After finding some magnetic card readers in a surplus store, Instructables member nevdull found that it's easily interfaced with an Atmel AVR mircoconitroller - and the ATmega328P-PU as used on our Arduino and compatible boards. Having a card reader opens all sorts of applications such as access control or making your own vending machine or permission device.
Apart from the hardware connections the tutorial also covers how the card reader works, the format of data returned from the reader and the AVR code to upload to your microcontroller.
Please note this is for reading and not writing magnetic cards, and Australia is going fully "chip and PIN" on the first of August. Nevertheless to get started check out the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you find yourself working with AVR-based projects or uploading firmware to various projects - then you'll need our USBasp - the USB in-circuit programmer for Atmel AVR controllers. Based on the original design by Thomas Fischel, it's fully compatible with the Arduino IDE and all three major operating systems, using the USBasp is a cinch.
You can select 3.3V or 5V target voltages, supply power to your project via the USBasp and even update the firmware on board yourself. Furthermore we've included the ICSP cable and microUSB cable to it's ready to use out of the box.
For more information including our Getting Started guide, design information and to order - please visit the USBasp product page.