Tech Tips: Electric Deadbolt Locks & Deadbolt Strikes

Dec. 3, 2019
Knox Box rapid entry solutions give secured and immediate access to first responders

A Locksmith Ledger reader emailed us a question regarding electric strikes which can be used with deadbolts.

Using an electric strike with an electric strike is not a common application for either a cylindrical or a mortise deadbolt. We usually use a deadbolt to override an access control system so that if the deadbolt is extended, access will not be granted. This is helpful when there is a situation where a credential has been stolen or an electric lock is not functioning and it is desired to secure the site.

Deadbolts can create life safety issues by impeding egress when a deadbolt is locked on a door along the means of egress.

For commercial applications, mortise locks with integral deadbolts partially alleviate the life safety concerns because the deadbolt is easily unlocked to egress by simply using the lever or the turnpiece on the interior side of the door. Gaining access is a different story, since if you approach a deadbolted mortise lock, you need a key to retract the bolt.

Frequently the Fire Marshal will stipulate that a Knox Box be mounted adjacent to the main entry door so first responders can get in quickly regardless of the status of the door lock or the access control system. Knox Boxes are available that surface or flush mounted and can have the capacity for multiple keys.

The Knox Box removes barriers to entry. They are referred to as rapid access solutions. The multi-purpose switch is mounted inside the KnoxBox and can be used to unlock Maglocks, electrical doors, and gates that are controlled by low voltage circuits. Other electrical equipment can also be operated by this switch.

Locksmiths can sell and install these, and are a good item, because it is imperative that the KNOX BOX be professionally installed.

Knox Rapid Entry System are used in all types of buildings:

Fire Departments

Law Enforcement

Campus / School Safety

Commercial Property


Military and Government


Emergency Medical Services

The KNOX BOX can contain an operable key to the door, or a switching device which the Fire Marshal approves to unlock the door in an emergency. An example of this type of setup is a switch which interrupts power to the electromagnetic locks on the door.

The building owner provides the key to the door, and the fire department provide a proprietary key and or keylock specific to the relevant Fire Department.

Knox Box’s largest commercial model is the KnoxVault® 4400 Series. It  stores up to 50 keys, access cards, entry items, emergency planning documents and more while enabling shared access for reliable, rapid entry into your property. Surface mount and recessed mount installations are possible.

The KnoxBox® 3200 Series stores up to 10 keys or access cards. For higher security, both models can be  equipped with optional alarm tamper alert. The Knox Tamper Alert is installed inside either the KnoxBox 3200 or KnoxVault 4400 and connects to the alarm on your building. If anyone tampers with the box, the alarm will be activated. 

More Info:

There are electric strikes which can be used with a mortise lock and a mortise lock equipped with a deadbolt. There are many details which impact this type of application. 

Here are a few strikes designed for use with deadbolts

TRINE 4100DBDL Electric Strike

The only electric strike with two independently activated latches, the Trine

4100DBDL features:

  • Independently moving latches -- Top and bottom latch unlock with separate mechanisms.
  • BHMA Grade 1 Electric Strike -- heavy duty construction, 1,000,000+ Life cycles -- 3,250+ lbs. Holding Force
  • Four popular faceplates included -- including the 4 most used faceplates for most mortise lock configurations plus the open plates.
  • Low Current Draw -- .240 Amp at 12DC makes it very PoE Friendly 12 & 24DC :: 12 through 24 AC. All the low voltage and amperage flexibility you need. 

Please note that electronics are for individual solenoids -- and the 4100DBDL may have both units activated at the same time.

4100DBDL patent pending -- 4100 Series Patented # US20110241361


Class A, 3 Hour fire rated single door / frame configuration

WH recognized for UL10C, Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

UBC 7-2, Uniform building Code

CAN4 S104, Standard Method for Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

NFPA 252 - Issue: 1999/01/01 Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

NOTE: WH fire listing is void when using fail safe action.

UL LISTED - 1034 Burglary Resistant PENDING

ANSI/BHMA A156.5 - 1992 - 4-7/8" x 1-1/4" Fits

More Info:

RCI F2164/2364 All-In-One

The dormakaba RCI 2 series strikes are versatile, all-in-one, electric strikes that combine strength and convenience in a sleek design. The RCI F2164 & 2364 strikes feature an adjustable deadbolt keeper and deadlatch ramp allowing them to flexibly work with most locks. 

The "Saw-tooth Adjustment Locator" makes installation simple. It allows the installer to move the deadbolt keeper, or plug and deadlatch ramp vertically to align with a wide variety of mortise locks with offset latches. It also includes a trim plate to cover up an irregular frame cut-out. Everything you need for the strike is in the box, including a faceplate for centerline latch entry.


