Microchip frequency: does it matter?

All of the implantable microchips currently used or being introduced for use in the pet and companion animal market operate properly and perform well over a wide range of reader provided operating frequencies. All of the readers currently in use to read these microchips provide operating frequencies between 125 kHz and 134.2 kHz which is a frequency range of only ±3.5%. The following two examples illustrate the wide compatibility of the implantable pet microchips to reader-provided operating frequencies.

a) The predecessor to the HomeAgain (Destron) microchip used from 1987 to the early 1990s, operated with the reader-provided operating frequency of 400 kHz. That microchip, although no longer being implanted, still exists in some pets, and is successfully read by today’s MultiReaders operating at frequencies between 125 and 134.2 kHz.
b) The AVID encrypted microchip has been widely touted as being one of the “125 kHz microchips, which is currently the accepted U.S. standard.” According to the information at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which must grant approval to operate any RFID microchip reader, the low performance Mini Tracker readers provided by AVID to read this microchip do provide an operating frequency of 125 kHz. However, about a third of AVID’s reader types authorized by the FCC are the higher performance Power Tracker readers. All of these provide operating frequencies of 128 kHz. See attached FCC Grant information.

How well a particular microchip’s ID number is read, or whether or not it is read at all, by a particular reader, is dependent solely on the reader design, and not on the operating frequency provided by the reader (within the frequency range of interest of 125 kHz to 134.2 kHz). There are distinguishing factors, other than operating frequency, between the different types of microchips, which affect reading performance. Some of these factors, which would otherwise limit reading performance, can be compensated for in the reader design; others cannot.

by Wayne Culberth, Vantro Systems, Inc.