NFC v3 Reader with Arduino

Turns out there are playing cards available with NFC capability embedded in them. I’m helping a friend make an automated bridge table. The step I’m helping with in particular is reading the card inputs and pushing the information on to the host computer.

The three options I found quickly were from Adafruit, Seed Studio, and then a cheap option on Amazon. This tutorial is about the cheap option.

Of the two boards that I received, one of the boards had multiple solder bridges between the pins of the PN532. Fortunately, the second board started up just fine, but I waisted a lot of time trying to boot the broken board.


The best documentation I could find was at PDF (linked). I personally only used the SPI mode, but I2C and serial modes are also listed as available.

Software Installation and Example Arduino Code

I was able to get the Red PN532 board working using the libraries supplied by Adafruit. For more details check out my GitHub repository:

Optional and more difficult: Configuring using the manufacturers code

I downloaded the git repository from Electrohub.

The zip file (“”) contained five directories: NDEF, PN532, PN532_HSU, PN532_I2C, and PN532_SPI. To install the libraries and example code, I copied the folders into my mac’s Arduino libraries folder: /Users/peter/Documents/Arduino/libraries/. Restarting the Arduino program revealed a PN532 section in File->Examples->PN532. The ido14443A _uid example is the program I’m using as the basis of my card reader.

Wiring the Board to the Arduino

I followed the instructions listed in the manual.

Configuring the Board

The configuration switches should be set as indicated on the board for SPI.

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