RFID Card Reader Serial - connection to Mac OS X? help!

mdudemdude Posts: 1
edited August 2011 in Robotics Vote Up0Vote Down
Hi all,

I was gifted a Parallax RFID Card Reader Serial kit but am having a little trouble with how to get started with it.

I've only seen things about connecting this to a PC and using Basic, I don't use either. Can someone point me to where directions for the Mac are? Also, does parallax sell a serial to USB connector? Or is this something that I'd have to make?




  • 4 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 3,741
    edited August 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I have one of those. It uses a four pin TTL interface and you can't hook it up directly to the Mac. As you suspect you'll need a converter.

    I think the path of least resistance to translate serial to USB would be a microcontroller (e.g. Basic Stamp 2, Arduino, Pic, Propeller Chip) with USB interface and a Mac compatible IDE. Do you already have one? If not the cost is between $10 for a kit to $70 for spiffy one with bells and whistles. There are multiple prices points in between as well, so pick one for your budget.

    If you were a PC user I would suggest a BS2 as there's code already posted to do exactly what you want. But I won't to a Mac user as there are some issues with the Mac and the BS2.

    If you do purchase an Arduino, there's already sample code to interface it to a Mac/PC:


    Note: It might be possible to control it directly from a Mac using an FTDI cable, but that's beyond my ability.
  • Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 3,741
    edited August 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Over in the the General Discussion forum I mentioned your question and my response. Two more knowledgeable users said an FTDI cable would definitely work on a Mac and there are drivers available. An FTDI cable connects to USB and produces TTL compatible output. They're useful for other things besides a RFID reader too.
  • alex123alex123 Posts: 102
    edited August 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Cheapest solution? Buy this USB/serial converter. $15 and you're good to go... Use CTS for the OE pin. You can even power the RFID board from it. It has the 5V output. Here it is:

    2 x 2 = 11 (duh, in ternary maybe...)
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