One thing that I’ve been searching for is a simple handheld RFID reader that can perform simple tasks without costing a fortune.
As part of this search, I recently had the chance to check out the Tracient Reader which looked as though it might fit the bill.
Contained in the box is the reader, a USB cable and a CD that has the documentation and some applications to get started.
The reader itself couldn’t be simpler. It’s a black plastic paddle shape with just one button and a couple of LEDs. It has a single USB port for connecting to a computer, which also charges the battery.
After unpacking everything, I plugged in the USB to get charging and installed the software. There are 3 applications on the CD – RFID Control Panel, RFID Sync and RFID Wedge. Of these I only really used the Control Panel to allow some setting of my reader.
The Sync app is intended to downloaded saved reads from the reader to a host computer and the Wedge app is to allow use on a PDA or mobile computer. I found that I could connect to my LXE Tecton device quite happily without needing to use this.
I tested the Tracient Reader by connecting to both the LXE mobile computer and to a lap using Bluetooth. I had to go into the Control Panel app to switch on Bluetooth and I was ready to go.
With the LXE Tecton, I simply activated Bluetooth and the Tecton could see the reader right away. I had the option to pair as a scanner and having done this, was ready to start collecting RFID data.
Pressing the big button on the Reader sets it off looking for tags and any that are found are sent right to the Tecton – in this case I was simply capturing the data in WordPad. There are various settings in the Control Panel App that can allow the user how to handle and format the RFID data.
The performance of the Reader was quite impressive. I could read RFID tags over about the same distances as I could with my Symbol 9060 reader (that costs a heck of a lot more) and with both the laptop and Tecton, the Bluetooth connection was fine for at least 15 feet.
For someone looking for a tough industrial RFID to use all day, the Tracient probably isn’t the device to use – you’d be better off with something like the Symbol MC3090Z or 9090. However, if you need to be able to capture RFID data from time to time, without the cost and bulk of a dedicated reader, this might be the way to go.
Tracient Padl-R Reader
- Lightweight design
- Simple to use
- Easy to connect to devices
- Pretty good read range
- Made in New Zealand (I thought this was cool anyway!)
- Not industrial toughness
Would I buy it? For the right application, yes, I would!
What about you? If you have a need to RFID enable some of your devices, this might be a good solution. Give me a call at 603-598-1553 x237 and let’s talk!
Update: Well we sold a couple of these and things have not gone well. I’m actually wondering if Tracient exists any longer as it seems to be impossible to get a delivery date on any readers and one we were able to get has some issues.
The software on the provided CD doesn’t seem to like windows 7 and the Tracient FTP site (the home of any possible updates) seems to be down.
The search for a reliable low cost handheld UHF reader continues.