Fingerprint Scanner Hookup Guide

This Tutorial is Retired!

Note: This tutorial is for the GT-511CXX models. If you are using any of the newer models (i.e. GT-521F32 and GT-521F52), please refer to the new Fingerprint Scanner (GT-521Fxx) Hookup Guide.

View the updated tutorial: Fingerprint Scanner (GT-521Fxx) Hookup Guide

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Contributors: bboyho
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Introduction

Have you ever wanted to add fingerprint identification to your project? SparkFun offers two models of fingerprint scanner from ADH Tech designed to do just that! Both models include an optical sensor for reading fingerprints and a processing IC with built-in fingerprint algorithms. Here you will find information about connecting to either fingerprint scanner and how to use it with Hawley’s FPS_GT511C3 library.

Fingerprint Scanner - TTL (GT-511C1R)

SEN-13007
10 Retired

Fingerprint Scanner - TTL (GT-511C3)

SEN-11792
13 Retired

Suggested Reading

Depending on how you are connecting to the fingerprint scanner, you may need to know the following concepts before working with one of these boards:

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Serial Communication

Asynchronous serial communication concepts: packets, signal levels, baud rates, UARTs and more!

Installing an Arduino Library

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino library using the Arduino Library Manager. For libraries not linked with the Arduino IDE, we will also go over manually installing an Arduino library.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

Serial Terminal Basics

This tutorial will show you how to communicate with your serial devices using a variety of terminal emulator applications.

Hardware Overview

Features

The GT-511C3 and GT-511C1R models have a lot in common. To name a few of the similarities, both have the ability to:

  • Enroll a Fingerprint
  • Identify a Fingerprint
  • Capable of 360° Recognition

However, there are some slight differences if you look closely at the their datasheets. A table has been provided below for comparison with the differences highlighted. The differences include:

  • Image Size
  • Maximum Number of Fingerprints
  • Size of the Fingerprint Template ID
  • Time it Takes to Identify a Fingerprint

One significant difference to keep in mind when integrating the fingerprint scanner in a project is the number of fingerprints that the device can hold. The GT-511C3 is slightly more expensive but it can hold 200 fingerprints. The GT-511C1R costs less but it can hold only 20 fingerprints.

Technical Specs GT-511C3 GT-511C1R
CPU ARM Cortex M3 Cortex ARM Cortex M3 Cortex
Sensor optical optical
Effective Area 14x12.5mm 14x12.5mm
Image Size 202x258 Pixels 240x216 Pixels
Resolution 450 dpi 450 dpi
Max # of Fingerprints 200 20
Matching Mode 1:1, 1:N 1:1, 1:N
Size of Template 496 Bytes(template) + 2 Bytes (checksum) 504 Bytes(template) + 2 Bytes (checksum)
Serial Communication UART (Default: 9600 baud) and USB v1.1 (Full Speed) UART (Default: 9600 baud) and USB v1.1 (Full Speed)
False Acceptance Rate (FAR) < 0.001% < 0.001%
False Rejection Rate (FRR) < 0.01% < 0.01%
Enrollment Time < 3 sec (3 fingerprints) < 3 sec (3 fingerprints)
Identification Time <1.0 seconds (200 fingerprints) <1.5 seconds (20 fingerprints)
Operating Voltage 3.3V ~ 6Vdc 3.3V ~ 6Vdc
Operating Current < 130mA < 130mA
Operating Temperature ~20°C ~ +60°C ~20°C ~ +60°C
Operating Humidity 20% ~ 80% 20% ~ 80%
Storage Temperature ~20°C ~ +60°C ~20°C ~ +60°C
Storage Humidity 10% ~ 80% 10% ~ 80%

The image below shows the fingerprint scanner’s size, mounting holes, and an indicator for the green power LED.

Below is an image of the optical sensing area where the device will be able to scan your fingerprint. There is a marking just above the JST-SH connector that indicates polarity. The JST-SH connector breaks out the pins for power and a serial UART connection. While the input voltage is between 3.3V and 6V, the UART’s logic level is only 3.3V. You will need a logic level converter or voltage divider to safely communicate with a 5V device.

