When dealing with an existing exit device, one popular approach to converting a door to electronic access control is to upgrade the exterior lever trim. Replacing the trim is more cost effective that replacing both the exit device and the trim.
Electrified trim is not appropriate for certain situations, such as if the door is equipped with an automatic door operator, or if electric dogging is a requirement.
With electrified trim, the door provides free egress at all times, but the exterior lever remains locked until electrically signaled to permit actuation. Electrified trim is available in both failsafe and fail secure versions. However, the door remains positively latched until the trim is actuated by a person’s hand.
Some exit device manufacturers do not offer electrified trim or only offer it for some products. Some manufacturers send their non-electrified levers to third party vendors to upgrade them then sell the electrified trim as a catalog item.
Frequently when encountering older exit devices, electrified trim was not originally available from the manufacturer. Again third party manufacturers are available to fill this void.
With a vast number of exit devices out there, the challenge is to find a third party manufacturer who has trim which will work with your particular exit device.
While it may be expedient to plug in a budget number when working up a proposal or bid, it will be necessary to carefully evaluate the door hardware in so you can specify the correct model trim. With older exit devices, determining the model number may not be easy.
On a recent mandatory pre-bid walkthrough, some installers actually declined to bid the job because door hardware of this type was requested by the owner.
The competitors did their best to convince the owner that due to the type of door and existing hardware, the only electric solution was an electromagnetic lock.
I knew I could get an electrified lever for these doors, and had to go to great lengths to convince owner.
One issue I always ponder when recommending the re-use of an existing exit device, especially an orphaned product, is that I will inherit used hardware and will have to repair it when the mechanical parts ultimately fail.
Another consideration is that maglocks are easy to mount on just about any door.
However the maglock will unlock in a power failure which is a concern for many customers, the maglock is not positive latching, and code issues associated with electromagnetic lock deployment must be addressed which can add substantially to the job price.
There are many situations where a maglock is the best choice, but there also are situations where a maglock is not the best choice. We are the security professionals, and our customers rely on us for accurate information.
Needless to say the other bidders in the cited case history who insisted maglocks were the only solution, (and then were proved to be wrong) were not providing accurate information to the end-user and it cost them points with this client.
If electrified trim is going to be used, then a means of transferring the control voltage from the frame to the lever must be specified. There are several ways to accomplish this.
Perhaps the least expensive is an armored door cord. Back in the day, these were originally used by the alarm installers to connect foil on movable windows and doors to the premises alarm protective circuit. These evolved to loops specifically designed for use in access control. These used flexible armored cable and more robust mounting on the frame and door.
Wired hinges, such as the Marray PTH mentioned in another article this month, are another solution. They are less subject to abuse than exposed door cords.
Another choice is the EPT (electric power transfer). This device is less convenient than a hinge because it requires its own prep rather than fitting into the existing hinge prep. The advantage is that there are more options for choice of wire conductors with an EPT. In my experience, the additional cost of the EPT is often offset in the customer’s mind by the wow-factor of the EPT which is fascinating in its design, attractive when installed and a highly effective solution.
Securitron Magnalock Corp. has developed more than 25 packaged electronic access control systems for controlling from one to three doors. These packaged electronic systems include the lock(s...