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Product: Magnetic Encoder Model 3840(Reader/Writer)

1. How do I connect the unit to the host computer?

Plug the 9 pin cable into the available COM port on the host and then power it up using the power adaptor provided.

2. How do I verify the functionality of the Reader/Writer?

  1. Launch the Demo utility program downloaded from our website with the unit connected & powered up.
  2. Click on the Setup button; select the COM port where the unit is connected if the Communication Error message pops up when the program is launched.
  3. To verify the card read capability: Click the Read function button, swipe a sample magnetic card (e.g. credit card) through the unit at the prompt, make sure the magnetic stripe is facing away from the LED and the card moves from the bigger open end towards the smaller open end of the slot. Then check the Message window & Track 1, 2, 3 data window for the status & card data. Click on Cancel button to exit the READ mode.
  4. To verify the card write (encode) capability: Type some date in the Track data windows, select the card type (Low- co or High-co), then click on the Write function button, at the prompt swipe a blank card through the slot the same way as when you test the readability. Check the Message window for status. Click the Cancel button to exit the WRITE mode. If you like, you can click the Read button and swipe the card to verify the data being encoded.


Please keep the ISO card type selected unless you know the other card format.For ISO card type, data on track 1 can be Alpha-Numeric, data on track 2 is numeric only (Download & Check the manual for other special characters allowed)

3. I have an IDT3840 encoder, but my PC does not have a free COM port, is there a way to use it through a USB port?

Yes. You can use our USB/Serial converter cable (P/N: IDT1221U) in conjunction with the cable that came with the IDT3840 and install our USB serial driver to create a virtual COM port. Setup our utility or your application software to communicate with the unit through the virtual COM port.

4. What should I do when I get 'Write card error' by trying to write a card?

Find out if the blank card that you are trying to write the data on is high coercivity or Low coercivity type card. Ask the card supplier. Select the Hi-C or Lo-C option accordingly in the utility program.

If your card is a high coercivity type, make sure the Reader/Write that you have is the right model (The model number should look like this: IDT3840-xxHL)

5. Why the Hi-C and Lo-C option is grayed out in the utility program?

This means the Reader/Writer that you are using is only able to write on low coercivity type card. (Refer to General Support Related Question - Product Identification to verify the model #)

6.Why do I get 'Read card error' message but the data appears correct when I read a card?

Check the card swiping direction and make sure the card moves from the bigger open end towards the smaller open end of the slot.

7. Why is there no response in the utility program when I try to read my credit card?

The card is facing the wrong side when swiped through the unit. The magnetic stripe should be facing the narrow side of the slot (away from the LED)

8. Why are there extra leading & ending characters when I read a card just encoded?

They are the standard sentinels required for each individual track based on the card type selected. The utility program will encode the sentinels with the card data for each track automatically. The sentinels should not be added to the card data for writing when encoding a card using standard a card type. (e.g. ISO, AAMVA, CA Old DMV)

9. My application does not like the sentinels to be sent with the card data, how do I get rid of the sentinels?

This can be done through re-configuring the reader that you are using to reader the card data into the application software.

10. How do I encode the Enter or Tab functions key on the card?

You can not encode the function code such as Enter or Tab on the card. (Please download the manual for the character set that can be encoded on each track). However, you can re-configure the magnetic card reader to insert the Enter or Tab as needed to meet the application software's expectation.

11. I am developing my own application.  I am able to send the command to turn on the LED lights, etc. However, I kept getting an error response when sending the sample write command code from the appendix section of the manual?

Please try sending the Set BPC command first, then the write command.

12. What should I do when I get communication Error or o MSR106/206 found or not find Reader/Write?

  1. Check the connection to make sure the unit is reliably connected to the COM port.
  2. Click on the Setup button in the utility program and make sure the correct COM port is selected.
  3. Check to see if there is any other application is currently connecting to the COM port where the unit is connected. If yes, please release the COM port by closing that application.
  4. If all above have been checked and still have the error message, have the COM port checked or test the unit on another PC.

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