Our department wants to modify computer lab doors so that they can be
unlocked using some sort of computerized authorization based on either
rfid or magnetic stripe keycards. Unfortunately, the University
requires that we retain the current mechanical locks so that they can
always open all doors using current keys, so simply replacing the
locks isn't an option. The main problem is finding something to open
the manual locks without giving everyone access to a normal key.
Is there some sort of device that can be installed into an existing
lock to open it electronically?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Trying to install something into the lock itself.... You can pretty much
forget that if you want to retain operation with the current keys as
well. If you were willing to give that up, things could be done with
some of the compact electronic lock cylinder retrofits.
You really don't want to think about trying to re-engineer exisiting
lock mechanisms for electric release -- it's sometimes possible, in
theory, but I don't think you'd save much money over buying locks
professionally adapted... and those, unlike your homebrews, would pass
UL and code ratings.
This sounds like a perfect application for an electrified strike. The
door and its lock are completely unaltered; the electric release
mechanism gets morised into the frame. Take your pick of controllers for
how it gets triggered -- combo, mag card, prox card, TI chip,
thumbprint, etc -- based on your security needs. For this application,
it sounds like you'd want fail-secure rather than fail-safe, but think
about that one too.
There can still be some mounting difficulties -- eg, if the frames are
concrete-filled, getting the wires to the strike can be a pain -- and
the strike has to be matched to (and in some cases, adjusted carefully
to) so you want someone who has at least a partial clue to do an on-site
"Brett" wrote in message:
Joe and Henry have good advice for you here..
I can understand the policy where the University wants to have keyed locks
on all of its doors, as they work even when the power goes out (you would be
surprised at just how many nifty gizmos aren't hooked up to emergency power
circuits) , and having keyed locks allows "authorized" personnel (facilities
and public safety) to gain entry to any room at any time...
A properly designed and installed electrified strike sounds to me to be the
best solution for the application you have described... The electrified
strike can be operated by any controller you can feel your budget can afford
to purchase (but consider the future automation of access control on the
campus and make sure any equipment you buy now will fit into your future
plans)... It can be "fail-secure" because people inside the room wanting to
exit will be able to do so as the electric strike doesn't adversely effect
the operating of the lock installed in the door...
As far as your question about what kind of identification credentials to use
on your security/access system, what kind of cards do you have on campus
right now ??? Do other areas of the college use access control cards ???
Does the cafeteria use id cards with magnetic stripes to keep track of
students with meal plans ??? If you look at the bigger picture on campus
you might be able to integrate several functions with one id card... This
sounds like something that should be carefully considered with an eye to the
future, as this could be the beginnings of a much larger access control
system and you would want to be able to comfortably expand it without having
to replace the hardware ou are going to buy for this project you are
considering now because it isn't adaptable or compatible...
Joe made note of several things you would want to watch out for as far as
conditions of the frame that can add to the expense of your project... You
want this done right the first time so it is well advised that your
facilities department consult a locksmith with a lot of experience with
electronic access control devices...
It sounds as if you loathe having locks with keys on the doors... It is
usually in the best interest of everyone's safety that the doors can be
opened even if the power to the controller goes out... However, it sounds
as if you have MANY people who need to have routine access to your computer
labs and issuing that many keys does often have an negative effect on the
overall security of the room involved... You are asking the right questions
to begin to plan your solution, you should see if you can get some money to
have a locksmith do a site survey and come up with a few project proposal
ideas... Having the proposals will allow you to see if you can afford to
fund the project within your department's budget or if it is something that
will need to be brought before a capital project approval process...
~~ formerly a maintenance man, now a college student
You can retain the existing mechanical locks and install a card access
system using an electric strike, like in an apartment front door.
Most universities of any size have an in-house locksmith who if he isn't
knowledgable on card access products and electric strikes can get hold
of the local expert and get you firm pricing and delivery dates for the
card access system you choose.
If you don't have an in-house locksmith, you will probably need your
Physical Plant people to research the question and prepare proposals for
If you work for Physical Plant and need to find an expert, check the
Yellow Pages under Locksmiths and give them a call.
I am kind of spoiled in that I formerly lived in Toronto and the Yellow
Pages listed firms that sold and serviced everything from storm door
locks to jail locks, New and Used Locomotives and Builders of Bridges.
( email@example.com) writes:
Electric strikes in the door frame. Then the card can energize the strike OR
you can use the key to retract the door latch.
