Tony Groves wrote:
> I'm looking into setting up a swipe-card system for a remote rural
> building so that only authorised cardholders are admitted.
>> What I reckon I might need are:
>> For the site:
> (1) an externally-rated vandalproof card-reader, presumably with an
> RS-232 connector.
> (2) an old PC, loaded with Debian Linux (my preferred solution for
>> For issuing cards (at home):
> (1) a card writer.
> (2) a supply of pre-printed plastic cards, starting with 250, and
> 50 per year after that.
>> I can (presumably) write scripts for the site PC to look after
> lookup and usage logging, and can visit the site occasionally to
> the database and download logs. There is no internet connection there,
> and we don't want one. Security and reliability are important but not
> critical; this system is more for convenience than anything else.
>> So, does anybody here have any experience of such systems? What sort
> hardware and suppliers should I be looking for? Are there any pitfalls
> that I need to look out for? Should I be producing the cards myself or
> is there some external agency which will do a better job (with
> or whatever) at a reasonable cost?
Michael Watterson wrote:
> It's a legitimate use for the blank ISO chip cards beloved of pirate
> satellite users. This has the cheapest reader. The Door Lock can be
> PIC micro with ISO connector or a PC with serial based (actually only
> uses handshake pins) dumb card reader.
>> Or you can use a magnetic card (much less secure and easy to copy).
>> Or you can use a numeric pad.
>> I've done a lock with a PIC micro, including logging and master PIN
>> Amazingly I have seen barcode cards in use. They can be photocopied!
>> The cheapest is numeric keypad, then if there is fixed number of
> the chipped card is best and cheap. If there are a lot of cards you
> buy a system cheaper than a PC with magnetic card reader and cheap
> cardboard magstrip cards. These are selfcontained and added to
> photocopiers and doors.
>> You can buy a ready to go system, no PC needed at door. Unless you
> either to try out JAL on a PIC micro or have a particularly weird
> requirement and a wish to be locked out (use PC & Linux).
Paolo Marchiori wrote:
> I' do for a card-reader that can do PS/2 or USB keyboard emulation,
> simpler to set up.
> And not an old PC but rather an embedded one, no moving parts, so
> failures (which could prevent access to the building...) are less
> to occur.
>Kiall Mac Innes wrote:
> You could also have a look at http://www.phidgets.com/ .
>> A combo of a RFID reader (45) and and few RFID tags (about 2 a go..)
> to auth users and a 4 way relay board to control a door lock. (40).
>> They have a very simple programming api and advertise themselves as
> linux compatible.
>> While it's probably a bit more expensive and maby even a little more
> work than swipe cards, its way slicker ;)
OK, there's a few ideas there, thanks.
The building is an unmanned clubhouse, which should be accessible not to
all cardholders, but only to _authorised_ cardholders, in other words
current club members. So I'd need to have some sort of database lookup
before the system decides whether to unlock the door, and I'd also like
to have each access logged so that there's a record of who was there, in
case of problems and also for statistics.
So some sort of PC would be needed, I reckon. Obviously an ordinary old
PC would be simple and cheap, but as Paolo suggested, an embedded system
should be more reliable. That sort of technology is new to me, so I'll
have to do a bit of research there. Would pc104.org be a reasonable
place to start?
Now, the cards. Security is not a major issue. There's nothing of huge
value in the building, and if people let their cards be copied, then
they will be held responsible for how those copies are used. So they're
not going to do it. The cards would need to last for years, so plastic
magnetic cards and chipped cards would seem to be suitable. The choice
there would dictate (and be dictated by) what sort of card-reader and
card-writer are used. Does anybody have any suggestions about where I
can source stuff like that?
Thanks a lot.
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