Electrifying Door Hardware – Four Scenarios

Choosing the “right” door hardware for a specific application really begins with the customer. Examining the existing lock hardware to determine what can be properly used for the proposed application is the second step.

First, it is most important to find out how the customer wants the door to operate, which can include any or all of the following:

  • Key-controlled access control
  • Electronic access control
  • Remote access
  • 24/7/365 access control
  • Multiple credentials
  • Audit trail
  • Controlled access from one or both sides of the door

For this article, we will discuss options for controlling access using four scenarios. Each will describe the doorway, its function, components and additional necessary information. Once described, we will list the electrification options, including information regarding necessary components, wiring requirements and installation considerations.

Wherever possible I will include at least one option that permits existing hardware to be used.

Important: Always discuss an electronic installation with the local authority having jurisdiction (LAHJ) prior to installing.

SCENARIO 1: Reception Area

The first scenario is an interior wooden door and jamb from the reception area, providing access to individual offices within a large office building. The reception area door is equipped with a door closer and a storeroom function lever cylindrical lockset. The storeroom function lockset outside lever is locked and access can only be gained by using the key to retract the latch. The inside lever is always unlocked, providing free egress. There is a rear entrance for the renters if they stay beyond closing or want to gain access after business hours.

The customer would like some way that the receptionist can temporarily unlock the door for people to gain access without having to physically unlock the lock for each person. Each office is notified and authorization is given prior to permitting people access through the door. The client thinks that the total number of electronic openings will be less than 50 per day, five days a week, approximately 1,300 opening per year.

The door and the door hardware provide a starting point for the choices. For this example, the doorway is not fire rated. There is no fire label on the door or jamb. This means that the wall is not a firewall and is a partial wall, stopping below the actual ceiling.

If the opening were fire rated, there are additional limitations. Then the wall would be a firewall running from the floor to the sub floor of the next floor up or the roof pan and any work must be according to code. For example, a raceway can be drilled through a fire rated wooden door by a locksmith who has the proper equipment and certification. The door must then be re-labeled to recertify the opening. To legitimately install a raceway in a hollow metal door, the door must be removed from the jamb and taken to a certified door company. The raceway is constructed; the door is recertified and hung by the door company.

The next consideration is for the wiring. Determine of the wiring can be exposed, for example running up the wall. I do not believe that a professional should offer this option unless there is no alternative. Concealing the wiring is the proper way of doing an installation.

For this scenario, the walls are stick construction using wooden 2x4s. The ceiling is a drop ceiling with ducting and wiring throughout space. This means that wiring can be run relatively easily as the space above the drop ceiling is not used as the active circulating air duct (plenum airspace).

This means that running wires down the wall to a momentary button would not be very difficult. A four foot 3/8” diameter bell-hangers drill bit can be used to drill a hole down the wall to about three to three and one half feet above the finished floor.

If the desk is next to the wall, the wiring can be run locating the momentary switch (button) can be mounted onto one of the inner sides of the desk, so the receptionist does not have to reach in order to provide access. This way the button is not easily visible.

The wireless alternative for this scenario is a single relay controller and wireless transmitter. Relays are used to control a circuit by a low-power transmitter signal. The important considerations of wireless operation are the range, time delay, voltage and amperage of the NO/NC contacts, power consumption and the size of the controller. A single relay controller can be installed above the drop ceiling or even within the wall cavity if there is sufficient room behind the electric strike.

As an upgrade, if the customer wanted to make the life of the receptionist easier, a low energy power door operator could be installed. This would permit the receptionist to press the button or transmitter and not only would the lock mechanism unlock, but also the door would automatically swing open, providing access.

Knowing the components necessary for assembling an electronic access control systems makes the choice or choices easier. We will begin with the lock mechanisms. Each of the lock mechanism choices has advantages and disadvantages. Choices include:

  • Electric strike (including the Securitron Unlatch) type release mechanism
  • Magnetic Lock
  • New electrified lock
  • Modifying the customer’s lock

For this scenario, a basic Grade 2 Fail Secure (intermittent duty) electric strike will provide sufficient holding force and level of security as the receptionist will monitor the electronic operation. To complete the installation, a plug-in power supply and wired (momentary pushbutton) mechanism or wireless mechanism would have to be purchased. The power supply for this type of electric strike does not require filtered or regulated power. A plug-in transformer should provide sufficient power for the electric strike and the release mechanism.

