Software apps and online services
Hand tools and fabrication machines
This project is an RFID based access control and monitoring system for Maker Nexus. Maker Nexus is a non-profit makerspace located in Sunnyvale, CA. Although this project is specific to Maker Nexus’ infrastructure, we have sufficiently documented it to be easy to port to other, similar applications.
Even if you aren’t interested in this entire project, we believe that it contains useful information and design details for those who are interested in:
· Using RFID cards with encryption-based access controls.
· Administering an access control system with tools to create encrypted RFID cards, revoke old RFID cards and identify unknown RFID cards.
· Accessing REST APIs from Particle devices using Particle’s cloud and webhooks.
· Accessing an online SQL database using Particle publish/subscribe, Particle webhooks, and PHP scripts.
The following document is a worthwhile read if you are interested in any of these topics:
The repository at:
contains all of the hardware, software, firmware and documentation needed to build and deploy this RFID based access control system.
Each member of Maker Nexus is issued an RFID card that has been prepared to identify the member and to ensure that cards can be revoked and/or replaced. Membership information relevant to card issuance and to member check-in and permission to access certain equipment is supplied via real-time query of the Maker Nexus CRM system which uses EZ Facility. The code to access EZ Facility via their REST API has been broken out into separate functions so that it can be replaced by any suitable database. Administrative utilities are also provided to facilitate recycling membership RFID cards and identifying the owner of misplaced RFID cards.
A "Facility Database", separate from EZ Facility, is included in this project. EZ Facility is the authoritative source for all membership status, payment and training information needed for access control decisions. The Facility Database provides membership access records for both a real-time status display and for off-line reporting on facility and equipment utilization.
This project uses a Particle Argon; however, a Xenon should also work in a Particle Mesh configuration. The access control system is based upon Mifare Classic 1K RFID cards that are written to/read from using a PN532-based MFC/RFID breakout board. The Adafruit PN532 library is used to supply the underlying communication support between the Particle device and the RFID card. Mifare Classic 1K cards have been chosen because they are inexpensive and widely available on the Internet. One sector of the card is chosen for this application and the sector encryption keys and block access control bits are changed to make the card data secure from casual inspection and from cloning. The remaining sectors of the card can be used for other applications, e.g. vending machine credits or special room access.
A detailed technical overview of this project is provided in:
We strongly encourage you to read through his document before deciding how this project might be applied to your unique access control and monitoring situation.