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  • Prox cards longevity

    Is there a secret to keeping the prox cards useable for longer periods?
    We have several hundred cards in use everyday, but about once every 2 weeks, one will stop functioning. Sure some have obvious signs of misuse, but most do not appear damaged.

    The old swipe cards lasted longer and of course had more contact with readers.
    Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
    Groucho Marx

  • #2
    Prox-card quality.

    Eric,

    Believe me, I wish I had a solution to extend the life of these cards.. But then again, I probably wouldn't be here on this site right now if I did. (I'd be on my way to the bank)

    All kidding aside.. I presume your using an Indala brand? At any rate, the quality/durability of these cards today have much to be desired.

    My experience with these cards have been more along the lines of misuse. Occassionally, a badge with lose its access without merit. While the most common issues we have are the images; text/photo fade, in addition to the tab where the hole is punched tends to break quite frequently. But, this goes back to the quality of the card.

    Just thought I would chime in.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wish I knew more about how prox cards worked. I do know that people can disable a prox card by exposing it to a magnetic field. Could your employees be accidently or intentionally frying their cards?
      Some Kind of Commando Leader

      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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      • #4
        Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
        I wish I knew more about how prox cards worked. I do know that people can disable a prox card by exposing it to a magnetic field. Could your employees be accidently or intentionally frying their cards?
        Guilty as charged. In my case, I got the "bright" idea of drilling a hole through the card so that it would snap into my wallet. I guess I picked the wrong spot cause its history.

        If you ruin a card, the company charges you for it.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

        Comment


        • #5
          We do see some "breakage", one person used the card to scrape ice from the windshield, and we charge the group.

          Over time, some of the cards seem to dry out and can be split easily. On those cards you can see where the U shaped copper looking thread.

          We do have some engineer types that may get to close to the wrong equipment, but there hasn't been a clear connection to the cause.
          Some cards just die, some can have more distance from readers than others as well.

          Good, in a way, to see this happens elsewhere too.

          The box of cards come with a template so you do punch holes in the right places.

          We have also used colour coded (clear- regular emp. red- fire warden etc)plastic pouch's if the hole expands. There are also sticker badges that can be put on.
          Last edited by Eric; 10-19-2006, 06:11 PM.
          Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
          Groucho Marx

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          • #6
            We have problems with magnetic key cards. And we go through 1000s of them a year. They become demagnatized easily. Another problem is that we buy the cheapest possible. We found that the thickness is not consistent. Sometimes they are too thick & have to be forced into the locks, other times they are too thin & the locks don't read them. This makes for lots of frustrated guests but is job security for us
            I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
            Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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            • #7
              Proximity Cards

              It took me awhile to find it.
              There are several factors that might affect the efficient operations of the proximity card readers; one has to do with interference to the readers and the other with the cards themselves. But first, these items:
              Have you discussed this matter with the manufacturer?
              The vendor?
              The installer?
              Were any site preparation requirements/recommendations suggested or required prior to installation?
              What were their recommendations?
              Did you try to implement them?
              Were these steps, if any, performed and followed up by you, the installer and the manufacturer?
              What were the results?
              If they were not performed, why not?
              If these were all accomplished:
              Has this problem just started or has it always existed?
              First, are all readers plagued with the same reading problem or is it just a few?
              If it just started, what physical changes to the building or surrounding areas have been made or new or upgraded electronic equipment been added? Strong electrical interference could be affecting the readers.
              Have the readers been properly bond-grounded at both ends?
              Have the readers been equipped with ferrite bead or RFI gaskets to mitigate interference?
              Where are readers located, in the building or on the building’s exterior or at both locations?
              Geographically, where are the affected readers located in relationship to strong emitters such as police radar or radio transmission towers, microwave transmission or reception sites or near waterways where navigational radars are used?
              At what time of the day do you encounter problems?
              Are there any reader problems on weekends, nights or holidays?
              Are all cards so affected or just a few?
              Have they been manufactured by a reliable and well known company?
              Do you know at what materials are used to construct the card and their tuned circuits?
              The discussion on magnetic cards will be discussed in the next go around.
              Enjoy the day,
              Bill

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              • #8
                Prox Card Failures

                Most common problem is the "Washing Machine"! Digital Electronic processing machines don't fare well in the washer and/or dryer.

                Other breakage, punchage, mutilation methodologies have been discussed.

                When I was selling them, I typically would advise HID ProxCard II because of the LIFETIME warranty.

                Hope this helps!