If a wireless controller and transmitter will be installed, make sure the voltage for both are the same. This will eliminate a second power supply.

Note: An AC Fail Secure electric strike buzzes when powered. The DC powered is silent except for a “click” that occurs when the keeper is released.

Installing an electric strike-type release mechanism requires modification of the wood jamb as the strike body is usually recessed deeper and wiring has to be run from the electric strike to the power supply.

Electric strike install time is about 1-3 hours for an average installation. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

The magnetic lock is surface mounted and requires no modification to the wood jamb. The storeroom function lever lockset would have to be replaced with a passage lockset. The receptionist would release the magnetic lock for access from the exterior side of the door.

To automatically release the magnetic lock from the interior side of the door, the passage function lockset could be equipped with a REX switch. When the inside lever is rotated, the REX switch opens and removes power to the magnetic lock.

The REX switch would require a raceway and running wires from the lockset to the magnetic lock. An electrified hinge and power supply must be purchased and installed.

An alternative to the REX switch would be a standalone motion detector installed above the door. This enables the people to exit into the receptionist’s area. Using a motion detector eliminates the need of the REX switch, raceway and the electrified hinge. Some building codes and LAHJs require an additional emergency exit button when a motion sensor is to be installed.

Magnetic lock install time is about 1-3 hours for an average installation. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

The electrified lockset installation does require either purchasing a new electrified lockset or electrifying the customer’s lockset, drilling a raceway, replacing the middle hinge with an electrified hinge, and a power supply.

There is no modification required for the strike or the door prep assuming the same lockset model is installed.

Electrified lock install time is about 1-3 hours for an average installation. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to prevent components from being easily visible.

 

SCENARIO 2: Hotel Entrance

The second scenario is a niche hotel being converted from mechanical locks to electronic locks. Guest rooms and some office doors are being equipped with wireless electromechanical locks operated by Smart cards. Some of the offices are being equipped with wired networked locks.

There are narrow stile aluminum glass doors at each of the three side entrances. Each entrance is equipped with a rim exit device, and the rim cylinder requires a room key to gain entrance. The level of security is almost non-existent as so many room keys have not been returned.

The mechanical locks on these three narrow stile aluminum glass doors will be replaced with electromechanical lock mechanisms having readers to enable the hotel-issued room Smart cards to gain access.

Power is available to each of the doors. The wireless network reaches each of the doors, permitting the system to limit access to the currently issued Smart cards.

There are a number of choices for electronically controlling access. These include:

  • A handleset with built-in contactless reader connected to the exit device. Entrance would be gained by presenting the smart card, which unlocks the lock, permitting rotation of the handle that retracts the exit device bolt.

Handleset install time is about 1 hour for an average.

  • A separate wall-mounted contactless reader that controls a magnetic lock. The exit device would be disabled. A passive infrared request to exit device positioned above the door on the interior side would release the magnetic lock. Some building codes and LAHJs require an additional emergency exit button when a motion sensor is to be installed.
  • A separate wall-mounted contactless reader that controls a magnetic lock. The exit device would be disabled, with the push bar operating as REX switch.

Wall-mounted contactless reader and a magnetic lock install time is about 1-3 hours for an average. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

  • A separate wall mounted contactless reader that controls a new exit device equipped with electrified latch retraction.
  • A separate wall mounted contactless reader that controls the existing exit device modified with electrified latch retraction.

Wall mounted contactless reader and an electrified exit device install time is about 1-3 hours for an average. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

 

SCENARIO 3: Manufacturing Facility

The third scenario is a small manufacturing facility with two swinging entrance doors, one in the front and one in the rear. The poured concrete building has exposed walls and poured concrete filled jambs. The non fire rated, hollow metal exterior doors are equipped with mortise locks and cylindrical deadbolt locks. The mortise locks are equipped with knobs and rosette trim. The mortise pockets are approximately 6-1/2” tall and about 4-1/2” deep.

The company owns the building. Office personnel enter through the front door and manufacturing personnel enter through the rear door. Employees use a time clock to punch in and out. The total number of employees is approximately 100 with very little turnover.

The owner wants security and access control to permit only authorized employees right of entry at their appropriate times. He wants dual credentials, scheduling and audit trail. One of his goals is to eliminate the time clock. He cares only the time an employee enters as the workflow will demonstrate the amount of time each manufacturing employee is on the job. He also wants locks installed onto exterior doors that are to some degree vandal and weather resistant.