Hardware Hookup

The fingerprint scanner requires a serial UART connection and power. There are a few options to connect to the sensor depending on what UART device you are using. The easiest would be to use an FTDI but you can also use any microcontroller that has a UART.

1.) Connecting w/ a 3.3V FTDI

Option 1: Qwiic Cable

To connect the fingerprint scanner to your computer, it is recommended to connect the JST SH cable to a USB-to-serial converter. Here are the minimum required parts you would need to get started:

Below are the following connections you would need to make with the JST-SH connector labeled as J2:

TX
Fingerprint Scanner [Pin #] FTDI 3.3V
UART_TX (3.3V TTL) [Pin 1] RX
UART_RX (3.3V TTL) [Pin 2]
GND [Pin 3] GND
Vin (3.3V~6V) [Pin 4] 3.3V

After connecting, the green LED will power up like the image below.

Fingerprint Scanner to FTDI

Option 2: Making a Custom Adapter

If you are using the JST SH Jumper 4 Wire Assembly instead of the Qwiic cable, it is highly recommended that you make a custom adapter by soldering to the ends of the wire for a secure connection. This will ensure that the connection is not loose when inserting it into female header sockets of an FTDI or the RedBoard/Arduino Uno. The cable wire is small compared to the female header socket. A small bump can mess with the serial UART or power between the fingerprint scanner and converter. This may require you to reconnect the scanner to your computer or device. Making an adapter will also provide quick access to the small 4-pin JST-SH connector that is on the scanner. Here are the minimum parts to make a secure connection:

When soldering wires to a header pin, the tools listed below can help make your life easier but are not required:

One method of making your custom adapter is to solder the wires to a row of header pins. To do this, you will need to:

  1. Break off a row of 1x6 straight header pins.
  2. Cut 4x pieces of heat shrink for each wire, and thread the wires through the heat shrink.
  3. You will need to hold the long end of the header pins in place while soldering the wire to the short side. A third hand was used to clamp down the pins. You can also tape them down.
  4. The JST-SH cable’s wires should already be stripped. To prevent damage to the surface that you are working on, you could use MDF or any heat resistant material. Align the wires to the short side of the male header pins and use some tape to hold the wires down. You would be wiring the black wire to pin 1 (next to the notch indicating the polarity on the connector) to the Rx pin of your FTDI. Make sure that the conductive wire is exposed for soldering.
  5. Using a soldering iron, solder the wires to the header pin. Be careful not to leave the soldering iron on the wire and header pin for too long. The wire’s insulation will melt off and the metal pin can begin to move around the black plastic housing due to excess heat. Try just brushing the solder with the soldering iron across the wire and pin. If using lead-free solder, flux is highly recommended.
  6. To reinforce and secure the connection between the wire and header pin, slide the heat shrink over the solder joint.
  7. Using hot air from a rework station, heat the strip until it shrinks and wraps around the solder joint.
  8. (Optional) Remove any flux residue left on the connection .

Note: Make sure to remove the JST SH SMD connector that is attached to the 4-wire jumper wire assembly. This is the same connector that is on the fingerprint scanner. You should be able to remove the connector easily with your hands without cutting any of the assembly off.

An example of the custom adapter for a FTDI is shown below:

 

2.) Connecting w/ a 5V Arduino

Before using the Arduino’s example code, make sure that the logic levels match. If you are using a 5V Arduino, you could use a dedicated logic level converter or resistors for voltage division. Here are the minimum parts you would need to get started:

Option 1: Dedicated Bi-Directional Logic Level Converter (LLC)

It is recommended to use a dedicated bi-directional LLC for a reliable connection if you are using a 5V Arduino microcontroller. Assuming that you have soldered the header pins to the logic level converter, you would need to make these connections:

Fingerprint Scanner (Pin #) Logic Level Converter (Low Side) Logic Level Converter (High Side) 5V Arduino w/ Atmega328P
UART_TX (3.3V TTL) (Pin 1) LV1 HV1 RX (pin 4)
UART_RX (3.3V TTL) (Pin 2) LV4 HV4 TX (pin 5)
GND (Pin 3) GNDGND GND
Vin (3.3V~6V) (Pin 4) LV 3.3V
HV 5V

