Upgrade from Mechanical to Electronic

March 4, 2019

Where Do We Go From Here? This is the question every locksmith asks himself when he is looking at a door needing an upgrade from mechanical to electronic access control.

This is deliberately ambiguous topic since there are many scenarios, types of doors, and many kinds of existing mechanical locking hardware out there so there are many possible answers to this question. Our vendors who we rely on for products and solutions graciously provided several for your consideration

Command Access

First, Locksmith Ledger interviewed Mateo Kristoff, Director of Sales & Marketing at Command Access Technologies.

Tell us a little about your company.

Command Access is a manufacturer and modifier of high quality electric locks, panic hardware, power transfer products, power supplies and support components. From our first shipment in 1999, we have been dedicated to customer service and satisfaction. Our goal as a company is to build relationships based on quality products, superb communication, and pricing programs that provide our customers a competitive advantage. (See a company video at https://youtu.be/20EwgqP00BE)

How should the locksmith go about determining whether it makes more sense to replace a lock, or upgrade (electrify) it?

That depends on the amount of time the existing product has been on the door and is current state. There’s no reason to spend time and money upgrading to electrified hardware if the locking device is on its last leg. Also, you get to a point where factories cannot support electrifying an outdated product. But there are a lot of cases where simply swapping a mortise lock body only or adding a latch retraction kit to an existing exit device can save you time and money. If the customer is unsure, they can snap a few pictures the product and send it into Command Access for guidance.

In a situation where the locksmith determines he wants to electrify an existing mechanical lock, rather than sell the client a new one, what services do you have available to the locksmith?

Lots of options, you can send product into us for electrification, purchase a mortise lock buddy only, or add a field installable latch retraction kit. Here’s a sample video of our Adams Rite EX series Kit (the only latch retraction option for this particular device available) : https://youtu.be/c6XsGFuHNTE

What is the lead time for a conversion?

Our standard lead time is 5-10 days. Remember in cases where we modify a customer’s product, the clock starts once the product hits our dock.

If the locksmith determines he would rather replace the lock, what range of locks and access control accessories do you offer?

We stock and modify most of the major manufacturers like Schlage, Sargent, Von Duprin, Corbin and Yale. But the real savings kick in when you utilize one of our house brand products which retrofit most manufacturers’ product, saving time and money without sacrificing quality as they are backed by the same 3-year no hassle warranty.

Command Access Electrified Mortise Lock ML1-M Series

• Retrofits Schlage l9000 series

• Grade 1, UL Listed

• Field Selectable EU/EL

• Ready for 12V or 24VDC

• Low Energy - POE compatible

• Built in the USA

The Command Access ML1-M (L9000) retrofit series mortise lock utilizes a high quality Grade 1 chassis built to withstand years of use. The ML1-M allows for field handing, it is field selectable (EL/EU) with the press of a button, is ready to plug into 12V or 24VDC , POE friendly with a in-rush of only 100mA, and it comes with a 3 year no hassle warranty. This mortise lock retrofits any Schlage L series compatible trim and may be purchased as chassis only or as a complete lockset.

Two models are available: ML180-M - storeroom: (fail safe/fail secure) and ML182-M - Institutional: (fail safe/fail secure)


• Voltage range – 11 to 35 VDC

• Average Current Peak: 100mA,

• Average Current Hold: 10mA

• EU to EL hold button for 3 seconds.

• Handing Field Reversible without removing cover.

• Continuous duty motor allows for great energy savings on “continuously on” applications such as Fail Safe or an unlock cycle.

• Low current draw makes it an ideal lock for POE systems.

• Changing for EU/EL is done easily with the push of a button. No need to cut wires!

• Switching from EU/EL can be done without power present.

• True cycle feature - ensure motor re-turns to original position even if power drops.


• Request to Exit (REX) - Available as a field installable kit or factory installed

• Latchbolt Monitor (LBM) - Monitor the position of the latchbolt

• Door Position (DPS) - Monitor the position of the door

For more information, visit www.commandaccess.com


When you ask ASSA ABLOY the question “Where Do We Go from Here?,” they have many divisions and therefore many possible answers.

A wide range of options are available for upgrading a door from mechanical to electronic access control, and as such, there are many important factors to consider.

  • Is it just this door that needs electronic access control or are there multiple openings to consider?
  • Does the building already have an electronic access control system in place?
  • If so, what credentials are they using?
  • What is behind the door you are looking to upgrade? What is the value of the assets you are trying to protect?
  • What is the construction around the door?

Keypad locks can provide basic access control capabilities using PIN code credentials. Yale nexTouch™ is a scalable solution that can be used as a stand-alone keypad lock, or easily upgraded or expanded to use Data-on-Card or ZigBee/Z-Wave wireless technology. Available in cylindrical and mortise lock configurations, with a capacitive touchscreen or push button keypad, nexTouch features voice-guided programming and a variety of other features to make setup and daily access easy and convenient.