The choice of lock mechanisms requires electronic access control for dual credentials, scheduling capability and audit trail. He would like a four-level security hierarchy, with himself at the top, then the company manager, the office and manufacturing managers and the employees.

Because of the wall construction, two standalone electronic access control locks are most practical. Then there are two key questions. What functionality is the customer willing to pay for? What lack of functionality is the owner willing to have someone do?

The most basic dual credential standalone lock with scheduling and audit trail would be a keypad and card mortise lock. This basic model for his application would require programming at the lock.

The next step up would be a software-driven PC with data transfer to and from the computer. Employees could be enrolled, scheduled and deleted at the computer. Each door lock’s information could then be sent either directly from a laptop computer or using a data transfer mechanism and uploaded to each lock as necessary. At each lock, the audit trail can then be downloaded.

The up-to-date option is the wireless networked locks that would provide almost real-time programming capability and dissemination of information. All of the programming is entered using a computer that is wirelessly connected to each of the locks. When someone presents his or her card and user code, the computer screen shows the information. Users can be quickly deleted and locks can be put into lockdown or passage mode. The condition of the batteries can be seen to know when the time comes for replacement instead of using a set replacement date.

Handleset install time is about 1 hour for an average. Programming time is additional.

 

SCENARIO 4: X-Ray Room

The fourth scenario is medical facility that wants to provide “touchless entry” for rooms into which wheelchair and gurney-bound patients will be taken, such as X-ray and nuclear medicine rooms, including MRI and PET Scans. The reason for these facilities to have “touchless entry” is to eliminate the possibility of accidentally injuring the patients. As a secondary benefit, this reduces the possibility of damaging the door, jamb, door hardware or the means of transportation.

These single-door entry rooms are within a secured area. Patients are led or transported to the procedure room. The rooms are equipped with four-foot wide doors that open in. In this facility, the wood door and jamb are not fire rated. A storeroom function mortise lockset provides security. A surface-mounted closer is installed onto the interior side of the door.

Obtaining touchless access requires a low energy power door operator to open and close the door once the locking mechanism is released. There are two options for the latching mechanism: electrifying the mortise lock or purchasing an electric strike. To activate the opening, a touchless activation switch will be installed onto the exterior and interior sides of the door. Since these rooms are already within the secured portion of the medical center, there is no need for badge readers.

Important: The lock mechanism must have manual operation where rotating a inside lever retracts the latch mechanism permitting free egress.

For this inswing installation, there are two options: an electrified mortise lock with latch retraction or an electric strike to operate in conjunction with the mechanical mortise lock using a low power door operator to open and close the door. The power door operator must have a relay that will unlock the electric strike or electrified mortise lock prior to opening the door.

Installation time for a low power door operator is between 1-4 hours for an average. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

To unlock the lock mechanism, Command Access is introducing its Model LPM180 electrified mortise, a 24VDC standard mortise prep lockset that has complete latch retraction. Complete latch retraction is when power is applied, the latch bolt is retracted within the mortise body, permitting the door to be swung open by the power operator. The LPM180 does not require special door prep or trim. This solenoid powered failsecure mortise lock is field handable.

The electrified mortise lock has a current draw of 1.5 Amp @24VDC for ½ second when initially powered, and a holding current of 250mA. According to Command Access, the LPM180 will retrofit to existing Schlage L9000 series trim.

To complete the electrified mortise lock installation, a raceway must be drilled and an electrified hinge installed in order to run power to the mortise lockset. Depending upon the door operator, a separate power source may be required for the electrified mortise lock.

Note: The electrified mortise lock is available with lead lining for application such as an X-ray room.

Electrified mortise lock install time is about 1-3 hours for an average. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order to not have components easily visible.

Installing an electric strike type release mechanism requires modification of the wood jamb as the strike body is usually recessed deeper and wiring has to be run from the electric strike to the door operator or a separate power supply.

Electric strike install time is about 1-3 hours for an average installation. This time can vary significantly if the 110VAC power source is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, install the power supply in an electrical or storeroom, or above a drop ceiling (non-plenum) in order prevent components from being easily visible.

Each installation is unique. However, there are different ways to come to the same solution, providing controlled electrified access that satisfies the requirements and financial constraints of the client.

Chart 1 lists a number of access control product manufacturers relevant to this article. For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or visit the manufacturer web sites listed in the chart. For a more complete list, see the Locksmith Ledger 2011 Security Register or the Online Buyer’s Guide at www.directory.locksmithledger.com.

Loading