After wiring the circuit, it should look like this:

Fingerprint Scanner - LLC - Arduino

Option 2: Voltage Division w/ 3x 10kOhm Resistors

Otherwise, you could use 3x 10kOhm resistors to divide the voltage from a 5V Arduino down to 3.3V for the fingerprint scanner (FPS) similar to the “Uni-Directional” application circuit on our old logic level converter as shown below:

Below is the connection between the FPS, 5V Arduino, and resistors for voltage division:

Voltage Divider Fingerprint Scanner(Pin #) Voltage Divider5V Arduino w/ Atmega328P
UART_TX (3.3V TTL) (Pin 1) RX (pin 4)
GND <-> 10kOhm <-> 10kOhm UART_RX (3.3V TTL) (Pin 2) 10kOhm TX (pin 5)
GND GND (Pin 3) GND GND
Vin (3.3V~6V) (Pin 4) 5V

Note: You can add the two 10kOhm resistors in series for 20kOhms.

After wiring the circuit up, it should look like this:

Fingerprint Scanner - voltage division - Arduino

Using Demo Software w/ a FTDI

After making your connection with the 3.3V FTDI, connect the USB cable to your computer. Assuming that the FTDI drivers have been installed, make note of what COM port on which the FTDI enumerated. On a Windows computer, I was able to view it in the device manager as shown below:

FTDI Enumerating as COM3 in Device Manager

Opening and Connecting to the SDK_Demo.exe

For basic operation with the demo software, it is recommended to download the demo software development kit (SDK) that is linked in product page's documents section. Each demo software is unique to that version of the scanner and it might not work with the other models.

To use the demo SDK on a computer:

  1. Download the SDK_DEMO.exe from the product page under the “Documents” section.
  2. Unzip the folder.
  3. Go to the directory that it was unzipped, which should look similar to this: …\Fingerprint Scanner GT-511C1R_SDK_20140312\GT-511C1R_SDK_20140312\Program .
  4. Open the SDK_DEMO.exe executable.
  5. Select the COM port that the FTDI enumerated toin the Serial Port Number’s drop down menu.*
  6. Click on the Open button.

Note: The available COM ports range from "COM3" to "COM10". If your USB-to-serial converter enumerates to a number higher than that, you would need to go to your computer's device manager to force it to a lower COM port number.

The image below shows how the SDK_DEMO.exe looks like before connecting:

Directory and SDK_DEMO Open

 

Once the demo SDK has been opened it will look like this:

FPS opened w/ 3.3V FTDI

 

The FirmwareVersion and DeviceSN might be different depending the serial number that the manufacturer assigned. After connecting the fingerprint scanner to the FTDI, I was able to utilize all of the features as stated in the datasheet. The features in the demo software are based on the protocol commands. We will go over two features that are frequently used in this section. If you are interested, feel free to experiment and test the other features.

Enrolling

To enroll a fingerprint to the module, you would need to enroll your finger three times for each ID before the scanner can save it as a template. The blue LED will light up to begin reading your fingerprint:

Scanning

To enroll a fingerprint:

  1. Select an ID that has no fingerprint template stored by adjusting the number in the ID: field. For this example, we will assume that there is nothing in template “0” .
  2. Press the Enroll button. The SDK_Demo.exe will respond in the Result: output by requesting “to input finger1!”
  3. Place a finger on the FPS. The output will state that it is “Processing Fingerprint…”
  4. Remove your finger when it asks for “to input finger2!”
  5. Place and remove your finger until the FPS has successfully read your fingerprint 3x.
  6. A notification will be provided when you have enrolled your fingerprint successfully. For template 0, it will respond by saying: “Enroll Ok (ID=0)!” At this point, the fingerprint scanner’s blue LED will turn off.

If the scanner is not able to recognize a unique fingerprint or detect the finger that was placed on the scanner, it will stop the enrollment and respond with a “timeout!” . If the scanner is not able to recognize the fingerprint at anytime during the enrollment, you will receive a response: “The enrollment is failed!” Make sure that there is sufficient contact with the scanner and that the finger is placed in the same position during enrollment.

The template will have a number associated with the fingerprint scanner and it will be saved in its local database.

