Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reading magstripe data from a MagTek reader using an Arduino

I got my hands on a used MagTek card reader from a surplus electronics shop recently and was able to get an Arduino to read from it. I mostly built my project off of and owe thanks to this Instructable which I highly recommend reading if you want to get a decent understanding of how magstripes work and how to interface with a reader using an AVR. Another great reference that goes into full detail on magstripes can be found here. Some differences with my project are that it uses Arduino code instead of AVR and the code can read off of track 1 or track 2 requiring just a single character code change to switch from one to the other. I also added an LED light to indicate when it's reading a card. You can download the Arduino code here.