Kwikset Powerbolt 1000: Keyless Entry Comes Home

Dec. 15, 2004
Combining locks with electronics is the formula for the most effective security solution.

It's 7:15 a.m. and the phone rings. My wife answers, speaks quickly, then hands me the phone and says, "Lila has a problem."

Well after raising three daughters and being married 37 years, problems are nothing new. And being a security consultant for nearly as long, solving problems with solutions is my business. But Lila is married now with two babies and a husband who is there to solve her problems.

Oh yeah, that's right, her husband is away on a business trip. I say, "What's up? I was just heading out the door."

Lila explains she has managed to lock herself out of her house, with her two little babies inside. "I just ran out to get something out of the car (her cell phone), and I must have accidentally hit the little button on the lever. What can I do?" Georgianna (24 months old) and William Baron (3 months old) are inside. "I need to get back in there fast!"

Lila is loosing her composure in the chilly autumn air as she imagines something horrible occurring while she stands helplessly peering through a window. Her unsupervised two-year-old can find trouble in seconds.

Thanks to me, Lila's house is a fortress with entry locks and deadbolts on every door.

"I guess you haven't stashed a key somewhere in the yard for an emergency?" The obvious answer comes back "No! Daddy, what should I do?" I reply, "I can be there in 35 minutes with a key."

Lila screams, "I can't wait 35 minutes, I don't know what will happen in 35 minutes!"

We're both telling her to stay calm. My wife suggests we call Lila's sister Layla, but that will not help because Layla is about 20 minutes form there too, and we haven't even reached her yet.

We say, "Find an open window or break a window," realizing that Lila, still recuperating from childbirth, could injure herself attempting either. Lila says she'll look for an open window, and we hang up with her; then my wife tries to contact her sister Layla. We have our land line and cell phone working.

After a few moments, Lila calls back to tell us to stand down from the emergency because she found an open window and was back safely inside, caring for the babies. It was tough for me to admit to myself that locks I provided my daughter could have caused an injury to her or one of my grandchildren.

That was enough excitement for us all for one day. I made plans to drop off a spare key for my daughter to conceal in the yard. Shortly after that, I received a new Kwikset Powerbolt 1000 for evaluation, and I soon realized that I had in my hands a product that could have provided a stress-free solution for my daughter's crisis.

Further thought revealed that the Powerbolt could be a solution for many other situations as well. As we all go through our stressful lifestyles and as we grow older, remembering things, like keys, seems to get more difficult. And hiding a key is not the best solution, because criminals often know where to look for spare keys.

Keyless entry (also known as access control) is the fastest growing market segment in security. I guess that's why Kwikset invented the Powerbolt 1000.

What's the perfect security solution? I dare say that the overwhelming majority of American homes do not have one. They do have glass walls and windows, inadequate locks, keys that have been given out to contractors and friends (and possibly duplicated numerous times) and locks that aren't even used because the keys have been misplaced.

I was listening to the radio Saturday morning, to a program on home improvement, and they were offering a Kwikset Powerbolt 1000 to the caller with the best home improvement tip. I couldn't resist calling in, and soon I was on the air to 2,000,000 "On The House" listeners.

The consensus within the security industry has long been that good security requires both mechanical security (locks) and electronic security (alarms and access control). However, most residential structures are not designed with security as the priority, and locks only protect when then they are used. Providing a convenient locking system is a major step in the right direction. Combining locks with electronics is the formula for the most effective security solution.

Kwikset bills its Powerbolt1000 Touchpad Electronic Deadbolt as a "Keyless Home Access System." We found this product attractively packaged, and its features extremely appealing.

The concept of a five-button access keypad is certainly nothing new, but a residential access system using one and being marketed by one of the biggest and familiar brands in locks is new and is also newsworthy.

Although the system appears to be comprised of various other partners companies, the electronics are new and unique to Kwikset, a Black & Decker Company and a leader in lockset sales.

All this info reveals that Kwikset has the marketing muscle, but the appeal of the Powerbolt is that it's neat, it works, and we think you'll be able to sell a lot them.

Although installation and programming were straightforward, we're guessing that the majority of homeowners who will see the value of the product will also see the wisdom of leaving installation to an expert.

Our installation was conducted on a typical residential metal-clad door, which had been factory prepped with a 2-1/8" face hole and a 1-inch latch bore. This is what the Powerbolt 1000 requires.

The latch can be field adjusted for either 2-3/8" or 2-3/4" backset. Two additional holes are on the exterior to attach the faceplate, and three additional holes on the interior to attach the electronics were all that were necessary.

Access to the battery compartment and the button which must be pressed to initiate combination programming requires no tools.

The unit will hold two different access codes which can be from four to eight digits in length. Digits may repeat in the access code sequence.

Operating the deadbolt from the interior is like a standard single-cylinder deadbolt; you manually actuate the turn piece. The user feels a little bit of resistance while locking and unlocking, due to the friction of the motor. It does not present a problem.

To lock the deadbolt from the exterior side of the door, you simply press the button with the lock icon on it. To unlock the deadbolt from the exterior, you enter one of the two permitted access codes; the servo-motor whirrs, and the bolt retracts in about a second.

It's a fast one-hand operation to enter through a door equipped with a Powerbolt. Code changes and battery replacement are simple and require no special tools. We suspect that most customers will take on battery replacement and reprogramming codes by themselves, and if they get into trouble, you should be able to talk them through the necessary steps in minutes.

Besides the button required for programming, the only other setting was for handing of the door. This required only that a plug-in jumper be moved to suit the handing of the door.

To install the Powerbolt 1000:

  1. Pick a door.
  2. Make sure the door hinges are working properly, and the door is sound.
  3. Remove old locks, or drill the door to accept the new lock.
  4. Place the template on the door and mark and drill as indicated.
  5. Install the new deadbolt
  6. Pass the keypad cable through the door and attach it via the solderless connector to the electronics package on the inside of the door.
  7. Attach the Lock cylinder and base plate using the two screws provided
  8. Screw the keypad to the outside of the door, and the electronics package to the inside of the door.
  9. Insert batteries and program the Power Bolt access codes Close up the electronics package
  10. Test the system
  11. Adjust the deadbolt and strike for smooth operation.