RCI Deadbolt and Electric Strike Provide an Access Control Solution

Nov. 1, 2005
The RCI 3108 electric deadbolt and 6 Series electric strike provide an access control solution.

Electrified door hardware has achieved new levels of acceptance as our society attains a more mature attitude with respect to the importance of safety and security.

What might have been judged paranoia a few years ago may now be regarded as just common sense today.

The two most important functions of a door are to facilitate egress in emergency situations and to prevent intruder access at other times. Electric door hardware will permit the installation of security-related systems such as intercom entry, remote door control, access controls and life safety systems.

Remote door control systems are used in applications such as showrooms and office environments or where business is conducted on an "appointment only" basis if proprietors wish to control who may enter. A button is typically situated at the receptionist' desk, or a wireless transmitter is carried by the proprietor.

Access control systems may utilize keypads, card readers or biometrics to control access into and sometimes out of premises. Access control systems can be interfaced with intercoms and remote door controls systems, and may also be integrated with a perimeter security system.

Electric door hardware categories include electromagnetic locks, electromechanical locks and door releases.

Electric locks are classified as either FAIL-SECURE (Normally Locked; Apply Power to Unlock), or FAIL-SAFE (Normally Unlocked; Apply Power to Lock)

The traditional electromagnetic lock is comprised of an armature mounted on the door and coil mounted on the doorframe. The physical mounting and operation of an electromagnetic lock is rather simple. It is comprised of only two components. Electromagnetic locks are always FAIL-SAFE. When power is applied to it, the magnet attracts the armature, and the door cannot open until power is removed.

Electromechanical locks include devices such as shear locks and electrified deadbolts. Shear locks, which are always electrically FAIL-SAFE, combine electromagnetic holding power with mechanical latching. Electrified deadbolts are available in both FAIL-SAFE and FAIL-SECURE.

Both shear locks and electrified deadbolts are also subject to a variety of mechanical failures if the doors upon which they are installed become misaligned (whether caused by aging or abuse), or under certain other conditions such as wind pressure.

Electric releases are typically latching type devices which mount in a doorframe in the position where a strike plate would normally be. That's why they are often referred to as "electric strikes."

Electrically actuated locksets and trim are another category which includes cylindrical and mortise style locks, and outside trim (for example levers), which uses an electrical signal to be operable.

The facts are:

  • There is no single locking solution for all applications.
  • It takes a relatively high degree of skill to specify the best solution for a particular opening.
  • It takes a relatively high degree of skill to install most electric door hardware properly.
  • Shopping price when specifying electric door hardware will always result in disappointing, and perhaps dangerous, consequences. Selecting an electric release on the basis of price almost guarantees that the device will not perform satisfactorily. As is the case with other door hardware items such as door closers and hinges, using poor quality hardware ultimately costs the client more because the item must be constantly adjusted, serviced or replaced.

Electric strikes utilize existing door locks and hardware. This means that whether they are FAIL-SAFE or FAIL-SECURE, the existing lock trim will continue to function under any conditions and thereby permit free egress.


A significant number of lock problems and failures can be attributed to the fact that the door release is on a door that is misaligned horizontally, where the door interferes with the jamb, or the door closer is not functioning. When a door release is installed on a door which has already been in service for a while, the new strike may already be misaligned.

By selecting a strike that is designed for the frame and application, the optimum level of security will be maintained on the door; the installation will be faster, and the electric release will function reliably.

advisable for the following reasons:

  • The appearance of the completed installation will be better.
  • Excessive cutting weakens the doorframe.


For applications which you consider appropriate for an electric deadbolt, the new RCI 3108 (FAILSECURE) & 3308 (FAIL-SAFE) Electric Deadbolts are very appealing candidates. They are brand new designs, utilizing SMD Technology and on board electronics to provide a compact and smart electric bolt product.

Its compact 1.4"D x 7.4"H x 1.2"W size means the deadbolt may be used for installation in places where you might not otherwise even consider mounting a bolt or electric locking device. For example, this bolt will fit in the top shoe of many Herculite doors.

Also its clean lock body profile makes it easy to mortise into wood as well as metal. Its narrow body is designed to fit most door frames as well. The rugged stainless steel construction of both the faceplate and keeper blends with most architectural finishes.


