So far I’ve tried both an rc522 and a pn532, and both have sub optimal range. I have to have my hand touching the board and move it around until I registers. Any better options that have a useable range?
If it’s for access control, you might want to look into Wiegand or OSDP readers that are built for this purpose. Those come with a relatively nice case and are often waterproof.
IIRC, @Zwack has built a few things with those bare board reader modules. So he might have something to add to this conversation.
I’ve tried quite a few PN532 v3 from amazon that have less than appealing ranges. You may want to try a PN532 v4 direct from Elechouse. From my experience it has an improved usable range.
Also there’s a varient designed to have “remote” antennas (at the end of a coax) so if your so enclined you could make your own
For the RC522 you can tune some of the parameters a bit to improve the range.
The best reader I have for range is an HID pad. I know @anon3825968 (if he is around) has played with a whole bunch of different readers as well. Not strictly bare boards for things like arduinos, but fully built readers.
I seriously think that a proper access control pad would be the way to go. You could either use them as is (and have a controller that can read weigand) or use something like a esp-rfid tool.
Id-20 and id-12. Got about 2cm read range with the id-20. Scans it without any hassle of positioning etc.
I use it currently for my garage.
I have been experimenting with the ID-3 (you have to make your own antenna for that one) and got right up to 4cm range there with a small cylindrical antenna. Plan to drill a hole from the inside. Put it inthere and scan from the outside so far testing been good.
Picked up a cheap wiegand and wired it up to an es8266 with a voltage booster in between. Works beautifully.