ACR39 USB stick readers on a desk

ACR39 advanced chipset readers

The ACR39 range of contact smart card readers from ACS incorporate a new intelligent chipset that builds upon this manufacturer’s impressive 20-year history of designing and developing smart card technology products.

Like the ACR30 and ACR38 chipset readers before them, the new ACR39U, ACR39T-A1 and ACR39T-A3 all provide the ability to connect either a full-size or SIM-sized smart card to almost any computing device that supports USB. Compliant with the latest USB CCID specifications, these readers will usually work ‘out-of-the-box’ without needing special manufacturer drivers, thanks to built-in CCID support on Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX and Android. And, in the case of the ACR39T-A3, the reader even has a built-in micro-USB connector, enabling direct connection to mobile devices that have USB on-the-go (OTG) ports.

The ACR39 chipset supports an incredibly wide range of smart cards, ranging from high-end, asynchronous microprocessor cards to legacy memory cards using synchronous and I2C communications protocols. These include the AT24 range of memory cards as well as SLE-type memory cards such as the SLE5528 and SLE5542. It is becoming less common for modern contact smart card readers to support many of the legacy memory cards no longer in production, so hats off to ACS for continuing to provide excellent backwards compatibility on their latest reader family, which is being rolled out to more form-factors and product variants over time.

The latest smart cards use chips that are capable of communicating much faster than older processor platforms, which is important when larger blocks of data are being exchanged, and larger applications or storage capabilities are being used. Luckily, the ACR39 family offers a maximum read/write speed of 600Kbps, faster than many other models, and future proof for when faster cards are introduced. It also supports ultra-low-voltage smart cards and SIMs capable of running at 1.8V under the latest ISO 7816 specifications.

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