  • Versatile strike designed to work with most locks
  • Accommodates 1/2" (12.7mm) to 3/4" (19mm) latch projection
  • Adjustable deadbolt keeper and deadlatch ramp
  • Accommodates up to 1" deadbolt (night-latch function only, bolt will not release)
  • Plug-in wire connectors
  • Runs cool – solenoid design prevents keeper from heating up
  • Trim plate included to cover up irregular frame cut-out
  • Stainless steel ensures superior strength and creates a sleek aesthetic
  • Includes two keeper shims – 1/16" (1.5mm) and 1/8" (3mm) –for horizontal adjustment for misaligned frames (unique sliding design)
  • Non-handed
  • 375mA Field-Selectable 12/24VDC, 12-24VAC (Max at 12VDC) (12-24VAC not available with 2364 model)
  • 1,500lbf Static 70ft-lb Dynamic
  • 500,000 Cycles
  • Fail-Secure & Fail-Safe
  • Optional 3-Hour Model Available (Fire-rated (F) model only, 3-hour for single swing, 90-minutes for standard pair of doors)
  • Plug-In Latch Monitor Accessory Available
  • Energy: 375mA Field-Selectable 12/24VDC, 12-24VAC (Max at 12VDC) (12-24VAC not available with 2364 model)
  • Strength: 1,500lbf Static 70ft-lb Dynamic
  • Endurance: 500,000 Cycles
  • Mode: Fail-Secure & Fail-Safe
  • Fire-Rated: Optional 3-Hour Model Available (Fire-rated (F) model only, 3-hour for single swing, 90-minutes for standard pair of doors)
  • Latch Monitor: Plug-In Latch Monitor Accessory Available

More Info:

HES 1006

The versatile HES 1006 strike accommodates every cylindrical and mortise locksets with or without a 1" deadbolt. It is available as a separate strike body and interchangeable faceplate or a Complete Pac and non-handed, dual voltage and available in fail safe or fail secure (standard)

Tested for Durability

• UL 10C, 3 hour fire-rated

• ANSI A250.13-2003 windstorm listed

• UL 1034 burglary-resistant listed and suitable for outdoor use

Robust Design

• ANSI/BHMA A156.31, Grade 1

• Endurance 1 million cycles

• Tamper resistant, stainless steel construction

Standard Features

• Stainless steel construction

• Tamper-resistant

• Static strength 2,500 lbs

• Dynamic strength 350 ft-lbs (fail secure)

• Endurance 1 million cycles

• Fail secure (Standard)

• Non-handed

• Accommodates up to 1" [25.4mm] deadbolt

• Plug-in connector

• Full keeper shims for horizontal adjustment

• Trim enhancer

• Strike body depth 11/16" [17.5mm]

• SecuriCare five-year, no-fault, no questions asked warranty

Optional Features

• LBM Latchbolt monitor

• LBSM Latchbolt strike monitor

• Interchangeable faceplates (Monitor switches may not work with all faceplate options)

More Info:

SDC SpaceSaver

The SDC family of electric bolt locks include long life solenoid driven direct throw mortise bolts, Spacesaver® right angle bolts for narrow frames and door stiles and surface mounted bolt locks for door and cabinet applications. Compatible with virtually any access control system, electromechanical bolt locks are available in failsafe and failsecure modes.

The Spacesaver®, first designed and patented by SDC, is a fundamental innovation in electric locking technology for access control applications.

Greater security is provided by the 0.625” diameter stainless steel bolt. The bolt rotates freely, making attempts to tamper or cut extremely difficult.

All Spacesaver® lock solenoids are manufactured by SDC to precision specifications. SDC solenoids are capable of superior overall performance in both force and longevity, providing yearsof service compared to commercial grade solenoids.

Mechanical Release Function: When used with a mortise key cylinder (not included), the key

cylinder is used to manually override the solenoid.

Field Adjustable Auto-Relock Switch: The automatic relock switch keeps the bolt retracted while the door is open. The door depresses the ball switch assembly on closure, causing the bolt to project automatically, locking the door. In addition, the ball switch assembly is bidirectional, permitting the locks to be used on swinging and sliding doors. The auto relock assembly is field adjustable to compensate for wide door gap.

The 1091ADMR/1091ADDMR is locked when energized. Recommended for safety applications, it is intended that the door unlock automatically when power is interrupted by the access control, power failure or signal from a fire life safety system.

Applications include Retail Aluminum Glass Entrance Doors, Server Rooms, Safe Rooms and Storage Closets.

More Info:


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.