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Unit 1 - 6115 4 St SE
Calgary AB  T2H 2H9


ID: 1023_1

Read EM4100 series RFID tags at a distance of up to 6cm with this reader.

Replaced by 1024_0B

The PhidgetRFID reads RFID tags that are brought in close proximity to the reader and returns the tag identification number.

RFID (radio frequency identification) systems use data strings stored inside RFID tags or transponders) to uniquely identify people or objects when they are scanned by an RFID reader. These types of systems are found in many applications such as passport protection, animal identification, inventory control systems, and secure access control systems.

The PhidgetRFID (as well as the RFID tags sold by Phidgets) uses the EM4102 protocol. Any other tags that also use the EM4102 protocol can be used with the PhidgetRFID reader.

Because passive tags require a strong RF field to operate, their effective range is limited to an area in close proximity to the RFID reader. The distance over which the RFID tag is usable is affected by such things as the tag shape and size, materials being used in the area near the reader, and the orientation of the reader and tag in respect to each other and in their operating environment. The smaller a tag, the closer it must be to the reader to operate.

Comes packaged with



Product Specifications

RFID Reader
API Object Name RFID
Antenna Output Power Max 10 μW
Antenna Resonant Frequency Min 125 kHz
Antenna Resonant Frequency Max 140 kHz
Supported Protocols EM4102
Read Rate 33 ms
USB Speed Low Speed
Electrical Properties
Available External Voltage (+5V) 5 V DC
Available External Voltage (LED) 5 V DC
Available External Current (+5V) 400 mA
Available External Current (LED) 16 mA
Output Impedance (LED) 250 Ω
Current Consumption Min 16 mA
Current Consumption Max 100 mA
Physical Properties
Recommended Wire Size 16 - 26 AWG
Operating Temperature Min 0 °C
Operating Temperature Max 70 °C
Digital Outputs
Number of Digital Outputs 2
Digital Output Voltage Min 0 V DC
Digital Output Voltage Max 5 V DC
Customs Information
Canadian HS Export Code 8471.80.00
American HTS Import Code 8471.80.40.00
Country of Origin CN (China)

Software Objects

Device Object Name Channel
RFID Reader RFID 0
5V Digital Output DigitalOutput 0
LED Output DigitalOutput 1
On-board LED DigitalOutput 2


Code Samples


RFID Visual Studio GUI C# Windows Download
RFID JavaScript Browser Download
RFID Objective-C macOS Download
RFID Swift macOS Download
RFID Swift iOS Download
RFID Visual Basic .NET Windows Download
RFID Max/MSP Multiple Download
DigitalOutput Visual Studio GUI C# Windows Download
DigitalOutput JavaScript Browser Download
DigitalOutput Multi-Channel Example JavaScript Browser Download
DigitalOutput Objective-C macOS Download
DigitalOutput Swift macOS Download
DigitalOutput Swift iOS Download
DigitalOutput Visual Basic .NET Windows Download
DigitalOutput Max/MSP Multiple Download

Product History

Date Board Revision Device Version Comment
June 2002 0103Product Release
April 2004 0200Onboard LED, 2 Digital Outputs added. Ability to enable/disable Antenna added.
January 2005 0201RF Circuitry upgraded to improve reliability
January 2006 0202Onboard microprocessor upgraded to Flash version.
September 20060203Changed enable functionality to re-initialize reader
June 2006 0204Low Voltage Reset set at 4.7 Volts
April 2007 0205Protocol parsing bug fixed which garbled top 3 bits of RFID Tag.
July 2007 1206Unused internal I/O pulled high out of an abundance of caution, bus current characterized. Terminal block moved to edge of PCB, center of antenna routed out, digital output transients on startup eliminated.
June 2013 Product Discontinued. Succeeded by the 1024 - PhidgetRFID Read/Write. The 1024 differs from the 1023 in its ability to write to compatible tags, and to read tags belonging to a number of additional protocols.

Getting Started

Welcome to the 1023 user guide! In order to get started, make sure you have the following hardware on hand:

Next, you will need to connect the pieces:

1023 1 Connecting The Hardware.jpg
  1. Connect the PhidgetRFID board to the computer using a USB cable.

Now that you have everything together, let's start using the 1023!

Using the 1023

Phidget Control Panel

In order to demonstrate the functionality of the 1023, the Phidget Control Panel running on a Windows machine will be used.

The Phidget Control Panel is available for use on both macOS and Windows machines.


To open the Phidget Control Panel on Windows, find the Ph.jpg icon in the taskbar. If it is not there, open up the start menu and search for Phidget Control Panel

Windows PhidgetTaskbar.PNG


To open the Phidget Control Panel on macOS, open Finder and navigate to the Phidget Control Panel in the Applications list. Double click on the Ph.jpg icon to bring up the Phidget Control Panel.

