Using an RFID Reader

Herdly can work with many RFID readers to scan tags on a mobile device. The following readers are currently supported:

  • Allflex RS420
  • Allflex LPR
  • Tru-Test SRS2
  • Tru-Test XRS2
  • All readers with a serial port if you purchase a BlueSnap Smart Bluetooth adapter.
  • The CCA prototype reader (not commercially available).

Before you can set up or use an Allflex or Tru-Test reader with Herdly, it must be be paired and connected to your mobile device. Follow the directions in their documentation to do this. We've noticed that this is typically a one-time process with the Allflex readers and they generally remember their pairing and reconnect within a few seconds each time the reader is turned on. The Tru-Test readers usually need to be manually reconnected each time they are turned on by tapping the reader in the Bluetooth section of the phone's Settings app.

Readers connected using the BlueSnap Smart Bluetooth adapter and the CCA prototype reader don't need to be paired. Once set up the first time, they automatically connect as needed.

Reader Settings

Before you can use a reader in Herdly, you must set it up. If needed for your reader, first make sure it is paired and connected to your mobile device. Then go to Settings > RFID Reader to get to the RFID Reader Settings screen. Tap the RFID Reader row to choose your reader from the list of supported readers and then tap the Back button.

Next, tap the Setup button. Herdly will attempt to connect to your reader and, if successful, will show a list of settings that are specific to that reader. Make any changes you need and then back out of the screen. If all went well, you can then begin using the reader. You shouldn't normally have to adjust these settings in the future unless you want to change them.

 

Using the Reader

To use the reader, simply make sure the reader is turned on and, if necessary, connected to your mobile device. Then use Herdly in one of the following situations.

RFID Tag Field

When entering a tag in an RFID field on a mobile device, the keyboard can be used to scan for a tag. If it isn't already, tap the RFID Reader button in the top left of the keyboard. The keyboard will automatically connect to any reader that is turned on. As soon as a tag is read, the keyboard is dismissed and the tag is entered into the field.

The keyboard also stores the last entered tag and will display that tag + 1. If you tap on the Use Stored Tag button, that tag will be entered in the field instead. This is useful when entering tags in order from a bag as Herdly can predict the next tag number.

Scanning Animals

If you are in a situation where you need to work with animals and can get to their RFID tags, you can use the reader to look up animals faster by scanning their tags. In the Animals tab on the device, tap the Scan button. Herdly will connect to the reader if it is on and start scanning. The Scanning screen will show you the total number of tags scanned as well as how many of them are recognized (ie. they are on animals in Herdly) and how many are unrecognized. You can pause and resume the scanning if you need. The scanning will continue even if you switch to another app temporarily (ex. to take a phone call).

Once you have scanned the animal (or animals) you want to deal with, tap the Done button. Normally at this point, you'll be show the Scanned Animals screen which will list all the scanned animals, pre-selected so you can simply choose an action to perform on those animals. However, there can be up to two additional steps, depending on the situation.

If any of the scanned tags are associated with more than one animal in Herdly, you will see the Duplicate Tags screen. For each such tag, a list of animals will be presented so you can choose which animal you actually scanned. Click the Done button when you are finished with the duplicate tags.

If any of the tags are not recognized by Herdly, you will see the Unrecognized Tags screen which will list all the unrecognized tags. Tap each one to decide what to do with it. Your choices will include adding it to an existing animal, creating a new animal, or ignoring it.

When you are done with the Scanned Animals screen, you can either tap Scan to scan some more animals or tap Return to Animals to return to the main list of animals.

 

Troubleshooting

It can be frustrating when a reader stops working with Herdly. Here are a few tips that may help resolve the situation.

  • All Readers
    • Make sure the reader is turned on. Readers can go to sleep after a few minutes of not being used. Most readers can be adjusted so they don't go to sleep during a job and we recommend setting them up so they stay awake the entire time you're doing a job.
    • When testing a reader, you can see if it works right in the Settings > RFID Reader > Setup screen if the reader is connected. Each time you scan a tag, it should show up in the Session Tags screen if everything is working correctly.
    • Remember that during a scanning session Herdly ignores any tags the reader reads unless it is actively scanning for a tag in one of the situations described above.
  • Allflex RS420 and LPR Readers
    • Make sure the reader is both paired and connected. Go to the Bluetooth section of the mobile device's Settings app to see if your reader is listed and whether it says it is connected. If not, please follow the manufacturers instructions to get it connected.
    • Even if your reader has previously been paired, when you first turn the reader on it can take several seconds to actually be connected to your mobile device, even if it says it is connected.
  • Tru-Test SRS2 and XRS2 Readers
    • Make sure the reader is both paired and connected. Go to the Bluetooth section of the mobile device's Settings app to see if your reader is listed and whether it says it is connected. If not, please follow the manufacturers instructions to get it connected.
    • If the reader is on and is listed in the Bluetooth section of the Settings app as not connected, tap the name of the reader. This usually forced it to connect.
  • Readers Using the BlueSnap Smart Bluetooth Adapter
    • When you first setup Herdly to use this adapter with your reader, it is important to get the Baud Rate and Protocol/Flow Control settings to match what your reader is expecting. Each time either of these are changed, it is necessary to turn the adapter back on. If you don't know the baud rate or protocol/flow control settings for your reader, please refer to the manufacturers documentation.
    • Remember that both the reader and the adapter must be on for Herdly to see the reader.

 Herdly is not commercially involved with Serialio, the company than sells the BlueSnap Smart Bluetooth adapter. We cannot offer support for this product. We simply found it to be a helpful device which makes it possible to use an older RFID reader wirelessly with mobile devices and decided to make Herdly work with it for those that want to use it. If you decide to purchase the adapter, make sure you get the male or female version as needed.