Setting Up Your TSL 1128 Reader
This article will cover the steps required to setup the TSL 1128 handheld reader to read UHF RFID tags.
User Guide and Setup Instructions
TSL Demo App for iOS (on App Store)
RFID Explorer App for Android (on Google Play)
Desktop USB Driver (needed for Firmware and Diagnostic tools)
Setting Up Your TSL 1128 Reader
The TSL 1128 handheld reader is a very useful reader that requires a minimum amount of setup. The 1128 reader supports Bluetooth communication with both mobile devices and desktop computers via TSL and third-party developed applications. For a quick setup tutorial, please see the video below.
First, let's take a look at the TSL 1128 reader paired with an Android mobile device. To connect the reader to the phone, install the free TSL Demo App for Android from the Google Play Store. Once installed, launch the app and select "Connect Reader". On the Select Reader screen, select "ADD NEW".
At this point, pull the trigger on the reader to activate its Bluetooth mode, in which the reader will broadcast its Bluetooth signal in order to be discovered by nearby devices. Once the reader's Bluetooth name populates in the app, select it to connect to the reader. The reader's Bluetooth name will be the reader's serial number. For example, if the reader's serial number is 1128-US-005928, its Bluetooth name will be "005928-US-1128".
Once the reader is connected, the app will show the reader's information page. From this page, relevant reader data such as its firmware version and battery level can be viewed.
To access the reader's Inventory mode, swipe left on the screen. From this screen, the user can perform basic RFID and Barcode reading and monitor the responses in separate lists. Additionally, the read power level can be varied using the slider. To perform an RFID read, simply press the trigger on the reader. Pressing the trigger twice in quick succession will allow the user to read barcodes.
Selecting a tag's EPC from this menu will allow the user to use the reader's Tag Finder and Read/Write functionalities for the selected tag.
The reader's Tag Finder mode can be accessed by swiping left from the Inventory screen. If no tag was selected in the Inventory screen, then a tag EPC can be manually entered on this screen. To use the Tag Finder functionality, simply pull and hold the trigger on the reader and monitor the Tag Finder screen to see how strongly the desired tag's signal is being received. Optimally, as the reader comes in closer proximity to the selected tag, the received signal will increase, allowing the user to effectively locate the selected tag.
Read / Write
To use the Read/Write functionality of the reader, first select the tag from the inventory screen of the reader. Then click "READ WRITE" at the top.
- EPC (Hex): This is where the tag's current EPC goes. You're telling the reader which tag to rewrite.
- Tag Memory: These are the various memory banks of the tag. By default, this is set to "User bank," so it's important to change this before trying to write your tag if you want to change the EPC, for example.
- Start (Words): If you're changing the EPC, you typically want to make this a 2. This number tells the reader what to change. If you leave it at 0 or put a 1, this will change the PC bits, which tell the EPC how long to be.
- Count (Words): This number will change on its own as you write data on the next line. You don't need to make any changes here.
- Data (Hex): This is where you put the new EPC or other data you want to write. Even if you want to display in ASCII, it's important to write the data in Hex here.
When you're ready, hit the red "Write" button at the bottom of the app to rewrite your tag. Be sure that the reader is close to the tag when you press the button.
Tips and Common Questions about Writing
- If the write button is grayed out, like in the screenshot above, one of the required fields is not completed.
- Transponder not found: This means that the reader didn't see the tag you're trying to write to.
- Ensure the reader is close to the tag. It can be tempting to put the phone close to the tag because you've been focusing on it and you're pressing the button on the phone, but the reader is what needs to be close to the tag. (The phone's location doesn't matter as long as it's maintaining a Bluetooth connection to the reader).
- Try isolating the tag away from metal, liquids, and other tags. This is especially important if the tag is on a roll or in a stack of other tags.
- Turn up the power. Sometimes when you're writing tags, you might want to turn down the power to avoid writing to multiple tags by accident. But in RFID Explorer, this doesn't matter. It's going to write only to tags that have the EPC in that top line, EPC (Hex).
- EPCs need to be multiples of 4 characters.* Ensure that the line for your new EPC, Data (Hex), contains only Hex characters. These are 0-9 and A-F.
- If your tag writes successfully, but then doesn't resolve to ASCII on the inventory page, check that your Hex data is correct. Use the top left box on ASCIItoHex.com to put in the ASCII you want to see, then check the resulting Hex data against your Data (Hex) line in RFID Explorer.
Third-party Desktop App
In addition to the TSL mobile apps outlined above, the 1128 reader also supports many third-party applications. One of these applications, called SmartWedge, allows the reader to report tag EPCs and scanned barcodes to a desktop as a keyboard emulation tool. What this means is that the reader will "pretend" to be a keyboard, and will type the tag data into any available text field, such as a Microsoft Word document or an Excel spreadsheet.
To pair the reader with this app, simply download the app from the link at the top of this article and launch it. Once the app is launched, pull the reader trigger to initiate a Bluetooth scan, and select the "Add scanner" button at the top left of the application screen. Select the reader's Bluetooth name from the menu and select OK to add the reader to the application.
Once the reader is connected, open a document or spreadsheet and simply pull the reader trigger to begin reading tags. The tags will populate in an available text field using the keyboard emulation functionality. The picture below shows an example of how this looks in Excel. The data outputs a new line character at the end of each tag report, so each tag report will populate its own cell.
* If you're using tags with the IC Monza R6, your EPC must be a multiple of 8 characters.