The Adams Rite RITE Touch makes extending access control to all-glass doors convenient and affordable while maintaining aesthetics. This surface-mounted solution requires no modification to the glass and provides greater flexibility and access control for interior applications.

Intelligent Key Systems incorporate sophisticated access control features into retrofit cylinders to upgrade the security of existing hardware. This enables powerful scheduling and accountability and eliminates the expense and inconvenience of rekeying due to lost keys or personnel changes. Battery-powered intelligent keys and cylinders that install easily into existing hardware eliminate the need for wiring or door/frame prep. The keys can be programmed to expire based on security needs, and access can be updated through remote or mobile programmers, or directly through the key using a BLE-enabled mobile device.

Intelligent Keys can be used in nearly any application and provide an extremely cost- effective solution to enhance security and accountability. There is an intelligent key system for any sized business, from a small business owner who needs access control on only a handful of doors (CLIQ Go) to medium to large-sized businesses (Medeco XT and CLIQ) to enterprise level businesses with remote sites or dispersed staff (Medeco XT and CLIQ).

WiFi locks, such as the IN120 from ASSA ABLOY Group brands Corbin Russwin and SARGENT, provide complete access control in locations where it would be difficult or cost prohibitive to install a wired lock. With no wires to run, installation time is significantly reduced – simply install the device on the door and configure it to communicate with the wireless network.


• Utilizes existing WiFi networks; reduces the need for panels

• Scheduled and user-initiated updates simplify programming

• Real-time door status monitoring and real-time, configurable alarm notification

• Local decision making: 2,400/10,000* users supported; 10,000 event transaction history

• ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 hardware, offering the highest degree of physical security available in access control locks; available in cylindrical lock, mortise lock and exit device configurations

• Features multiCLASS SE ® technology from HID Global ®, offering easy migration to higher security credentials and HID Mobile Access ® powered by Seos ®

Aperio ® Wireless Locks such as the IN100 from ASSA ABLOY Group brands Corbin Russwin and SARGENT, makes access control easy and affordable. The IN100 wireless lock offers the convenience and flexibility of Aperio wireless technology with the real-time communication of online access control. As part of the Aperio family of wireless locks, the IN100 offers easy expansion of existing access control systems to bring a new level of control to your facility.


• Quick, easy wireless deployment - high security standardized communications ensures data security between lock and hub

• Lockdown capability:

- Remote or centralized lock/unlock in less than 10 seconds

- Local lockdown using a privacy button on the secure side of the lock

• ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 hardware, offering the highest degree of physical security available in access control locks; available in cylindrical lock, mortise lock and exit device configurations

• Features multiCLASS SE ® technology from HID Global ® , offering easy migration to higher security credentials and HID Mobile Access ® powered by Seos ®

Electrified hinges and transfer device cables may also be solutions to electrifying an opening. Selection may be based on various installation requirements, the level of security or need to protect against vandals, and the overall investment the users are willing to make. Electrified hinges tend to be the most desirable solution. They typically replace the center hinge of the door and connect the power through the hinge to the locking hardware in a fully concealed manner. ASSA ABLOY Group brands use the ElectroLynx® standardized plug-in connectors and color-coded wiring system. Electronic power transfers (EPT) or door cords may be selected as alternatives, especially in retrofit applications.

For more information, visit www.intelligentopenings.com

Axis Communications

As of Jan 1st, 2018, 2N merged with Axis in North America producing the widest and deepest solutions with full tech support. Their intercom and access control solutions are all smart IP devices installed with a simple POE cable and require no master station, head end or sip server.  

2N’s products integrate with all major Access, VMS and telephony systems, are engineered with the greatest level of programmability allowing for simple, customized solutions end users want. This is all achieved, due to the product architecture, at a cost which is among the lowest in the industry.  

One of their seven families of intercoms is the award winning Verso. Verso is a modular solution allowing the end user to customize the solution with one of 11 different modules ranging from finger print and RFID readers to a virtual touch screen holding up to 10,000 contacts.

The 2N® IP Verso security intercom provides reliable access control and allows you to easily interface with other systems for even stronger security. The product includes Bluetooth technology, a fingerprint reader, remote configuration, intuitive controls and search, night vision camera, SIP protocol support and the ability to make calls to mobile phones and tablets.

The AXIS A8004-VE Network Video Door Station is an open, non-proprietary IP-based door station for two-way communication, identification, and remote entry control. It features a robust outdoor unit with a high-performing intercom function providing clear, uninterrupted and echo-free speech. It also includes a HDTV camera with WDR and excellent low-light performance offering reliable 24/7 identification.

