Page 1 of 1

compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:31 am
by SynGreis
i am thinking about a project to do and i was wondering if there was a magstrip reader that would be compatible with the pi zero w.

The magstrip reader has to be as small as possible as im trying to keep size to a minimal.

But so far i cant find anything other than bulky ones or ones that just isnt small.

I was thinking of the ones you see in those point of sale devices.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:15 pm
by Andyroo
A lot of the POS readers are RS232 based so you will need to have a serial to usb converter as well. Often they act as keyboard wedges so a simple serial read in Python will pull the data.

Power normally is not an issue as some can take 5V

Can you detail the project a bit more as cards can have multiple tracks so we would need to know which tracks do you want to read (and from what type of card) and do you need to write?

Would an RF tag reader be better as they are simple to fit (many routines are available) and you do not get any issues with skimming accusations :lol: :D :lol:

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:53 pm
by SynGreis
i was going to have the writer separately. i just need a reader.

Im not dealing with any legal tender, in fact dare i say i stay away from it.

track 1 is fine.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:25 pm
by Andyroo
SynGreis wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:53 pm
i was going to have the writer separately. i just need a reader.

Im not dealing with any legal tender, in fact dare i say i stay away from it.

track 1 is fine.
Then you do not want to be reading track one or track two as they have the account number - normally matches the number on the card... Problem you have is track three is not 100% present as most cards have narrow strips now.

Wise on the writer - companies normally have to go through a lot of checks to get writers legitimately.

You basically have two sources for readers - EPOS or access ID. The latter normally need 12V supply to them (or the ones I've used all did) and the control boards are big. I would look for a POS version with RS/232 and then a simple level converter (based on a MAX3232) to interface to the Pi serial port rather than trying a USB version. Avoid the RS/485 versions - you normally need to convert that to RS/232 then to 3.3V

A quick Google for POS suppliers in your area will show them up or China has ... 14968.html - The advantage of the local supplier is they should have tech support for commands / data stream.

Any reasons the RF-ID tags are not suitable - cards are a lot more fragile and without a writer your stuck to pre-programmed numbers (very expensive) and very little data capacity?

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:04 pm
by SynGreis
track 1 is fine.

the reason i said i dont touch legal tender is because im exploring using a swipe card as a "credit card" but for cryptos(bitcoin, dash, monero, etc)

also i was thinking something more integrated like this...

as you can see from above nothing is exposes its sleek and you can swipe your card.

unfortunately i appear to be lacking the terminology to get accurate search results.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:02 pm
by Andyroo
Thats a chip and pin reader with a mag stripe on the side - not cheap and normally links back to the POS via Bluetooth / USB / Serial or direct to the bank with GPRS. They are normally dedicated to reading traditional bank cards etc.

These folk do something similar ... 23320.html but a one off is $100US AND Linux is not supported but you may do better with ... 22869.html

Gut feel is, as this is not standard banking / POS, you may be better looking to develop on the device. Hunt for eft-pos such as ... minal.html but again they are not cheap and may not take a Pi in them - a large number run Android though rather than their own OS now. If you are set on a Pi, then possibly 3D printing and touch screen is the way to go for a pilot and rip the guts out of a cheap reader then move to a compute module / injection moulded case. Maybe breadboard first then a handheld using as a starting point?

Good luck with this though as you are treading into areas controlled by the FSA / money laundering regs and I left that development stream behind years ago :lol: :D :lol: Even if you move to the UK (who is rather lax on the whole Bitcoin regulation - excluding HMRC who wanted their cut) you may be caught up in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) - literally caught as they operate world wide if you are dealing with US citizens and the regulation fees make a $100 terminal look cheap.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:31 pm
by SynGreis
I was posting the picture to show you how i want the mag strip reader. How its not sticking out much and still can swipe.

I looked at your models and i am unsure as to how i would load my program and any library i may need to load my custom software.

This program will have nothing to do with any legal tenders and no communication with banks will happen.

Yea i was thinking on the custom approach. My original idea was to slap a pi together with camera, msr, printer, touch screen as a starting point. I would have it set up to boot up straight into the java program in full screen.

