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Replace Stock UM3 NFC board with PN532 Breakout Board

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Posted · Replace Stock UM3 NFC board with PN532 Breakout Board

So first off, I'm ideally looking for some guidance from a member of the Ultimaker staff with intimate knowledge on the board/interface software, but any input from an Ultimaker Staff member would be a good start.


I have been working on my own material station "clone" for my Ultimaker 3, and have decided that the stock NFC reader simply doesn't have enough range/sensitivity for the NTAG216 tags I'm able to get. So, I am trying to replace the Stock NFC board with this; PN532 NFC Evolution V1 .

For the purposes of testing, I've been using an Adafruit PN532 Breakout board that I already have, listed here; Adafruit PN532 Breakout Board


Here's why I "know" so far...


About the stock NFC Reader

  • Uses an NXP PN532 NFC reader/writer chip and an onboard pcb antenna.
  • Uses I2C protocol to communicate (from schematics and python file "nfcController.py" line 27.)
  • Connects with the printer's "Olimex" board using a 9 pin Mini-Din connector. (from schematics)
  • Powered by 5v from the printer and used a 3.3v step down to PN532.


About the Evolution V1 / Adafruit replacement board linked above

  • Uses an NXP PN532 NFC reader/writer chip and an onboard pcb antenna(Adafruit) or External antenna (Evolution V1).
  • Powered by 5v and uses a step down/logic level converter to 3.3v
  • Can Use I2C, UART, and SPI to communicate with "host".



I've tried rigging up a connector for the replacement breakout board using the schematic as a reference for the pin-out, but alas, the printers diagnostics show that no NFC hardware is detected when my replacement board is connected . I'm using the diagnostics menu to test if NFC hardware is detected.


I've used the Adafruit PN532 Library for Arduino to test the Adafruit board -- Worked

I used the Adafruit library for Arduino to test the Ultimaker NFC Board -- Failed

I used an I2C Scanner program on an Arduino Board to scan for detected I2C Devices -- Failed for UM3 Board, Worked for Adafruit Board (Address 0x24 in Hex)

I Hooked up a PN532 Breakout board to the UM3 -- Failed


I'd like to know what is special about the Stock NFC Reader that would different from a breakout board that would cause this? I can provide both the schematics for the Stock NFC reader hardware and the Adafruit PN532 Breakout as well as any other documentation I've referenced .


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    Posted (edited) · Replace Stock UM3 NFC board with PN532 Breakout Board

    So, I figured it out. I was under the assumption that the pin order on the NFC board went left to right, row by row, but it was in card top to bottom, column by column. Attached is the proper pin order when looking at the ends of the cable. I figured out the mistake by using a multi-meter to figure out which pins matched on either end of the cable, since the pin layout was only described on the schematic on the mini-din 9 pin end.

    NFC Connections.png

    Edited by Monroe07
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