Honey, I Shrunk the Tag Reader for Home Assistant

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Andrea Donno, a well-regarded contributor to the Home Assistant community, has recently introduced a revamped version of the Tag Reader for Home Assistant. This latest iteration presents a significant design overhaul, achieving a much more compact form factor—nearly half its original size.


Overview of Home Assistant's Tag Reader

Introduced in the autumn of 2020, Home Assistant's Tag Reader feature revolutionized the integration of NFC tags, allowing them to be utilized across various applications. This innovation has been driven by Andrea Donno and Magnus Øverli, with the creation of the Tag Reader, facilitating a surge in creative applications.

This compact device is built around an ESP8266 board (Wemos D1 mini), equipped with an NFC reader (PN532), an RGB LED (WS2812), and a buzzer. Enthusiasts can either purchase the Tag Reader as a pre-assembled unit or as a DIY kit available on Donno's website. For DIYers, the design is fully open-source, allowing for sourcing of components independently and the possibility to 3D print a case using STL files from GitHub. The device leverages ESPHome for operation, with configuration files also available for download.

A photograph of three generations of the Tag Reader for Home Assistant. The first generation, pictured above the others, is the largest, and the third generation is the smallest.

Insights into the New, Streamlined Tag Reader

While details on the specific components used in the downsized version are sparse, an ESP-XX module may have been employed to achieve the reduction in size. A notable feature in the latest model is the inclusion of a USB-C port for power, a modern upgrade from the traditional Micro-USB interface, potentially facilitated by a breakout board such as those from Adafruit.

A photograph of an Adafruit USB-C breakout board.

Understanding NFC Technology

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a pivotal technology in wireless communication, facilitating close-range interaction between devices. Predominantly utilized in contactless payment systems, access control, and data transfer between devices, NFC operates through electromagnetic induction. This allows NFC tags, which are passive devices, to generate power and transmit data when in close proximity to an NFC reader, all without the need for a battery.


The new Tag Reader for Home Assistant embodies a leap forward in design and functionality, offering a more efficient, user-friendly device. By making the device more compact, integrating modern connectivity options like USB-C, and maintaining an open-source approach, it aligns well with the needs of Home Assistant users looking to expand their smart home capabilities with NFC technology.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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