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NFC – what is, why is, and how does it work?


What is NFC?

Communication between two devices (one powered) within close proximity transferring data. NFC or near-field communication works over a very short distance a few centimeters or less – often a touch or tap of devices. We see this technology every day in smart pay devices. We use our phones to pay for coffee or merchandise or for parking lots and train tickets – all are good examples of NFC at work.

Why NFC?

We are all familiar with Bluetooth and WiFi forms of data communication between devices. While over a longer range, these most often require set up or authorization for the connection to proceed. Both of these have limitations when it comes to merchandizing or simple close range data transmission. It would not be practical to log on to every store’s Wifi for purchases – or pair a Bluetooth connection to buy a bottle of water – time consuming. NFC offers an easier step for on-the-fly transactions. NFC is a close proximity, low-speed connection limiting the amount of data transferred in a reasonable time period.

How does it work?

Think about RFID tags that you come across in store merchandise. NFC is a similar set up. The tags or chips are fairly inexpensive considering a Bluetooth solution – a great item for high volume products. In the unpowered device there is a small NFC chip that when in contact with a powered NFC chip can pass approved information.

But then how can this relate to the industrial automation world…. How does Finder utilize this technology?

If we look at panels or end OEM products where PLC or dedicated controllers are not warranted how do you resolve a timing need. The same for industrial lighting panels or building automation to control lighting. Often the easiest and most cost-effective solution is a timer or time switch. Traditional products would have dials or buttons to configure the function range and time.

Is there a better way, a more secure way, offering more features and faster programming?

This is where NFC comes in. Finder designed timers, time switches and even energy meters upgrading the traditional design to include NFC chips similar to the one pictured.



No batteries are required for the tags to operate and accept configurations from a smart phone. This allows for rapid configuration or ‘programming’ right out of the box. Multiple timers can be configured in as short as it takes to touch the phone to the timer – output increases. Save your configuration for future needs and even share it securely with another ‘linked’ Toolbox user in the same building, or around the world.

84 Series SmarTIMER

Add a NFC chip, remove mechanical dials and functionality increases, enhancing panel design and applications. The Finder 84 Series SMARTimer features 30 configurations up from the typical 8 in a non-NFC device.

This intuitive app easily steps through the set-up offering options like remote switch inputs, pause or reset options.  With NFC programming and the app Finder simplifies wiring for two separate SPDT timers in one 35 mm package. Two old octal timers become one modern solution with timing ranges from  0.1 s to 9999 hrs.

12 Series Time Switch

We’ve all seen the traditional time switch or daily / weekly timer used primarily to control lighting. From the existing mechanical dial or electronic version with many buttons to program, the 12 Series is a leap forward. You can program up to 50 weekly switching times, large LCD screen and optional security with a 4-digit PIN lock. The 12 Series will not leave you stranded in a power failure as the front replaceable battery retains the program, easily allowing progression once powered is restored. Like the 84 Series, the 12 Series offers 1 or 2 contact versions.

Technical Data Sheets

Finder 12 Series Time Switch Information    Finder 84 Series SmarTIMER Information 

Lots of features, unique solutions, and ease of programming via the app. Isn’t it time to move to NFC and Finder? Download the Finder NFC Toolbox App for Android or Apple here and ‘Switch To The Future’.

Finder App for Android or Apple


GAWP 2022

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