Category Archives: Learn

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Troubleshoot USB Reader Installation and Driver Issue

Category:Learn Tags : 

Step 1: Install Reader Driver

The 2018 and later versions of the eChain Desktop UHF RFID Reader uses the CP210x VCP Silicon Lab Virtual COM Port (VCP) driver for Windows.  Package version: 6.7.5, Release date:  2017-10-13.  Driver installation is necessary before using the reader.

OS VERSIONS:  Windows 10 (x86 32/64 bit), Windows 8.1 (x86 32/64 bit), Windows 8 (x86 32/64 bit), Windows 7 (x86 32/64 bit)

The VCP driver package contains the following files and directories:

  • slabvcp.inf — Driver information file
  • CP210xVCPInstaller_x64.exe — 64-bit installer
  • CP210xVCPInstaller_x86.exe — 32-bit installer
  • SLAB_License_Agreement_VCP_Windows.txt — Software License
  • dpinst.xml
  • slabvcp.cat
  • x64/
  • x86/

Download Driver Folder from eChain Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ouwjjt1kmc1z5st/AAA3jA6UKHwOL5GCBu–f5sRa?dl=0

### Prompted install ###

If Windows prompts you to install a driver for a CP210x device (for example, when you plug the reader into your computer):

  1. Use the dialog to browse for the driver location
  2. Locate the driver folder (that you previously downloaded from Dropbox location)
  3. Follow the system prompts

### Manual install ###

  1. Using Windows File Explorer, locate the driver folder (that you previously downloaded)
  2. Determine if you have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows
  3. Double-click to run the .exe file named CP210xVCPInstaller_xnn.exe
  4. (where xnn is x64 for 64-bit and x86 is for 32-bit)
  5. Follow the system prompts

### Device Manager Driver Installation ###

In case the Prompted or Manual driver installations are not successful, the below instructions will walk you through setting up the driver manually from Device Manager. This method works on PC’s running Windows 7.

Step 1: Confirm 32 bit vs 64 bit

Step 2: Download RFID Reader driver folder to desktop

Folder: 2018 Windows Drivers CP210x

Step 3: Plug UHF RFID Reader into USB port on computer

(System tries to automatically install device driver)

Step 4: Note device driver did not successfully install

Step 5: Open Device Manager (while leaving RFID Reader connected)

  • Start – Open Control Panel
  • Select Devices and Printers – Device Manager

Step 6: Note the problem device under Other Devices > CP2102N USB to UART Bridge Controller

Step 7: Right-click on the problem controller and click Update Driver Software

Step 8: Browse my computer for driver software (option)

Look on the Desktop, select the Root Folder,  make sure Subfolder option is checked, select “Next”

Step 9: In device manager, Device is now working correctly

Step 11: Load the Reader application that came with the Reader and follow steps in the user manual

eChain USB Reader Application – Select Com Port, Select Connect, Select “Get” Firmware Version. If you get response version 1.9, then you have successfully connected to the reader.
Final confirmation is reading RFID tags.

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RFID at Point of Sale – Short Range (1-12in) or Very Short Range?

Category:eChain News,Learn Tags : 

Imagine clothes shopping at a department store. You have several items in your arms and walk to a register.  You drop the pile onto the checkout counter and watch in amazement as all your items automatically appear on a screen in front of you, waiting for payment.  Somehow, the lot was magically scanned simply by dropping them onto the checkout counter!

RFID use at Point of Sale (PoS) checkout is now available where items are automatically transmitted into the register by simply placing them on the counter.  No need to locate the barcode, no swiping, no separating, no rotating, no lasers.  Simply dropping the pile onto the counter is all that is required.  For the “Checkout Scanner” scenario, we have located the perfect Short Range Point of Sale RFID Scanner that uses keyboard emulation (just like barcode scanners) to automatically add all items on the checkout counter directly into the register.

This PoS RFID scanner reads all RFID labels up to 1 ft (12 inches).

However, many retailers are concerned that other items may be inadvertently scanned inside the 12 inch scan area and added to a customer’s order.  They are interested in a Point of Sale scanner with much shorter scan range so that no items are accidentally added into the customer’s order.

For these retailers, we have the “Touch and Go” UHF RFID PoS Scanner which only reads RFID labels on contact, or up to only 1 inch from the scanner.

Use either scanner at checkout depending on the particular retail use case.  What do you think?  Is retail ready to migrate to RFID Point of Sale scanners?  If so, do you think read range should be 1 inch or up to 12 inches?

Plug & Play Point of Sale Automated RFID Item Scanner

The eChain RFID Point of Sale (POS) Scanner is a professional UHF RFID scanner that replaces your barcode scanner at point-of-sale and check-out registers.  An elegant yet durable RFID reader unit that incorporates an RFID reader and antenna into a single, elegant plug-and-play unit that connects to a USB port for power and data.

RFID Point of Sale Scanner

Moving from barcode scanning to RFID scanning is as simple as plugging this reader into your checkout system USB port.

Remove from box, plug into computer, start scanning

This is probably the easiest RFID reader on the market to use and comes pre-configured and ready to use out of the box!  Simply plug into your computer.  RFID Tag scans are automatically transmitted to your open application or notepad-type text app using keyboard wedge technology just like a barcode reader. Will automatically sent RFID EPC Tag number directly into your shopping cart application for totally automated checkout.


