Guide To Electromagnetic Locks

Electromagnetic locks can be installed onto wood, hollow metal, aluminum and glass doors onto the secured side of the door whether the door opens in or out. Because there are no moving parts, little or no maintenance is needed and the lock requires little...


There are two options for double door applications, one electromagnetic lock per door or one “mag” lock shared between the two doors. An option for the one mag lock per door application is the Camden CX-92S-12, which has two 1200lbs. surface mount mag locks built into a housing. Depending upon the manufacturer, housings are available in different sizes to provide different architectural designs.

The single electromagnetic lock shared is positioned within the center of the opening. Two split strike plates/armatures; one installed onto each leaf of the double doors provide sufficient holding force for traffic control.

The double-door Dortronics 1115 electromagnetic lock provides 650 pounds holding force, sufficient for traffic control. The 1115 mag locks have a two inch mounting profile. These field-selectable 12 or 24 VDC mag locks come with two armatures; one mounted onto each leaf. For in-swing doors where the electromagnet is installed on the secured side, the TJ1115 is a top jamb configuration that includes a back mounting housing and Z bracket for the armature.

For single-door applications, Alarm Lock offers the Remote Release Mag-Kit, a 1200-pound electromagnetic lock with an infrared remote release. This kit accommodates up to 100 remotes.

Common features include:

  • Voltage sensing that determines the input voltage 12 or 24VDC and configures automatically.
  • Door position switch provides notification to the access control system indicating when the door is open or closed.
  • Anti-tamper switch or sensor with a wire access chamber which notifies when there is tampering to the chamber cover.

An early warning sensor that detects attempted forced entry, activating a local and/or remote alarm. The patented RCI Early Warning Electromagnetic Lock 8310 has a light panel that indicates when the door is secured and notifies with an attempted break-in has occurred.

The Securitron Senstat detects the presence of the armature plate and notifies when the magnet is engaged. The Securitron patented BondSTAT’s magnetic field monitors the entire surface of the armature. Any variation in the armatures position beyond established parameters of 95 percent lock voltage present will initiate a signal to the access control or alarm system that the door is not accurately secured.

Relatively new to electromagnetic locks is the integration of a video surveillance camera which captures a facial view of each person exiting the opening. The Securitron M680BDCX Magnalock has an integrated video surveillance camera and passive infrared motion detector.

Some SDC EMLocks, including the Model 1510, feature a modular assembly that enables the electromagnetic lock to be upgraded in the field. Upgrade modules can include Relock Delay Timer, Magnetic Bond Sensor, Door Status Sensors, Anti-Tamper Switch, Holding Force Upgrade and Energy Saver Upgrade.

Because the electromagnetic lock is Fail Safe, unlocking when power is removed, the mag lock should not be the primary locking mechanism in many applications.

Instant circuit release eliminates the problem that occurs with residual magnetism on older mag locks. Residual magnetism can build up in an electromagnet. The ferrous metal portion becomes magnetized. Over time the strength of the magnet increases. This can be felt when there is resistance when trying to open the door when the mag lock is not powered. Newer mag locks include a release circuit that eliminates residual magnetism.

Gate electromagnetic locks normally have fittings to run the wiring through electrical conduit in order to protect against tampering and armatures with shock absorbing mounts. Seco-Larm’s electromagnetic gate locks are water and vandal resistant. BEA and RCI gate mag locks have stainless steel housings.

Electromagnetic locks can be installed nearly any type of door or gate, using mounting brackets and accessories when needed.

Brackets are designed for most door applications and configurations including specialized “Z” brackets used to install a mag lock onto an inswing door. There are brackets for installing an electromagnetic lock onto glass doors.

Mounting brackets are available to surface-mount mag locks. There are filler plates, header brackets, shims and concrete and wood brackets.

When installing an electromagnetic lock,apply thread lock to all screws to reduce the possibility of screws loosening over the life of the device.

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