Setting Up Your M6e Dev Kit

Overview

This article will briefly show how to setup the ThingMagic M6e Development Kit. This content of this article can also be used to help setup other ThingMagic development kits and modules. For more detailed information, please see the appropriate setup guide for your reader.

Downloads

M6e Hardware Guide: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cv2oi3ejxiglupo/M6eHardwareGuide_rev09B.pdf?dl=0

FTDI Serial Drivers: https://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

M6e Native USB Driver: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z271xorwfib73ce/m6eusbdriver.zip?dl=0

Universal Reader Assistant Software: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/94vcf1npzlqhguk/AACPjtnCrptPNFzKWwVXOCqZa?dl=0

Mercury API SDK: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3vr80p60de08gof/mercuryapi-1.31.1.36.zip?dl=0

Setting Up Your M6e Dev Kit

Before proceeding with setup, ensure that you have all of the necessary components:

  • M6e module, carrier board, and interface development board
  • USB cable
  • Antenna and coaxial antenna cable (with appropriate connectors for the dev kit antenna ports)
  • Approved power supply for the dev kit
  • Passive UHF RFID tags

To begin setup of the M6e dev kit, connect the antenna to the first antenna port on the dev kit via the coaxial antenna cable. After the antenna is connected, the dev kit can be powered on.

Checking the Jumper Pins

The M6e dev kit can be powered in two ways: it can receive a 5V signal from another device via INPUT and GND wired connections, or it can utilize the 9V power supply provided with the dev kit. Before powering on the reader, be sure to check the various pins on the dev kit to ensure that they are in the correct positions for your desired power method.

For 5V Wired Connection:

  • Ensure that the J17 pins 1 and 2 are being shorted by the jumper.

For 9V Power Supply:

  • Ensure that the J17 pins 2 and 3 are being shorted by the jumper.

To enable module:

  • Ensure that the J19 pins SHUTDOWN and GND are shorted by the jumper.

Once all jumpers are connected to the correct pins, connect the desired power supply to the reader. The LED labeled DS1 on the interface board should light up when the dev kit is receiving power. This LED can be found directly next to the DC input connection.

Choosing the USB Communication Method

The M6e dev kit offers two different USB communication connections: USB/RS232 and Native USB.

USB/RS232:

To connect to the RS232 USB port, first install the FTDI drivers linked in the "Downloads" section at the top of the page. Once these drivers are installed on the PC, connect your PC to the M6e's USB/RS232 port. Your PC should automatically detect the new device and install it. 

Once installation is finished, the dev kit's assigned COM port can be found in Device Manager under the Ports section. It will be listed as a USB Serial Port device.

Native USB:

Connecting to the dev kit's Native USB port requires a few more installation steps. First, download and unzip the M6e Native USB Driver in the "Downloads" section at the top of the page. Be sure to take note of the directory into which the driver gets placed.

Next, connect the dev kit to the PC via the port on the dev kit named "USB". The PC should recognize that new device has been connected and will try to install it. Once installation is finished, open the Device and Printers menu in Control Panel and find the device that was just installed. Right-click on this device and open its Properties menu, and navigate to the Hardware tab. Select the "Properties" button at the bottom of the menu.

 

On the next menu, select the General Tab and select the "Change Settings" button. Next, select the Driver tab and select "Update Driver."

On the next screen, select the option for "Browse my computer for driver software" and navigate to the directory into which the USB driver was saved. Once the directory is selected, click the "Next" button to install the driver.

Once the driver finishes installation, the dev kit will be assigned a COM port. Open the Device Manager in Control Panel and open the Ports section to see the dev kit's assigned COM port. It should be listed as "M6e".

Connecting to the M6e and Performing an Inventory Read

Once the M6e is powered on and connected to the PC, the next step is to access the reader using the Universal Reader Assistant (URA) program for Windows PCs. For information on installing and using URA, see our guide Using Universal Reader Assistant.

To connect to the reader, launch URA and follow the connection steps that the software provides. To find the COM port that the dev kit is occupying, navigate to the Device Manager tool in Control Panel, and open the subsection named "Ports". This section will list all COM port assignments on the PC, and should show the M6e and its assigned COM port number. Once you know the COM port number of the reader, you can connect to it in URA and perform an inventory read.

In URA, navigate to the "Tag Results" tab and select the "Read" button to begin reading tags. Settings can be changed for the reader in the right-hand Settings/Status menu.

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