A magnetic card reader is a device that is used to access data within a magnetic card. A magnetic card is a rectangular piece of plastic that either has a magnetic stripe on its exterior or a magnetic object built within it.
Magnetic card readers can access and determine the digital data within magnetic cards through several methods. Depending on the type of reader, the user can swipe the card through the slot in the device. Other card readers require the user to hold the card near it in order for them to read the digital data.
Once the card comes into contact with the reader through one of the aforesaid methods, the reader will then carry out a set of procedures. First, a component within the reader known as the read head is activated. This component contains line drivers and signal amplifiers which are necessary in identifying the data stored in the card.
A typical magnetic card has three tracks. The head simultaneously reads the first and second tracks before proceeding to the third one. There are, however, more advanced read heads that can access all three tracks at once.
Apart from the read head, the card reader has an oscillator component. The oscillator manages the clocks that are used for the recovery section. The recovery section fastens itself onto the data rate and retrieves the data bits one by one from the data stream.
Magnetic card readers have a specific program installed within them. This program instructs the device to read the card in a linear direction or in a more complex direction. The type of movement for reading depends on the data format involved.