Identifying

After enrolling, you will want to test to see if the fingerprint can be identified. To test and verify, press on the Identify(1:N). The blue LED will being to light up and a request to “Input finger!” The SDK_DEMO.exe will check through the local database to see if it can recognize fingerprint against the saved fingerprint templates. If successful, it will respond with an ID that matches and the time it took to identify: “ID=0: 546ms;” .

Example Code for Arduino

Using SDK_Demo.exe w/ FPS_Serial_Passthrough.ino

Testing this with a Arduino Uno based microcontroller (i.e RedBoard Programmed w/ Arduino or Arduino Uno ) and the serial passthrough code, I was able to connect to the SDK demo software provided on the fingerprint scanner’s product page. This might be another alternative if you do not have a 3.3V FTDI to connect to your fingerprint scanner.

To use the SDK demo with an Arduino microcontroller connected to the fingerprint scanner, you need to:

  1. Build a circuit between the Arduino and scanner using logic level translation. This is assuming that you are using a 5V Arduino.
  2. In the Arduion IDE, upload the FPS_Serial_Passthrough.ino sketch to your Arduino.
  3. In the SDK_demo.exe labeled Serial Port Number , select a COM port that is lower than COM10 (COM3 should be the lowest that you can use).
  4. Select a baud rate of 9600 .
  5. After uploading the serial passthrough code or powering the Arduino for the first time during the session, you will need to reset the Arduino. Press the RESET button.
  6. After the Arduino initializes, press on the “Open” button in the SDK

Note: The available COM ports range from "COM3" to "COM10". If your USB-to-serial converter enumerates to a number higher than that, you would need to go to your computer's device manager to force it to a lower COM port number.

The image below shows the SDK_Demo before it is opened with an Arduino on COM7 and a baud of 9600 :

Hawley’s FPS_GT511C3 Library for Arduino

Note: This example assumes you are using the latest version of the Arduino IDE on your desktop. If this is your first time using Arduino, please review our tutorial on installing the Arduino IDE. If you have not previously installed an Arduino library, please check out our installation guide.

To create a standalone system that can read fingerprints without the aid of a computer, you will need to replicate what the demo software does in Arduino code. Luckily there is a fingerprint scanner Arduino library written by jhawley. Their code does most of the leg work for you and handles a lot of the complicated protocol commands. You can download it directly using the link below or find the source files on the GitHub repo.

FPS_GT511C3 Arduino Library

This library is limited in functionality compared to the SDK_Demo.exe, but it gets the job done. If you look at the comments in the FPS_GT511C3’s library, certain functions were not implemented due to the Atmega328P’s memory restrictions. Certain functions were also not needed when it was originally written. The FPS_GT511C3 library and example code works with the GT511C3 and GT511C1R models.

The library has three examples. Each one performs a different task with the FPS:

  1. Blink the blue LED.
  2. Enroll a fingerprint.
  3. Attempt to identify the fingerprint against the local database.

Example 1: Basic Serial Test w/ FPS_Blink.ino

The FPS_Blink.ino sketch is a basic test to see if the Arduino is able to talk with the fingerprint scanner through the serial UART. As a basic sanity check, it is recommended to test this code to make sure that your connections are correct and the scanner is able to send/receive commands. The code sets up a the Arduino’s hardware serial UART for debugging and tells the scanner to send serial debug messages. The code also initializes the connection with the fingerprint scanner.

Once the setup is complete, the Arduino will tell the fingerprint scanner to toggle the blue LED. By opening the serial monitor at 9600 baud, you should see this output:

FPS - Open
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 01 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

FPS - LED on
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 01 00 00 00 12 00 13 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

FPS - LED off
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 12 00 12 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

The code will repeat and toggle the LED while printing to the serial monitor.

Example 2: Enrolling w/ FPS_Enroll.ino

The FPS_Enroll.ino is used for enrolling a fingerprint each time the Arduino is reset. The fingerprint will save in a template within the scanner’s local database. The code will initialize like the FPS_Blink.ino sketch. Instead of toggling the LED, the LED will remain on to scan a fingerprint. Before the end of the setup() function, it will jump to the Enroll() function. The Enroll() function will look for an empty template ID and begin enrolling your fingerprint.

