Q&A: Electronics 101

Our electronics expert answers questions on shear locks and building code requirements.


We have to install a shear lock on a Herculite door with a rail at the top. The door swings both ways. After researching the available shear locks, I am wondering; since it is a Herculite door, what sense does it make to install a 2700 lb. lock, when the door will probably shatter under considerably...


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In certain situations, provisions must be made to allow entry by emergency services such as firefighters. In other situations, doors must be able to meet pressure tests to protect emergency responders and also to mitigate the spread of fire and smoke.

Building Codes attempt to establish minimum acceptable requirements, but hardly define preferred or recommended practices.

A good way to begin any system design is by identifying the possible failure modes which might prevent the system from operating safely, or what system elements will best ensure its safe operation. While adherence to the Code is the basis for any system, it is still necessary for experienced applications engineering and professional installation to realize the intended results.

Also, I would never ask a manufacturer or distributor rep to determine a life safety or security requirement for an application. I would, however define my requirements and ask a rep if his product met those requirements.

For any given application, you can call ‘x’ number of reps at company ‘y’, and get ‘z’ different answers. Is that how to design a system? Call up five reps, total their responses, calculate the mean, and go with the resultant answer?

No. The locksmith should endeavor to render the highest level of security possible for his customers.

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