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  • Parallax RFID detector

    I got a suprise in the mail the other day:
    http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=28140
    It is a RFID reader and a few wallet sized RFID devices. I forgot I ordered it a few months ago. Searching on this board, I can't find the thread where I initially heard of it. Anyone here buy one yet? Any thoughts towards writing a plugin for it?

    What originally attracted me to it was if I am reading correctly, this unit can connect to a PC via serial connection - which should mean a long length of wire from reader to PC should be supported. I looked at a USB version a while ago, but decided against due to the short wire length supported by USB.

    I am thinking of door access as possible first usage. I might initially install the sensor at my front door, but actually trigger the garage door opener (right next door - so to speak) so I don't have to also put a solonoid door lock control in the front door yet (double doors which makes it a bit more challenging to install cleanly).

  • #2
    For residences, My issue is that I've not found a satisfactory electric door lock for the kinds of locks in a home - most are industrial, ugly and noisy, and some are 110VAC rather than low voltage.

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    • #3
      A few months ago? I guess customer service isn't part of the equasion.

      I am using a similar product (http://store.qkits.com/) but I need to place the card within a half inch or less to get it to trigger. The unit has a procedure to program the access cards and maintains the data internaly. It activates the lock when a programmed card is read. There is no PC software used, but it does have an output for status (on/off) and an input for manual triggering.

      The longer range of this unit would be a big help. I keep the card in my wallet and hid the reader under the vinal siding by the door. I just back up to the reader and the door unlocks. The drawback is with the short range I need to move a little to get it to trigger, which I am sure has the neighbors scratching their heads. It is great when you have your arms full of groceries or beer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Stevech
        For residences, My issue is that I've not found a satisfactory electric door lock for the kinds of locks in a home - most are industrial, ugly and noisy, and some are 110VAC rather than low voltage.
        You're right, it's unfortunate, most electric door releases are clearly targetted at a commercial/industrial market. There are some out there that are small enough, or at least attractive enough to be installed on residential doors. The vast majority of them these days are powered at 12V or 24V for ease of installation. The 110VAC stuff is relegated to Electromagnetic Locks, and even those are getting scarce. Electric door strikes, are only noisy if powered on 12VAC or 24VAC, if you power them with DC, they will quietly click when released.

        Check these out
        www.rutherfordcontrols.com
        (While I do work for Rutherford, this isn't intended as a plug. After installing security, access, AV and HA for 10 years, I found that RCI stuff was my favourite and accepted a job with them in Tech/R&D) Check out the new 6 series strike.

        www.trineonline.com
        These guys have developed a door strike that fits a standard latch plate. Take a look at their 3234 model. A lot of people are installing that strike just to eliminate all of the frame preparation. You still have to cut in the strike body a tiny bit but you don't have the big ugly faceplate to look at. It's designed to fit in a standard latch opening. Bear in mind that the big ugly faceplate is there primarily to strengthen the frame after cutting out all that wood during installation. When looking at forced entry, the frame is always the weakest spot in residential entryways.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that there are no electric releases that are designed to work with a residential deadbolt. The manner in which releases work and deadbolts are supposed to work makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to release a standard deadbolt without looking at a product like the Powerbolt.
        Last edited by Cyber-Wizard; July 2nd, 2005, 07:37 AM.

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        • #5
          Securitron Unlatch

          You might also want to take a look at this product from Securitron. http://www.securitron.com/Productdetail.asp?pcID=1008. It operates a standard american outside door latch in a very unique way. I beleive they also have european versions of their product as well.

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          • #6
            I just noticed this post (must not have read too much over the long weekend).

            I also received one of the Parallax readers last week (they were backordered for a long time). It's very easy to interface with HS. I haven't done it yet, but I have connected the reader to a computer.

            The serial output is TTL level - you need to worry about converting it to RS232 levels for the computer. There are different simple ways to do this but I prefer to use chips like the MAX232 to do the conversion. I think that these provide better isolation in cases of power surges, etc. (I have had lightning-induced damage in the past which stopped at the MAX232 (killed it) before making it any further).