Below is what to expect in the serial monitor when enrolling a finger successfully:

    Press finger to Enroll #3
    Remove finger
    Press same finger again
    Remove finger
    Press same finger yet again
    Remove finger
    Enrolling Successful

The scanner will reject a fingerprint if the scanner is not able to recognize your finger at anytime during the enrollment process. If your finger is not placed in the same position like the other scans, the template will not be saved. When this happens, you will need to restart the enrollment process.

Below is what to expect when the scanner fails if the first scan does not match the second scan.

    Press finger to Enroll #4
    Remove finger
    Press same finger again
    Failed to capture second finger

Try enrolling a fingerprint by uploading the code and following the serial monitor’s output. To enroll more than one fingerprint, just reset the Arduino.

Example 3: Identifying w/ FPS_IDFinger.ino

The FPS_IDFinger.ino sketch checks to see if a finger is on the scanner. Once a finger has been placed on the scanner, it checks the fingerprint against any of the fingerprints saved in the local database. You will be notified through the serial monitor if the fingerprint matches an ID, if the fingerprint is not found, or when it fails to read the fingerprint. After checking and lifting your finger, it will request for another fingerprint to check.

Below is what you would expect when using this example:

Verified ID:0
Finger not found
Finger not found
Verified ID:0
Verified ID:0
Please press finger
Please press finger
Please press finger
Verified ID:2
Please press finger
Verified ID:2
Please press finger

Looking at the output, “Finger not found” usually means that: the fingerprint does not match any of the template IDs or when the the scanner is not able to clearly read the fingerprint. If the finger has been enrolled, you would need to make sure that you place the fingerprint on the scanner just like when you scanned the finger.

Depending on what model you are using, make sure to change number of IDs in the condition statement. By default, the code uses 200 since the GT-511C3 can hold up to 200 fingerprint templates. If you are using the GT-511C1R, you would need to change the number to 20. Try testing the scanner with the code to see if the scanner is able to read the fingerprints that were enrolled.

Software Serial w/ Other Microcontrollers

The demo code was originally designed for the ATmega328P on the Arduino Uno. If you were using it with ATmega2560 (i.e. Arduino Mega 2560) or ATmega32U4 (i.e. Arduino Leonardo, Pro Micro 5V/16MHz, Pro Micro 3.3V/8Mhz, FioV3, etc.), you would need to re-configure the software serial pin definitions and adjust the connections. Not all the pins can support change interrupts for a serial Rx pin depending on what Arduino microcontroller is used. For more information, try looking at the reference language for the Software Serial library.

To use the FPS on an Arduino Mega 2560 or Arduino Leonardo, you would just need to comment out the line where it says:

language:c
SoftwareSerial fps(4, 5); // (Arduino SS_RX = pin 4, Arduino SS_TX = pin 5)

and uncomment out the line here:

language:c
SoftwareSerial fps(10, 11); // (Arduino SS_RX = pin 10, Arduino SS_TX = pin 11)

Once you change the code, make sure to rewire your connections to follow the pin definitions.

Caution: The FPS_GT511C3 library may not work for all microcontrollers using the Arduino IDE. As you move away from the ATmega328P family, you may need to modify the code or port the library over to get it working. It would be easier and faster to just have an Atmega328P bootloaded with Arduino to handle the FPS code. To use the fingerprint scanner, you could just write additional code to have the ATmega328P send serial data to the other microcontroller.

Firmware Overview

If you are interested, this section goes just a little further by looking briefly at the command protocol. We will be taking a quick look at the fingerprint scanner’s blink example with an Arduino and how the command protocol functions based on the manual.

