PCSCCheck, the all-in-one tool to validate and tune your PC/SC installation

An analysis of the questions that are the most frequently asked to our technical support shows that many issues and concerns are due to the settings or the behaviour of Windows operating system itself.

This is particularly the case in security-enforced corporate environments, where strict administrative policies may prevent the user to install the right driver, or even prevent the applications to access local smart card readers.

The fact that Windows raises a couple of notifications ("Setting up a device", then "The smart card requires drivers that are not present on this system") every time a card is inserted in a PC/SC reader for the first time is also the source of many questions, that this article will address.

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New firmware for all SpringCard PC/SC couplers based on the H663 core

SpringCard has just released a new firmware version, tagged 2.00, for its H663 core.

The H663 core is a versatile contactless+contact module, which supports virtually all proximity/RFID HF chip cards (ISO 14443 & ISO 15693 standards, including Mifare, Calypso, etc), NFC-enabled mobile phones or other objects (ISO 18092, peer-to-peer in initiator mode, passive communication scheme), and could also accept up to 5 contact smartcards (ISO 7816, one ID-1 card and up to 4 SIM/SAM ID-000 cards).

SpringCard H663 is the foundation of the largest family of RFID/NFC USB PC/SC readers on the market:

  • The H663S and H663A "bare" modules (designed respectively for either a Symetrical - balanced or an Asymetrical - unbalanced antenna)
  • The H663-USB OEM PC/SC ready-to-use contactless coupler (H663 core + antenna)
  • The CrazyWriter HSP, a complete multi-slot contactless+5 contact PC/SC coupler made for OEMs
  • The TwistyWriter HSP, a contactless+ID-000 PC/SC coupler made for OEMs
  • The CSB HSP, a desktop PC/SC coupler featuring contactless, 1 smartcard slot and 3 ID-000 slots
  • The Prox'N'Roll HSP, a brand new version of SpringCard's best selling desktop contactless coupler.

This new firmware version provides only a few new features, but introduces a new software architecture based on FreeRTOS which dramatically increases the device's performance for a better transaction time - particulary when accessing numerous slots in the same transaction.

freertos

How to upgrade

To upgrade your H663-based product with this new version, please refer to our H663/H512 Firmware Upgrade Procedure.

The 2.00 firmware file is here: uc3b0256_rc663_h663_2-00.hex

(note for future readers: please always use the latest firmware version using this permanent link).

From 30/04/2015, all H663-based products will ship with this version (instead of earlier 1.81).

Some new feature

Adding the reader's serial number to the slot names under Windows

Starting with version 2.00, the H663 family is able to insert the reader's serial number in the name of the PC/SC readers as exposed by Windows' SCardListReaders API call. On machines with numerous readers attached, this makes it possible to know which physical reader is actually bound to a logical slot without querying the reader through a SCardControl call.

To enable this feature, download the latest version of MultifConf; create a new project for the H663-product you own (CrazyWriter HSP typically), and in this project scroll down to "Misc. tricks". Then find the "Insert the serial number in the name of the slots" entry and turn it ON. apply the configuration to the reader(s) (Project -> Write Configuration into Reader), restart the reader, and enjoy!

multiconf-h663-tricks

 

 

PC/SC driver updated

We've just published a new release of our WHQL-certified driver for SpringCard PC/SC products. This new version (code name: SDD480-BB) fixes a few bugs that have been experienced with the earlier release:
- corrected a memory leakage that used to occur as a consequence of frequent SCardControl calls
- CSB6 now reports correctly "card mute" when a card is physically inserted but unresponsive
- improved overall stability on multi-slot readers thanks to a stricter synchronization of SCardTransmit calls

To download the driver, please go to http://www.springcard.com/download/find.php?file=sdd480. The installer now contains both x86 and x64 binaries, and select automatically the one adapted to your system. It will also be available through Windows Update in a few days.

As the previous one, this release targets all SpringCard USB CCID readers :
- CSB6
- CrazyWriter
- EasyFinger
- Prox'N'Roll PC/SC

Users are welcome to deploy this new release as soon as possible.

New WHQL-certified PC/SC driver

Edited 24/04/2012: an updated version has been published to correct a few bugs. Please read this article.

Our new PC/SC driver is now online and ready for download! This driver (code name : SDD480-BA) has been certified my Microsoft's Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL) for both 32 and 64 bits operating systems.

It targets all SpringCard USB CCID readers :
- CSB6
- CrazyWriter
- EasyFinger
- Prox'N'Roll PC/SC

Note: as the Prox'N'Roll has only one smartcard slot (its contactless card interface), it is not required to use our driver since the default CCID driver supplied by Microsoft also does the job.

The SDD480-BA driver is also ready for the new generation of USB CCID products that will be launched in a near future.

To download the driver, please go to http://www.springcard.com/download/find.php?file=sdd480

Choose either
- sdd480_x86-ba.exe for 32 bits targets (certified and signed for Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Seven on i386 core)
- sdd480_x64-ba.exe for 64 bits targets (certified and signed for Windows XP, Vista and Seven on amd64 or intel64 core)

The setup package uncompress the driver in Program Files\SpringCard\SDD480_x86-ba (or Program Files\SpringCard\SDD480_x64-ba depending on the target) and then installs the driver into Windows' system directory. Of course you must run the setup with administrative priviledges.

The driver will also be available through Windows Update very soon.

A few more details for integrators and developers

Should you need to redistribute this driver with your own software or to recreate a setup package bundled with yours, just copy the uncompressed files and invoke DPInst.exe when you want the installation to take place.

Although we've done our best to ensure full compatibility with our previous (unsigned) driver and with Microsoft's default CCID driver, please pay attention that the naming of the slots may be a little different in some cases. In fact slot naming and numbering has been designed to show clearly which slots belongs to which reader. Let's suppose we have 2 CrazyWriter and 1 CSB6 connected to the PC. The 1st CrazyWriter instanciates 3 slots: CrazyWriter Contactless 0, CrazyWriter SAM A 0, CrazyWriter SAM B 0; the 2nd CrazyWriter instanciates 3 slots as well: CrazyWriter Contactless 1, CrazyWriter SAM A 1, CrazyWriter SAM B 1. Then the CSB6 instanciates 5 slots : CSB6 Contactless 2, CSB6 Contact 2, CSB6 SAM A 2, CSB6 SAM B 2, CSB6 SAM C 2. You see that the number is the same for all slots of one reader. This is the best approach to know which SAM (or contact interface) comes with whatever contactless interface.