What type of RFID could I attempt to emulate myself easily for projects in a classroom. There are many technologies that are available and I am having a hard time selecting an RFID system that would both allow a demo of RFID and and best cost effective for a teachers budget.

RM: I understand the question to be as follows. Azin should comment or edit to suit.

  • The company that I work for want to know how much does it costs to produce RFID tags and readers, and the typical end user cost for implementing overall projects including the costs of tags, readers and related equipment.

    It is possible that building tags and readers from components would be most cost effective due to our circumstances but this would depend on the cost of component parts and the volume costs of available finished readers and tags - so I need to be able to get a feel for actual component costs so useful comparisons can be made.

    An example system which sounds similar to the sort that we would like to implement is the one installed at St Charles Sixth Form College in West London, England. I have been unable to find any costing data on such systems.

    The St Charles College system is mentioned on a number of websites including here and here {Wikipedia} but does not seem to be mentioned on the school's website.

    • ... St Charles Sixth Form College in West London, England, started September, 2008, is using an RFID card system to check in and out of the main gate, to both track attendance and prevent unauthorized entrance ... .
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - Does that edit really reflect the question? It does not seem to match his statement: "I know it 's a complicated job .i 'm an employer for a company and they want to know how much does it cost to produce tags and readers .and the cost of past projects about tags and readers for example in St Charles Sixth Form College .but i didn 't finde usefull informations" / Yes - I know this does not seem to auto flag you but I assume you'll find it :-). \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Jul 9, 2012 at 4:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon, I went from the line "cost of some projects that produce RFID for examples in schools for identification." in the original question. Please take a shot at improving yourself but the comment down there and the original question seems to be incongruous. It did notify me because I had done an edit(I think, it is hard to keep track of). Please feel free to take your own shot, but I have attempted to narrow down the question to a clear concise question which is what SE needs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jul 9, 2012 at 5:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Azin - please examine your edited question and advise how ell it matches your actual requirement and/or edit it to match your needs. What country are you in - this may affect which solution is best for you. In eg the US or Europe it is likely that buying ready made readers and tags is most cost effective. In the middle or far East or parts of Asia or Africa manufacturing some or all of your component parts may be attractive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Jul 9, 2012 at 10:18

3 Answers 3


It's actually fairly cheat if you know how to do it, this isn't something I'd recommend for someone new to electronics though. You could probably build a decent reader for under $5. Why not look at prebuilt readers and tags like the following:

Seeedstudio Reader Seeedstudio Tags


The following mainly covers DIY tags.
If still interested after reading this ask questions and we can talk about DIR readers.

The price of RFID tags is usually low enough that it is economic to buy them complete BUT you can "roll your own" and there may be advantages in doing so.

For a very raw DIY approach the Microchip MCRF355 IC datasheet here allows you to bild receiver coil etc. BUT these ICs are not readily obtained and the datasheet is dates 2002, so I'd consider them a learning exercise.

A 13.56 MHz RFID design guide from Microchip found here and dated 2004 shows how the above IC can be employed and gives valuable insight into general principles.

[Antenna Circuit Design for RFID Applications - Mrcrochip AN710](Antenna Circuit Design for RFID Applications) provides extensive antenna design and performance information. Highly valuable.

As an indication of how small RFID tags can 'bee'.
Related to a paper by Dr. Whitehorn and colleagues which I have not yet located.

A moss carder bumblebee, Bombus muscorum.

enter image description here

NXP Forum Mifare RFID / NFC system - more complex than you want but useful.

Demo board related to above $88

TI "Tag It" transpoonder inlays $US0.35/5000.

This the sort of thing that you compete against when considering making your own tags. See below.

enter image description here

  • Texas Instruments Tag-it™ HF-I standard transponder inlays consist of 13.56-MHz high-frequency (HF) transponders that are compliant with the ISO/IEC 15693 and ISO/IEC 18000-3 global open standards.

    These products offer a user-accessible memory of 256 bits, organized in eight blocks,

    and an optimized command set,

    available in five different antenna shapes, with frequency offset for integration into paper, PVC, or other substrates.

    The Tag-it HF-I standard transponder inlays are manufactured with TI’s patented laser tuning process to provide consistent read performance. Prior to delivery, the transponders undergo complete functional and parametric testing, in order to provide the high quality that customers have come to expect from TI.

    The Tag-it HF-I standard transponder inlays are well suited for a variety of applications including, but not limited to, product authentication, library, supply-chain management, asset management, and ticketing/stored value applications.

Tag insert Related

Tag insert - Related


Here is an immensely informative application note from a company with a number of potentially relevant products.

ib technology quad reader tag is usful for its nicely minimal circuit diagram plus wealth of application information.

But wait, there's more (from the same people).

home page
Range of reader modules
Reference design kits ..... one example
Evaluation kit
Datasheets and application notes looks very useful

  • \$\begingroup\$ I know it 's a complicated job .i 'm an employer for a company and they want to know how much does it cost to produce tags and readers .and the cost of past projects about tags and readers for example in St Charles Sixth Form College .but i didn 't finde usefull informations \$\endgroup\$
    – azin
    Jul 8, 2012 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Azin - see addition to S3C's answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Jul 8, 2012 at 9:20

You can do it on a really low budget if you want. You can build a tag out of an ATtiny85 and an inductor. Building a reader is also doable. If you are new to elctronics, try to get a reader and tags (from adafruit, sparkfun or seeed studio) or a kit. They are cheaper and less frustrating.

When it comes to teaching, look into the arduino RFID reader.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Beth used a coil, not a resistor. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 8, 2012 at 8:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you should also tell that what Beth does is very naughty, as she uses the AVR beyond Absolute Maximum Ratings. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 8, 2012 at 10:22

Potentially useful resources related to this question:

Here is a useful review of RFID history - it's a seminar report, but becuase it starts from the very beginning and works up it shows what may be able to be done cheaply and simply.

I see the first RFID patent was in 1973. In 1973 I and a friend built what was essentially a functional RFID system as a student project. I can see we should have capitalised on our early lead :-).

Here is the seminar material that the above report is based on. Much of the above is copied from it. This is much more detailed.

Useful background with good references


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