But when i see these EFT POS tempted to switch over. Currently im with pi mainly for the size and cost effectiveness at the moment. But im not 100% with pi. Im learning linux and i havent enjoyed it much, im more of a windows guy. Ive been with android since i started holding cellphones so the appeal is there. But im not sure how i can set it up to only load that one program and only that one.

I havent touched development for this kind of device.

My thoughts were to once i can get the components together and reduce it in size and restructure it the way i like it i was going to print a rough mould. But im not really sure what printer to get for this kind of job? Not looking to break the bank or something. ... 29293.aspx?

This above was the printer i was thinking about.

And alas the final point.

I took a while to get back because i wanted to be sure but actually it turns out that if the device doesnt touch legal tender such as USD or CAD then legally speaking they have no authority.

Money laundering doesn't happen if its just cryptos being transferred. The problem is when they try to cash out their coins is where the charges come from.

You cant charge someone with money laundering if they arent laundering YOUR money. And since no one owns cryptos no one can claim absolute authority over it.

Long story short, it aint illegal until you touch their money.

CRA outright lies to the public about it here: ... rency.html

"Digital currencies are considered a commodity and are subject to the barter rules of the Income Tax Act."

The barter rules was repealed in 1982 with the creation of charter for CANADA. a court ruled that CRA has no authority when legal tender is not involved. Other jurisdictions are the same.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:21 pm
by Andyroo
This side of the water we seem to have HMRC awaiting everyone else in Europe decide despite our dear government working to leave :lol: :roll:

Barter in the UK has been a mess for a long time as it can depend on if the ‘buying’ or ‘selling’ company is VAT registered, if you have more than £390 in Baxter per year and if it is for personal or business use. Forms have to be sent between parties and VAT (incomming and outgoing) may have to be recorded both for the transaction AND the conversion despite the same part of the gov. saying this is not currency and it falls out of VAT law! Me thinks they will wait till brexit is sorted then go for the big earners with some archaic law and get a ruling from the courts :shock:

As for android development - you do not have to load any app onto a base version of the OS and can auto start apps as needed - normally the development courses / videos assume you deploying to phones but it may be worth asking in the ‘bare metal’ threads if anyone is doing android development on the Pi and then port to a dedicated device.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:42 pm
by SynGreis
Thanks for your response. not entirely sure oif i want to keep android.

But...if these pos devices can be set up to autoload the one app then perhaps its enough to have me switch over since the heavy lifting is done already.

Is there any information on these pos devices like set up configuration, etc...?

Also, anyone in the common wealth and the us has to abidce by the legal tender laws.

If you trade cryptos and JUST cryptos then they cant touch it. Court rulings reinforce this everytime money is NEVER TOUCHED.

Re: compatible magstrip reader.

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:12 pm
by Andyroo
Last time I developed on anything like this was with a toolkit specifically built for creating GUIs and the device had a basic boot loader app that talked to the PC development for uploads. You then could set the machine config by XML file and import that and it had a secure password to stop others 'changing' things around. The other option was to configure the machine itself and then download the config to the PC.

With it being a one off (I assume) Android device I think you would use a in-built app for config and just develop a normal app for the correct processor / Android version. Lock down then becomes either a hand-built kernel (or rooted generic kernel), app such as gokiosk (search for Android Kiosk mode) or more professionally the COSU (corporate deployment) method from Items such as mag stripe and RF-Id readers either have their own controls in the SDK (normally config / standards accepted) and act as a keyboard wedge allowing the user to read the card or type in the details if the read fails.

Tech info maybe a bit sparse without buying one as the OS should take the hardware differences away (the old hardware abstraction layer in Windows) but I see from ... 76fbB047kb they do have SDKs for you IF you buy a trial device :roll:

One other thought I had was to go for a modular device such as the ... pro-4.html and add an RF-ID reader to it. These are not cheap (I paid £K's for ones for use in the freezers at work) but development tools are available and you should be able to find a local supplier if dealing with China is too painful.