For more information, take a look at the getting started guide for your operating system:

Linux users can follow the getting started with Linux guide and continue reading here for more information about the 1023.

First Look

After plugging the 1023 into your computer and opening the Phidget Control Panel, you will see something like this:

1023 Panel.jpg

The Phidget Control Panel will list all connected Phidgets and associated objects, as well as the following information:

  • Serial number: allows you to differentiate between similar Phidgets.
  • Channel: allows you to differentiate between similar objects on a Phidget.
  • Version number: corresponds to the firmware version your Phidget is running. If your Phidget is listed in red, your firmware is out of date. Update the firmware by double-clicking the entry.

The Phidget Control Panel can also be used to test your device. Double-clicking on an object will open an example.


Double-click on the RFID object labelled RFID Reader in order to run the example:

RFID Example.jpg

General information about the selected object will be displayed at the top of the window. You can also experiment with the following functionality:

  • Bring a compatible tag close to the 1023 and the tag's string and protocol will be displayed.
  • Toggle power to the antenna using the checkbox labelled Antenna Enabled. Toggling antenna power decreases power consumption, however, the 1023 will no longer be able to read tags.
  • Enabling the Keyboard Output Enabled checkbox will cause your computer to write a string of text whenever a tag is discovered. Park your cursor in an empty text file and try it out!

Digital Output

Double-click on one of the Digital Output objects available in order to run the example. They are labelled Digital Output, LED Driver, and Onboard LED.

1023DigitalOutput OnOff Example.jpg

General information about the selected object will be displayed at the top of the window. You can also experiment with the following functionality:

  • Toggle the state of the digital output by pressing the button.

Finding The Addressing Information

Before you can access the device in your own code, and from our examples, you'll need to take note of the addressing parameters for your Phidget. These will indicate how the Phidget is physically connected to your application. For simplicity, these parameters can be found by clicking the button at the top of the Control Panel example for that Phidget.

The locate Phidget button is found in the device information box

In the Addressing Information window, the section above the line displays information you will need to connect to your Phidget from any application. In particular, note the Channel Class field as this will be the API you will need to use with your Phidget, and the type of example you should use to get started with it. The section below the line provides information about the network the Phidget is connected on if it is attached remotely. Keep track of these parameters moving forward, as you will need them once you start running our examples or your own code.

All the information you need to address your Phidget

Using Your Own Program

You are now ready to start writing your own code for the device. The best way to do that is to start from our Code Samples.

Select your programming language of choice from the drop-down list to get an example for your device. You can use the options provided to further customize the example to best suit your needs.

Code Sample Choose Language.png

Once you have your example, you will need to follow the instructions on the page for your programming language to get it running. To find these instructions, select your programming language from the Programming Languages page.

Technical Details

Controlled Outputs

Make sure to attach a diode across the terminals of the relay if you are using output 0 on the RFID board to drive it.

The PhidgetRFID has four outputs - two of which are available to the user. Output 0 is a 5VDC source from the USB bus through a P-Channel MOSFET with less than one ohm impedance. This can be used to switch a TTL or CMOS device, or it can be used to drive a 5VDC relay such as the Aromat JS1-5V. Output 1 is an LED drive output at 5VDC with maximum 15mA of available current (250 ohm CMOS output). Both Output 0 and 1 are available in hardware at the terminal blocks on the PhidgetRFID board. If Output 0 is used to drive a relay, a fast clamping diode must be placed across the relay drive pins as shown in the diagram on the right. Not doing so can result in permanent damage to the PhidgetRFID board.

Output Function Connection
0 +5VDC Source Terminal Block
1 External LED Drive Terminal Block
LED Internal LED Drive Internal Only
RF Enable RF Antenna Enable Internal Only

Interfering Signals

If you are using multiple RFID readers, placing them too close together will cause interference when reading tags. You can work around this problem by rapidly "polling" each 1023 by turning the antenna on, checking for tags, and then turning it off in sequence. Of course, this will lengthen the amount of time it takes for your system to read a tag, since you may have to wait for the nearest reader to become active.

Object Speed

When trying to read tags, you should allow the tag to remain within detection range for at least 50ms. Tags moving through the detection area faster than this may not register.

Further Reading

For more information on RFID readers and tags, visit the RFID Guide.

What to do Next

  • Programming Languages - Find your preferred programming language here and learn how to write your own code with Phidgets!
  • Phidget Programming Basics - Once you have set up Phidgets to work with your programming environment, we recommend you read our page on to learn the fundamentals of programming with Phidgets.

Software Objects

Channel NameAPIChannel
RFID Reader RFID 0
Digital Output DigitalOutput 0
LED Driver DigitalOutput 1
Onboard LED DigitalOutput 2


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