1. What is a Microchip
A microchip or transponder is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of an animal. The chip, about the size of a large grain of rice, uses passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, and is also known as a PIT tags (for Passive Integrated Transponder) .
2. What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), like barcode, magnetic stripe, voice data entry and other automatic identification technologies, is an information acquisition technology. RFID consist of a sensing device which transmits a radio-frequency signal to a specially designed tag, which responds with another radio message.
3. What are the advantages of RFID?
The primary benefits of RFID are the elimination of clerical errors in recording data; faster data collection; and a reduction in labour and paperwork required to process data. The advantages of RFID over other ID technologies (such as barcode and magnetic stripe) include:
Reliable operation in a harsh environment (in wet, dusty, dirty conditions; corrosive environments; applications where vibration and shocks are considerations).
Freedom from line-of-sight constraints (low frequency transponders can be read irrespective of orientation; through paint, even through non-ferrous solids).
4. Which handheld reader should I buy?
The hand-held reader range includes:
- The LID540 is our most inexpensive, “entry-level” pocket reader with no computer connectivity (i.e. a read-only reader) BUT it can only read ISO FDXB microchips. Because it has been optimised to read only ISO chips it reads them at an average distance of 60mm.
- The LID560 is another inexpensive, “entry-level” pocket reader with no computer connectivity i.e. a read-only reader but the LID560 reader will read all chips commonly used in Australia – both Trovan Unique (FDXA) chips (e.g. Trovan ID100 & Trovan ID100 (1.4) Midi-Chip) and ISO (FDXB) chips. It reads the Trovan ID100 chips at about 50mm and Midi-Chips at 40mm.
- The LID573 is the same size as the LID560 but has USB computer connection for transferring stored data and has a similar read range to the LID560. You can purchase a Trovan Unique only version or a version that reads both Trovan Unique and ISO (FDXB) chips.
- The LID575 has a bigger antenna than the pocket readers and therefore a better read range. It has USB computer connectivity and data storage. It reads the Trovan ID100 chips at about 80mm and the Midi-Chips at 60mm.
- The AREH5 is a lightweight high performance reader that is also capable of reading all commonly used chips. The standard version has RS232 computer connectivity. It reads the Trovan ID100 chips at about 100mm, most ISO chips at up to 200mm and the ISO MidiChips at about 150mm.
- The GR250 is a bigger, more rugged and water resistant reader with superior read range and computer connectivity via RS232. The GR250 reader only reads Trovan Unique (FDXA) chips (e.g. Trovan ID100, Trovan ID100 (1.4) Midi-Chip transponders). The GR250 reader reads the ID100 conventional-sized transponders at up to 200mm and has a IP67 waterproof rating.
- The Aquapocket Reader - This reader has been designed in Spain specifically for use in aquaculture and includes the charging base and communication radio. Like the GR250 reader, the Aquapocket reader is waterproof and only reads Trovan Unique FDXA chips.
All the prices are listed on the website and we also offer a further 5% discount for orders of 3 or more readers.
The software for the computer connection for the LID573, LID575 and AREH5 readers is free and allows you to download the animal identification/day/date and time data onto a laptop or other computer in an Excel spreadsheet format.
With all of these readers (except the LID540 & LID560) we also have the capability of using keyboard wedge software to transfer a microchip number you have scanned into the search field of your management software on a laptop or desktop computer, to then press Enter and bring up the history and details of that particular animal.
The software of the LID573 & LID575 readers also allows you to use a Custom Coding function. You can assign custom codes for each transponder so that when the reader scans the transponder it will display a code that allows you to better identify the animal without going to a computer. It does nothing to the code of the transponder and that code will be displayed in the normal format if scanned by another reader. The custom coding is limited to a 30 alpha-numeric code. So, instead of 000876D6G it could display a code like CN612MFT1009Z8LC0911Z12BS3 – Ctenophorus nuchalis – Central Netted Dragon, No.612, Male, First tagged & released October 2009 in Area Z8, Last caught and examined September 2011 in Area Z12 and Body Score 3. You just change the codes with the PC attached to the reader and then go into the field and read each animal to verify its identity, origin, age, history, heath status etc depending on the custom code you use. Alternatively, you could use a code that fits best with your own system of identification and management to further make life easier.
It is also worth noting the superior read range performance of the AREH5 reader with respect to especially the ISO FDXB transponders and could reasonably be expected to read the lizard’s transponder through a certain amount of sand, dirt or even rock without capture and restraint.
We also have a range of pole readers that can be useful in reading chips at ground level or reading animals in burrows or hard to reach places. The pole readers are essentially extensions of the antennas of the pocket readers and LID575 Reader. The Pole Readers can be simple read-only versions or versions that store read data and can later be transferred to a computer spread sheet. The antenna can be concentrated in the tip of the pole giving a read range of conventional sized implanted chips of about 4-5cm from the tip or they can have a circular 100mm diameter antenna at the end of the pole giving a read range of conventional sized implanted chips of about 7-8cm from the antenna. The former antenna design allows you to pass it into small burrows or holes but the circular antenna despite its increase read range would obviously not be able to be passed through small openings. The pole extension can be 60cm or 100cm and can be straight or incorporate a 45 degree bend in it. Because there are many variables the price too will vary depending on your final desired specification.
