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ID-engine SD vs. ID-engine Z

Our latest product generation ID-engine Z comes with a number of improvements compared to its predecessor ID-engine SD – be it with regard to security, easier host interface implementation, or out-of-the-box behavior. During development of these features, backward compatibility with the predecessor ID-engine SD could be maintained in many cases, but certain incompatibilities were inevitable.

To help you transition smoothly to the new generation and introduce you to the new features, here's an overview of all differences, concerning both hardware and software.



ID-engine Z is more compact:

Dimension ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
Module height 17 mm 9 mm
Mounting plate/antenna board thickness 1.5 mm 1mm
Mounting stripes width (each side) 5 mm 4.5 mm
Assembly drillings (footprint/position/dimension) no difference


ID-engine SD ID-engine Z

Different connectors and cables

ID-engine Z uses partly different interface connectors:

Connector ID-engine SD ID-engine Z Note
USB AMP Micro-MaTch (4-pin) Molex PicoBlade (4-pin) We offer off-the-shelf cables with the new connector
RS-232/UART Molex PicoBlade (5-pin)

AMP Micro-MaTch (6-pin)
Molex PicoBlade (5-pin) If you've used ID-engine SD with cable article# 30101-001-01 or 30101-001-02, we recommend you replace it with our new UART cable for ID-engine Z.
If you've used your own cables, please remove the 5th core (J102-5) if you connect it to a signal outside the 0...5V range. The ID engine Z Pin 5 Molex connector is internally connected to a 5V suppressor diode and thus limits the voltage of the connected signal (e.g. RS-232 control signal from D-Sub 9-pole connector) to 0...5V. Connecting an RS-232 signal would result in potential overload of host or ID-engine Z suppressor diode, which is intended to protect from short overvoltage spikes only.

Slightly modified cable routing may be necessary due to the different connector positions and reduced module hight. Custom cables are available on request.

Feedback to card holder

Feature ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
LED No Yes
Beeper No Yes

Factory settings

At startup, a standard ID-engine Z without custom configuration behaves differently:

ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
No factory settings Comes with factory settings
RFID field is off RFID field is on
Reader waits for host commands Reader scans for and reads cards autonomously
Reader does not accept ConfigCards Reader accepts ConfigCards
Power consumption during startup potentially higher
than for ID-engine SD



ID-engine Z is backward-compatible with configurations created for ID-engine SD, so you can use them on ID-engine Z without restrictions.


When you configure a reader's RFID interface, please note the following differences in behavior.

This applies to configurations created with ConfigEditor v4.15.00 (released 11 September 2018) or above.

Functionality ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
Rollback to a previous version of the same configuration Possible Not possible
You can only deploy newer versions of the same configuration
Deploy a different configuration (with a different Config Security Code) Possible Not possible
Do a factory reset first

For more details, please see our security concept for ID-engine Z.

Support for ToolSuite features

The following project management features in BALTECH ToolSuite are not supported by ID-engine SD. To use them, you need an ID-engine Z:

Host interfaces


Characteristic ID-engine SD ID-engine Z Note
USB Product ID 0x9999 0xF001...0xFFFF
Value depends on the activated USB protocols
Only relevant for applications that scan the device ID, which contains the USB product ID.
Protocol options Virtual COM port (default)
HID (default)
Virtual COM port
Keyboard emulation
Virtual COM port Implementation Proprietary Based on standardized CDC profile
Driver Driver package needed for all Win versions No driver needed for Win 10
For older Win versions, download the CDC driver.
Reader configuration Not needed Via host interface component.
Default protocol is USB HID
Firmware update protocol Non-BRP based BRP-based BALTECH Uploader handles this difference automatically.
PC/SC Driver Driver package needed for all Win versions No driver needed for Win 10
For older Win versions, download the CDC driver.
Reader configuration Not needed Via host interface component.
Default protocol is USB HID


Characteristic ID-engine SD ID-engine Z Note
Number of serial interfaces 2 1
The service interface is now USB HID.
In general, RS-232/UART support is optional for ID-engine Z.
Number of serial protocols that can be run simultaneously 2 1 Please keep this in mind when using legacy configurations from ID-engine SD.
Firmware update protocol Non-BRP based BRP-based BALTECH tools handle this difference automatically.
RS-232/UART data format 6, 7, or 8-bit
1 or 2 stop bits
selectable parity (odd/even)
7N2, 7O1, 7E1, 8N1, 8O1, 8E1


ID-engine Z readers with LEGIC functionality are based on a different LEGIC reader chip. This also affects the availability of BRP command sets:

Characteristic ID-engine SD ID-engine Z Note
Reader chip SM05 4000 series
Supported cards LEGIC prime;
custom versions with LEGIC advant support
Both LEGIC prime and advant by default
Commands Lg command set
Lga transparent command
Lga transparent command for legacy projects only
Legic transparent command for new applications
Memory segmentation Not supported by standard version Supported by standard version with part number 10117-9xx-xx Use the Legic transparent command

ISO 15693

Characteristic ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
Commands ISO15693 legacy command group ISO15 command set

Multi frequency

ID-engine Z is available in a multi-frequency version:

ID-engine SD ID-engine Z
13.56 MHz 13.56 MHz
125 kHz
Bluetooth Low Energy

SAM slot

ID-engine SD ID-engine Z Note
Not available Preinstalled SAM slot for NXP MIFARE SAM AV2 or HID iCLASS SE Processor (support of iCLASS and SEOS cards). Custom SAM support on request.