Mag stripe keycards are prone to be erased and/or damaged. I recommend
either rfid (prox) cards or biometric recognition. Fingerprint readers are
great. Depending on what you choose, I can make recommendations as to
software (and the hardware that goes with it). How many doors? How many
labs? How many buildings? Will the computer that controls the doors be in
the same building as the doors? What kind of budget? Does your maintenance
department have the skills to get the wiring done as aesthetically as
In addition to looking into electric strikes, you will also need to
look iunto a card access system to operate the strikes when that is
allowed to enter sticks their card in the reader.
Even, formerly a maintenence man gave excellent suggestions in his post
and I stand by my comment that your in-house locksmith is a good place
to start researching electric strikes and card access.
Remember the price an outside supplier may not be the same as what your
Physical Plant department will charge your department.
Often Physical Plant will surcharge the bill of the outside supplier to
cover the operating overhead of Physical Plant administering the
Electric strikes come in various descriptions and range from light duty
for a door seldom used to extra heavy duty for busy doors and I would
strongly recommend you buy a heavy duty electric strike, as computer lab
doors will be constaqntly opened and closed.
( firstname.lastname@example.org) writes: > Thanks. I'll look into electric strikes.
One point that no one seems to have raised. The University would
appear to have no objection to the existing locks being replaced as
long as the replaced locks have key over-ride which can be
incorporated into what ever masterkey system is in use (it would seem
that the only key that will be needed is the masterkey used for
emergency access by security guards or the local Fire Department).
Depending on a host of circumstances this may be the best option.
I was assuming they *did* have objections, whether on basis of cost or
fire-code or whatever. But you're right, the querant should go back to
them and make sure the right questions have been asked and the real
issue is being addressed.
No, you would not want to set the mechanical locks to storeroom
function, only allowing them to be opened from the outside either with a
key or magnetic card.
The doors are on computer labs and will be full of people using
computers who have to get out in the event of fire, flood or even if
their magnetic card is damaged or the card reader is damaged.
Typically you would want the doors to operate apartment building front
door style, where the card or key are required to gain entry, but there
is a push bar or unkeyed lever knob on the inside of the door to grant
free exit to all.
miles ( email@example.com) writes:
isnt that store room function.. outside ALWAYS locked (and cannot
be set 'open')? and inside, is ALWAYS available to open..
classroom can be left UNLOCKED on the outside, by which way the
key is turned.. but store room cannot be
I guess it depends on your definition of storeroom function.
I would define Storeroom function as opens always from either side
unless locked with the key.
Classroom function in my experience is always opens from the inside
and the outside can be locked with a key.
On Yale mortise locks set for classroom function, you can also lock
the outside knob by pressing the appropriate button on the edge of
the door and can unlock the outside knob by pressing the other
button on the edge of the door.
Back in my university days the night watchman would not lock up the
computer room I was in because he thought he would lock me in so I
told him I would lock up when I was finished. Upon leaving the
computer room I would just prerss the stop work button on the edge
of the door, test the outside knob to ensure it was locked, and let
it close behind me. Worked great for four years.
Always wondered who I had to visit to get a key to one building to
get in evenings and weekends that was frequented by graduate
students. Turned out not even the graduate students had keys, they
just used the secret night entrance.
It was close to the parking lot and a loading dock and was marked:
The same university had a short hallway connecting two buildings
together that had the doors arranged in a weird way.
You could often get into the hallway from one or the other building,
but once inside, you found the door you entered through solidly
locked from your side and the door to the other building also locked
I wonder if they ever figured out this potential death trap?
It is amazing how a basic flaw in building hardware specifications
can go unnoticed for years then when discovered, administration
wonders how the H someone could make a mistake that stupid and have
it go on for years.
Back door of the apartment building I lived in Scarborough for years
would periodically jam the key in the keyway. I found that some
careful fiddling would almost alwaysrelease the key and collected a
number of sets of keys that had been abandoned, with one stuck in
Being a good sport, I would stuff the keys in an envelope, mark it
found in back door and drop them into the building superintendent's
mail slot in his office door.
One little known trick of the back door was that if you manually
pushed in the bolt and turned the key the other way, you could lock
the door open!
I'm glad almost no one knew about this as we had enough security
problems in that building as is.
Like the day a bunch of deliverymen from a tv rental company tried
to deliver their color tvs to the back door of the building which
had no intercom for them to buzz up to get in.
