Top 3 NFC modules for Arduino

We can see how much RFID applications are being used in our daily life like in the elevators, many facilities entrances or even in some supermarkets but have you ever thought of how it works?

RFID stands for “Radio Frequency ID” so it’s uniquely identifying items through radio frequency and it composed out of three main components:
1- Reader
2- Tag
3- Antenna

So, how it works? The reader is sending a signal to the tag through the antenna then the tag will respond with the information it’s carrying but cause we have many types of tags you have to choose the suitable one to use.

RFID tags are operating on 3 different frequencies:
1- Low-Frequency 125-134 kHz
2- High-Frequency 13.56 MHz
3- Ultra High Frequency 856 MHz to 960MHz

NFC is considered as a subset from RFID as it’s operating on the same high frequency of 13.56 MHz but what is making NFC “Near Field Communication” is a better solution in many applications?

The reason is that its designed to transfer data securely in a small range of centimeters and that it can work as a reader and a tag at the same time unlike RFID so it can work in a peer to peer communication and that’s it’s embedded in most of our Smartphones nowadays.

So, today I’m gonna list here the top 3 NFC modules for Arduino and here they are:

1- Seeed Studio NFC shield V2.0

The first one is made by the Chinese giant Seeed Studio, this NFC shield has an integration with the transceiver PN532 which is handling the communication with other NFC tags and devices.

It’s communicating with Arduino boards via SPI protocol, it’s designed to be working with the ICSP pins so it will only work with Arduino UNO, Mega and Leonardo boards.

I it comes in two pieces, the shield and the antenna which comes in a shape of PCB which can be connected to the board through a cable and it can work in range of 5cm.

As you can see in this project it’s a robot kit controlled via NFC tags, there are two types of tags, tags for commands and tags for no. of moves and that can test the children’s estimating skills in predicting the best moves to be made to get the finish line in the least time.

You can find it at Seeed Studio for $29.5

2- DFRobot NFC module for Arduino

Although DFRobot NFC module is using the same PN532 transceiver, it communicates with Arduino board via UART protocol which gives it the ability to work with most Arduino boards, unlike Seeed’s shield.

The remarkable about this shield is its 10 cm range of communication which is relatively high for other shields and modules besides that it’s the cheapest among this list but I believe that cause it’s Arduino library is  not completed yet and that’s why they are offering a free module plus 50USD DFRobot shop’s coupon for anyone who can help them to improve it.

You can find it at DFrobot for $17.55

3- Grove NFC

Last but not the least, the Grove NFC module, which is made by Seeed Studio the maker of our first module in the list.

And although it’s using the same PN532 transceiver as the previous two modules, it can communicate with Arduino board with two different protocols which are I2C and UART which is the default one.

Actually, this is my favorite one among this list cause not only using two different protocols which can give you a variety of modules to use but also its small size with the external antenna is adding to it high flexibility to be used in many projects.

You can find it at Seeed Studio for $21.5.

Or use your smartphone!!

As you know most of our smartphones nowadays has a built-in NFC module and 1Sheeld refused to let that pass with no use of it so the integrated a new virtual shield for using the NFC module inside your smartphone as an NFC Arduino shield.

Check out more details on 1Sheeld’s NFC shield and then take a look on the other +45 virtual shields all on one board.

That was it for this list if you have other interesting NFC module please done hesitate to share them with me in the comments below and we can expand these 3 modules to a much more 🙂

And of course don’t forget to check our other lists here:

Arduino: 5 Robot Arm Kits You Can Buy For beginners!
Top 5 Arduino Voice Control Modules
Top 5 Data Logger Modules for Arduino

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