Find a PCN on a project card based on its encoding

When you analyze the structure of a 13.56 MHz card, the PCN you're looking for isn't always visible at first glance. Depending on it's encoding, it may look different than expected.
However, there's a systematic approach to searching.

To be honest: This search may take some time, so if you'd rather leave it to us, you can order a configuration.

Try original format

First, try looking for the PCN as it's printed on the sample card or entered in the host system database.

Is the PCN shown as it is?
Then the encoding is BCD.
Example of a PCN (programmed card number) with BCD encoding

Is the PCN shown with an additional "3" in front of every digit?
Then the encoding is ASCII decimal.
Example of a PCN (programmed card number) with ASCII decimal encoding

Try hex format

If, up to here, the search wasn't successful, try searching for the PCN in hex format. To convert it to hex format, you can use an online converter such as this onecall_made.

Is the PCN shown as it is?
Then the encoding is binary MSB first.
Example of a PCN (programmed card number) with binary MSB first encoding

Are the digits swapped within each block of two?
Then the encoding is binary LSB first.
Example of a PCN (programmed card number) with binary LSB first encoding

Is the PCN shown with an additional "3" in front of every digit? And are letters replaced by numbers?

Check if the letters in your hex PCN are replaced by numbers as follows:

  • A => 41
  • B => 42
  • C => 43
  • D => 44
  • E => 45
  • F => 46

If you then find your PCN, the encoding is ASCII hexadecimal.
Example of a PCN (programmed card number) with ASCII hexadecimal encoding

Your search has been successful? Then you can complete the analysis of your card structure and add project settings to your configuration in the next step.

You couldn't find the PCN?

Don't worry - you can order a configuration from us.