MSRvXXX read modes

Since build 6xxx, our MSR device have 2 read modes:
  • The old mode was used in all readers with build numbers below 6000
  • The new mode is the default read mode in all readers with the build number above 6000
The difference between the two modes:
  • The new mode can read 704 bits while the old mode was able to read 608 bits. As both specifications are above the magnetic cards standard, the advantage is noticeable only if you are using a customised format of the card.
  • The new mode allows us to check if there is something wrong with the head. 
NOTE: If your device works correctly in the new mode, it will also work perfectly in the old mode. Also, we thought that it would be nice to allow the user to switch between the read modes, therefore, in order to switch from one read mode to another, you just need to follow the steps below:

The reader will stay in the chosen mode until you switch it again. The reader will not swich back to the old mode if you power it off.


In March 2010 we have found a nasty bug in the new read mode code installed on all firmware versions from 6.0 to 6.1a. Click here to find out how to determine your firmware version.

The new read mode code bug: what happens is that if the read fails in any way (it usually fails when a swipe takes more than 2 seconds - the user swipes really, really slow), the reader will not read anything else until is rebooted. In order to work around this bug you have to switch to the old read mode. You do not have to worry about performances. Switching to the old read mode will not impact it in any way.

We have fixed this bug in firmware version 6.1b. If you think that you are affected by this this bug and if, for any reason, you do not want to switch to the old read mode, we will update the software for you for free. You just need to cover the shipping.