Cansec Zodiac 250: Standalone Biometric Access Control

In addition to its standalone capability,the Zodiac 250 can be incorporated into an existing access control system using switchable 26-bit Weigand format or Cansec 37-bit proprietary format.

The Cansec Zodiac 250 can be installed as a standalone unit, programmed at the reader. The Zodiac 250 can also be operated as just a biometric reader, incorporated into an existing access control system using switchable 26-bit Weigand format or Cansec 37-bit proprietary format. For our purposes, we will set up a standalone system.


For our system, Cansec has provided the Zodiac 250, the Zodiac Door Control Module (DCM), 16.5 Volt 40 VA Plug-in Class 2 AC transformer, Cansec 12VDC/3A output Power Supply and an Electric Strike.

The Zodiac 250 can be installed on the interior or the exterior. For exterior applications, an optional cover protects against moisture. If the unit is installed on the exterior, an optional heater must be purchased if the temperature goes below freezing. The heater comes with a power supply.

The Door Control Module is always installed onto the “secure” side of the opening, taking the information from the Zodiac 250 and providing the unlocking function. With the Door Control Module not available, if the Zodiac 250 is pulled off the wall, there is no way to jumper the exposed wires in order to unlock the lock. Two Form “C” lock relays have a nominal switching capacity of 2 Amps @ 30 VDC. The lock device relay portion of the DCM connections is designed for electric strikes having a maximum one Amp draw and a magnetic lock or motorized lock having a maximum two amp draw. The one Amp electric strike draw maximum compensates for the in-rush.

To wire the Zodiac 250 to the Door Control Module, Cansec specifies six conductor, 22 gauge overall shield cable (6 CONDUCTOR 22 AWG SHIELDED). Shielding prevents electromagnetic interference (EMI) from being absorbed by the conductors. The metallic shield drain wire along with the ground wire is connected to both the Zodiac 250 and the Door Control Module GND (Ground) connectors.

Important: The metallic shielding must be grounded to prevent electromagnetic interference.

Five wires are the minimum necessary to transmit signals and provide power to the Zodiac 250. According to Cansec, 22-gauge stranded wire is the optimal size for wire runs up to a maximum of 500 feet.

The Cansec Power Supply provides filtered and regulated power of 12VDC at 3 Amps. The Cansec 16.5 Volt 40 VA Plug-in Class 2 AC transformer powers the power supply. The Zodiac 250 with Door Control Module draws a total of 300 mA. As an added benefit, the DCM can be connected to either a four or seven Amp hour backup battery for operation during power failure.

For this article, we will use an HES electric strike to control access.

Wiring the Zodiac 250 is straightforward. For our purposes, there is an eight-pin plug-in connector to which we will connect five wires. We will connect D0, D1, LED, GND, and 12 VDC to the same five connections at the READER portion of the Door Control Module circuit board fixed connector. Except for GND and 12 VDC, the wire color does not matter as long as the connection is correct. Use red for the 12 VDC and black for the GND.

The colors of the six conductor shielded cable are: red, black, white, blue, green and brown. For our purposes, in addition to the red and black for power and ground, we will use the blue for D0, the green for D1 and the white for LED.

Important: Be sure to twist the drain wire and the black ground wire together before inserting into the GND connector position in order to reduce EMI. Keep as much of the exposed wires covered with the shielding as possible.

Since we are not installing a door contact switch, a jumper wire must be installed between NC and GND on the DCM in positions three and four. Do not use the GND slot above the NC slot. It is for the power in ground. Then power must be provided from the transformer to the power supply board, the power supply board to the Door Control Module, and the DCM to the electric strike.

For our purposes, the DCM will power both the Zodiac 250 and the electric strike as the total power demand is less than two Amps. A second jumper wire must be installed onto the Door Control Module between the +12V OUT and the COM.

To suppress reverse surges, a 1N400x series diode should be connected to the positive and negative wires at the electric strike. A diode conducts electric current in only one direction preventing reverse surges.

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