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.

Programming & Authentication

Programming and authentication are the two steps through which access is controlled. Each person authorized to gain access must first be programmed into the Zodiac 250. The programming begins with administrators. The administrators are those individuals who will add and delete Users and will have authorization to change system settings. No administrator, no programming of users. Up to nine administrators can be enrolled (programmed).

The administrators control two menus: the administrator menu and setup menu. The administrator menu can add and delete users, display user information and display the total number of enrolled users. The setup menu adds and deletes administrators and determines the system operational functions. This includes setting time and date, deleting all users, factory reset and selecting the mode. The mode choices include the Zodiac 250 operation as a standalone system or a reader.

For this article, we are setting up the Zodiac 250 as a standalone system. When the correct user PIN and fingerprint are presented and authenticated, access is granted.

Upon startup, the two-line LCD displays, “The unit is in virgin mode. Setup required press PGM key*****”. Pressing the PGM key sets up the first administrator by recording a PIN and red LEDs on the scanner glass waiting for a fingerprint. If successful, the LCD displays “Function Complete.”

Administrators have only a single fingerprint template. Cansec recommends the primary administrator enroll a second time with an alternative finger. For this installation, I became the administrator using my right hand index finger.

Once the administrator has been enrolled and the changes have been made to the setup menu options, the users can be enrolled into the Zodiac 250 in one of two ways:

PIN + Fingerprint – The user receives a PIN and then when instructed, places the finger to be enrolled onto the glass of the scanner. Once scanned, the Zodiac 250 will instruct the user to enroll the backup finger, an alternative fingerprint under the same PIN to help insure access.

If a fingerprint is not viable, the alternative is a Bypass Number. The Zodiac 250 will request a five- to eight- digit number that can be used to gain access. The longer the number, the greater the level of security.

Users can be added and removed by the administrator knowing their PIN.

For a user to gain access, the PIN is enter and the “ENT” button is pressed. Red LED’s will illuminate at the fingerprint sensor. Place the enrolled finger onto the glass. Almost instantaneously, the LCD indicates “ACCEPTED” and the two front LED’s illuminate green. If a finger is not placed onto the glass, the system will reset. If the backup finger is placed on the glass, additional time is required for the system to authenticate both fingerprint templates.

Up to 250 users can be programmed into the standalone configuration of the Zodiac 250. This includes up to 250 backup fingerprints.

The body of the Zodiac 250 is manufactured of polycarbonate material that is UV stabilized against discoloration. The unit is not waterproof for exterior applications. However, Cansec offers an optional cover to protect the unit when installed in outside installations. For areas whose climatic conditions go below freezing, Cansec offers a heating unit. This thin, rectangular heater is placed behind the Zodiac 250. It comes with its own power supply.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Cansec Systems Ltd. Telephone 905-820-2404. Web Site:


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