Wireless electromechanical locks are battery operated. Unlike the hardwired locks, battery operated locks have a limited supply of power. The operable timeframe is dependent upon the size and number of batteries and the current draw for the functions of the lock. Power is consumed every time the lock checks in and communicates with the head-end, when a credential is presented whether it is authorized or not, every time the outside lever is rotated and when the lock itself is operated.
Wireless locks require some form of communication in order to download and upload information for adding or deleting users, sending audit trails, changing the lock mode, battery condition, etc. Energy is consumed by the locks every time the lock checks with the controller whether there is activity or not.
Depending upon the lock manufacturer, wireless locks can be set to communicate from every few seconds to once a day or more. The greater the frequency, the more power will be drawn from the batteries. The AD lock’s default “heartbeat” using Schlage’s terminology is 10 minutes.
Some locks will automatically communicate at a set timeframe no matter what occurs. For other locks, the communication cycle can be interconnected with lock activity. As an example, a wireless electromechanical lock has a 10-minute communication window. If the lock is 30 seconds from the communication time of 10 minutes and someone presents a credential, after the activity, the time reset to 10 minutes.
If an electromechanical wireless networked lock communicates with the head-end every 10 minutes, it will communicate approximately 52,000 plus times in one year of operation. If the same lock communicates every 15 seconds with the head-end, it will communicate approximately 2,100,000 plus times in one year of operation. These numbers do not include any activity such as granting access.
Most manufacturers design their wireless electromechanical locks to operate at least one year on a set of batteries under normal operations. Normal operations are usually within around 40,000 to 60,000 in a year, which is about 150 to 200 cycles a day, five days a week.
Most wireless electromechanical locks are equipped with “AA” batteries. Alarm Lock Trilogy Networx locks are equipped with “C” batteries. According to Alarm Lock, life expectancy under normal usage exceeds five years.
When not in communication with the head-end, wireless locks operate like offline locks. This conserves battery life. However, when the lock is offline, it will not normally communicate with the head-end. Lock manufacturers have different methods for having the ability to instantaneously communicate. Some use a secondary signaling method that can be sent from the head-end to the locks that is instantaneously received. This can be a radio signal or a ping that the lock is designed to recognize when it is offline. When this signal is received, depending upon the software producer, the head-end can have the locks perform a specific function within seconds, such as global lockdown or global passage mode, etc. However, an administrator has to be at the head-end to send the signal.
Alarm Lock’s Networx can be locked down from any lock within the system when all of the locks have been set to this feature. If there is more than one Networx gate, all of the gateways must be configured with static IP addresses. An approved list of up to 50 users must be authorized to perform global lockdown.
To perform a global emergency lockdown, an authorized user presents his or her code or credential at any lock and enters“911” on the keypad. Once the locks are locked down, all basic users are locked out and all lock schedules are suspended.
To reset the system to normal operation from any lock, an authorized user presents a credential, plus “123” on the keypad.
There is also the ability to globally set the locks into passage mode. This is accomplished at any Networx lock. Authorized persons present their credential and enter “000” for “emergency passage.” The reset method is the same.