Problems with building FDX-B RFID readers.

In Europe, animals are generally tagged with FDX-B chips operating in the 134 kHz range and using the ISO 11784/11785 protocol. Whereas it is easy to get components for RFID on the Arduino, they operate on 13.56MHz or (like the RDM630 or RDM6300) 125 kHz.

I want to build a RFID controlled feeder for one of my cats along the lines of the Sureflap cat door. There are several problems I run into:

  1. obtaining the electronics for 134 kHz. They seem to be expensive and difficult to find. After some weeks I got myself a cheap board (approx. 10 Euro, free shipping) from a chineese manufacturer, but the distance between the soldering points is much smaller than the distance on Arduino headers. I am nervous to start and may have to take a few training runs on micro-soldering. See attached file.

  2. The same goes for the implanted chips. My vet is not very cooperative and will not give or even sell me one of the grain sized glass pellets and mumbles something about registration. I can buy those pellets in China too, but ony in quantities of 100 pcs.

  3. As far as I understand, reading the tag is a three step process: first a 0xAA byte is sent to the reader and only then it starts reading eight bytes after which it signs off with 0xBB. So the circuit will have to incorporate a detector to see if a cat is near. (that explains the two ‘eyes’ in the construction of the Sureflap).

So… are there other cheap readers boards for the Arduino that I did not find? Are there ways of testing my setup without picking up the poor cat and waving it around over my desk? Perhaps I should first try build a battery operated hand held reader for testing the electronics…

Any thoughts are welcome.


5a3f0b69a2308.pdf (348 KB)

Did you make any progress with your animal tag reader ?


Maybe you've already resolved this (your post was from October of last year). I actually recently disassembled both a SureFlap DualScan Cat door and a SureFlap Pet Door. The Pet Door is a larger size and our cats can get through it fine. However, the DualScan has the technology sufficient to keep smart California raccoons out of our house. So... my intention was to put the electronics from the Dual Scan into the case of the Pet Door.

It works - somewhat. The motors work, and I can manually open the door with the button on the circuit board. I'm running into issues with the antenna. You can purchase SureFlap tags (like the kind you'd put on your cat's collar if they weren't microchipped). This makes it easy to test your electronics without shoving your cat through the antenna. They don't like that much.

The challenge for me has been getting the antenna right for 134kHz. I need to brush up on the maths.

There are a few places online to buy readers that other folks have recommended - like Priority 1 Design from Australia.