Self-contained electromechanical access control comes in different configurations to satisfy the application. These locks are available as cylindrical and mortise locks, single or double-sided, and as exit device trim that operates as standalone locking devices. When selling standalone electromechanical locks, it is important to know what functionalities the end-user wants and needs in order to control access.
Depending upon the application, standalone locks can be used just to control access. For example, a base model provides each user with a P.I.N. that operates the keypad-equipped lock 24/7/365. Most battery operated commercial grade electromechanical locks have more than enough user codes to accommodate most small businesses. The disadvantage of the base model is that access can be gained at all times.
Date/time scheduling provides the end-user with the ability to restrict access to specific times and days, eliminating access during the hours or days a company is closed. With time and date scheduling, audit trail makes it possible for the end-user to know which credentials have successfully gained access and which credentials have attempted to gain access during times they are not authorized.
The type of credential or multiple credentials enables the end-user to further restrict access by providing higher levels of security. In addition to P.I.N. operated keypads, battery operated locks are available with a magnetic stripe, proximity or Smartcard reader. The locks can be configured to require both a user code and a card to be presented in order to gain access. This dual credential requirement eliminates persons gaining unauthorized access by sharing a P.I.N.
Base models of electromechanical locks are available as standalone, battery operated units that are programmed at the door. Programming a lock at the door is fine for basic and limited operation such as an interior door where a limited number of users have access. The more features an electromechanical lock has, the more programming required to configure the lock.
The next level of standalone locks can be programmed using a laptop computer or data transfer mechanism. This makes programming much easier by having the ability to program each lock by downloading and uploading the information into the lock. The actual programming is accomplished using a computer. Electromechanical locks that operate on a Local Area Network can be programmed directly from the computer, being connected either by an Ethernet cable or wirelessly using a hub or gateway.
Although the new full featured standalone battery operated locks are equipped with network capability, the best lock for the specific application is not always the newest. For a small access control system incorporating two or three locks, a system can provide the controlled access wanted by the end-user using a computer and data transfer modules or a laptop computer to upload and download the programming instructions and the audit trail. The financial resources of the end-user must also be considered when selling an access control system.
For this article, we will discuss programming of battery-operated locks that are programmed using a computer and data transfer mechanism, specifically the Alarm Lock DL2800 Audit Trail Pushbutton Lock and the AL-DTMIII Data Transfer Module. The Alarm Lock DL2800 battery operated, standalone lock was chosen for several reasons including the Grade one, clutch equipped cylindrical lock, 200 user codes (3-6 digits), 1000-event audit trail with a real time clock for time/date stamp scheduling. The weather-resistant DL2800 has a 12-button, telephone style keypad. There is an entry allowance of 5-15 second and a temporary keypad lockout adjustable from two to nine unsuccessful entry attempts. Lockout time is adjustable up to 60 seconds. The five AA batteries provide 80,000 cycles, typical. For this article, we used the DL-Windows operating software version 4.1.96, available free on the Alarm Lock web site.