What’s Inside Your Clipper Card – Mapping the Hidden RFID-Style Chip With a $3 Chinese Flashlight

Get up to speed on the mystery of the Clipper / TransLink buspass card right here.

Now, there’s no need for an X-ray machine, just put an LED flashlight underneath your card so you can see all its architecture tout de suite.

Here’s my setup, just to make taking a photo more easier:

Click to expand

Oh, here it is, a little rectangle with metal leads stretching out from each corner:

Now, what’s stopping you from cutting off the top three-quarters of your card to be the first kid on your block to have the tiniest of Clipper Cards? Well, there very well might be a perimeter antenna in there, that’s what. Your “contactless smart card” chip might very well be very sensitive to antenna length and alignment.

But you could probably cut out about half the plastic to leave a gaping hole in your card. It should still function.

If you wanted to.

Next step: Acetone bath. You’ll soon be free little contactless smart card chip!

P.S. MUNI sux.

P.P.S. The Central Subway sux as well. Can’t we just stop and then give the money back?

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2 Responses to “What’s Inside Your Clipper Card – Mapping the Hidden RFID-Style Chip With a $3 Chinese Flashlight”

  1. Chris Rusak says:

    I’m curious why there isn’t an uproar amongst the city that if you buy a single ride ticket from the Church Street station it now costs $2.25, of which the extra 11% surcharge is an “issuance fee.”

    Perhaps you can do some hunting?

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I think it’s because you can get a Clipper Card for free until next year.

    Not exactly sure how this all works as I’ve never used this system…