Transitioning from Mechanical to Electronic Locks

July 6, 2010
What is involved when customer wants to change from metal keys to electronic access control?

As security evolves away from traditional keys and locks as the primary means of authorizing and denying entry, electrically operated hardware and self contained access controls are taking their place. Supplying and installing ‘electric locks and access control is a growing revenue stream for locksmiths.

I got a call from a local government agency to come survey for an upgrade to electronic access control. When I arrived, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that they had solicited proposals for electronic access a few months ago and the project had already been awarded. The winning bidder had not included the locking hardware and that is what they wanted for us to quote them. If we had bid the entire job, the client would have received a ‘turnkey’ price which would have included everything, and the project would probably have been completed by now.


A thorough site survey is the first and most important step towards the successful project.

By doing a good survey you will be able to properly advise the client, specify the correct electrical locking product on the first try and avoid do-overs and wasted time later. You can also hopefully spot other problems with worn hinges, leaky door closers, or inappropriate lock functions.

This job involved nine openings, and none of them had any electrical locking hardware presently installed.

Upon examination of the doors and frames all were in relatively good working order. Doors either had rim exit devices or cylindrical locks. Some of the doors were “labeled” a/k/a fire rated. So my quote indicated that I was calling out special electric locks for those openings. Sometimes fire-rated doors are used on a construction project even if they are not required by the building code. Sometimes the occupancy of the building changes (how the building is being used). Sometimes the building code becomes more stringent. By observing the law and specifying fire listed locks, I am indemnifying myself against a wrong supposition. I always insist that the client review the planned work with the Fire Marshal before I accept a project.

NOTE: The other important element of this upgrade is the power supply for the locking devices. See the accompanying article in this issue which provides an overview of power supply products and a discussion of how to select the right one for your project.

HES 9400, 9500 & 9600 SERIES

Upgrading doors with rim type exit devices and in some cases surface mounted vertical rod exit devices is relatively painless with the use of one of HES 9400, 9500 & 9600 Series electric strikes. (The 9400, 9500 and 9600 do not work with vertical rods.)

These devices all share common features, making them convenient to install and power. They are surface-mounted, requiring only three holes two for mounting and one for wiring – and all are suitable for wood or metal frames.

An additional hole is required for the recommended lockdown. Once the strike has been installed and aligned for proper operation, the lockdown screw prevents the strike from shifting on the frame.

HES offers a five- year mechanical warranty and by using their 2005M Smart Pac II voltage regulator, a five year electrical warranty as well.

The HES #9400, #9500 and #9600 are all UL1034 listed for burglary resistance, and all are ANSI/BHMA A156.31 Grade 1 rated.

Differences between the models are that the #9500 is fire-rated (UL 10C fire-rated, 1-1/2 hour (fail secure only), and the #9400 is the newly designed slim line version which is ½” thick.

Both the #9500 and the #9600 are ¾” thick and are designed for use with up to a ¾” Pullman latch. The ½” thick #9400 will only work with up to a ½” latch.

Reminder: During the site survey, it is imperative that you determine whether the opening is labeled (fire-rated) and also accurately measure the horizontal dimension between the head of the rim exit device and the door frame.

For situations where the dimension is less than will allow a ¾” thick strike, the slimmer ½” #9400 will work. For situations where the horizontal dimension does not allow direct deployment of either the ½” #9400 or a ¾” #9500 or #9600, HES has 1/8” shim plates (9600-108 Spacer Plate), which can be placed under the rim strike to increase the effective thickness of the lock. Care must be taken to avoid a condition where exit device’s latch interferes with the strike’s backplate.

For those installations where security monitoring is required, HES offers both the Latch Bolt Monitor (LBM) option which provides a dry form “C” dry contact output indicating whether the latch is extended into the strike, and the Latch Bolt Strike Monitor (LBSM) which provides a form “C” dry contact output indicating that both the strike is electrically locked, and the latch is extended into the strike.

All the strikes may be easily field-adjusted for either fail secure (power off=locked; power applied = unlocked) or failsafe (power off= unlocked; power applied = locked.)

Standard features include:

Completely surface mounted

Decorative cover for sleek new look (9400 only)

Stainless steel construction

Tamper resistant

Static strength 1,500 lbs.

Dynamic strength 70 ft-lbs.

Endurance 500,000 cycles

Field selectable fail safe/fail secure

Dual voltage 12 or 24 VDC

Horizontal adjustment


Internally mounted solenoid

Five year limited warranty

The 2005M SMART Pac II™ is an in-line power control that extends the warranty on electrical strike components to five years and enables the 9400, 9500 and 9600 to receive input voltages from 12 to 32V AC or DC and provides 12 or 24VDC output. Under continuous duty operation, the output VDC is reduced by 25% to extend the life of the electric strike. The SMART Pac II™ includes an in-line fuse, MOV to protect against possible inrush and reverse surges, and a 2-8 second adjustable timer.

SMART PAC II standard features include:

Accepts wide range of input voltage: 12-32 Volts AC or DC

Output 12VDC or 24 VDC with inputs of 24 Volts or greater*

Built-in bridge rectifier

Built-in surge protection / voltage regulation

Operates in Fail-Secure and Fail-Safe modes

Activation timer: keeps strike energized for set period of time, adjustable from 2-8 seconds

Continuous duty timer: reduces initial voltage by 25% after set period of time, to provide cooler more efficient operation of strike

Extends the warranty of HES electric strikes

For swinging doors with cylindrical locks, HES has two “no cutting required” models, the #8000 for non-fire-rated openings, and the #8300 for fire-rated openings. The “no cut” feature makes these strikes relatively easy to install, and in the case of the #8300, makes them legal for fire rated doors because it is not necessary to cut the frame. This electric strike complies with NFPA 80-07 guidelines for retrofit into fire-rated frames.

With the #8000 and #8300, the strike body is a separate part number than the faceplate, so it is necessary to order both a strike and a faceplate if you expect to perform an installation.

The faceplates come in a variety of finishes and sizes with the ANSI 4 7/8” being the typical size for metal frames.

With the proper faceplate, these strikes can be also used on wooden and aluminum frames. Faceplates are available in seven finishes. Faceplate Sizes include:

801: 4-7/8” X 1-1/4” (square corners)

801b: 4-7/8” X 1-1/4” (radiused corners)

802: 7-15/16” x 1-7/16” for use on aluminum frames

803: 6-7/8” x 1-1/4” radius corners & flat faceplate

805: 9” x 1-3/8” radius corners & flat faceplate

The 8000 series’ concealed design increases security. Because no cutting is required to the face of the door frame, the finished installation is less conspicuous and less likely to be noticed or attacked.

Vertical adjustability accommodates door sag and misalignment

Standard features include:

No cutting on frame required

Vertical adjustability to accommodate door sag and misalignment

Tamper resistant

Static strength 1,500 lbs.

Dynamic strength 70 ft-lbs.

Endurance 500,000 cycles

Field selectable fail safe/fail secure

Dual voltage 12 or 24 VDC/VAC


Internally mounted solenoid

Accommodates 1/2”-5/8” latchbolt (5/8” with 1/8” door gap)

Strike body depth 1-1/16”

Strike body width decreased to 1-7/16” to increase frame compatibility

The #8300 is the fire-rated version of the #8000. This electric strike complies with NFPA 80-07 guidelines for retrofit into fire-rated frames. It fits into a standard 1” ANSI/BHMA A156.115 dustbox, with little or no modification to the frame, and offers vertical adjustability to accommodate door sag and misalignment.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or visit

For additional Locksmith Ledger articles on electric strikes, visit