Cansec Zodiac Lite: Entry-Level Biometrics

May 1, 2005
The Zodiac Lite Kit comes with a single reader, door control module, and hand-held programmer. No cards, PC, or software are required.

Cansec Systems Ltd. is a leading Canadian manufacturer of access control systems and biometric products for the integrated security systems market. Cansec?s access control solutions range from single door, standalone card access systems to fully featured and integrated solutions for controlling access to multiple facilities with complex requirements.

In addition, Cansec?s access control systems are complimented by a complete line of biometric, proximity, and iButton readers as well as photo ID systems and accessories. Cansec products are available through our worldwide network of authorized dealers and distributors.

Cansec?s Zodiac Lite is a cost-effective biometric solution for single door/device applications for up to 90 users. The Zodiac Lite Kit comes with a single reader, door control module, and hand-held programmer. No cards, PC, or software are required.


  • Portable template stored in HID iClass? smart card or stick-on patch.
  • Same iClass credential works on Zodiac and full range of iClass readers.
  • 26 to 64 Bit Wiegand or magnetic stripe output.
  • Wiegand line encryption option available.
  • User capacity of reader is unlimited
  • Plug & Play installation
  • No extra communication wiring
  • Built-in visual and audible indicators
  • Fast, accurate and easy to use
  • Quick and easy centralized enrollment
  • Compatible with all access control systems
  • Zodiac Lite Standalone Fingerprint Reader

    The Locksmith Ledger Test Lab got a hold of a Cansec Zodiac Lite StandAlone Fingerprint Reader and put it through a thorough evaluation. Here are our results.


    The system is basically comprised of two black boxes. One is the fingerprint reader which is mounted outside the protected area. The second piece is the controller, which is mounted inside the protected area and adjacent to the door lock. Besides these two pieces, you will require a regulated 12VDC power supply for the two Cansec units -- an electrically actuated locking device (electromagnetic lock, electric door strike, electrically actuated lockset, etc), and power supply for the locking device.

    It is advisable to isolate the Cansec equipment and the locking system with an auxiliary relay so the Cansec controller?s relay is not switching the load to the electric lock directly. You might as well also provide a separate power supply for the door lock to eliminate any possibility of electrical noise backing into the Cansec fingerprint reader through the power supply. A simple and inexpensive PIP type power supply is quite adequate to operate locking devices.

    Wiring between the Cansec Fingerprint Reader and the Cansec controller is only four wires -- two for power and two for data.

    The Cansec controller can be configured for fail-safe or fail-secure relay output, a REX input, and a door position sensor which will reset the door open time when the door is opened.

    Since the Cansec system philosophy is scalable systems that include standalone, wireless and networked, multiple-door, software-managed solutions; the Cansec fingerprint reader is packed with electronics, and other evidence that it has many possible configurations available. Except for enrolling people?s fingers, no configuring is required for the Cansec Standalone Fingerprint Reader/System.


    Programming and enrollment functions are performed at the Zodiac Reader using the supplied handheld programmer. The programmer is equipped with two rotary switches numbered from 0 to 9, as well as ADD, DELETE, and ON/OFF buttons.

    Programming was easy and went smoothly. Both the programmer and the fingerprint reader have LEDs that flash and change color, and audible signals prompt you as you proceed.

    First, you need to establish a password in the programmer, then begin enrolling fingers. Enrolling someone take about a minute and is painless to both you and the subject whose finger is getting programmed.

    To place Zodiac into Program Mode, simply set both switches to ?0? and apply the probe on the programmer to the iButton Programming Port on the front of the Zodiac reader. Then select one of the memory locations using the rotary switches on the programmer. Press the ADD button to enroll the user or DELETE button to remove the user?s template from the reader.

    Cansec has been evolving its fingerprint technology for several years, and they know that inevitably, there will be certain individuals who for some reason or another cannot be enrolled. So Cansec provides a bag of iButtons, which can be issued to the individuals who cannot be enrolled using their fingerprints. Each system comes with five bypass keys.


    Because Zodiac Lite is performing 1:90 matching, (Editor?s Note: Comparing the finger in the reader with the 90 fingerprint templates stored locally in the reader?s memory), no additional card or keypad entry or FOB is required.

    The Zodiac scanner continuously looks for fingers to authenticate. This produces a red stroboscopic light which emits from the finger scanner. The user simply places his or her finger on the scanner for quick access to the door or device being controlled.


    Zodiac Lite can be used for many other applications besides traditional door access control. The supplied Door Control Module can be used to enable or unlock devices such as lockers, safes, and many other types of equipment. The applications are only limited by your imagination.

    Cansec is gaining a great deal of industry acceptance with their line of biometrics. They are OEMing mercilessly, and you?re likely to see their unique appearing reader being offered as a system component by numerous other manufacturers of access control systems. This is reassuring to know that Cansec already made the grade with these other suppliers. .

    Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Cansec is a privately owned Canadian corporation. Its access control products are available through a worldwide network of authorized and factory trained security system integrators. These companies are carefully screened to ensure that your system is installed and maintained according to our high standards.

    For more information, contact Cansec Systems Ltd., 3105 Unity Drive, Suite 9, Mississauga, ON L5L 4L2 Canada. Telephone: 877-545-7755 or 905-820-2404. Fax: 905-820-0301. Web site:


    Biometrics: Zodiac Fingerprint Readers For Access Control

    Zodiac 4000 Fingerprint Verification Terminal: A flexible biometric system that can be used in either a standalone configuration or managed centrally via built-in TCP/IP capability. Can also be connected to an access control system via industry standard Wiegand protocol. Other features include integrated keypad, LCD display, and voice prompts.

    Zodiac iClass Fingerprint Reader: An ideal solution for upgrading existing access readers to a higher level of security or for large scale, multi-site implementation. The user?s templates are stored in a portable HID iCLASS? contactless smart card.

    Zodiac iButton Fingerprint Reader: Similar to Zodiac iCLASS? except the user?s template is stored in a portable iButton Key.

    Zodiac Lite Standalone Fingerprint Reader (as described in the main article): Similar to Zodiac iCLASS? except the user?s template is stored in a portable iButton Key.