Electro-mechanical access control products are available in different configurations including electrified cylindrical locksets, mortise locks, panic/exit devices, deadbolts, strikes and trim. Each of these devices and configurations provides similar and yet unique locking applications. One of...
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Over the past year or so, several companies have begun to offer electrified locks in a dual voltage solenoid package of 12 and 24 volts. Wiring in the field can be configured by the locksmith according to the voltage needed. These dual coil solenoids have made stocking of electrified locks more cost-effective. This dual coil solenoid enables locksmiths to stock fewer locks. To further simplify stocking of product, Marray has patented a reversible solenoid that is dual coil and dual function, so a locksmith can set the solenoid for either Fail Secure (EU, Electrically Unlocked) or Fail Safe (EL, Electrically Locked).
Most standalone access control systems (battery powered) incorporate a low torque, low voltage motor. The low torque motor enables operation even if the door is slightly out of alignment. The low voltage requirement enables the motor to be battery operated, drawing a minimum amount of current. A number of battery powered locksets provide access tens of thousand of times before the AA batteries must be replaced, according to their manufacturers.
Hardwired systems offer a robust solution and no maintenance schedule is required to replace batteries. When a door is equipped with hardwired electrified locking hardware, I still recommend an annual inspection and lubrication to ensure continued optimal performance.
Hardwired systems do require running the wiring to the lock, components and power source. Hardwire installation can be relatively easy if the facility has a drop ceiling and open spaces to run the wiring. There can be a problem if the building has concrete filled jambs and no usable crawl space above the ceiling. It is extremely important to note the condition of the door jambs and ceilings before providing a quote for a hardwired access control system.
Important: Calculate the costs and benefits of the locking hardware and the running of the wiring and then compare this to the costs and benefits of the standalone unit. Then decide whether a standalone or hardwired system is more practical for the application.
What are the benefits of electrically actuated cylindrical and mortise locks? For one thing, the door positively latches when it is closed and shut. In fire rated and listed door situations, especially in stairwells, this is a critical requirement, since those doors provide a fire wall assembly to keep the stairwells safe and available for personnel to utilize in case of an emergency. Should the door not positively latch, the door could potentially blow open, causing any fire or hazardous gases or smoke to enter the safe passage to ground level.
Occasionally, Marray gets a call from a locksmith whose customer wants the “magic lock,” meaning one used in an institutional or man trap situation, where both the inside and outside handles can be electrically controlled. Should a job require a lock that is electrically controlled on both sides, a mortise lock would be the better choice over a cylindrical lock. The reason is the mortise lock would have the solenoid installed inside the chassis. This enables the mortise lock itself to control the operation of the handles.
Choosing An Access Control System?
How do you determine what type of electro-mechanical access control system is required for a specific facility? First, you want to walk your job and look at the doors that need to be electrified in order to electronically control access. Take good notes. If you have doors with cylindrical or mortise locks, determine the finish, the relative handle style (most manufacturers have similar handle styles and although they are not exact, they are sometimes very similar) and the backset. Most commercial jobs will have a 2 -3/4 inch backset, but you will find (run across an) older doors that were prepped for a 2-3/8 inch backset. To avoid any problems, measure each lock's backset. There is nothing more frustrating than getting the lock off the door, preparing the wire chase for the electrical connection and then not being able to install the lock because you have the wrong backset.
A short note here is needed about backsets. Even though 2-3/4 inch and 2-3/8 inch backsets are the most common, you will also find 5 inch and 3-3/4 inch backset locks on certain jobs. These are usually special order and you will need extra time to schedule such a job and in order to obtain any replacement parts.
Once you have determined the type of lock you need and the electrical requirements, you must also think about how you are going to get power to the locking hardware. Choices include power transfer hinges, door cords, and current transfer devices.