I would like to attach RFID tags to my model electric train engines and cars so I can detect their position on the layout. What types of readers and tags would work?
My suggestion would be to look at passive high-frequency (HF) and passive low-frequency (LF) systems. You should be able to find a module that you can mount in one of the train cars, and also mount a small reader antenna under the car. You can then put tags under the tracks at whatever distances apart you feel is appropriate. As the train rolls over a portion of track, the tag will be read. Since the tag ID will be associated with the location, you will know where the car is on the track.
You can search for HF and LF reader modules and tags online. You will need a way to power the reader; you’ll likely need a module that runs off a battery. You’ll need to hook the reader up to a platform that can send the data over Wi-Fi or the cellular network to a computer. There is a community of people who make RFID devices for various home applications, so you should be able to find articles online that will help you build out a successful system.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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