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Author Topic: Portable RFID on battery for 12 hours plus easily removable data  (Read 1041 times)
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Hi, complete novice in the Arduino world speaking. I want to set up portable rfid stations (could be 10) in areas that have no electricity and must operate in all weather conditions for hours - hence my research into the Arduino as opposed to laptops etc..
I have bought an Arduino UNO, a Sparkfun RFID/USB card with an ID-12 reader, and a Sparkfun Host USB shield. As we are a school, cost is also a factor as we will be asking the Parent body to pay for this!
Simplicity is the key as any individual could be manning the stations, hence the emphasise (of my original planning) on USB - usb thumb drives are light on power and easy to insert and remove.
What I need is a file of numbers on a thumb drive - the numbers representing the RFIDs that are recorded. These drives will be replaced every 30 minutes and taken to an area with electricity etc so we can collect the data to maintain our database at school. This is easily done with a pc of course, but it would be preferable to avoid the complexities of such equipment.
I could swear I read somewhere that Circuits@home had added USB mass storage to their arduino library for the usb/host shield but I cannot find the article! Probably wishful thinking.
What I am asking is for suggestions on how best to go about this ito what I equipment I have or might need. I am happy with the rfid reader and would prefer usb to SD or whatever.
Thanks in advance for the help,
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Simplicity is the key as any individual could be manning the stations, hence the emphasise (of my original planning) on USB - usb thumb drives are light on power and easy to insert and remove.
That may be true, but writing the drivers to interact with the device is most definitely not.

SD cards don't use a lot of power, are easy to insert and remove, and are MUCH easier to write code for.

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Hi PaulS, undoubtedly you are correct but I have my reservations: a monkey can swing easily through the trees but might hassle opening a beer can. If there is no USB solution forthcoming then your perspicacity will bear witness as to the fool - I am aware of the driver issue with USB, but I do believe in miracles. However, I don't believe that a non-tech person would want to change a microSD in the dark in the middle of a cane field.  smiley-eek
Kind regards,
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Nobody mentioned microSD. A standard sized SD card is no harder to swap than a usb stick.
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Hmm, my ignorance is to the fore - the only shields etc I have seen for SD have been in the micro class. I  suppose, being an electronics sort of thing, one should be able to solder wires to a full-sized SD reader. Could this also be connected directly to the TX of the UNO?
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You could use something like this http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=163
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However, I don't believe that a non-tech person would want to change a microSD in the dark in the middle of a cane field.
I do believe that you failed to disclose this requirement. Still, changing a microSD card is not that much more difficult than changing a USB stick.

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I am aware of the driver issue with USB, but I do believe in miracles.
Probably believe in the tooth fairy, too.
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I'm sorry. What is a tooth fairy?
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Thank you dx. That is useful indeed.I will add this board to the project.
Kind regards,
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I'm sorry. What is a tooth fairy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooth_fairy
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I suppose that we have to believe what the wiki tells us. I now actually remember a story by Mr Terry Pratchett where he tells of the Tooth Fairy but I thought he was making it all up.  smiley-sad
Anyway, I have ordered the SD shield card and look fwd to completing the preliminary stages of the project. I will leave the miracle of mass USB in the 'pipeline' where I found it. Who knows which end it is at now.
Thanks for your kind help,
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Hi PaulS, undoubtedly you are correct but I have my reservations: a monkey can swing easily through the trees but might hassle opening a beer can. ... I don't believe that a non-tech person would want to change a microSD in the dark in the middle of a cane field.  smiley-eek

Absolutely.

This sounds remarkably similar to another recent post. Is this something to do with setting up checkpoints for orienteering?

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?topic=103699

If this has to operate in the dark in the middle of a cane field, this would be useful to mention in your original post.

After reading the other post I think, as I said there, that an RFID system could work quite well. The advantage is the whole thing could be sealed since the reader would work through the side of a plastic box. You might put an led in a weatherproof hole to blink, and alert people where to find this reader while hacking their way through the cane field.

I don't like the idea of the USB port - after all a USB port out in the rain is hardly weatherproof.

What might work better would be to use radio - have a small transmitter inside, and when you press a button on the outside it sends all the data it collected to a nearby receiver carried by the "data collection" team. Or manage without the button even, just have "query/response".
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Hello Nick, thanks for the link. Missed that one in my searching for RFID.
My project is very similar but more controlled as we are dealing with young people walking 80km around the general area of our school. More controlled because they walk a set route and we have marshalls and 'stop' points all along. We can get up to 2000 entrants of which maybe 200 will complete the walk - usually late at night walking in pitch dark through the cane areas but along paths, of course.
Cost is a factor for us as it already costs a whack to stage the event and our parent body have not been too forthcoming ito providing accurate technology so we can 'track' where their offspring actually are. We usually rely on marshalls writing down bib numbers at each stop and telephoning them to 'ground control' back at the school - it is here where things go awry as, the longer the day draws on, the less accurate it all becomes smiley-cry.
Of course the cell phone towers usually go down on the day of the event as well! This means we cannot rely on telephony to record the walkers. BTW, it is not a race and timing is not individually done but by batch - usually the amount on one sheet of paper.
What all this typing means is that I am trying to impress on the organisers that we CAN collect accurate data and at a reasonable cost. Next time we will hit them for radio smiley-twist
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... young people walking 80km around ... maybe 200 will complete the walk

I don't doubt that.
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