Checking Magic Band batteries


#8

Thank you so much.

Our magic bands are from September 2015 so I’m not sure what to do. If I intend on taking the MBs at arrival at the resort (I think I can erase my ‘‘decline’’ on MDE), do I need to ‘‘cancel’’ the old MBs somehow ?


#9

No you don’t need to do anything with the old ones, you can still use them even if you get new ones. I don’t know if you can order them on MDE after declining them (worth trying though), but you should be able to do it if you call.


#10

I just ordered the new MBs on MDE and it was super easy. I am really grateful for this thread thanks @nwhicks and many many thanks @missoverexcited :+1::+1::+1:


#11

You’re welcome!


#12

Hmm. I wonder if I could write a basic Android phone app to test this out. I would have to figure out their protocol. I am sure they must be using Low Energy Bluetooth technology. I don’t have a magic band to play with, but would be fun to try.


#13

I just get the new ones and bring them both. Then I test the old one on my hotel room door to make sure it works.


#14

I agree with @OBNurseNH. Last two years we (my boys) have lost Magic Bands. It saved time not needing to go to hotel front desk to get a replacement. FYI they are easily lost at water parks and pools


#15

Testing at the hotel room door will not verify that it will still work for the ride photos, just that it is active in your MDE.

FYI, I read lots of reports before getting new MagicBand2s this year that they fall off easier than the old Magic Bands. I can confirm this is definitely true. The old ones were actually difficult to get off. I ordered some bitbelts from amazon and was glad to have them, as the new ones seem to pop open with little effort.


#16

This would be awesome!


#17

True. I guess I don’t worry about that too much


#18

Or on the Haunted Mansion.


#19

A few years ago in my own personal geekiness I started looking into seeing who had investigated the MB architecture. Found a few people online who did tear downs of the original band.

Any articles I found I’ve been tacking onto this thread I created after wondering about the app the CMs use to clear tapstiles.

I’ve scanned using the TagInfo app for near field info using NFC on my Samsung Galaxy (like this guy), but never took anything further than saying, “Huh.” and moving on.

There was a “security assessment” paper written on the Gen 1 bands, but IMHO is fairly generic and more of a thought experiment than a real assessment, but it does mention some very basic info.

This guy used a Raspberry Pi to play around with his band.


#20

Thanks! The RFID part is understandable. That’s how the Tapstiles work, etc. But the technology that requires a battery for things like the on-ride photos can’t use RFID, since they require a close range magnetic field to trigger the NFC.

The technology that makes the most sense is Low Energy Bluetooth, probably acting as a kind of beacon. This is consistent with the approximately 2 year battery life reported, plus the use case. But they are probably using a proprietary implementation. I don’t think I could implement anything that actually reads the information itself, but I might be able to DETECT the device.

There are Android apps already available that detect Bluetooth LE devices, but they might not work with the protocol Disney uses. If I get my hands on one, I’m going to try to play around with it.


#21

FWIW I just found the BLE Scanner and the RaMBLE - Bluetooth LE Mapper android apps, but are not picking up the MB on my desk.

I’ve never looked at info on BT beacons, wondering if the MBs are set up need some sort of other action/connection to enable any beacon for some period of time?

Googled a but but so far have only found this slightly related article:
http://www.magicbandcollectors.com/exclusive-magicband-touch-points-throughout-disney-getting-a-technical-upgrade-soon/

Well, back to work for me! Will have to play more later.


#22

This seemed a somewhat speculative but informative link:
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9177375

The details on the spectrum of the 3 radio frequencies plus links to various patent filings and FCC info.


#23

It is possible. It would save battery if they only beacon for a certain period of time, potentially triggered by an NFC interaction. NFC triggers a timer (could be for, say, 12 hours after tapping in at the park, etc). During this time the BT beacon starts. But after that 12 hours, it stops beaconing to save battery.

This seems to confirm the use of BT LE: “Wireless Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 has been added”

The only reason to add BT LE to the tapstiles is if the bands themselves use BT LE.


#24

This post is a tad older, so they didn’t presume BT LE…but did mention the use use 2.4 Ghz, which is what BT LE uses. They theorized sending a signal every minute or so, but we know that can’t be the case since the on-ride photos would have to be far more accurate in timing to get the shot right. BT LE beacons could be used with a beacon send VERY frequently without using much power at all. (It is the point!)

This all gives me hope that there would be a way to detect the battery of a magic band. But if it doesn’t trigger without the NFC as presumed, it might not be as easy to do.


#25

I was thinking the same thing about the timer.
I did just use the NFC app to read my MB prior to trying the BT beacon scanners.

Thinking now the band’s NFC may just be just passive(?)
Or perhaps more likely it requires a specific tapstile or purchase transaction for the beacon to flip on.


#26

Yes. This is what I’m thinking. I doubt they are using passive NFC, but it is possible. But some kind of interaction would better guarantee security.


#27

A) I love how technically geeky this thread is.

B) It’s cool to get a new MB, but what if your previous one is tricked out exactly how you want it? You don’t want to go through THAT again, per se.

C) So, has a way been figured out?