Using libnfc bindings in Golang with an ACR122U-A9 tag reader

nfc golang

I’m playing with an NFC tag reader (ACR122) and libnfc in Go. Getting the reader to work properly in Linux is a bit of a task in itself.

Make reader work with libnfc on Linux

Please read the archlinux wiki page for details regarding this step.

Allow unprivileged (no sudo) device access

Create a new group for the nfc device

# groupadd --system nfc

Add the user to the group

# gpasswd -a myusername nfc

Determine vendor and product id of USB device (ID <vendor>:<product>)

$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 072f:2200 Advanced Card Systems, Ltd ACR122U

Create a udev rule to allow nfc group read and write access to the device

# echo SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="072f", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2200", SYMLINK+="nfc/acr122", GROUP="nfc", MODE="660" > /etc/udev/rules.d/99-libnfc.rules

Test reader connection in Go program

I’m using fuzxxl’ NFC bindings. I picked it because it the most stars out of the repos I could find, and additionally, since I’ve used libnfc before, I wanted to leverage it again. I could not, however, find any documentation for this library, so I searched GitHub for existing projects using it as a dependency (see arsatiki/pocket-gopher for more information), and figured it out from there.

I downloaded the nfc bindings into $GOPATH/pkg/ and referenced it in my program.

package main

import (


var (
	m = nfc.Modulation{Type: nfc.ISO14443a, BaudRate: nfc.Nbr106}
	devstr = "acr122_usb:001:012" // Use empty string to select first device

// Blocks until a target is detected and returns its UID.
// Only cares about the first target it sees.
func get_card (pnd *nfc.Device) ([10]byte, error) {
	for {
		targets, err := pnd.InitiatorListPassiveTargets(m)
		if err != nil {
			return [10]byte{}, fmt.Errorf("listing available nfc targets", err)

		for _, t := range targets {
			if card, ok := t.(*nfc.ISO14443aTarget); ok {
				return card.UID, nil

func main() {
	fmt.Println("using libnfc", nfc.Version())

	pnd, err := nfc.Open(devstr)
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("could not open device: %v", err)
	defer pnd.Close()

	if err := pnd.InitiatorInit(); err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("could not init initiator: %v", err)

	fmt.Println("opened device", pnd, pnd.Connection())

	card_id, err := get_card(&pnd)
	if err != nil {
		fmt.Errorf("failed to get_card", err)

	if card_id != [10]byte{} {
		fmt.Printf("card found %#X\n", card_id)
	} else {
		fmt.Printf("no card found\n")

Example output of a physical test run

$ go build nfc.go
$ ./nfc
using libnfc 1.7.1
opened device ACS / ACR122U PICC Interface acr122_usb:001:012
card found 0X044A77B1001620000000


If you have any comments or feedback, please send me an e-mail. (stig at stigok dotcom)