Using a Magnetic Card Reader/Writer


While the latest craze for "secure" projects seems to be RFID, there is something to be said for good ol' magnetic cards. If you're interested in integrating low-coercivity magnetic cards into your project, or just hacking an existing card you already have, this video will show you how.

In the above video, SparkFun CEO Nathan Seidle shows you how to interpret the data provided by both our Magnetic Card Reader and our Magnetic Card Reader/Writer. He also guides you through writing your own cards! Credit card scammers - the reader/writer won't write to hi-co (high-coercivity) cards, so you won't be able to go and make a duplicate of someone's credit card. Sorry! For all you legitimate hackers out there, this is a cool technology to play around with! Have fun!


Comments 11 comments

  • looks fruity

  • Good video.
    I clearly see Nathan in TV in the future like Mytbusters or so :)

    • I’m with you on this one.

      • Awesome video RoHS! Thanks again for the amazing work you did here at SparkFun.
        And heck no. No show for me. As it is now, I can’t find any time to build stuff.

        • What are you talking about? You started and own this crazy wonderful company that is all about enabling others to build new things no matter how crazy the idea is.
          It would be the greatest tragedy if the guy who enabled so many to follow their dreams, do things they never knew was possible and helped launch the DIY movement didn’t have time to create, tinker and build things himself.
          Make some time, have some fun, build something crazy.
          Thanks for everything. You’ve definitely changed my life.

  • I’ve got a related project on my web site.
    http://www.ringolake.com/pic_proj/mag_card/mag_lock10.html

  • Your link for the low-coercivity magnetic cards goes to your no-longer-available high-coercivity magnetic cards page.
    Link to the low-coercivity magnetic cards page.

  • ahhh these tutorials make me want to spend money! I don’t know the last computer I’ve owned that has a PS/2 connector on it… Too bad it’s such a hassle to power the Reader/Writer. It would be a heck of a lot easier if the that bulky thing could just plug in to a wall socket!

  • This will cause a flurry of activity with my high schoolers.

  • Nice video!


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