Tech Tips: Access Control Accessories

Aug. 2, 2017
Biometric readers, REX sensors and buttons and even custom installations can solve your customers' access control dilemmas

Biometrics are a highly reliable way to authenticate access control system users. However, deployment of biometrics has not achieved initial industry forecasts. There may be several reasons:

  • The technology is so “blackbox” that it is hard to trust that it works.
  • The technology is evolving so quickly, you are not sure if what you purchase and install will remain relevant long enough to achieve a Return on the Investment.
  • There is no overwhelming statistical evidence that biometrics actually increase site security significantly when it is deployed without complimentary security measures.

The three types of authentication factors are:

  1. What you have (a credential)
  2. What you know (a memorized PIN (personal Identification number))
  3. Who you are: (a fingerprint hand geometry retinal pattern etc. used for identity confirmation by the biometric device)

Multi-factor authentication greatly increases the security of the door.

Seco-Larm Biometric Reader

The SECO-LARM SK-2611-SFSQ is designed for interior doors and is used with an electrical locking device such as an electromagnetic lock, electric strike or electrified lockset.

A computer or external equipment is not required to program the unit which appeals to many installers and end-users.

It offers a substantial improvement in security when compared to a keypad only, and the SK-2611-SFSQ can be programmed to operate with both a code and a fingerprint.

Features include:

  • 1,000 Users, 12VDC
  • Up to 500 fingerprint users
  • Up to 500 user codes
  • Output: Form C relay, 2A@12VDC max. Output can be programmed to activate for up to 99 seconds or toggle
  • Tamper alarm output: Transistor ground, 2.5A@12VDC max.
  • Fingerprint reader window illuminates when finger is present
  • Tri-color LED provides status information
  • EEPROM Memory protects programmed information in case of power loss
  • All features programmed directly from the fingerprint reader/keypad: No need for an external programmer
  • Egress input lets users exit the premises without presenting a fingerprint or keying in a code
  • 500DPI Optical fingerprint reader
  • Fingerprint identification time – <1 second
  • Fingerprint false acceptance rate – <0.0001%
  • Fingerprint false rejection rate – <0.01%
  • More Info: Product information sheet: Product manual:

    MagLock Systems With REX Sensors

    There are ample reasons and opportunities to deploy electromagnetic locking systems. The technology and locks and accessories have evolved since the invention of the direct pull electromagnetic lock by Irv Saphirstein in 1969.

    Although a very simple product, it is imperative that the device is deployed in conformance with Building and Life Safety codes and with the approval of the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (LAHJ). The LAHJ is bridge between the codes and each individual lock installation. Whenever I design and sell an electromagnetic locking system, I contact the LAHJ to be guaranteed the project will get his stamp of approval.

    Briefly, REX motion sensors are used in conjunction with wall mounted REX buttons, and the electromagnetic lock’s power supply must be interfaced with the premises fire alarm so that in the event of a fire alarm, power is cut to the electromagnetic lock to ensure free egress.

    The different types of electromagnetic lock control systems is beyond the scope of this article, and the reader is instructed to exercise due diligence in educating him or herself with regards to the code requirements for these installations.

    Camden CM-RQE70

    REX motion sensors are an important auxiliary control device used with electromagnetic locks, and the Camden CM-RQE70 a state of the art design in this product category.

    This 'Request To Exit' detector includes high performance features such as secondary activation device input, door monitoring, two-relay outputs, and tamper alarm. Many new programming, installation, and set-up features have been added.

    Camden also started by making the CM-RQE70 smaller, so it can easily fit on door frames, and then made installing the detector faster and easier.

    CM-RQE70 comes with four factory default operating modes that can be selected with simple pushbuttons on the circuit board.

    Have an unusual installation and need custom settings? No problem, you can use the on-board push buttons to customize the default operating modes or program your own custom operating mode.

    Camden also makes detector mounting and wiring easier with a simple plug-in wiring harness.

    Features include

    • Compact size, designed to mount on door frames
    • On-board programming buttons. No dip switches
    • Four factory default operating modes, with the ability to customize mode attributes
    • Plug-in wiring harness, makes installation easy and fast
    • Selectable fail safe/fail secure
    • Two  form ‘C’ contacts
    • Momentary and latching relay modes
    • Secondary activation device input
    • Card/keypad input
    • Door position switch input
    • Request to exit input
    • Built-in sounder (adjustable)
    • Tamper switch
    • Voltage: 12 /24v ac/dc operation
    • Current draw: 40ma (max)

    Programming mode options are factory-default, fully custom or selectable fail safe / fail secure coverage.

    Mode Descriptions:

    MODE 1, LATCHED REX SENSOR: The most common setting for rex detectors. Sensor activates relay for duration of relay on time

    MODE 2, DOOR PROP ALARM: Detector will alarm, if the door is held open or opened without sensor activation.

    MODE 3, ACCESS CONTROL: Detector relay used to control the outside lock, can be controlled by an access control system, keypad or other secure devices.

