I set up about 30 time zones so the one-minute unlocking would seem random on various doors on various days. It was anything but random. The latest software upgrade took away our multiple PINs but gave us a command to lock a lock without first requiring a toggle open command. We now lock all electronic locks 10 minutes after the day classes - in case a student leaves a lunchbox or tools in the classroom. Evening instructors toggle the doors open, so we give all 135 locks the command to lock 10 minutes after the evening classes end. Just to start the day secure, we give the lock command to all the locks prior to anyone entering the facilities.
Prior to electronic locks, a maintenance man had to walk the building each night locking most doors while leaving evening or Saturday class/shop doors unlocked. Someone had to walk the building again in the morning to unlock the necessary doors.
Did your access control system solve the problems?
Yes. We have can now control every type of hardware situation from door locks to exit devices to aluminum entrance doors. We stock many different parts to meet any servicing problem that might occur.
The 35 original Schlage e.Primus locks (introduced in 1998 and replaced by Locknetics products in 1999) are still operating fine. We needed to upgrade the motherboards in the locks, but the software still functions nicely with them. Because they are PIN only units, we have them mostly on classroom closets.
Yes. You need to be very careful about order numbers. There are more options for each electronic lock than for mechanical locks and the numbers must be carefully researched before ordering from a distributor. If you are ordering parts or locks with unusual lockset functions, the distributor may just be passing on your information to the factory. Request and check any order confirmations carefully or you may end up with several expensive electronic locksets that may not meet your requirements.
You need to have a spare lockset for each style of lock in case something does go wrong. If the problem seems software related; open the lock, clear the memory, and reprogram it. If the problem seems mechanical in nature, you will need to replace the lock and work on the problem back in the lock shop. We have occasionally had to send product back for repair and both our local supplier and the factory have been very helpful. I would also recommend checking and double-checking with your distributor to make sure that the product sent for repair is promptly returned in a timely manner.
An interesting story: our original software allowed me to send an unlock command on Friday and the lock would remain open until it was sent a timed lock command - as in Monday morning. Essentially, open all weekend. After our last software upgrade, the same lock locks at midnight, on its own. Not aware of this software change, I programmed a weekend to stay open for a contractor to wax the facility floors and shampoo the carpets. Unfortunately, all the locks locked at midnight on Friday night . . . There was a lot of duct tape used that night! There was nothing in the software documentation on this feature.
Do you still like your access control system?
The administrators, the staff, Art, and I are very pleased. I look forward to using the new Schlage AD-series electronic locks. I hear a combination iButton/PROX credential will be available allowing use in both our existing (iButton) product and future purchases of AD-Series product (PROX).
Pete Dinschel answers Locksmith Ledger’s questions about his job and the access control system used at his workplace, the Carpenters Training Center.