Hardware & Wiring

Hardware

You'll need the following hardware and tools to build this project:

  • Raspberry Pi.  Any model that can run Minecraft should work, but I recommend a Raspberry Pi 2 because it has the best performance in Minecraft.
  • PN532 NFC/RFID controller breakout board.  Make sure to use the breakout board version as the Arduino shield version is not compatible with this project (it uses an I2C interface that isn't supported by the project's software).
  • MiFare Classic NFC tags.  There are lots of different NFC tag types so be sure to get 'MiFare Classic' tags (with either 1K or 4K of space) to work with the code in this project.  You'll want small tags like stickers or keychains that can easily fit inside a small paper box.  This MiFare classic tag assortment has 4 small tags that fit great in small paper boxes (plus 1 larger card that could fit in a bigger box or item).
  • Raspberry Pi power supply, micro SD card, and GPIO breakout wires.  You need the basic components to power up and run a Raspberry Pi, and access the GPIO pins on the Pi.  If you're starting from scratch this Raspberry Pi starter kit has everything you need (including a Pi).  If you have the Pi but not much else, this starter kit without the Pi has all the accessories you need.
  • USB keyboard, mouse, and HDMI cable.  To play Minecraft on the Pi you need to hook up a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to the Pi.  This computer add-on pack for the Pi has everything you need.
  • Computer monitor or television.  You'll need something to display the Pi's HDMI output, like a computer monitor or television.  A small HDMI display is a nice option for a dedicated Raspberry Pi monitor.  Minecraft Pi edition doesn't currently have audio support so don't worry about hooking up speakers to the Pi.
  • Soldering equipment like a soldering iron and solder.  The PN532 breakout needs to have a few headers soldered to it so you need basic soldering equipment.  If you're new to soldering don't worry it's easy to learn--just check out this handy soldering guide and video.
  • Printer, paper, scissors, and tape or glue.  If you want to build little papercraft Minecraft blocks you'll need a printer and material for assembling the blocks.

Wiring

First make sure to assemble your PN532 breakout by following its guide here.  The headers and jumpers need to be soldered to the breakout so that it can connect to a breadboard and the Raspberry Pi.

You'll also need to change the jumpers on the breakout so that the board is configured for SPI communication.  Move SEL0 to OFF and SEL1 to ON like the picture below shows:

Then wire up the PN532 breakout to the Raspberry Pi as shown in the diagram below:

Make the connections as follows:

  • PN532 3.3V to Raspberry Pi 3.3V (red wire).
  • PN532 SCK to Raspberry Pi GPIO #25 (yellow wire).
  • PN532 MISO to Raspberry Pi GPIO #24 (green wire).
  • PN532 MOSI to Raspberry Pi GPIO #23 (orange wire).
  • PN532 SSEL to Raspberry Pi GPIO #18 (blue wire).
  • PN532 GND to Raspberry Pi GND (black wire).

This wiring will connect the PN532 to the Raspberry Pi using a 'software SPI' connection that just uses digital input and output pins for the connection.  Software SPI is simple, flexible and fast enough for our needs in this project.

Also note that unlike connecting to an Arduino, you don't need to use any level shifters to convert 3.3V to 5V and vice versa.  The Raspberry Pi GPIO runs at 3.3V and can connect directly to the PN532!

Once the PN532 is wired to the Raspberry Pi, continue on to learn how to install a Python library that talks to the device.

This guide was first published on Mar 24, 2015. It was last updated on Mar 24, 2015.
This page (Hardware & Wiring) was last updated on Jul 15, 2020.