You can use a magnetic card reader to start and stop a timer. (Scroll down for the video below. )

mag card reader

Collect the following information for manufacturing, assembly lines, or employee punch in punch out. Then put this information to work for you. Learn where employee time is spent. Find out how long products spend on the shop floor. Get intel that can change your whole operation.

Collect this for each swipe:

  1. Timestamps for each mag card swipe
  2. Employee who swiped
  3. Project hours

Learn how in the video below, and then scroll down for Q&A about mag card readers.




The questions below relate to starting a timer when employees swipe badges or cards with mag card readers connected to Standard Time®. Cards are associated with usernames in the software. A timer starts when the employee swipes, and stops when they swipe again. Timestamps are collected each time the timer is started or stopped.


Q: How do you connect a mag card reader?

A: This video isn't about hooking up a reader. But they are pretty simple. Mag card readers hook up to the computer with USB or Bluetooth connections. Even wireless units will have a USB receiver. Just plug them in, and they act just like keyboards. Normally, no drivers are required.


Q: How do you start a timer with a mag card reader?

A: The video above shows how to associate a magnetic swipe card with a Standard Time® username. Once the username is chosen, you must also choose a project and task. Then simply swipe to start, and swipe again later to stop.


Q: How do you program magnetic cards?

A: You need a special mag card writer. Mag card readers cannot write or erase a card. Mag card writers are typically larger, and require special software to write a card.


Q: Can I use any employee badge or card?

A: Yes, any format will work. To test your card, open MS Word and swipe. You'll see the encoding on the card. Pick out the employee name or number, and copy it. Paste that number into Standard Time® to associate a card with a username.


Q: Can I use credit cards to start a timer?

A: That's probably a bad idea. Technically you could, but you would be exposing the credit card number and expiration date. Not a good idea.


Q: What does ST collect each time the timer starts and stops?

A: ST collects the following information each time the timer starts and stops. Timestamps, username, project, task, category, workgroup or location. Other advanced information can be collected by using special fields in project tasks. Obviously, the information stays within your own database, and is only available to users who have rights to see it.


Q: What information is on the magnetic stripe?

A: There are three possible data tracks. Normally, the employee name or number will be on the first track. The second or third track could contain an employee number. ST can use information from any track to associate a card with a username. Just copy the text from any track and paste it into ST.


Q: Where can I buy blank magnetic cards?

A: has them. But you'll also need a writer. Most writers come with some blank cards.


Q: If I write my own cards, do I need track two and three?

A: No. Put employee names or ID's on the first track, and leave track two and three empty. Track two and three are optional, and often unused.


Q: Does the mag card reader need internal storage?

A: No, it should act just like a keyboard and send swiped text from the cards immediately. A timer will start and stop immediately when cards are swiped, in real-time. No storage or batch processing is supported.


Q: Does the mag card reader need a driver?

A: Usually not. Normally they just connect to the USB port and begin working like a keyboard immediately. No special software required.


Q: Can I connect multiple card readers to a single PC?

A: Yes, use a USB hub to connect multiple devices to a single computer. Each mag card is unique, so multiple readers pose no special problems or issues.


Q: Do card readers have unique ID's to distinguish them or their physical location?

A: Normally, only the contents of the mag card are unique, which means you cannot tell which reader a swipe came from. Keeping a single mag card next to a dedicated reader is the only way to distinguish where a swipe originated.


Q: The timer did not start after swiping. Why?

A: Did you set up a prefix for this card? And assign that prefix to an ST user? And choose a project or task? All those are required for the timer to start.


More manufacturing and employee timesheet videos:

See also: Start and stop timer with barcode scanners, Barcode scanner part 2, Barcode scanner part 3, RFID tag readers








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