Powercast claims PCT series RFID tags have longest read range

Powercast believes it offers the industry’s first radio frequency identification (RFID) sensor tags which can include multiple sensors in a single tag. They also have the industry’s longest read range of 10 meters, or 32 feet, says Powercast. High accuracy temperature, humidity and light sensors are available now, and Powercast plans more sensor types for the future.

Tags for sensing the RFID reader’s field are also available and use an on-board light emitting diode (LED) to show field strength. The  Find Tag feature locates a specific tag by illuminating an on-board LED.

The RFID Sensor Tags are designed for industrial and manufacturing applications where it’s necessary to monitor data to ensure goods are maintained within  parameters, such as temperature. The ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID Sensor Tags enable environmental condition monitoring throughout a shipping journey where goods have to be monitored, for example, temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, or perishable products packed with dry ice.

Powercast offers two versions the PCT100 and the PCT200. The PCT100 RFID Sensor Tag enables battery-free wireless sensing and can read data within seconds.

The PCT200 RFID Sensor Tag adds a battery with the ability to recharge using any standard RFID reader’s field. This distinguishes it from other sensor tags, says Powercast, making the tag reusable without plugging in or changing batteries. With up to one month of battery life without recharging, the PCT200 provides long-lasting data-logging capabilities while outside the RF field. Users can set its data read times from one minute to one hour.

The PCT100 and PCT200 can be configured with one, two or three sensors in any combination of temperature, humidity and light. The PCT100 can also be configured with an on-board LED for showing an RFID reader’s field strength and to verify that it is reading properly..

Powercast has also announced its patented RF harvesting technology for efficient RFID operation. The RFID Sensor Tags use Powercast’s patented RF-harvesting technology whereby the embedded Powerharvester receiver can generate power from a standard RFID reader.

An RFID reader generates an electromagnetic signal, which the Sensor Tag’s NXP UCODE RFID chip captures via the receiving antenna. Powercast’s efficient, RF-to-DC converter (boasting a conversion accuracy of 50 to 75 per cent) transforms the signal into energy, that can be used to power the microcontroller and sensors for measuring environmental conditions. The microcontroller then forwards that data over I²C to NXP’s RFID chip for storage in user memory, which the reader can then read out of memory.

The frequency range is -17 to +20dBm, and 860 to 960MHz. Operating temperature range is -40 to +85 degree C. The Sensor Tags are RoHS-compliant.

Sample quantities with evaluation software are available from distributors Mouser, Arrow and Future Electronics


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