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Collect project information

Below, you can find out which information you need to collect about your project cards, and how you can get this information. You'll need it to create project settings for your reader configuration.

Card type and frequency

Depending on the frequency, you need different additional information as described below.

125 kHz cards

Please check what number your sample card returns to the reader. This is the card's UID. With the UID, you can create project settings by defining transformation rules for this UID.

13.56 MHz cards

Compare the numbers

Please check what number your sample card returns to the reader. This is the card's UID. Now there are 2 possible scenarios:

The UID (partly) matches the expected number

If the expected number matches the UID exactly or is included in it, you have all the information you need. You can now create project settings.

The UID doesn't match the expected number at all

This can mean 3 things:

  • The UID needs to be converted
    There are various options to convert the UID into a different number. In this case, create project settings and use the UID conversion rules to get the number you need.

  • Your card returns a random ID
    In this case, you'll need an encryption key to read the real UID. You can use any key associated with your card.

  • The expected number is a PCN (Programmed Card Number)
    This is a number different from the UID. It's stored somewhere in the card's memory. In this case, you need additional info listed below.

So which approach applies to you?

Only your project owner/card issuer can tell you, so please try to get as much information as possible from them. Otherwise, you can try all 3 approaches to see which one works. Alternatively, you can order a configuration file from us and we'll collect the required information.

Additional info needed for PCNs

To read a Programmed Card Number from your card's memory, you'll need the following information:

  1. Memory location
    You'll need the exact memory address, e.g. a sector and block number or application and file number.
  2. Encryption
    Is the memory location encrypted? If yes, what's the encryption key? There may be multiple keys for the same card, so you need to know which one to use in your case.
    For MIFARE DESFire cards, you'll also need to know the encryption algorithm (e.g. AES) and whether the data is to be encrypted or MAC'ed before it's transmitted to the host system.
  3. Encoding
    How is the data encoded (i.e. binary, ASCII, PCD)? This is essential to read the data correctly.

Once you have all the answers, you can add project settings to your configuration.

How to get answers

Please ask your project owner/card issuer. To find missing answers yourself, you can analyze the card structure of the most common card types using BALTECH ID-engine Explorer. To do this, however, you need to have the encryption key required to read the PCN for the card.

If you can't get access to the key, you can work with the UID instead of the PCN. To do so, you need to create a new database for the host system that contains all the UIDs of the cards in your project and their corresponding PCNs and/or card holder names. Please note that this is not possible for cards that return random IDs. Furthermore this approach doesn't provide any kind of authentication. Not sure if this approach works for you? We're happy to give advice.