Don’t Turn Down Wireless Access Control Jobs

Have you noticed that many access control integrators, while expert at installing readers, access panels and a host of other hardware, have an aversion to doors and door hardware? Perhaps they're intimidated by all the hardware configurations or simply damaging a door with an errant drill bit. Whatever the reason, Schlage wireless access locks and exit trim provide an excellent opportunity for the locksmith. The next time you're asked to install Schlage wireless locks to an access control system, take the job.

Wireless is the fast growing segment in the access control industry. Installation time averages 45 minutes per door versus 8 hours for a wired door. Schlage wireless access control systems are a reliable solution for customers who do not want to spend big money on wired unless the infrastructure for it is already in place.

For business now and especially in the coming years, it is imperative that locksmiths become familiar and comfortable installing wireless locks. There is little difference between installing an offline, standalone lock and an on-line, wireless lock from Schlage. In this article, we'll cover basic installation of Schlage WA5200 cylindrical lock so you're ready when you receive the call.

The three primary issues you will face with a wireless access control system are:

1. Proper installation

2. Door thickness adjustment

3. Wire routing.

We will cover these topics. But, first, let's overview the lock and a wireless access control system.

Schlage WA Series modular locksets include the card reader, electric lock, request-to-exit sensor, door position switch, battery pack and RF communications package. Models include the WA5200 cylindrical lockset and WA5600 mortise lockset. Architectural options include two lever styles and five finishes.

Both models can be used on wood and metal doors. With both, users have a choice of credential readers, including HID, Indala and AWID proximity, Mifare and iClass smart card, and magnetic stripe readers. Reader operating temperatures are –30 degrees to 150 degrees Fahrenheit
(-35 degrees to +66 degrees Celsius). They are weather resistant for outdoor applications. An 8-AA battery pack provides up to four years of battery life.


The hub of a wireless system is a panel interface module, or PIM, as it plays a critical role. It ties the door you are installing to the entire access control system, wired and wireless. PIMs act as the bridge between wireless access peripherals, like WA5200 locks, and online access control panels and head-end access control systems.

PIMs radiate in a 360-degree doughnut-shaped pattern and communicate with assigned wireless devices up to 200 feet away indoors. It may be counter intuitive, but you don't need line of sight between your door and the PIM. Signals are able to penetrate cinder block walls, plasterboard walls, brick walls, and many other non-metallic materials for simplified system designs and implementations.

The reason these solutions are becoming more popular is because wireless locking systems offer an opportunity to solve problems that might once have been impossible or impractical.

Wireless locking systems provide the same online, real-time capabilities as wired systems and are compatible with most brands of access control panels. Access privilege changes and audit records are available at the central control terminal, all from a common database, which simplifies data entry and management. This also eliminates the need to go door-to-door to upload changes and download records, making wireless locksets a good alternative to off-line, standalone locking systems. In addition, all wireless transmissions are encoded using 128-bit private keys for heightened security.

For outdoor applications, like vehicle and pedestrian gate access, wireless links can bridge up to 1,000 feet, eliminating costly trenching. Wireless systems are ideal for garages, parking lots, airports, utility companies and military bases. They are especially cost-effective for controlling gates around a facility. Even more impressive — optional directional or gain antennae are available for still longer distances, such as installations at oil fields and pipelines, where gates are controlled about 4,000 feet away.


For locksmiths, most of the following will be similar to installing any electronic lock…and, that's the point.

First, prep the door per the template. Different templates are provided for wooden and metal doors. (Figure 1 shows the template for wood doors.) Note that the small red holes are one-inch deep. They are not through holes. (See Figure 1)

Install the latch and the door contact, just like you typically do.

Install the strike box and strike plate, followed by the door magnet. Again, there is nothing different here than from any other electronic lock.

From the outside of the door, feed the lock assembly and the wire harness through the door. Ensure the latch is inside the prongs. (See Figure 2)

Press the anti-rotation plate onto the door. Then, place the wire harness completely inside the notch to avoid pinching the wire. (See Figure 3)

Press the wire ring into place. Do not place the wire inside the ring. It is important that the wire is placed in the retaining clip. Then, snake the wire around the ring, making sure that you leave no slack. (See Figure 4)

As with any Schlage electronic lock, insert the outside lever. Slide on the spring cage and secure it with two screws. Then, slide on the inside rose cover. Lastly, slide on the inside lever until it clicks.

Here's a differentiator for wireless. Install the transceiver and pass the wires as shown in the Figure 5.

Plug in the wire harness and connect the door contact wires. Then, install the wire tunnel over the harness. (See Figure 6)

If a proximity card credential is to be used, plug in the reader cable. Remove the cable locking card to make the connection. Then, reinsert the locking card after the connection is made. (See Figure 7) If a magnetic stripe card credential is to be used, simply plug in the reader cable. (See Figure 8)

If an REN option is to be used, connect the optional “Request to Enter” pushbutton. (See Figure 9)

Install the reader to the door. (Figure 10)

Install the battery pack.

Complete the installation by installing inside and outside covers using Torx screws. (See Figure 11)

Congratulations – you've done it. There's Not Much More to It

There are a couple other things you might want to do before installing your lock. First of all, assure that the PIM is within 200 feet of your doors. A pre-installation tester can assure that you are getting a read before you start drilling holes.

To save time and later troubleshooting, follow the lock templates carefully. Misalignments can cause malfunctions or inconsistent operation.

Once installed, functionally test the lock for card reads, lock operation, trouble reports, status reporting, and “fail safe” or “cache,” if the system is configured with them.

Don't Turn Down Wireless Access Opportunities

This is the fast growing segment in the access control industry. Averaging 45 minutes per door versus 8 hours for a wired door says it all. Schlage wireless access systems are proven to be very reliable and customers do not want to spend big money on wired unless the infrastructure for it is already in place. For business now and especially in the coming years, it is imperative that locksmiths become familiar and comfortable installing wireless locks.

Lester LaPierre is Schlage Electronic Security marketing manager for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

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