Usually, tachographs are divided into analog and digital.
Analog tachographs are of round shape and installed in the speedometer socket. There is a paper disk inside, on which information is recorded. Today, analog tachographs are considered obsolete.
Digital tachographs are of rectangular shape and installed in the socket of the car radio (head unit). The technical implementation of a digital tachograph is an encrypted system of permanent energy-independent data storage with limited access to data and a thermal printer for reporting. Further, in the article, we will talk only about this type of tachographs.
The main practical difference between analog and digital tachographs is the degree of data protection from hacking. This necessity arises because some drivers try to manipulate tachograph data to complete routes faster while neglecting rest and safety, or to artificially increase their mileage and steal fuel. Any mechanical interference or incorrect data entry will be registered in the digital tachograph's memory, which will be discovered during the official check. Identified manipulations with the tachograph entail a fine, which will depend on the seriousness of the violation and on the country where it's discovered.
Access to the tachograph memory is provided by 4 types of plastic key cards:
- Driver card — allows the driver to save data on operating modes for 28 days.
- Company card — allows the transport company to read the trip data of its vehicles.
- Workshop card — allows technical specialists to set up the tachograph.
- Control card — allows law enforcement agencies to read driver violations and hardware failures.
The data in the tachograph memory is stored in files that may have different formats (extensions) depending on the tachograph model.