Verifying the Checksum Value

To verify the check sum for the command packet (command) or response packet (acknowledge), you would add the bytes of the command start codes, device id, parameter, and command/response. Looking at the Arduino blink example, the serial monitor outputs:

FPS - Open
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 01 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

FPS - LED on
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 01 00 00 00 12 00 13 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

FPS - LED off
FPS - SEND: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 12 00 12 01"
FPS - RECV: "55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 30 00 30 01"

The example displays the packet structure as a multi-byte item represented as little endian. Breaking down the LED command to turn the LED OFF in hex, it is:

55 AA 01 00 00 00 00 00 12 00 12 01
, where Command Start code1 = 0x55
        Command Start code2 = 0xAA
        Device ID = 0x00 01
        Input parameter = 0x00 00 00 00
        Command Code = 0x00 12

By adding the hex values with a programmer’s calculator as stated in the datasheet:

OFFSET[0] + OFFSET[1] + OFFSET[2] + OFFSET[3] + OFFSET[4] + OFFSET[5] + OFFSET[6] + OFFSET[7] + OFFSET[8] + OFFSET[9] = 0x55 +0xAA + 0x01 + 0x00 + 0x00 + 0x00 + 0x00 + 0x00 + 0x12 + 0x00

, we are able to get the same output result as the command packet’s check sum:

Checksum = 0x01 12

Since the check sum is read as little endian, the output reads the checksum as “12 01”.

FPS Experiments

Underneath the enclosure, the scanner uses 8x blue LEDs and tiny camera to read a fingerprint. On the back, there is a processor that will try to read whatever is placed on top of the scanner’s enclosure. Here is an image that shows the fingerprint scanner that was carefully opened:

Hand Drawn “Fingerprint”

I was interested in seeing if the fingerprint scanner was able to identify any other items placed on the fingerprint scanner. I tested using a few drawings on a sticky note:

 

I drew fiducials to align the fingerprint scanner’s with the drawing in the image below. This ensured that the fingerprint was placed in the same position for each scan.

 

I first drew a pattern in test #1 and test #2 . Test #1 failed to enroll properly, since it did not have a lot of details. I continued to test the drawing in test #1 to see when the scanner would accept the drawing. Test #2 was successful in enrolling and identifying by adding a little bit more detail. In test #3, I drew a bit more, but the fingerprint scanner was unable to recognize the drawing. The drawing in test #4 was enough for the scanner to recognize by adding lines and scribbles similar to the unique patterns of a person’s fingerprint. In test #5, I was interested in seeing if the scanner was able to recognize words as a fingerprint. While the fingerprint scanner was able to recognize that there was a “finger” pressed on the scanner, it failed to complete the enrollment process. The words probably did not create enough of a pattern for the scanner to accept.

I was also interested in how each of the images would look like after it was scanned. Luckily, the SDK_Demo.exe had a feature to get the image and save as a bitmap. The “Get Image” button requires a valid fingerprint press before the device begins scanning. The “Get Raw Image” immediately scans whatever is on the scanner even if it is not a valid fingerprint pattern. After clicking on the “Save Image To File”, a 240x216 sized bitmap image was taken from the GT-511C1R’s optical sensing area and saved to my computer. Below are images of the tests after saving the patterns:

Test #1 (FAIL) Test #2 (PASS) Test #3 (FAIL) Test #4 (PASS) Test #5 (FAIL)

More Failed Attempts

I tried using the silkscreen and traces of the SparkFun EL Sequencer to see if the scanner was able to enroll. Unfortunately, it was not able to accept the board as a fingerprint. The board seem to be too far away causing the image to be dimly lit and the silkscreen was not sufficient enough to pass as a pattern. Below is an image taken of one of the SparkFun EL Sequencer’s silkscreen that failed to enroll:

 

As a final test, scanner was used with the palm of a hand. While it was able to enroll once, the scanner was not able to recognize it a majority of the time. It was not easy to place the fingerprint scanner on the same location of the palm. The scanner was only able to recognize the palm once. It’s possible that the ridges on the palm of a hand and the amount of pressure that was placed on the scanner was not sufficient to enough.

Troubleshooting

Listed below are frequently asked questions and tech support tips on troubleshooting common issues related to the fingerprint scanner.

1.) The fingerprint’s green LED indicates that it is powered and the connection is correct. However, the fingerprint scanner is not responding to any of the commands with my Arduino. What can I do?

Make sure that there are no loose connections. If you are using the JST SH jumper 4 wire assembly, the cable’s wire is relatively thin compared to the Arduino’s socket. A small bump can break the connection requiring you to power cycle the fingerprint scanner or reset the Arduino.