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What is the best UHF RFID Label Tag in 2017? Best of 6 Common Retail UHF Label Tags

Category:eChain News,eChainRF-Asset Mgt,Learn,RF Hardware & Tags Tags : 

Tag Test 6 Common UHF RFID Label Tags by eChain Technology

There are hundreds of UHF RFID tags currently available on the market and new tags appearing every week (it seems).  Tags are customized to meet so many scenarios from on-metal, laundry, high-temp, small/micro, cable tags, zip-tie tags, wet inlay (adhesive backed sticker), printable label tags, and more…

Trying to find the best tag on the market for any given scenario can be extremely time consuming, and misleading capabilities documented by tag manufacturers don’t help at all.

From time to time, we evaluate available RFID tags to help us narrow the list to a manageable few tags for our customers and to recommend to RFID users based on a controlled tag comparison. This particular tag test provided results that was surprising even to us, and I think will help guide you to using a relatively new tag that had superior results compared to all other commonly used UHF RFID Label Tags.

Tags Tested:

  1. Alien Squiggle – ALN-9640 (Higgs 3) aftermarket, 4x.5 inch inlay
  2. AD-227m5 – Avery Dennison (Monza 5) from manufacturer, 4×2 inch label
  3. xWing – Invengo (Monza 5) from manufacturer, 3×2 inch label
  4. Alien Short – ALN-9662 (Higgs 3) aftermarket, 3×2 inch label
  5. Frog 3D, SMARTRAC (Monza 4) from manufacturer, 2×2 inch inlay
  6. AD-229r6 – Avery Dennison (Monza r6), from manufacturer, 4x.5 inch inlay

Methodology:

UHF USB Reader

UHF USB Reader

We decided to use the eChain High-Power USB Desktop RFID Reader for this test.  This reader is very easy to use, has a maximum output power of 26 dBm (0.4W), and connects directly to PC using USB Cable.  While we could have used a much more powerful reader like the Impinj R420, some of these tags can be read at over 60 ft using the R420 and extreme range testing is something we will plan for a future experiment.  For this test, we are focused on documenting both the reading capability of the (medium-range) eChain desktop reader on currently available, inexpensive label tags.

The reader was set to max power (26 dBm) and configured for FCC frequency hopping.  We mounted the reader on a flat surface in a vertical orientation 3 ft (1m) from the ground.  The test was conducted indoors with unobstructed field of view with a maximum possible range of 30 ft (10m).

The tags were randomly selected from batches we have available, one from each of the 6 tags listed above.  We mounted the tags on separated sheets of paper, with EPC and TID printed to help identify the tested tags.

For the test, we placed a tape measure on the floor directly below the reader extending straight out for 30 ft.   We moved all tags out of range and started the reader.  We selected 1 tag at random and slowly moved toward the front of the reader along the tape measure from the 30 ft mark (outside read range) until the reader “beeped” and the first read was recorded (distance, frequency, rssi).  We then marked the tag read location on the tape measure at precisely the greatest distance of the first read.  We repeated this with the remaining 5 tags until the test was completed, we documented the measurements of the tags, reset and repeated the experiment for a total of 5 tests for all 6 tags.

Results

We ware amazed to see the clear winner of the test was the AD-229r6 with a maximum read observation of 24 ft (7.3m) and average max read range of 19.2 ft (5.8 m). This is an amazing 10 ft greater than the next maximum read (Frog 3D) and more than 2x the reading range of the Aveny Dennison predecessor tag, the AD-227m5.

Max Read Distance in Inches(IN)(FT)(FT)
Tag DescriptionT1T2T3T4T5AVGAVGMAX
Squiggle (Alien)98102110961031028.59.2
AD-227m59611080981161008.39.7
xWing (Invengo)95100132123891089.011.0
9662 Short (Alien)13215113211015513611.312.9
Frog 3D (SMARTRAC)16812913211714013711.414.0
AD-229r620220521624028823019.224.0
Totals791797802784891

Key Takeaways

  • Clear Winner: AD-229r6 for both average and maximum range read
  • 24 Ft Tag Reads: Using eChain USB Desktop Reader
  • Most Improved: AD-229r6 HUGE improvement over previous version AD-227m5
  • Best Short Tag:  Alien Short (9662) 3 inch tag had amazing performance for its size

Final Thoughts

Apologies to Alien Technology for Squiggle and Short tag test results as we used aftermarket tags.  These tags do not use the latest Alien chipset, and may not have the performance of OEM Alien tags.  Our reasoning is these Alien tags are prevalent online and provide a great price point sought after by high quantity/production clients.

Through other tag tests, we have found that the aftermarket Alien Short 9662 tags do tend to perform very well and consistently with our results here.  However, bulk purchases of those aftermarket tags reveal quality issues that make reads inconsistent from tag to tag.

We are very happy with our little desktop reader providing label tag reads up to 24 Ft!

Through other tag tests, we have found that the Alien Squiggle tends to perform better than the results found in these tests.  We would be glad to revisit or retest these, or other tags on request.  Thank-you for your interest!  Lewis Kilby, eChain Technology