  • Door Status Sensor for remote monitoring: This feature allows the 31/3308 to be interfaced with access controls systems without installing a separate door position sensor. The door status circuit monitors the door position to ensure proper alignment before the bolt is extended.
  • Request to Exit input for exit button or remote release via access control system or REX station control: Applying a momentary dry contact closure triggers one of the unit's programmable relock time delays (3,6,10 seconds). Maintaining a closure keeps the bolt retracted indefinitely.
  • Built in sounder to let you know when door is released or held open:
    2 BEEPS = successful lock
    10 second BEEPS = unsuccessful lock
    1 BEEP = successful unlock (access/egress granted)
  • Bi-color LED to indicate lock status and delay period:
    Blinking GREEN = Bolt extended
    Fast Blinking RED = access/egress cycle in progress
    Slow Blink RED = time delay in progress
    Red/Green Alternating = Bolt remains retracted (unlocked
  • Programmable time delay settings for relock (0/3/6/10 sec.)
  • Supplied with hardware kit to aid in field development of mounting brackets for lock and keeper
  • 12 VDC operation only, 1.15A Unlock Inrush/ 0.25 Holding
  • .6 inch bolt throw, .5 inch bolt diameter


RCI refers to the 6 Series as the "All-In-One," an appropriate name for a versatile unit which adapts to a wide variety of site situations and is available with many options. Features include:

Field-selectable lock mode/voltage: This simplifies your life because you do not to stock different fail-safe and fail-secure units, or worry about coil voltages. One strike can be field selected for 12 or 24 AC or DC. The strike is silent operating when configured for DC operation.

1-1/4" x 4-7/8" Suitable for Hollow Metal /Wood Frames: This unit fits a standard ANSI prep, and its shallow depth allow it to fit in most jambs and channels with little or no cutting to clear the strike body. In metal jamb installations, material must be cut to accept the strike lip.

We recently installed the S6514 into a wood jamb, without any major problems. The strike body contains the solenoid assembly, so mortising the cavity requires labor, but no alchemy. It is not necessary to use an oversized strike plate to compensate for an external solenoid or other protrusions. Features include:

  • Field selectable lock (Fail-Safe/Fail-Secure) mode.
  • Field selectable voltage (12 or 24VDC and 12 to 24VAC).
  • Standard version (1-3/8" depth) suitable for locks with ¾" latch.
  • Low Profile version (1-1/16" depth) suitable for locks with 5/8" latch.
  • Horizontal adjustability (up to 1/4"): helps installer to compensate for warped doors and relieve back pressure between latch and strike keeper.
  • Plug-in wire connectors: This feature doesn't eliminate having to crimp or solder wires, but it does allow for prewiring, and greatly expedites removal of the strike because connections are modular plugs.
  • Latch Monitor/Keeper Monitor Switch Option: An important option for access control and high security applications.
  • Tested to over 1,000,000 cycles.
  • Dynamic forces tested to 70 ft. lbs.
  • UL Listed 1034 Burglary
  • 3 year warranty

Used with access control systems, installers may find The Latch Monitor/Keeper Monitor a great benefit. The latch monitor provides a signal to the access control panel that indicates that the latch is in the locked position, and therefore that the door is also closed. Perhaps an even better use for the latch monitor is to trigger the REX (Request to Exit). Here's an explanation of how and why you would want to do this:

The typical access control system unlocks the door when a valid credential is presented to the reader associated with the door. The system monitors the door's position so that when the access is granted, the system will generate an alarm if the door is held open too long after a valid access, or if the door is opened without a valid credential being presented first. However, in most systems, there must always be free egress through the door, that is people are usually allowed to pass through the door from the protected side to the unprotected side, and usually it is desirable to 'suppress' forced door alarm messages to the control panel for these types of allowable door usage.

In order for the system to be able to know when the door being opened is for the purpose of egress, (as opposed to the door being forced open), system designers provide a REX (Request TO Exit) device on the interior side of the door. This can be a motion sensor, or a button, or a switch built into a touch bar (exit device).

An alternative is connecting the latch monitor to the REX terminals of the access controller. When an individual leaving the protected area turns the knob or lever to leave, the latch retracts; the latch monitor sends a signal to the access controller, and a forced door message is suppressed. When the latch monitor is used in this way, it will probably be advisable to install some other type of door position sensor, because the keeper monitor may not provide enough protection for the door. One drawback of using the latch monitor for REX is that if a key is used to gain access to the protected area, the entrance will be annunciated as a REX. If this is objectionable, the deactivate the cylinder, combinate it so that it is impossible to pick, and simply don't distribute any keys which will operate the lock.

Overall we were pleased with the flexibility of this strike with respect to being able to use it for both metal and wood, and field select the voltage. We also took full advantage of the ability to field set for Fail-safe or Fail-secure. On one group of doors we were doing, the access control system was not ready to be commissioned, and we did not want to inhibit use of the doors even though the strike was installed. So we set the strikes for fail-safe.

These doors could be used normally without restriction. However, another door in the facility was currently being controlled by a mechanical pushbutton lock, and even though were not ready to commission the access control system, at the time we installed the electric strike, we set the strike to Fail-Secure and the employees continued to use the mechanical pushbutton lock as usual, until the access control system was ready to go on line.

For information, contact your local locksmith distributor or RCI, phone 800-265-6630 / 800-899-5625, web site www.rutherfordcontrols.com.