years experience in designing and programming embedded systems and has multiple patents for both hardware designs and software algorithms.

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RFID Reader System ProjectAs part of the requirements in a junior-level wireless communications course (for an Electrical andComputer Engineering Technology program), students are required to design and implement anRFID reader system to record multiple ID tags. This lab project utilized the ThingMagic M5e-Cembedded RFID OEM module. This OEM module was mounted in a circuit box with an attachedantenna and a flexible cable for I/O connections. A printed circuit board was designed to interfacethe assembly to a standard lab breadboard. The box, OEM module, and PCB were then provided toeach student team. The overall objectives for this lab project included connecting a PC to the RFIDmodule via RS-232 and designing LabVIEW software to control to the module. The students wererequired to configure the RFID module, read 5 tag IDs (using the GEN2 protocol), store the tag IDsto a file on disk, and add header information to the file containing the students’ names and a time &date stamp.The project consisted of one laboratory exercise, and it was designed to be completed in two weeks.This lab project consisted of two sections: an exercise part and a software design part. For theexercise part of the lab project, students were provided an executable LabVIEW RS-232 terminalprogram which allowed them to send command packets to and receive response packets from theRFID OEM module. Each packet contained HEX values for the data length, opcode, and CRC-16character. Command packets are used to configure the RFID module for the region code and tagprotocol, and to read the tag IDs. Students referenced the developer’s guide for the OEM module todetermine the opcode for each command. An executable LabVIEW program for determining theCRC-16 character was also provided to the students. For the software design part of the project,detailed engineering requirements are listed which include automatically sending the commandpackets for configuring the RFID reader, displaying the response to each command, and usingseparate buttons for reading the tag IDs and storing the IDs to disk.This paper provides a detailed listing of the command and response packets, and an example of thestored tag IDs. A summary of the contents of the student reference materials and the lab handout arealso included. Assessment results showing grading statistics, lab report format, and grading rubric,will be provided. An example of student work is shown, and recommendations are included to helpensure student success on the project.

Loker, D. R., & Strom, S. A. (2014, June), RFID Reader System Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22989

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