Also, make sure that you are connecting the fingerprint scanner to your microcontroller correctly based on the Arduino model and defined software serial pins.

2.) Scanner not recognizing your fingers when enrolling?

There can be issues trying to enroll when using the SDK_Demo.exe or Arduino example code. This is usually due to fingers being dry and not having good contact on the scanner. The finger has to have the same pressure applied and be placed in the same position for all three enrollments. The timing of your finger on the scanner is a little tricky too. A tech support representative had to try a few times before it was able to enroll a finger. This is common with any fingerprint scanner like the one that is on a smartphone.

If you see these errors, you probably did not place your finger on the fingerprint scanner sufficiently for each enrollment:

Bad finger!

or

Failed to capture second finger

or

The enrollment is failed!

If you are using an FTDI, try to follow the directions for enrolling with a FTDI again. You may need to close out the program and unplugging/replugging the FTDI before re-enrolling. If you are using an Arduino, try the enrollment process again by placing your finger on the scanner, resetting the Arduino, and following the directions in the serial monitor.

3.) Scanner not recognizing your fingers when verifying?

If you are trying to verify a fingerprint, make sure to place the finger on the scanner just like when it was enrolled. The same conditions for scanning a fingerprint apply as explained above for enrolling.

4.) My fingerprint scanner is getting warm to the touch.

This is normal. The fingerprint scanner can get warm to the touch if you are using the Arduino example code and constantly scanning. When completing your project, try turning off the fingerprint scanner’s blue LED or write a condition statement to identify a fingerprint only after pressing a button. You can also try to use an input voltage of 3.3V. However, you need to make sure that it is getting sufficient current. You can also try adding a condition statement to identify a finger when a button is pressed. There is a note in the datasheet on page 4 where

      “… The sensor’s metal frame can be integrated with a touch IC to wake up the module.”

5.) Will the GT-511C1R fingerprint scanner work with the FPS_GT511C3 library?

Yes, it will. It has been tested. Each of the fingerprint scanners use the same command protocols so the Arduino example code can be used for any of the scanners. However, the library will not be compatible if you using a different scanner that is not manufactured by ADH-Tech.

6.) Can I use an Arduino Due?

Unfortunately, the fingerprint scanner’s Arduino example code for the does not work with the Arduino Due. You would need to modify the code and use it with the hardware serial UARTs because the Arduino Due does not support software serial. This old forum post will explain why there are compilation errors with the example code using the Arduino Due board definition => Arduino.cc Forums: SoftwareSerial for Arduino Due.

7.) What are the dimensions of the fingerprint scanner?

The dimensions do not seem to be listed in the datasheet for the GT-511C3. The size should be the same as the GT-511R model on pg 37 of the datasheet.

8.) Is there a 3D Model?

Yes, there is a 3D model of the fingerprint scanner in SparkFun’s GitHub repository located here.

9.) I soldered to the back of the fingerprint scanner and none of the Arduino examples work.

Those pins are broken out if you wanted to connect the fingerprint scanner directly to a USB port. The USB data lines are different from a serial UART protocol. If you are using the Arduino examples for your project, it is recommended to connect to the JST SH connector. If you are interested in plugging the scanner directly to your computer’s COM port, feel free to test it out and experiment. It has been tested to work with the GT-511C1 (retired), GT511C3, and GT-511C1R models.

Fingerprint Scanner USB Pinout

Surprise! You found the extra section on how to connect to the USB pins! The connection to the USB was not included in the beginning of the tutorial because the main objective was to use it in an embedded project with an Arduino microcontroller. To connect the fingerprint scanner with the demo software and your computer’s USB port, you can connect the pads on the back of the board labeled J1 directly to the USB port of your computer. The image below shows the pinout:

 

Using a multimeter and testing it out, I was able to determine the pinouts. Here are the connections that you would need to make:

Fingerprint Scanner USB Port
Shield (left most pin) USB Shield (not necessary if using a USB breakout board). Tied to GND.
GND GND (Standard USB Black Wire)
D+ D+ (Standard USB White Wire)
D- D- (Standard USB Green Wire)
Vcc (square pad) 5V (Standard USB Red Wire)

Soldering to the USB Pads

Below are the parts and tools that you would need to make a USB connection:

After gathering the parts, you will need to prepare your fingerprint scanner for soldering and decide how you want to connect to the fingerprint scanner. For this example, I decided to use the female header pins to easily connect/disconnect from the USB breakout board.