I still thinbk I should have noted the numbers of the trucks and
phoned the tv rental company about that one! They must have been
expecting to be met by someone from inside the building who didn't
make it to the door on time to let them in. I refused to let them
in and told them to go to the front and buzz up.
Ber darned if they didn't!
I know that tv rental company has a world class skip tracing
department as they often have to track down renters who skip without
paying for the tv. But you would think their own employees would be
trustworthy. Guess they get what they deserve, paying their
deliverymen minimum wage and no benefits.
( firstname.lastname@example.org) writes: > >
"Brian K.Lingard" wrote in message:
ANSI defines "Storeroom Function" (F07) locksets as:
"Latchbolt retracted by key outside or by lever/knob inside. Outside
lever/knob always inoperative. Auxiliary latch deadlocks latchbolt when
door is closed."
ANSI defines "Classroom Function" (F05) locksets as:
"Latchbolt retracted by lever/knob from either side unless outside is locked
by key. Unlocked from outside by key. Inside lever/knob is always free for
immediate exit. Auxiliary latch deadlocks latchbolt when door is closed."
By definition a classroom function lockset (and yes I agree there are
several different variations also defined as "classroom function") can only
be locked/unlocked form the outside with a key. This makes sense if you
consider where these locks are to be installed. In a school you would only
want authorized personnel (teachers, staff, etc.) to be able to unlock
doors. A lock equipped with stopworks on the lock front would be able to be
unlocked by anyone who can open the door from the inside. Most building
codes require classroom spaces to have two or three doors. Doors to
adjoining rooms are often only passage function as they are serving as
emergency exits for two rooms and therefore need to be unlocked from both
sides at all times.
That sounds more like while it may be called and used as a classroom
function lock it is not UL listed as one.
"No Admittance" doesn't mean very much. In Massachusetts even doors marked
"No Entry" or "No Trespassing" mean very little. The signs marking doors
leading into off-limits areas must include the text of the actual law you
would be breaking and charged with by entering the area, and a warning such
as "By entering this area without proper authorization you could be subject
to arrest for Trespassing" but that is only here in Massachusetts there are
at least 50 other different rules and procedures in the 49 other states and
for Federally owned facilities.
There were not any doors exiting from the corridor to the outside ? Usually
in situations as you describe the corridor is serving two purposes, one is
to provide a covered passageway between the two buildings, but at the same
time also be an emergency exit from both buildings. A person exiting one
building in an emergency only needs to be able to get outside and not into
--cut out apartment building door story--
~~formerly a maintenance man, now a college student
according to the lists, storeroom CANNOT be 'made open' on the
outside.. it requires a key EACH time you want it open
classroom can be set locked OR unlocked. on the outside..
Classroom Function (ANSI F08)
Key unlocks lever for extended period, until key is used to
re-lock lever. Lock functions in passage mode while exterior
lever is in unlocked mode.
Schlage uses the following..
Both knobs always unlocked
Push button locking on inside
Dummy trim for one side of door
Turn push button inside to lock, key outside
Inside always unlocked, key outside locks/unlocks knob
Inside always unlocked, outside always locked, key retracts latch
I would call a door that always opens from the inside but always
requires a key or a card to open it from the outside a Hotel Room
Whoever specified the hardware for the hallway connecting the two
buildings made a big boo boo as the hallway had no door to the outside,
just doors that connected it to the basement of the two buildings!
So at night or on a weekend, once inside the hallway with its solid
cement block walls, you would be therre until Monday morning when
campus security came around and unlocked the doors.
( email@example.com) writes: > "Brian K.Lingard" wrote in message: > .
sorry, thats another one YET..
and you can call it whatever you want, BUT ANSI is the AFAIK,
'defining council' on what is called what.
Hotel locks have (or can have) another thing YET.. and that is
the ability to require a 'certain' key, to over ride the inside
lock. IE, the tenant pushes a button on the inside and this
'locks out' the maids key.. this requires the special key that
THEN bypasses that lock.. from the outside
rfids can be read at a considerable distance by someone with the
equipment. Stuff the reader in a radio-transparent gym bag/briefcase/etc
and hang around the entry area, you can get a signal from someone
biometric recognition can be useful, but it has inherent downsides.
most fingerprint readers aren't worth the components they're created
from... google for "gelatin fingerprint PCB". Most readers STILL haven't
fixed this imitation finger vulnerability.
your average thief will be deterred by such things, but they're very
beatable by someone who knows what they are doing.
it's extremely difficult to remotely read magstripes at distance.