A microchip is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder that stores a unique identification number and is roughly the size of a grain of rice. The microchip is implanted under the animal's skin. When scanned with a reader, the microchip transmits its ID number. This ID number can help you to find information about the animal and its owner if added to a database.
Flipper Zero allows you to read animal microchips thanks to its low-frequency RFID antenna. The Flipper Zero antenna was designed to operate at 125 kHz, while most animal microchips operate at 134.2 kHz. Support for reading 134.2 kHz microchips was implemented as an additional feature. To read microchip data, hold your Flipper Zero for three seconds over the microchip of the animal you want to identify. Otherwise, Flipper Zero won't detect the microchip. On this page, you will learn how to locate and read animal microchips as well as find information about the animal in online pet recovery services.
Animal RFID microchips supported by Flipper Zero
- Compatible microchips: FDX-B (15-digit, ISO-compliant, including thermo microchips), FDX-A (10-digit, not ISO-compliant), and other chips supported by Flipper Zero in the form factor of an animal microchip.
- Reading frequency: 125 kHz. Flipper Zero can also read microchips in the 110-140 kHz range but with a shorter reading distance.
- Reading distance: 10 mm (0.39 inch).
Reading animal microchips
Animal microchips can be located at different sites. In dogs and cats, one microchip is usually inserted below the skin at the back of the neck between the shoulder blades on the dorsal midline. Continental European pets get a microchip in the midway region of the left neck.
Method 1. Locating the microchip with your fingers
We recommend to first locate the animal microchip with your fingers and then read it with your Flipper Zero. Move your fingertips over the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades and the midway region of the left neck. Apply gentle pressure to see if you can detect a solid rice-grain-sized object just under the skin. Mind that animal microchips might migrate slightly from the original location.
Once you’ve located the microchip, scan it with your Flipper Zero using the ASK coding:
- Go to Main Menu -> 125 kHz RFID -> Extra Actions.
- Select Read ASK and press %ok%OK.
- Hold your Flipper Zero as close as possible to the microchip, and don't move the device for three seconds. Try to hold your Flipper Zero so that the microchip is in the center of the device's back.
- Review the captured data.
Method 2. Locating the microchip with your Flipper Zero
To locate and read the animal microchip, you need to position your Flipper Zero precisely atop the microchip as close as possible and wait for three seconds. To increase the chance of detecting the animal microchip, we recommend reading in the ASK coding mode:
- Go to Main Menu -> 125 kHz RFID -> Extra Action.
- Select Read ASK and press %ok%OK.
- Move your Flipper Zero as close as possible to the pet's skin (the device's back facing the animal's skin) in the pattern shown below. Move the device step by step holding it for three seconds in each location until the microchip is detected.
Pay attention to the LED indication on your Flipper Zero:
If the microchip wasn't detected, rotate your Flipper Zero 90° and repeat the scanning procedure as shown below.
4. Review the captured data.
If your Flipper Zero doesn't detect the microchip
- The microchip may be out of range. -> Try to move your Flipper Zero in the patterns shown above with smaller steps and hold the device at each stop a bit longer.
- The microchip might migrate from the original location. -> Try to cover a larger area with your Flipper Zero.
- Metal objects and electronic equipment may affect the detection of the microchip. -> Try to scan the animal away from the these objects.
- The animal might have a high-frequency RFID microchip. -> Try to scan it using the NFC application.
- The animal might have an unsupported type of microchip. -> Contact your local veterinary clinic to scan the animal with their equipment.
Animal RFID microchip data structure
After you capture the microchip data, Flipper Zero will display the information about the animal: microchip type, ID number, microchip data, and animal temperature (if the microchip can measure it).
ISO-compliant animal microchips have 15-digit ID numbers. The first three digits represent an ISO 3166-1 numeric country code or a manufacturer code. The remaining 12 digits represent the unique microchip number.
Search for microchip ID info in animal databases
Once you know the animal ID number, you can find the information about the animal in pet recovery services by entering the ID number:
If you didn't find information about the animal in the services above, try using your local pet recovery service.