Electronic Lock Programming: The Ultimate Challenge?

Aug. 4, 2014
Allegion, Arrow and Stanley provide easy to install and program options

Today’s locksmiths have lots of experience programming, but in the beginning, it was not electronic or computers but rather locks and safes. The pinning of locks and creation of masterkey charts is definitely a type of programming. The development of the chart, as well as the physical pinning and key creation, are specialized skills which should not be dismissed.

Safe manipulation still carries a mystique, even among locksmiths. Many journeyman locksmiths will say right up front that safes aren’t their thing, and most have a phone number handy to offer as a referral; some safe guru in the area who has earned a reputation to be able to efficiently and profitably access and deal with the problems associated with safes.

Even drilling a safe requires skill, caution and specialized tools, not to mention the correct drill points. Many feel that manipulating a safe requires more; a sixth sense

Now that battery and electronically controlled safes have come to be commonplace, the landscape of the safe market has changed a little, however it is still a specialty and in the right market is a good living or at least a good sideline for the locksmith.

The prospect of programming electronic security should not be a totally alien concept to the locksmith embarking into electronic security work.

Using the term programming to describe the processes involved in configuring, setting up, deploying is rather inadequate and might be misleading. In the realm if computer science, the term programming is used to describe a process of writing computer programs in any of several computer languages.

In the early days of electronic security, alarm panels used read only memory, and programming the panel for the various features required ‘burning a PROM’ on a special appliance. Other types of equipment used DIP switches, which were a bank of on-off switches that had to be set to on or off depending on the device and the desired functions required for the particular project. Another common means of configuring was the jumper, the little black plastic pieces that you slip over a pair of metal pins to complete a circuit.

Standalone access controls often are programmed directly from their integral keypad. A step up from this involves using a notebook tablet or smartphone to configure and manage the device. Network-based equipment can be programmed using a PC or other computing device from a central location.

The big differentiator between pinning and masterkeying and programming electronics is that the electronic programming is not as intuitive as the mechanical operations. Steps that need to be adhered to exactly or else either the device will simply not work or it will behave in unexpected ways.

I recently had two brushes with programming. One was setting up several CodeLocks with user codes. Once I become familiar with the steps and features, it took me less than a minute to complete the programming of each lock. Getting to the point where I was familiar with the steps and process is referred to as the learning curve.

The other programming experience involved Essex keypads and a Securitron IMXda. In the case of the Essex keypads, I had given my customer cheat sheets for their keypads, script they could use to perform the routine entry code programming they did on a scheduled basis. Usually there is not a problem, as long as they follow the script. But for some reason, they didn’t and it required paid service calls to dig them out and get them up and running again.

The IMXDa required re configuring because the client redefined the theory of operation for the device. This reconfiguring involved changing the wiring connection points, moving a jumper, and resetting some DIP switches. Not a big deal, but reprogramming even basic products such as these requires planning and adherence to the proper programming steps.

As most readers probably know, programming access control and video surveillance systems is far more involved, but as you gain experience and self confidence, it all becomes less foreboding and easier to navigate.

Below we provide some pointers for programming electronic locks from Arrow, Allegion and Stanley

NDE Series with ENGAGE Technology 

Schlage® NDE Series wireless locks with ENGAGE Technology are designed to be easy to install, use, manage, and connect. They simplify installation by combining the lock, credential reader, door position switch and request-to-exit switch together into one unit. Additionally, NDE Series wireless locks utilize standard cylindrical door prep and can be installed in minutes with only a Phillips screwdriver.

Developed specifically for facilities that want to upgrade to electronic credentials for improved security and efficiency, NDE Series wireless locks are ideal for interior office doors, common area doors,and sensitive storage spaces. ENGAGE™ Technology cloud based wireless offline security solutions deliver cost effective intelligence and efficiency to any facility.

With the ENGAGE web based and mobile apps, it’s easy to configure lock settings,  manage users with basic access privileges, and view lock audits & alerts from anywhere. When paired with NDE Series wireless locks, updates to basic access privileges can be pushed manually at the lock with a mobile device running the Engage app, or automatically within 24 hours when the lock is connected to Wi-fi.

“These locks were created to provide locksmiths and their customers with an easy transition from mechanical to electronic solutions at a price less than 50 percent lower that perimeter locks,” says Karen Keating, Allegion director of marketing, electronic access control.

The Schlage ND Series locks are easy to program because all the locksmith needs is a lock and a free mobile app. Via a smart phone or tablet, the locksmith simply downloads the app. Within range of the lock, any change to the lock is simply pushed to the lock wirelessly right from the mobile app. If the locksmith or the customer wish to make changes from anywhere - even from a vacation home - they use the web-based version, Keating explains,

For added capabilities, NDE Series wireless locks can be managed via Schlage Express Cloud or software from one of the Allegion access control alliance partners. NDE wireless locks are compatible with most proximity and smart cards including aptiQ™ and aptiQmobile™.

