NEW PRODUCT – Magstripe Reader – PS/2 Interface – 3 Tracks (1&2&3). Decode what’s hidden on your credit cards, or use it for an access system – this mag-stripe card reader can decode all three tracks! We like this small and easy to use mag-stripe reader for being so microcontroller-friendly. Instead of a USB port, it has a PS/2 interface and acts like a ‘keyboard’. In fact, its designed to be a ‘pass through’/’keyboard wedge’ device for point-of-sale terminals. What’s nice about PS/2 is that it uses a single connector for power and data, and uses two data pins. When a card is swiped, the raw data is decoded, parity-checked and spit out as if they were typed on a keyboard.
There is one magnetic head but you can swipe in either direction and will emit data in the right order.
Nearly all microcontrollers have existing PS/2 keyboard examples that would work fine with this swiper.
For Ardiuno users, we tried out PJRC’s PS2_Keyboard library with great success – just check the ‘simple text’ example for which pins you can connect to on your ‘duino (on an Uno we used digital pins 2 and 3). We suggest our PS/2 adapter cable to make the wiring easy. Swipe any magnetic card and you’ll see the data appear in the serial terminal!
This reader will read and decode all three tracks of standard magnetic-stripe cards. It cannot write to cards, and cannot be modified to write to cards. We also have a two-track reader which is less expensive but does not read track #3. Wikipedia has a great article on magnetic stripe cards which will help you determine if you need a three-track reader or if a two-track reader is good enough.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.