Using StaRFIshrail readers with other small computer systems.

Using Readers without a Hub

It is recognised that some users may wish to use a very few RFID readers on a layout, without the expense of a Hub.  The original design concept of StaRFIshrail was to be able to integrate a larger number of RFID points easily through a central point, rather than having a large number of distributed processors.  Some users may wish to start with a RFID point or two, see how they can use it, and then upgrade to more RFID points, at which time the hub will become more cost effective, easier to install, and potentially much more reliable.


MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group, have been working on RFID for many years, having produced kits for a 125KHz system. There is now much discussion and work taking place with RC522 readers (which are 13.56MHz, like StaRFIshrail, but incompatible).  The RC522 readers are spectacularly cheap, being of Chinese origin, and I would encourage any of you who wish to experiment with RFID to become MERG members, and follow the discussions.  StaRFIshrail is not the only solution to RFID in model railways, as each user will have different requirements, but not everyone will want to do their own development, or put together solutions from the RC522 boards.  Besides which, the StaRFIshrail readers have some advantages with respect to read distance, tightness of RF field, and speed of reading.

Arduino and StaRFIshrail

The StaRFIshrail readers communicate via I2C, and therefore are suitable for connecting into systems such as Arduino.  For any developers wanting to do their own Arduino code, pseudo code is available on request, which will show how I have driven the reader chips via I2C, and what set-ups are required to get the best out of the readers.  I can provide boards for developers without the RJ45 connectors, but with a 0.1" pinstrip instead, for easy connection.  I am also willing to publish code on this site for Arduino and other solutions.