So, the choice of reader basically comes down to:
- What types of chips do you need to read....Trovan Unique FDXA only vs all types including ISO FDXB chips? If Trovan Unique, then eliminate the LID540 reader.
- Do you need to store a number of reads in the reader for downloading later or just want a read-only reader? If the former, then eliminate the LID540 and LID560 readers.
- Is read range below 50mm useless if using the standard-sized transponders, then eliminate the LID540 and LID560.
- Is Custom Coding useful to you? If so, then consider the LID573 or LID575 readers.
- Does the reader have to be waterproof? If so, consider the GR250 or Aquapocket or pole reader.
5. What implanter do I use to implant Trovan chips?
It is important to use the correct Trovan implanter for each of the Trovan microchips.
The conventional-sized Trovan Unique ID100 (FDXA) and Trovan ID162 ISO (FDXB) transponders can both be implanted using the Trovan IM300 (white) syringe-style implanter. The Trovan ID162 (1.4) Midi-Chips and Trovan ID100 (1.4) Midi-Chips must be implanted with the specific Trovan IM300 (1.4) syringe-style implanter (white - with the yellow Midi-Chip sticker). All of these implanters are re-usable and only the needle is disposed of after implanting the microchip.
All of the microchips also have a VB version. This is an All-In-One transponder where the implanter/needle/microchip are combined as the one product and so also does not require a re-usable implanter. The entire device is disposed of after implanting the microchip.
It is even more important to NOT use an inappropriate non-Trovan implanter to implant Trovan microchips! Because of incorrect implanterrod/stylet length, the microchip may not be completely implanted or the plastic stylet could be inadvertently implanted along with the transponder!
6. Why does my Pocket Reader display “LOW BATTERY” when the READ button is pressed and won’t read microchips?
There are two likely explanations for this issue:
The 9V battery in the reader needs replacing as it is low in power.
The 9V battery is a non-alkaline battery and cannot provide sufficient power when it is put under load when the READ button is pressed. All batteries suffer a reduction in available capacity when placed under heavy load, but some perform better than others. Alkaline batteries are better than non-alkaline batteries because they last longer and they keep their voltage better when current is drawn from them. This is even the case when both batteries are new. When both alkaline and non-alkaline batteries have been used for some time they both may still have an acceptable voltage (> 8 Volts) when there is no load put on them i.e. when the READ button is not activated BUT when the READ button is pressed the voltage drop in the non-alkaline battery may be enough to prevent the reader from functioning and the LOW BATTERY display will appear. This is the reason why we strongly recommend using high quality ALKALINE batteries for all of our LID54x, LID56x and LID57x hand-held readers. DURACELL and ENERGIZER are two examples of high quality alkaline batteries that we would recommend.
7. How much power do the Decoder/Antennas consume?
Power consumption depends on the particular decoder/antenna configuration. The chart below displays the power consumed by various decoder/antenna configurations in continuous read mode.
8. How does the TROVAN system work?
The system consists of two basic elements: the passive transponder (the ID tag) and the reader. The reader emits a low-frequency magnetic field via its antenna. When a transponder passes within range, it is excited causing it to transmit its ID code back to the reader. Transmission and reception occurs simultaneously. This makes for a very short read time.
9. What are the advantages of the TROVAN passive transponder technology?
Compared to barcode and conventional ID technologies such as embossed serial numbers or tattoos, the TROVAN transponders can be a fraction of the size.
Compared to other RFID systems, the system
(1) Provides unprecedented read speeds,
(2) Can operate in areas with high levels of electromagnetic interference
(3) Provides superior performance on metals. Transponders mounted on steel parts or countersunk in metal, with only one surface exposed, can still be detected and read.
10. What provisions have been made for code security?
Comprehensive automatic test methods ensure that no code exists in duplicate in any of the TROVAN UNIQUE™ transponder types, and that the codes are programmed correctly in a readable manner. In each transponder, 39 bits of memory are reserved for the code. That translates into 239 (or about 550 billion) possible unique codes. If one were to assign all 550 billion codes to Trovan ID-100 transponders with their length of 12 mm, then line these transponders up end to end, the resulting string would measure 6.5 million kilometres in length, which is about 160 times the circumference of the earth.
11. What is a passive tag?
Passive tags contain no internal power source, unlike active tags which depend on batteries with a typical lifespan of three to ﬁve years. They are externally powered and typically derive their power from the carrier signal emitted by the reader. Passive tags typically cost less and have fewer failure modes because they contain fewer components and connections. They can operate across a wider temperature range. Also, they typically have a longer life expectancy because there is no internal battery.
All TROVAN transponders are passive.
12. Does the TROVAN transponder require maintenance?
No. The transponder contains no batteries and is hermetically sealed in a housing designed to tolerate harsh environmental conditions. The permanently programmed code is unique and cannot be modified or deleted. Thus, each transponder is completely maintenance free and, in principle, has an unlimited life span.
13. How can RFID benefit my company?
By implementing RFID, a company can:
Realise major gains in labour efficiency and productivity.
Automate many manufacturing, assembly and quality control processes.
Reduce waste and keep inventory levels at a minimum.
Increase customer satisfaction.