    MODE 4, SECONDARY ACTIVATION DEVICE INPUT: Detector requires the input of another device (sensor or switch), in addition to sensor activation, to unlock the door.

    MODE 5, CUSTOM SETTINGS: selection of relay ‘on’ time, fail mode, operating mode, pir sensitivity, sounder volume and (3) input types.

    For more information, visit

    Custom Projects

    Part of the mission to provide systems to end-users is to provide custom solutions specifically tailored to their needs.

    Often the customer does not decide what he needs, but rather the AHJ tells them what is required in order to keep the facility open.After dealing with LAHJs you begin to think Like an LAHJ, that is try to anticipate what requirements will be set forth for a particular project.

    I combined two STI products on a project to meet the requirements set forth by the LAHJ and also provide some preventive engineering to avoid possible mishaps.

    The LAHJ said we needed to provide a readily available means to manually unlock maglock-equipped doors at the end of the hall which provide a means of egress. We didn’t want meeting the ‘readily available’ requirement to result in patients unlocking the doors and escaping the protection of their rooms and the nursing staff.

    STI Exit Stoppers

    We achieved a suitable solution with illuminated STI UB-1 switches adjacent to each opening, and discouraged inappropriate activation with STI Stoppers, which are often used to cover fire alarm pull stations.

    These indoor/outdoor low profile or dome polycarbonate covers protect devices such as dual action pull stations, keypads for entry systems, intercom stations, emergency buttons, electrical light switches, duplex plugs, etc., without restricting legitimate operation. The versatile cover offers excellent protection against physical damage (both accidental and intentional), dust and grime as well as severe environments inside and out.

    Cover options: Dome or Low Profile, with or without horn, flush mount, surface mount or waterproof back box models. Maximum protrusion is 4 inches deep. Cover has the same footprint as the Mini Stopper® but accommodates most dual action pull stations.

    Key features:

    • Protects against vandalism, accidental damage, dust and grime and severe environments inside and outside.
    • Protects pull stations, keypads, intercom stations, emergency buttons, electrical light switches or duplex plugs.
    • ADA Compliant.
    • Three-year guarantee against breakage of polycarbonate in normal use (one year on electromechanical and electronic components).

    The top and bottom of waterproof backbox are threaded for 3/4” NPT rigid conduit and sized to fit most pull stations, equipped with a high strength continuous hinge. Gaskets are included for installation.

    The cover is molded from thick, tough polycarbonate material that is UV-stabilized to keep cover clear. Typical working properties of polycarbonate are -40° to 250°F (-40° to 121°C).

    Dome models have optional relay output with 12-24 VDC power input and are available with or without 105 dB horn.


    • Cover available in low profile or dome shape.
    • Flush frame, surface frame or waterproof back box (with sealed or open internal mounting plate), enclosed flush back box.
    • Locking tab (not for use with fire pull stations).
    • Dome models available with red, green, blue, yellow, white or black label hood/horn housing with custom or no label.
    • Available for red units “In Case of Fire...” label.

    The  UB-1 Universal Button Kit helps eliminate having to stock dozens of pushbuttons, and wasting time and money tracking down just the right button for a customer. Button is ready to be assembled out of box and is easily installed within minutes on site. Universal Button offers over 300 combinations for the price of a standard one configuration button. The faceplate is constructed of cast aluminum metal, allowing it to take tough knocks in stride, and is slightly oversized to cover old plate installation marks.

    Button package includes: faceplate, three illuminated push buttons, five changeable button messages and ten changeable illuminated activation messages.

    The installer simply has to choose which lens cover, button insert and interchangeable message plate works best for the customers need, and easily snap them in place. This allows the button to be mounted in a matter of minutes instead of waiting weeks for a specific button to be ordered and delivered.

    Key features:

    • Offers over 300 different combinations.
    • Momentary button offers many options to provide just what a customer wants in one convenient package.
    • 100,000 operations.
    • One year guarantee on electro mechanical and electronic components.
    • Faceplate constructed of cast aluminum.
    • UL Listed to U.S. and Canadian safety standards.
    • LTUL models Listed for access control.
    • Temperature: -40° to 185° F (-40° to 85°C).
    • Mounts to standard electrical handibox.
    • Single gang plate slightly oversized to cover old plate installation marks.
    • Illuminated 12/24 volt LED button and illuminated message light kit.
    • Two sets of independent Form “C” contacts.
    • Contacts rated 10A @ 125/250 VAC, 1/2 HP, 6A @ 30 VDC.


    • Five inserts for the button included – EXIT, PUSH, PUSH TO EXIT, handicap symbol and blank.
    • Three different lens covers included – red, green and blue.
    • Ten color coated message inserts in green, blue, yellow and white.
    • Plate messages inscribed with EXIT, EMERGENCY and translucent blanks (allowing for custom labels).

    For more information, visit

    About the Author

    Tim O'Leary

    Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.