Active RFID Reader with Raspberry Pi

Active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology has gained popularity for its ability to track and identify objects in real-time. In this blog post, we will explore how to create an active RFID reader using a Raspberry Pi, a versatile and affordable single-board computer.

Introduction to Active RFID

Active RFID systems consist of tags and readers. Unlike passive RFID, where tags rely on the energy supplied by the reader to operate, active RFID tags have their own power source, typically a battery. This allows active RFID tags to transmit data continuously, making them suitable for applications that require real-time tracking or monitoring.


  • Raspberry Pi (any model)
  • Active RFID reader module
  • Active RFID tags
  • Jumper wires
  • USB power supply

Setting up the Hardware

First, ensure that your Raspberry Pi is properly set up with an operating system (e.g., Raspbian). Connect the active RFID reader module to the Raspberry Pi using jumper wires. Make sure the connections are secure and match the pin configuration of your reader module.

Next, connect the active RFID tags to objects you want to track. These tags should be compatible with the reader module you are using. Attach the tags securely to the objects using adhesive or other suitable means.

Installing the Software

Before we can start reading data from the active RFID tags, we need to install the necessary software on the Raspberry Pi. Begin by opening a terminal or SSH session to your Raspberry Pi.

1. Update the system packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

2. Install the required software packages:

sudo apt install python3
sudo apt install python3-pip
pip3 install RPi.GPIO
pip3 install spidev

Writing the Code

Now that the software is installed, let's write a Python script to read data from the active RFID tags. Create a new file named and open it using a text editor.

Copy and paste the following code into the file:

import spidev

spi = spidev.SpiDev(), 0)
spi.max_speed_hz = 5000000

def read_rfid():
    rfid = ""
    raw_data = spi.xfer([0x02, 0x08])
    for byte in raw_data:
        rfid += chr(byte)
    return rfid

while True:
    tag_id = read_rfid()
    print("Tag ID:", tag_id)

Save the file and exit the text editor.

Running the RFID Reader

To run the RFID reader, execute the following command in the terminal:


If everything is set up correctly, you should see the tag IDs printed on the screen as they come within range of the active RFID reader.


In this blog post, we have learned how to create an active RFID reader using a Raspberry Pi. We explored the basics of active RFID technology, set up the necessary hardware, installed the required software, and wrote a Python script to read data from active RFID tags. Now, you can use this setup for various real-time tracking or monitoring applications.

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