For more information, visit www.axis.com

Trine Electric Strike Technology

Trine is a specialist in electric strike technology with product to solve even the most challenging application. Here is a small sample:

The 3275VRP is the smallest and best solution for vertical rod exit devices. Made for a panic bar surface mount vertical rod application, it’s unique design allows for quick and easy installation in places the competition can’t go. More info: www.Trineonline.com/3275vrp.php

This unit includes patented frame anchor pins to keep it from shifting on the frame and this is available in two popular finishes: Aluminum or Dark Bronze. This kit includes a frame mounting plates that acts like an installation tool and all mounting hardware, as well as the LC100 for 12-24 AC and DC power.

The 323478F‐LC and the 323478FX‐LC are the smallest heavy duty fire rated electric strikes on the market. The kit includes two adjustable ANSI face plates that 1/8” horizontal adjustment. The 2‐3/4” faceplate has an extended ramp attachment for Timely/Red frames and for maximum flexibility. When using the 4‐7/8” faceplate, the strike has the smallest cutout in that size bracket. This product covers a wide variety of applications with cylindrical locksets.

This electric strike is BHMA Grade 1 heavy duty, will work 12V through 24V AC or DC using the included LC‐100 module. This unit is available in two popular finishes Stainless Steel and Dark Bronze.

The 3250SOM Strike-O-Matic™ is the only electric strike solution for a Dor‐O‐matic™ concealed vertical rod panic bar. Like the 3275VRP and 323478F-lc, this utilizes the mechanism of our smallest electric strike in the world. Included in the box is a mounting bracket that also acts as an installation to properly mount the unit in the header. The faceplates on the unit come with 1/8” horizontal adjustments for easy installation.

It’s BHMA grade 1 and will work with12V through 24V AC or DC using the included LC‐100 module. For maximum flexibility this unit comes with the Aluminum and Dark bronze finishes in the box so you can always match (or contrast) any light or dark frame.

For more information, visit www.trineonline.com

Schlage® LE, NDE and CTE with ENGAGE™

Electronic access control can enhance the experience for customers who are looking to balance security, efficiency and convenience throughout a facility. Whether the customer wants a more efficient way to manage keys and access privileges or needs auditing capabilities at an opening, wireless can make the transition a seamless process. Regardless of the reason, when upgrading from mechanical to electronic access control, end users benefit from solutions that are easy to adopt, simple to use and economical.

The first thing locksmiths should consider is the type of application. High-security and high-traffic openings more often need a hardwired solution. But other openings might benefit from wireless solutions.

Allegion has economical solutions that locksmiths can apply in commercial, institutional and mixed-use facilities. The Schlage® LE and NDE wireless locks extend the benefits of electronic access control deeper into a building, beyond traditional perimeter and high-security openings. These solutions are ideal for office and suite entries, conference rooms, common area doors, resident units and sensitive storage areas with a cylindrical or mortise door prep.

The Schlage CTE single door controller extends the benefits to perimeter, exit and parking garage doors. This solution is hardwired, but it enables the opening to be managed with the same ENGAGE web and mobile applications as the NDE and LE wireless locks.

Wireless locks are affordable and easy to install as they use an existing standard door prep and eliminate the need to run wires. Built-in Bluetooth enables the Schlage LE and NDE to connect directly to smart phones and tablets, which means locksmiths don’t need proprietary handheld devices for set-up and configuration. And the flexibility allows locksmiths to help their customers implement a solution that can evolve over time. As security needs change, they can transition from a standalone lock to an integrated access control solution.

With the ENGAGE™ cloud-based web and mobile apps, it’s easy for users to configure lock settings, add users and view audits and alerts from virtually anywhere. For advanced capabilities including networked real-time communication with the ENGAGE Gateway, these solutions can be managed with leading access control software providers.

Schlage NDE wireless cylindrical lock

  • Fits mechanical ND door prep with no additional holes
  • Installs in minutes with only a Phillips screwdriver
  • Weather resistant design for use on perimeter doors
  • Lever handing is field reversible in seconds; no tools required
  • Innovative integrated door position sensor requires no additional door prep
  • Built-in Bluetooth enables wireless configuration from smart phones and tablets
  • Built-in Wi-Fi enables automated daily updates sent directly from host software
  • No-Tour capable
  • Networked real-time communication with the ENGAGE Gateway and a leading access control systems
  • Up to 2 years of battery life
  • Compatible with major brands of key systems
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.25 (Indoor/Outdoor), ANSI/BHMA Grade 1, UL 294, UL10C, FCC Part 15, ADA, RoHS, Industry Canada (IC)

For more information, visit www.allegion.us 

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.