                Brad Black

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                • #9
                  My most common problem I've encountered with these cards is that sometimes they lose magnetism. If people continually go through like metal detectors or through the gates at stores that attempt to detect stolen merchandise, this can make the card lose it magnetism.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dragonfyre024
                    My most common problem I've encountered with these cards is that sometimes they lose magnetism. If people continually go through like metal detectors or through the gates at stores that attempt to detect stolen merchandise, this can make the card lose it magnetism.
                    Are you talking about prox. cards here or magnetic stripe cards? I don't think it is a problem with magnetic stipe cards or everyone would have problems with their credit cards.
                    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You put your wallet through the x-ray machine to protect your mag stripes. Depending on the magneto sensitivity level in that metal detector, it'll wipe every mag stripe in your wallet.

                      Proxim cards work off RFID, and are not affected by magnetics, usually.
                      Some Kind of Commando Leader

                      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                      • #12
                        Prox vs. Mag -- a quick explanation

                        Yep, the question is about Prox cards, not magnetic stripe (swipe) cards.

                        Prox cards are RFID like Nathan notes. The technology works like this (at its most basic):

                        The card reader, whose radio frequency energy powers a chip on the card (the cards don't really create their own energy or signal unless powered from afar). The signal/radio waves from the card reader make the chip in the card "talk" and tiny embedded antenna in the card sends a tiny signal back that's readable by the card reader.

                        They use tiny chips (very compact electronics with a small bit of memory, though that memory capacity is getting larger by the year, it seems) and very tiny antennas. Some even have two sets of antennas and chips in them so they can be dual-purposed cards and work with two types of systems, for example, a Mifare and an iClass. The technology is pretty neat and the folks over at HID Global have some good explanations on their website.

                        Not sure on the durability issue you're facing; but it stands to reason that you'd have problems with these cards if you abuse them since there are micro electronics inside.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A good thing to note here is that a mechanical force is required to destroy the RFID tag. I'm sitting here staring at my DVD collection and remembered that AFS tags are basically the same as RFID, only a bit more... passive. I.e. they just happen to resonate, not send identification information.

                          I don't think EM will take a prox card out. But people bending them will, as will people doing stupid things like throwing them in a purse or a pocket where impacts will break circuits in the electronics package.

                          I've taken RFID units apart, especially the SpeedPass by Mobil. The RFID module is tiny indeed, about the size of your pinkie finger's nail. It is definately destroyable by mishandling the card.
                          Some Kind of Commando Leader

                          "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                            A good thing to note here is that a mechanical force is required to destroy the RFID tag. I'm sitting here staring at my DVD collection and remembered that AFS tags are basically the same as RFID, only a bit more... passive. I.e. they just happen to resonate, not send identification information.

                            I don't think EM will take a prox card out. But people bending them will, as will people doing stupid things like throwing them in a purse or a pocket where impacts will break circuits in the electronics package.

                            I've taken RFID units apart, especially the SpeedPass by Mobil. The RFID module is tiny indeed, about the size of your pinkie finger's nail. It is definately destroyable by mishandling the card.
                            Nathan, Geoff:
                            In addition to a small chip imbedded in the card it is surrounded by a tuned circuit.
                            The x-ray emitted from the machine per se will not affect any card, proximity or magnetic stripe. The same thing goes for a laptop. The phenomenology that can raise havoc with magnetic sensitive items if the magnetic lines of flux eminating from the machine's conveyor belt motor. Depending upon how the machine is grounded and shielded, a large static electrical discharge can influence the magentically stored media and as we found out in the Marshals Service, bring down an x-ray machine.
                            The metal detector shall have a three gauss pulse field system consisting of two crossed field transmitter and receiver fields. The nature of the perpendicular electromagnetic fields is such that the signal induced by the rod shaped objects, such as knives, shall not vary significantly due to changes of the objects orientation, unless the offeror has another technology essentially equivalent in functional performance capabilities. The detector shall comply with NILECJ and FCC Standards concerning field strength levels and emissions.
                            Therefore, no harm should be done to any magnetic stored media.
                            Enjoy the day,
                            Bill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We use prox cards, and often need to replace an employee's card because it died. While there are sometimes signs of trauma (Card split in half, card crushed) there are times where the card looks almost new. It seems to be somewhat loosley related to age... IE: We replace more older cards than newer cards. However, there are still many "first generation" prox cards in use (they are twice the thickness of newer cards).
                              The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed.

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