Electric Strikes: How, Where And Why?

As locksmiths, we control access. We install locks to keep people out and key those locks with different levels of security to permit only those authorized to gain entry. We install mechanical or electromechanical locks in order to accommodate the...


As locksmiths, we control access. We install locks to keep people out and key those locks with different levels of security to permit only those authorized to gain entry. We install mechanical or electromechanical locks in order to accommodate the security and convenience requirements of our customers. For convenience, electromechanical lock hardware provides one feature that is not possible with mechanical lock hardware: the ability to remotely release a locked door in order to provide access.

There are three basic methods of electromechanically locking and unlocking a door - the electrified mechanical lock and lock hardware, electromagnetic lock and electric strike. Depending upon the manufacturer or provider, electrified locking products can be available with different types of monitoring and/or release switches.

The electrified lock and lock hardware usually operates as an access control standalone as it can be unlocked and locked either by using a key or electronically. Electrified locks incorporate either a solenoid or motor that controls the latch bolt mechanism.

Considerations when ordering an electrified lock are lock finish and function (usually Storeroom), voltage (usually 12 or 24 volts/AC or DC) and operation Fail Safe or Fail Secure. Door and lock monitoring/switches can include a REX (Request-to-Exit), Door Position Switch (DPS), Latch Bolt Monitoring (LBM) and Dead Bolt Monitoring (DBM).

Important: Before purchasing and installing any wired electromechanical hardware, consult your Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Electromagnetic lock installations will operate either as standalone, having pull and push handles on the door or in conjunction with electrified mechanical lock hardware in order to electronically release both of the locking mechanisms to gain access. For standalone operation, there will usually be some type of bolt lock that provides an additional layer of security during non-open hours.

A dual locking example could be a door equipped with an electromagnetic lock and an exit device equipped with electrified trim. For simplification, the exit device trim is configured to Fail Safe operation. With the single action of power being removed, the magnetic lock will release the armature and rotating the outside lever will retract the exit device latch, permitting the door to be opened.

When ordering an electromagnetic lock, take into consideration the number of doors and if the doors swing (direct pull), are swing through or slide (shear). Once this has been determined, determine the door composition (hollow metal, wood, glass or aluminum stile), holding force, voltage (12 and/or 24 VDC), mounting method (surface or face), finish and accessories. Door and lock monitoring/switches can include a Door Position Switch, Magnetic Bond Sensor, anti-tamper switch and relock delay timer.

Delayed Egress is a special application for an electromagnetic lock. The Delayed Egress electromagnetic lock will not release for either 15 or 30 seconds (release time determined by application, codes and AHJ). The purpose of delayed egress is to prevent theft or prevent a handicapped individual from leaving an area. These locks can be installed onto back doors of warehouses, secure airport areas and especially in geriatric institutions. Delayed Egress locks must be wired into the fire panel in order to allow immediate release in case of an emergency.

Electric strikes permit opening of a door without retracting the latch or bolt. An electric strike is designed to take the place of the strike plate, securing the extended latch or bolt from a mechanical lock. Most electric strikes have a ramped surface (lip), like a strike plate for the latch to travel. At the final portion of the surface, a movable keeper, when closed, secures the latch or bolt as does a strike plate. When the keeper is released, pulling or pushing on the door causes the keeper to swing out, freeing the extended latch or bolt. The door can be swung open without using a key or turning the knob or lever.

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