RFID Basics: How to Read and Write Tags

[Audio Transcription Below]


Hey guys! My name is Timothy Pribyl and I am a Sales Account Manager at atlasRFIDstore.com. Today I am going to explain a little bit about what RFID is, and walk through the process of writing an RFID tag.

What Is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that allows almost any object to be wirelessly identified using data transmitted through radio waves. This technology allows you to identify and track individual items, as well as multiple items simultaneously, without a direct line of sight.

Here are a few quick facts about RFID.

  • RFID does not require a direct line of sight
  • RFID tags are able to be rewritten and reused
  • RFID tags can be extremely durable against impact and environmental factors
  • RFID readers can read hundreds of tags within seconds
  • RFID tag data is encrypted and can be locked for extra security
  • RFID tags can hold more data than other types of tags or labels
  • RFID tags can have information printed on them like instructions, barcodes, or company names
  • RFID systems can be integrated with other internal systems or processes

Most RFID systems are made up of the same basic components -- an RFID Reader, Antenna, RFID Tags, Antenna Cable, and sometimes additional items or accessories. If it is a mobile handheld like we will be using today, only a handheld reader and an RFID tag will be needed. There are a few different types of mobile handheld readers, the one we are going to use today is an RFID Sled reader, which means that it requires a compatible smart device and app.

Now that I have introduced you to a little about RFID, let’s talk about reading and writing RFID tags.

If you are not familiar with an EPC number, take a look at our article,  17 Things You Might Not Know About Gen 2 RFID Tag Memory Banks.

Basic Reading and Writing

Today, I will be using the Turck Grokker UHF RFID Reader and a SMARTRAC Dogbone RFID Tag. I have set up my reader by downloading the app from the app store, and logging in. Now let’s see if we can read our tag.

As you can see it has found our RFID tag and its EPC number is 00000000000000000000001. Now let’s change that EPC number from 0000000000000000000001 to 000000000000000000000002.

Here’s how you do it.

  • On the main screen, select “Basic RFID”.
  • Once the tag has been read, select the EPC number that appears on screen.
  • Then, select “Change EPC”.
  • A screen will pop up with the existing EPC, and you can use your smartphone’s keypad to change the EPC number to whatever you prefer in the character limit.
  • You’ll notice that the EPC has been successfully written.

Next, we will read our tag with the new EPC.

Associating Images and Names with Tags

Software can be bought or created that has additional functionalities to help an application. One example is with this reader and its app available for download on the App Store, we can assign a name and picture to a tag making it easy for us to find the tag we are looking for on-screen. Here’s is how you can do it.

  • Select “add tag” at the bottom of the screen,
  • Then, select “Start with Blank Item”.
  • You can add an image by selecting “Add Image” and add a name by selecting “Name”. After you have done that, select “add tag” and the app will tell you to hold the tag in front of the reader.

When you are doing this, make sure there are no other tags in the area.

Once it has been read, the tag’s associated information is stored in a database on the app. Now, if we step away from the tag, and want to locate it again, select “Locate tag” and select the tag that we just programmed.

Using this app, image, and name association with an individual tag allows you to locate the exact tag you are looking for, without searching through multiple EPCs.


Thanks for tuning into this video about RFID and Reading and Writing tags. For information on all things RFID, check out our blog or our RFID resources page. And as always, if you have any questions at all, send us an email or give us a call.

If you want to learn more about RFID tags, check out the links below!