            To test, I used an RS232/line level adapter that I had around (from Kronos Robotics):
            http://www.kronosrobotics.com/xcart/...cat=291&page=1
            http://www.kronosrobotics.com/xcart/...cat=291&page=1
            http://www.kronosrobotics.com/xcart/...cat=260&page=1
            Adapters like these and a breadboard make it very easy to test things.

            The data from the reader comes in at 2400,8,N,1. It's very easy to write a script to receive the data and act on it. The strings start with a 0Ah character and end with 0Dh. Between the two, there are normal characters (0-9,A-H) representing the card's ID (in hexadecimal). All you need to do is have the script compare the incoming string with a known string (or strings) and act accordingly. It is likely that you will get more than one (identical) string when the card is near the reader - it will keep transmitting when in the reader's proximity.

            I haven't gotten around to writing my script yet.

            And the reader works quite well with several inches range. I haven't tested to see what the absolute limit is but the specs say 4" or further.

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            • #7
              smee,

              that's the kind of info I was looking for. Thanx.
              I guess I will have to buy a serial level adapter like the one you reference.
              Will you be posting your script? Are you Plugin code experienced?

              Glad there's more than just me trying to get this puppy working!

              EDIT:
              I see this RFID reader also supports a 1-wire implementation. Any wiring advise on how to do that? What software tweeks will there be? I posted similar question on parallax forum just now.
              Last edited by smoothtlk; July 5th, 2005, 01:17 PM.

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              • #8
                $290 for electric door strike. OK if you are a fortune 500 user!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by smoothtlk
                  I see this RFID reader also supports a 1-wire implementation. Any wiring advise on how to do that? What software tweeks will there be? I posted similar question on parallax forum just now.
                  I seem to remember seeing something phrased that way, too. I do not believe that they meant it was compatible with the Dallas/Maxim 1-wire stuff. I think that they meant that it only needs one connection (other than power and ground) to your microprocessor or computer.

                  There are only 4 pins on the connector: +5v, GND, signal, enable. The enable pin allows you to control whether it's active or not. When not enabled, it will use less power. For a home automation solution, it's probably easiest to leave it enabled all the time. Otherwise, you could have it turned on when motion was detected (or something similar). I haven't measured the power useage yet.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, it is NOT Maxim type "1-wire".
                    http://forums.parallax.com/forums/de...=5&m=78247&p=1

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                    • #11
                      I put together a relatively simple script which can be used to interface to this reader. It can be found in this thread:
                      http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=104627

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                      • #12
                        Just got the Kronos EasyRS232 shifter. So, I think I have the hardware to start playing with this.
                        Smee - have you made any updates to the script so I am starting with your latest?
                        Thanx for putting it together!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by smoothtlk
                          Smee - have you made any updates to the script so I am starting with your latest?
                          No, I haven't made any changes.

                          You should be all set.

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                          • #14
                            Since this thread touched on electric strikes I need some help. Anyone know where I can get some electronic door locks that work with deadlocks where the strike plate is bolted to the side of a surface. Eg. It's not IN the doorframe itself.
                            The picture of the product on this page shows what I'm talking about:

                            http://www.lockweb.com.au/products/p...categoryID=235

                            Here's an install video which show the type of door lock I'd like to have an eletric lock on.

                            http://www.lockweb.com.au/infoCentre...Strike%20P.mov

                            Thanks..

                            Ross.

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                            • #15
                              at first glance this might be a much more cost effective RFID interface for HA than Iautomates. ecpecially considering I was initially drawn to RFID for simple Swap type uses. (in otherwords the high gain Iautomate ones are cool but I can swipe a card or wave a card if needed) now if only I could get this setup accordingly. (still so new I am afrade that attempting to impliment a script AND a home brew hardware interface might blow my mind)

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