Every locksmith should be familiar with the Kwikset name and the wide variety of Kwikset residential locks which have been available for decades. Kwikset has been moving out of the realm of budget-priced, residential products with introductions in recent years of upgraded locks with names such as Maximum Security and UltraMax plus decorative hardware such as Avalon and Ashfield .

Kwikset has now changed the way we think about pin tumbler construction. The old procedure of key bumping has gained some publicity during 2007. As a result, many lock companies began development of anti-bumping designs. While rumors from various sources indicate that most lock companies are trying to add key bumping deterrents to traditional pin tumbler construction, Kwikset had attacked the key bumping issue with a whole new design called SmartKey .

Kwikset and Weiser are brand names owned by Black & Decker. SmartKey is available in Canada under the Weiser name. SmartKey uses a standard Kwikset keyway plus normal Kwikset depth and space dimensions. The key actuates five pin tumblers as it is inserted into the lock. This is where any similarity to a traditional pin and driver system ends.

Primary parts in a SmartKey cylinder include five bottom pins, five racks and one locking sidebar. Each bottom pin has a projection, or finger, which interconnects with a rack. The opposite side of each rack has a notched cutout. When a key with the correct combination of cuts is fully inserted into the cylinder, the pin tumblers move the racks so their notches will be centered and aligned to form a continuous opening for the sidebar. Slight turning pressure on the key moves the sidebar into the opening formed by the notches and the plug can be freely rotated for desired locking or unlocking.

Key bumping basically depends on the reaction movements between bottom and driver pins. Since SmartKey locks contain no top pins, pin inter-reaction is eliminated. False notches in each rack further dampen free movement of parts during any key bumping attempt.

An additional feature of the Kwikset SmartKey system is the ability to quickly change a key combination without any disassembly. The lock plug is split into two sections: the plug and a spring-loaded carrier. Carriers house the racks and locking bar. An operating key must be available when changing the combination.

With an operating key inserted and the plug turned 90 degrees, a special ‘learn tool' can be inserted into a small hole in the plug face. As the tool is inserted, it moves the carrier back a short distance and disconnects the bottom pins from the rack. The former operating key can then be removed and a new key with different key cuts can be fully inserted. As the key is turned back to the vertical (removal) position, spring pressure moves the carrier forward and reconnects the racks into their new key combination positions.

While the SmartKey design is not overly complicated, it is new and different. Kwikset is offering a large poster for display in locksmith stores. It informs customers about the many features of SmartKey . The poster contains an exploded view of the parts which is also very handy if a SmartKey lock should ever need parts or servicing.

One cause for servicing may be when an owner loses their key. A malfunction can also occur when someone removes the key at the wrong time during combination changing. In both cases the SmartKey lock can be reset without complete disassembly by using a Kwikset Reset Cradle tool. The SmartKey cylinder assembly must first be removed from its housing, Once the assembly is inserted into the Reset Cradle, turn the dial 180 degrees. This action reconfigures the SmartKey cylinder to accept rekeying. Then insert a SmartKey tool fully into the change hole. Finally, insert a combinated key fully into the keyway and rotate the key 90 degrees counterclockwise. The cylinder assembly is now ready for reassembly into the cylinder housing.

For more information concerning Kwikset SmartKey products, parts or posters, contact your local locksmith distributor or:, 1-800-327-5625.