Back Page, August 2021

Aug. 2, 2021

10 Years Ago

The Adams Rite Steel Hawk 4300, still the dominant choice for electrifying glass storefront doors, was featured. Tim O’Leary wrote about going wireless with the Alarm Lock Trilogy and wireless Networx panel. A case study examined how the ASSA Concept 4 system helped to secure the Columbus, Ohio, airport. Ilco’s modular chipless head system enabled locksmiths to reuse chip or capsule-type transponders from existing transponder-equipped keys that were miscut, broken, worn or old. Another new product featured was Jet Hardware’s HS7000 high-security key machine for duplicating side-mill and dimple-style keys. In fact, Gale Johnson wrote a related article, “Sidewinders Go Mainstream.” We also took a first look at Ted Gula’s invention aimed at originating SARGENT keys. Gula brought his invention to the market before he passed away in 2016. Automotive experts Jim and Stacy Hetchler used the ZedBull tool to program transponder keys for a 2001 VW Cabrio. An article addressed securing firearms in AMSEC gun safes. Depending upon the safe model ordered, up to 26 rifles can be stored in the Barrett Gun Safe. Tim O’Leary recounted a recent call to troubleshoot access control power supplies at a school.

20 Years Ago

A noteworthy Ziptide letter suggested three-point locking systems and questioned the security of normal deadbolt locks. Tim O'Leary wrote of advancements in products from Alarm Lock. Articles on the Panasonic digital recorder, the Securitron Unlatch electric strike, Sanyo day/night cameras, RCI card readers and the Security Door Controls E72 Entrycheck appeared. Jerry Levine developed a chart on transponder keys by make, year and model. Dick Zunkel showed troubleshooting procedures for maglocks and exit devices. Jerry Levine described the Falcon Z series lever lock. Gale Johnson reported on the depth and spacing for OMM furniture locks. Jerry Levine toured the Emtek facility in California. Dennis Baxter described how to fit keys to a Toyota using his tryout keys. Wilson Bohannon told why its small company is a good one to do business with. Milt Wolferseder opened a Survivor safe by Sentry Safe. Sean Artz showed a new peel-and-stick installation template by LCN. Tiny fit keys to a 2000 Volvo Semi tractor. Hint: For fleet trucks, precut keys are available from any Volvo truck dealer. Locksmith Ledger had a story on the retirement of Leland Hanchett, founder of Hanchett Entry Systems (HES).

Troubleshooting Power Supplies for Access Control Systems

Read the full article from August 2011 at for helpful tips when troubleshooting power supply issues.

Last week, I was dispatched to service an access control installation. The system was composed of about 12 readers distributed in three different buildings at a private middle school.

The system was network-based. Each door had a reader, a door position sensor and an electric lock that connected to an interface at the door. Each interface was home run back to the head-end controller via RS-485.

The head-end controller was connected to the network. The head-end that communicated to the server also was on the network. System management was done via software installed on a PC, managed by an operator through a valid username and password.

I was told that the readers were “dead” in one of the buildings. The building that had the dead readers was the building in which the head-end was located. 

The cause for the power supply failure was unknown, but the power supply’s output rating was theoretically more than adequate for the application. It was a regulated design and should have clamped if a short or overload occurred, not die.

After the new power supplies were deployed, the system restarted. But then the customer immediately began complaining that all the doors were locked, and they were scheduled to be unlocked at this time of day.

The system administrator logged in, and, sure enough, the internal clock in the head-end had stopped because of the loss of power and battery backup, and it had to be reset. I was surprised how long it took for the system activity log to scroll through as the doors and head-end synced up with the server. The power had been out for quite a while, and apparently no one noticed.