Servicing A Profile Cylinder

Sept. 1, 2008

Profile cylinders today are a small market in the United States, and they are particularly rare in California. My experience actually began in the eastern United States on a storm door that had been purchased complete, which included an installed mortise lock containing a double-sided profile cylinder. Over the years, applications for profile cylinders have been expanded onto French Doors, security and screen doors. When sold as “complete packages,” these doors, if imported, will likely be equipped with profile cylinder-equipped mortise locks.

The profile cylinder is shaped similar to an oversized interchangeable core, having a rounded area for the plug(s) and a somewhat narrowed area containing the bible. Profile cylinders are normally installed upside down with the springs pushing up on the pin tumblers.

Unlike a mortise, rim or cylindrical/tubular lock cylinder, the profile cylinder normally contains both the outside and the inside (or thumb turn) operating cylinders. A central rotating tail piece between the two plugs operates the locking mechanism. Each plug operates independently.

Profile cylinders are available in a variety of lengths, from approximately 1.25” to more than 3”. Special escutcheon plates are available to compensate for varying thickness of door. Some applications use only an exterior profile cylinder that is serviced just about the same as a rim or cylindrical/tubular cylinder. A profile cylinder can normally be removed from the mortise case as long as the key is either not in the keyway or in the locked position.

The conventional profile cylinder lock mechanism has a spring, top pin and bottom pin (master chips if master keyed). Depending upon the manufacturer, profile cylinders may incorporate more than one length of top pin. The pins used in the CIA 2.8 mm (.110”) profile cylinder have three spool top pin lengths. When servicing a profile cylinder, it is a good idea to measure the lengths of the top pins. This way, the spring pressure remains balanced within each pin chamber.

The profile cylinder is used in European mortise lock applications. These mortise locks are almost always a different shape than United States models, making direct replacement retrofits impossible.
Most profile cylinders are secured into the mortise lock using a single flat head retaining screw. The door must be opened and you must unscrew the screw located slightly off level from the center of the profile cylinder, permitting the profile cylinder to be removed from the mortise lock. Most profile cylinders are interchangeable, having both the same cam dimension and diameter retaining screw.

Profile cylinders come in two styles top loading cylinders and the non-top loading cylinders. The top loading cylinder has openings to each of the pin chambers (usually five or six). Access to the pin tumblers and springs is gained either by removing a plastic spring retainer or individual set screws. European top load profile cylinder manufacturers use set screws that require a metric size hex wrench. Lori Lock profile cylinders have 5/64” set screws at the top of each pin chamber. The top loading profile cylinders are combinated the same way as a conventional lock cylinder. The only variation can be the diameter of the pin tumblers and the spring.

IMPORTANT: Some profile cylinder manufacturers use slightly smaller or larger diameter pins and springs, rather than the .115” diameter. The difference is not easily seen when looking at the pins or the springs. When servicing, save the pins and springs that are in the profile cylinder as they may be a smaller or larger diameter and are not available from any North American source. You may have to reuse these tumblers and spring in different positions to combinate the profile cylinder.

The non-top loading profile cylinders do not have access through the top of the housing. These profile cylinders require the plug retaining rings to be removed in order to service or recombinate the cylinders. Some retaining ring are made of brass that is malleable, while others are made of spring steel. Some of the spring steel rings are made to break, requiring them to be replaced. These non-top loading profile cylinders are not designed to be serviced. When you attempt to remove the clip, it breaks. The lock manufacturer usually does not offer a replacement clip. This does not necessarily mean the profile cylinder can not be serviced, only the proper sized retaining clip must be purchased. To this end, we have found a company that sells replacement retainer clips for some profile cylinders.

NOTE: Before disassembling a profile cylinder, mark the positions of all the components. This way, the re-assembled cylinder will be identical and properly operate the lock.

Non-top load double sided (cylinder) profile cylinders require special tools in order to remove and install the plugs. This is because there is not sufficient room to insert a standard follower into the keyway. The second plug is obstructing rear access. To resolve this problem, round magnets are used. They are approximately the diameter of the plug, having a width of about 3/8”. Rotate the plug slightly to provide an extended flat against which the pin tumblers cannot slide out. Remove the cam and insert a magnet between the two plugs. Push the magnet against the end of the plug, creating a follower to prevent the top pins and springs from unloading. Place a second magnet against the first with the magnetic fields opposing, making the magnets attach to each other. Push the second magnet into the housing providing enough room to insert another magnet. Continue this process until the plug slides out of the housing and five or so magnets become the follower. These magnets move as a single unit, keeping the top pins and springs within the bible. If the profile cylinder has been master keyed, unload the profile cylinder and use one magnet at a time to insert a spring and a proper top pin.

Once the profile cylinder has been recombinated, slowly insert the combinated plug into the housing, removing the magnets one at a time until the plug keeps the top pins in position. Install the cam and slide the plug into position. The non-top loading profile cylinder is ready for installation.

Profile cylinders are available with a variety of keyways, accommodating lock and lock cylinder manufacturers throughout the world. A number of the manufacturers offer profile cylinders in a “C” keyway.
Here are some examples of the key blanks used by profile cylinders in different manufacturers ' locks.

Emco: Ilco 1528/1528R and Jet Hardware EM1/EM1R
Pado: Ilco 1528/1528R and Jet Hardware EM1/EM1R
Papaiz: Ilco PZ1/PZ2

CES and Zeiss Ikon incorporate a number of different keyways in their profile cylinders. What appears to be a common keyway for Charles E. Schulte (CES) is the Ilco CS10/CS11 key blank.
For more information on non-top load magnets, contact Keedex, Telephone: 714-993-4300. Fax: 714-993-4303. Web Site:

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