Today we are going to be talking about how to use the Universal Reader Assistant, also known as URA. During this URA tutorial we will be talking about how set up your ThingMagic USB Plus Reader to read and write tags, and all the settings and options you can apply to the software for your specific application.
Once you have installed URA and connected the ThingMagic USB Plus Reader to your laptop or computer, you can begin preparing URA to read and write tags.
- Click the “Connect” button at the top-left hand side of the main URA screen. This will open the “Connect” section under the Settings/Status panel.
- At the top of the “Connect” section you will see two options to choose from, “Network Reader” and “Serial Reader.” The ThingMagic USB Plus Reader is a Serial Reader, so select the “Serial Reader” option.
- Next you will select the reader that you would like to use in the drop down menu directly to the right. (if multiple are found in your network)
- The next option under the Connect section is the Baud Rate. If you are using a TTL/RS232 and you know the baud rate of the reader, then you can select it prior to connecting. If you do not know the baud rate the URA will attempt to figure it out.
- Once you are connected, the region drop down menu will become available for you to adjust.
- At the bottom of the Connect section is the Load/Save Profile. Here you can load previously saved profiles if you are not yet connected to a reader. You can also save your profile. You should do this after you have connected to the reader, and made sure that everything is working correctly.
- You are now ready to begin reading and writing tags. Click “Connect” on the right side of the Connect section. The Read URI at the top of the page, which used to be RED, should have turned yellow, and the word “disconnected” to the right of the Read URI should have changed to “connected.” Remember: Red means no connection, yellow means the URA has established a connection, and the reader is idle and green means the Reader is actively reading.
- Once you have connected, a “Read” button will appear to the right of the Read URI. Click “Read” and the ThingMagic USB Plus Reader will begin reading your tags.
- 4 columns will appear in the data sheet once you begin reading tags: The pound column, which is the order in which the tags were read, The EPC column, which is the EPC identification of the tag, The Timestamp column, which is the last time that the tag was read ( this will change frequently if you leave a tag by the reader because the antenna will read it multiple times per second), and the RSSI column, which is the received signal strength of the tag response measured in dBs. The closer to 0 that the RSSI is, the stronger the signal. You can test this by moving tags closer and farther away from the reader.
- In addition to those 4 columns that display automatically, additional columns can be displayed in the Display Options section of the Settings/Status panel.
- In the Display Options section you can change the font size, add more tag result columns, change the extent to which the TimeStamp column is detailed, see a summary of tag information, and change the way the EPC is displayed
- We have discussed two of the sections under the Settings/Status panel (Connection and Display Options). Next in the panel is the Read/Write Options section.
- Under read behavior, you can set your reader to “Read Continuously” until the “Stop Reading” button is clicked, or to “Read Once.” With the “Read Once” option, each time you click the “Read” button, a single query for the time specified is read.
- You also have the option to select “Fast Search” which optimizes performance for maximum re-reads of a few tags.
- Under protocol we see the protocol supported by the connected reader. When you click read, this protocol will be cycled through.
- Under antennas we see the antennas supported by the connected reader.
- If you have multiple antennas, you can switch your read method from Equal Time to Dynamic. The Dynamic option allows the read to cycle through multiple antennas, moving to the next antenna when no more tags are found on the current one.
- The Filter option allows you to apply a filter so that only tags matching specified criteria will be read.
- The Performance Metrics section displays the total number of tags that have been counted, the sum of all the ReadCounts, the time during which the tags were read, and the average tags per second.
- The Performance Tuning section allows you to alter the Read Power between 10 and 23 dBs. Read power directly relates to read range. The higher the read power, the longer the read range.
- If you know how many tags are going to be in the field, then you can optimize for estimated number of tags in the field for increased performance.
- Under the Read Distance verses Read Rate section you can adjust your reader to optimize performance for maximizing the speed of a tag to and from the reader with increased READ Rate. And you can optimize your reader to read weaker harder to reach tags with increased Read Distance.
- Under the Tag Response Rate section you can choose the “select the best choice for population size” option if you have also selected an estimated tag population in the tag population section. You can also customize your tag response rate between tags responding less often, and tags responding more often.
- The Reader Diagnostics section outlines the type of reader you’re connected to, the firmware running on the connected reader, the version of hardware, the version or URA, and the version of MercuryAPI SDK that the URA was built with.
- Finally, you can upgrade the firmware of the connected reader in the Firmware Upgrade section by navigating through the file system in which the firmware is located selecting the firmware, and clicking upgrade.
- The last things that we are going to discuss are Writing EPC, Inspecting Tags, Editing User Memory, and Locking Tags. By right clicking on a specific tag that was read you can choose to Write EPC, Inspect Tag, Edit User Memory, and Lock Tag. You can also do this by selecting any of the 4 tabs and clicking read.
- In the “Write EPC” tab at the top of the screen you can update the EPC of specific tags by clicking “Read” to select the first tag to respond and then creating a new EPC.
- If you are sure that you have selected the correct tag, and you have filled in what you would like the new EPC to be; click the “Write” and your new EPC will be written to the tag.
- The “Tag Inspector tag” to the right of the “Write EPC” tab lets you see the full contents of a tag’s memory. As long as the tag is not read-blocked you can select it either by right clicking the tag, then clicking on “Inspect Tag”, or by clicking on the “Tag Inspector” tab, then clicking “Read.”
- The “User Memory” tab lets you view and update the memory of a specific tag. You have two ways that you can update the contents of the tag’s memory: You can display the data in individual bytes on a grid with the “Addressed Hexidecimal” option, and as if it were a text file in a text editor with the “ASCII Notepad” option.
- In the last tab on the URA page you have the option to lock and unlock tags. First select the tag that you would like to lock. Next you will have to set a non-zero Access Password to the tag to lock the contents. If you click “Write” then that will be the password for that tag, and you must match the password written in the “Access Password” section.
That ends our tutorial for the Universal Reader Assistant. We have discussed how to prepare URA to read tags off of your ThingMagic USB Plus Reader, the different settings and options for your application, and the different tag operations that can be performed once you have read your tags.