CARD SWIPER - Troubleshooting

Latest Update: 3/8/2011

Even though the card swiper will be the simplest to install, some very common problems can still occur, especially with pre-existing card swipers that you may try to get to work with MJ

Here are some gotchas and issues, and the best way to resolve them:

Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) is EMPTY, even though I swipe the Driver's License or Credit Card over, and over again. What could be the problem?

You just purchased a USB MSR (Magnetic Stripe Reader) and once it arrived, it was easy to connect. Your Operating System (Windows/Mac) recognized the new card swiper, and even the green light on the unit is on. But, every time you swipe a Driver's License or Credit Card, with Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) running, the application remains empty. What's wrong?

Well, the most likely scenario is that you purchased a USB/HID interface MSR, and not a USB/Keyboard interface MSR, as described in the Basic Requirements detailed in the HWCS01 - Card Swipers - Requirements and Overview article.

Don't fret, though. All is not lost! Using Windows-based configuration utilities from most major card swiper manufacturers (such as IDTECH or MagTek) you can re-program a card swiper from USB/HID to USB/Keyboard.

Mac-logo.jpg Please Note: Currently, there are no Mac-based Configuration Utilities available from the manufacturers. If your Card Swiper needs to be re-programmed, you will need a Windows-based workstation or virtual machine (via Parallels or VMware on your Mac) to be able to effectively re-program your MSR, and correct the issues you may be having.

However, since this could risk damage to your hardware, we recommend that you contact MJ Freeway Technical Support to assist.


When I swipe the Driver's License, it does not find the exact patient, even though they are in my database. Why not?

After a patient arrives, or during your testing of your new system, you swipe the Driver's License of the patient who you know is in your database, and a screen similar to the following, appears:


Although you have successfully swiped Driver's Licenses and Credit Cards into Notepad, and seen that everything is appearing correctly, this scenario is baffling. What could lead this to happen?

  1. The Driver's License number captured in the Patient Record contains numeric characters, and cannot be matched with the "swiped" number.
  2. The Patient Record does not contain a Driver's License Number, and needs one.
  3. The patient, for whatever reason, received a NEW Driver's License from the state, with a new number, and their record must be updated.

Of all of the above possibilities, #1 is the most likely culprit. If you find the patient record through other means (name search, etc.), and open it, you may find that their Driver's License number recorded in the record actually has dashes, as it was entered manually (i.e. 92-185-78). Just go ahead, and remove the dashes, save the record, and try again. You will notice that the patient record is found immediately, and that all is now well!


If I am creating a NEW patient in my system, after swiping their Driver's License, their ZIP Code is not "pre-filled" in the new patient record. Why not?

A patient has arrived in your dispensary, and after taking their Driver's License, and swiping it a couple of times, MJ Freeway consistently cannot locate an existing patient record. After verifying that they are a new patient you click on "Create New Patient Record from Driver's License".

By clicking on this button, it automatically creates a new patient record and "pre-fills" all of the pertinent address, DOB (date of birth), Driver's License # and other information captured from the Driver's License. However, you notice that the ZIP Code is not captured and pre-filled, even though it clearly exists on the Driver's License. What's wrong?

In this scenario, there are a few possibilities:

  1. The MSR (magnetic stripe reader) that you purchased is only capable of reading Tracks 1 & 2 from a magnetic stripe. The ZIP Code resides on the 3rd track.
  2. The MSR came configured to only capture Tracks 1 & 2, even though it is capable of reading all (3) tracks.
  3. The Driver's License is damaged, and the 3rd track cannot be read consistently, correctly.

For item's #1 and #3, there is not much that can be done at this point in time. You may want to re-review the Basic Requirements detailed in the HWCS01 - Card Swipers - Requirements and Overview article, to ensure that if you seek to replace your MSR, you look for those requirements.

For item #2, there is a way to verify that this is the case, and if so, there is a way to re-program the MSR to enable Track 3.

To verify scenario #2, open Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) and swipe a Driver's License.


If the result of the swipe is a long string with (3) questions marks (each signify the end of a track), then you are capturing all three tracks. Swipe a few more times, to ensure that the MSR is swiping consistently well.

However, the result of the swipe could be a long string with only (2) question marks:


The above means that only (2) tracks of information from the Driver's License is being captured, and if that's the case, please review the specifications of the MSR that you purchased. If it states "3 Track capable" or "Capture Track 1, 2 and 3", then it just needs to be re-programmed to capture all (3) tracks.

Please contact MJ Freeway Technical Support for more assistance.


Every time I swipe a Driver's License, I get an error: "There was a problem reading the drivers license. Please try again." Why, and how do I fix this?

A patient walks in, and after taking their Driver's License and swiping it, you receive the following error:


This issue usually always happens with new dispensaries that are installing MJ Freeway for the first time, or have recently changed one or all of their MSRs (magnetic stripe readers) and are using it for the first time with MJ Freeway.

If the Driver's License is damaged, it could cause this scenario. However, the most common occurrence falls back to the configuration of the MSR, and specifically, what is known as the "track delimiter".

Open Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac), and place your mouse cursor in the application writing space. Then, go ahead and swipe the Driver's License.


As you can see in the above image, the Driver's License card swipe resulted in three separate lines of information. This means that each track of information is located in a separate line, and that the "track delimiter" is enabled (i.e. Carriage Return or "Enter" Key after each line). This is not compatible with how MJ Freeway needs to receive the card information.

Once fixed, the card swipe into Notepad should result as a long string, as follows:


If you are experiencing this problem, then your MSR can most likely be re-programmed using a Windows-based configuration utility from one of the large manufacturers (ID TECH, MagTek, etc.).

Please contact the MJ Freeway Technical Support team for assistance.

Other Resources

For more information, you can reference these other MJ Freeway Knowledge Base articles:


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