NDE Series Lock Features:

  • Up to 5,000 users and up to 2,000 audits
  • Built-in Wi-fi enables automatic daily updates within 24 hours
  • Storeroom function with Vandlgard
  • Up to 2 years of battery life
  • UL 294 listed, ANSI/BHMA A156.25-2013, ANSI/BHMA A156.2-2011, Series 4000, Grade 1

ENGAGE™ mobile app features:

  • Add and configure devices
  • Push updates to locks
  • Add new users and enroll credentials
  • Manage users and basic access privileges
  • View audits and alerts by door
  • Perform device diagnostics

Status monitors (alerts):

  • Tamper
  • Request to exit
  • Door position switch
  • Battery status (normal, low, critical)
  • Battery voltage level

Credential attributes:

  • Normal
  • Toggle
  • Pass through
  • Visitor/one-time use
  • Freeze

For more information on Schlage products, call 877-671-7011 or visit www.allegion.com.

Arrow Revolution

The Arrow Revolution® V1 standalone touchscreen lock combines the functional elements of a cylindrical lockset with the latest technological designed for electronic aesthetic. Locksmiths benefit by providing an up to date technological solution that is easy to install. In fact, only five screws are needed to install the lock and latch, and the unit is field-reversible

Customers benefit from a simple interaction with the lock through a voice-guided touch keypad, making day to day use and programming easy. The Revolution® V1 is recommended for healthcare facilities, offices, retail environments, multi-family, hospitality, government facilities, as well as K-12 school environments. It provides a traffic control solution for areas requiring restricted access.

All Arrow Revolution® Standalone Touchscreen Locks are UL/cUL listed for use on 3 hour, A label or lesser doors. They have the following certifications:

  • ANSI A117.1 Accessibility Code
  • California State Reference Code for levers returning to within 1/2" (12.7mm) of door surface
  • Federal Specification FF-H-106C
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.2, Series 4000, Grade 1
  • ADA/Americans with Disabilities Act

Electronic features include:

  • Stand-alone touchscreen access locking device
  • Interactive voice-guided programming
  • Trilingual (English, Spanish & French)
  • Silent mode option
  • Lockout mode, Passage mode, Auto re-lock
  • Feature access through keypad programming, 4-12 digit user pin codes
  • Up to 255 unique user codes and one master code
  • Visual verification of PIN code programming
  • Key override option
  • 4 AA batteries (1 year life)

Mechanical Components include:

  • Weather Resistant
  • Standard Arrow® cylinders in AR and CS keyways
  • Also available in Small Format Interchangeable Core Prep
  • Freewheeling lever disengages the lever when handle is locked

For more information on Arrow products, call 800-839-3157 or visit www.arrowlock.com.

Stanley QEL 200 Series

Stanley QEL 200 Series electronics are designed for commercial uses such as retail, office buildings, and multi-family facilities where access control is required. These locks will deliver security requirements set forth while withstanding the physical abuse associated with the applied environment.

Electronic Lock Specifications

  • Users Up to 1000 users
  • 500-event audit trail stored locally
  • Credential verification in 1 second or less
  • Tricolored LED with field configurable, audible indicator
  • Powered by  4 AA batteries, battery Life up to 2 years, depending on usage
  • Certifications/Compliance: FCC Part 15 B & C, RoHS
  • Proximity Reader, Frequency 125 kHz, Range 1/4" Minimum
  • Wireless Communication Interface:IEEE 802.15.4 (2.4 GHz)
  • Communication Security:AES 128-bit Encryption
  • Wireless Communication Protocol:Stanley Proprietary
  • 1 Year warranty

Mechanical Lock Specifications

  • Non-Handed
  • Certifications/Compliance: ANSI/BHMA A156.2 Series 4000 Grade 2, UL10c-90 Minutes, ADA
  • Door Thickness: 1-3/4" - 2-1/4"; 1-3/8" with Spacer*
  • Backset: 2-3/4"
  • Latches (1/2" Throw): 2-1/4" x 1-1/8"
  • Strikes: ANSI - 4-7/8" x 1-1/4"
  • T-Strike - 1-1/8"x 2-3/4"
  • Keying Options: SFIC (KA, KD) or Less Core
  • 605 (Bright Brass), 626 (Satin Chrome), 690 (Dark Bronze Powder Coat) Finishes
  • Classroom/Storeroom Function 71
  • Outside dimensions: O/S 2-5/8" x 7-1/2" x 1"
  • Two-year warranty

Gateway Specifications

  • Certifications/Compliance: FCC Part 15 B&C, RoHS
  • Dimensions: 4-5/8" x 4-3/8" x 1-3/8"
  • Weight: 0.4 lbs or 6.4 oz
  • Power : PoE (IEEE 802.3 af) or 24 V DC/1A (AC/DC Adaptor Sold Separately)
  • Configuration Interface: Web Based Portal
  • Visual Interface: Color LEDs
  • Wireless Communication Protocol: Stanley Proprietary
  • Access Control Management Software: Intelli-M Access (4-Door License Included)

For more information on Stanley products, call 855-365-2407or visit www.stanleysecurity.com.