Magnetic Card Reader Help

I just bought 2 magnetic card readers. I got them from the site

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The models which I purchased are the MCR-7 and the MCR-10.

I have a few questions.

First, is there any documentation out there on how magnetic card readers work? Any kind of documentation would be helpful, preferably on the way data is encoded on to the card itself, what kind of ASCII characters are read off of the card, and the like.

Second, is there any existing software out there? These hook up to a RJ-11 jack (stnadard modem) If there is no existing software, or no one knows of any, I will be running on Unix (FreeBSD to be specific) and am going to read() off of the modem serial device file itself. Does anyone have any experience in that, or could give me a heads up? Anything would be appreciated.

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Thanks a lot

- Farhan

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, and the Phrack article linked at the bottom.

See above page. You'll probably have more luck with the MCR-7; it's probably just the card reader, and maybe an RS232 interface.

The MCR-7 has an RJ-11 plug, but it is incredibly unlikely that it emulates an analog telephone line (and therefore plugging it into a modem is going to be rather useless). It is somewhat likely that it is an RS232 serial interface, and you will be able to plug it into the serial port. But it is highly likely to just be a couple of discrete logic lines (clock, data, maybe "card present").

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Matt Roberds

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You find quite much information on this topic at

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Tomi Engdahl (
Take a look at my electronics web links and documents at 
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Tomi Holger Engdahl

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