  1. Cut 4x wires using the wire stripper.
  2. Wire strip the wire’s end.
  3. Solder the exposed wires to each of the respective pads on the fingerprint scanner.
  4. Break off a 1x4 row from the right angle breakaway header.
  5. Solder the header pins to the plated through holes of the micro-B USB breakout board.
  6. Clean solder joints on the fingerprint scanner and the breakout board. Be careful not to get any water inside the fingerprint scanner’s enclosure. It can be damaged if there is any water in the enclosure after powering up.
  7. Dry the boards.

The image below shows how solder joints should look like with the fingerprint scanner on the center and right.

 

Below is the expanded view of the fingerprint scanners. As you can see, you are not limited to only using F/F premium jumper wires. You could use a row of female header pins, heat shrink, and wire.

 

The Art of Braiding Wires

The next step is not necessary. However, if you are looking to manage your four wires, try braiding them. I was inspired by McCall’s tutorial when completing projects. To braid your wires, twist the black and blue wires in a clockwise pattern between your index finger and thumb of both hands.

 

Repeat for the green and red wires.

 

Twist the black/blue pair with the green/red pair in the opposite direction (counter-clockwise).

 

Connecting to a USB Port

After soldering, you will be able to connect the wires to your micro-B USB breakout. Align the connection between the headers and your micro-B USB breakout board as shown in the image below:

 

Finally, connect the USB cable between your computer’s COM port and the micro-B connector. The device will show up as a USB Mass Storage Device on My Computer . For the retired GT-511C1, it will show up as “Gingy Disk (G:)” and under device properties, it might say “Finger Mass Storage1 USB Device”. The GT-511C3 will show up as “CD Drive (G:)” and under device properties, it may say “Holtek Mass Storage1 USB Device”. The GT-511C1R will also show up as “CD Drive (G:)” and the device properties might say that it is a “Fingerprint USB Device”.

Note: Certain USB Cables maybe have D- as green and D+ as white. If the fingerprint scanner is not recognized by your computer in the device manager or there is a warning message, try reversing the data pins and it should enumerate properly.

Demo Software Development Kit (SDK) w/ USB

Once connected to your computer’s USB port, you will be able to use the demo SDK software just like the FTDI and Arduino w/ a Serial Passthrough examples explained in the tutorial. For the Serial Port Number , leave it at USB. The Baudrate: can be left at 115200. Just make sure that you are using the SDK demo software that was linked on the model’s product page. Using the GT-511C1R with the GT-511C3’s SDK will not work. The image below shows the GT-511C1R with the its SDK demo before clicking on the “Open” button:

 

You will not have access all the functions provided in the SDK_Demo.exe. One interesting feature of using the USB pins directly is that an image will also scan as you are using the scanner to identify the fingerprint.

Resources and Going Further

For more information, check out the resources below :

*Note: Make sure that you are using a logic level converter or voltage divider as explained in this tutorial. The I/O pins use 3.3V logic levels.

Additional Arduino Tutorials and Project Examples

Below are other tutorials and project examples using an Arduino:

Raspberry Pi Example Code

There’s a Raspberry Pi Python Library for this fingerprint scanner if you look at the post by user jeanmachuca in the Pi forums => https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=74178 .

There appears to be an article that uses the GT-511C1R with a Raspberry Pi as a server and SQLite [ FingerScanner: Embedding a Fingerprint Scanner in a Raspberry Pi ]. Based on this information, it’s possible to have remote management of a database on multiple fingerprint scanners from one server.

Node.js Example

There’s an example in Node.js with an API. I have not tested this feature before but try looking at this GitHub repository => https://github.com/the-AjK/GT-511C3 .

BeagleBone Black Example Code

There’s a BeagleBone Black Python Library by user JamesMarcogliese’s capstone design team located here => https://github.com/JamesMarcogliese/Fingerprint_Scanner-TTL .