Plug this into your pc first and run a few cards through it with a capture program and you will see a pattern. Then once you figure it out, you can snip the end and plug it right into your arduino. From there your on your own. I don't know how the arduino is going to like it.http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Mini-Portable-Magnetic-Stripe-MSR-3TK-3-Track-Swipe-Credit-card-reader-/310423171499?pt=BI_Credit_Card_Terminals&hash=item4846a9b1ab
Thanks for the replies.I've been reading some more on the topic, and while I'm about to give up and use a USB reader with a laptop instead, the possibility of using a Square Credit Card Reader as my card reader instead is very tantalizing.Square makes a card reader that plugs into phones as a mic input, and then their software reads cards. I've plugged the reader into a mic input on my PC, and swiping a card generates a tangible waveform as an audio signature.. I feel like if I knew just a little bit more about what I'm doing, I'd be able to decode the audio and identify the dorm cards we're using.
Data packet format??Suitable to all magnetic card reader?Track 1 start character?? End character??Track 2 start character?? End character??Subject Specification Track standard Comply with ISO7811 Decoding method F2F (FM) Starting character Track 1"%" Track 2"?" Track 3"+" Card reading Data bit Track 1 79 Characters (7-bit)Track 2 40 Characters(5-bit) Track 3 107 characters(5-bit) Card thickness 0.2~0.84 mm Suitable Voltage DC5V±0.5V Static current 10mA/5V Track reading width 1.5mm Magstripe passing speed 15 - 120 cm/sec (6-50inch/sec) Magnetic head life span More than 800,000 passes Error rate Lower than 0.5% Interface RS232,USB,PS/2 Track 3 start character?? End character??Enter key is end character of the whole data packet.