Types of Electronic Locks

Types of electronic locks

An electronic lock is controlled by a reader, such as a keypad, card reader or biometric terminal. If the user has the right personal identification number (PIN), card or biometric, the door unlocks. There are two main types of electronic locks: standalone and networked.

Standalone locks/readers: Standalone electronic locks use the same credential (card, code, etc) as networked locks. However, they are not connected to access control software, so they require the user to physically go to each lock to administer access rights and retrieve tracking information.

Networked locks: Networked electronic locks are connected to an access control system. They allow the system manager to easily change access rights and track movement throughout the facility from anywhere they are connected to the network.

Credentials are key

Credentials are the tools that give you access. Although modern security systems use dfferent types of credentials, a key is the most widely recognized. When they are lost, new ones must be duplicated and, frequently, locks must be rekeyed.

Patented key management system. With a patent- protected key management system, keys are only available to authorized individuals through professional locksmith channels to prevent unauthorized key duplication.

Cards as keys. These credentials overcome the costs and security challenges of key turnover. Options include smart, proximity and magnetic stripe credentials, each with varying levels of security. If a card is lost, its number is simply erased from the system, and the user receives a new card and number.

Biometrics as keys. A biometric reader uses your body as identi cation. Your hand, for instance, can be placed on a reader. If it matches the template created when you enrolled, you get access. Biometrics provide the highest security and greatest convenience.


Just as a key is a
lock, a card or biometric requiresliberty logo
a reader, which is typically
located next to a door. In some
cases, the lock and reader are
combined into one unit. When
purchasing a card reader, it should have the capacity to
read all types of cards: smart, proximity and mag stripe.
Purchasing a multi-technology reader can eliminate the
expense of installing new readers should credentials change down the road.

Exit devices get people out

An exit device (also called a crash bar, panic bar, panic device, panic hardware or push bar) allows the exterior side of the door to be locked, while ensuring that
people can always exit from the interior.

Consisting of a spring-loaded metal bar or touchpad mechanism xed horizontally to the inside of an outward-
opening door, it activates a mechanism which unlatches the door, allowing occupants to leave quickly when the lever is either pushed or depressed. Panic hardware is required for doors which lock or latch, serving assembly and educational occupancies with an occupant load of 50 people or more (100 people or more for some codes), and also for high hazard occupancies.


Crossbar exit devices may be used for doors with large glass lites, or where there is an aesthetic preference for the crossbar style. Available in both wide and narrow stiles, they are ideal for
environments that demand a traditional look that’s durable enough to withstand rugged applications.


Touchpad exit devices are mounted on the inside.


Recessed exit devices are embedded into the door to maintain a low profile with sloped end caps that detect objects away from the door and are close to being  totally flush with the door when depressed.

Rods vs. cables

Vertical rod exit devices have historically been manufactured with rods and latches that secure the door at the top and bottom. More recently, exit devices have been introduced that use a concealed vertical cables instead of rods. Concealed vertical cable exit devices are more aesthetic and easier to install and maintain than traditional vertical rod exit devices.

And it has dogging?

Dogging is a feature used in exit devices to hold the touchpad or crossbar in a retracted position, thus allowing a door to operate in push/pull mode without latching. Mechanical dogging is not allowed for re doors, so re exit hardware will not have the ability to be mechanically dogged. Fire doors may be dogged electrically, as long as the latches project upon re alarm to positively latch the door.

Door ClosersControl the door

Door closers are aptly named

A door closer closes the door after it is opened manually, but it also controls the door to avoid slamming and to meet the requirements of the accessibility standards. There
are both manual and electronic door closers. Choosing a door closer involves considering a variety of criteria. In addition to the closer’s performance in re situations, other criteria may include resistance to opening forces (including heavy duty models for areas with high winds), control over the rate of closing, safety, durability, risk of vandalism and aesthetics. There are ve basic types of door closers.

Surface-mounted closers

These closers mount at the top of the door and frame—either parallel arm mount (push side), regular arm mount (pull side) or top jamb mount •(push side).


Concealed closers

Concealed closers are mounted in the frame head, or in the top rail of the door, when aesthetics are a concern.

High-security closers

High-security closers feature a vandal-resistant design for use where closers may be exposed to abuse or vandalism.

Electronic closers: Fire doors may not be held open mechanically, but electronic closers may be used on re doors to hold the door open and automatically close the door when a signal is received from the re alarm or smoke detector. A door with this type of closer is called automatic- closing, while a door that closes each time it’s opened is called self-closing.

Automatic operators provide easy access

Low energy automatic operators are used where a “knowing act,” such as a push button, is used to automatically open the door. They are required by code to open the door slowly and with a limited amount of force. Therefore they do not require the safety sensors and rails required for full-powered operators like the operators seen on a grocery store entrance.

Electro-hydraulic systems

These are designed for manual opening applications where there is occasional need for automating the door to meet ADA requirements. Electro- hydraulic operators combine a conventional heavy-duty door closer with a low-energy automatic operator.

Electro-mechanical systems

Designed for more frequent automatic use, these automatic operators are often used on cross-corridor doors and other frequently used openings in hospitals. These operators are designed for applications where automatic operation is the primary need.

Pneumatically powered systems

These are great for use in areas where electrically operated devices are not convenient or permitted. The pneumatic operator consists of a heavy- duty door closer for manual operation and a pneumatic automatic operator to power the door when required. Power for the operator comes from the in-house air supply or a compressor furnished with the operators. These operators are silent when the compressor is installed in a remote location, making them ideal for use in libraries, churches, hospitals and laboratories.

This is an excerpt from Allegian Locks.

For more information call Liberty Locksmiths at 407-260-2727. We have the locks and will be happy to install them for you.

An Excerpt from Allegion


Door hardware 101: A basic jargon primer

Access control begins with door hardware. And with that comes a world of confusing nomenclature that can be intimidating. Welcome to Door Hardware 101, a guide to help you understand and talk about mechanical and electrified hardware.

There are four main steps to specifying door hardware:
(1) hang the door, (2) secure the door, (3) control the door and (4) protect the door. This guide will explain some of the key terms used in each of these four steps.

Cylindrical: Sometimes called
bored locks, cylindrical locks are
sturdier and considered more
secure than tubular locks. The
latchbolt assembly interlocks with
one side of the lock chassis, making
it easier to install, replace and rekey.
Cylindrical locks are also available in di erent formats that provide various levels of security, all of which use the same type of key. This allows like-keyed and master-keyed systems that use a wide variety of locks. Cylindrical locks are vulnerable to security threats that use force to break them in two pieces- known as lock snapping or cylinder snapping.

Mortise: Mortise locks are considered even more secure than cylindrical locks.

They require a pocket—the mortise—to be cut
into the door where the lock is tted.

The mortise assembly includes the following:

Lock body (the part installed inside the mortise cut-out in the door)

Lock trim, which is typically available
in various knob, lever, handle set and pull designs

Strike plate

Keyed cylinder to operate the locking/unlocking function of the lock body

Industry Insights

Hang the door

Hinges or pivots?

Typically hinges are used to hang the door. There are a few basic types. Five-knuckle or three-knuckle are common choices.

Continuous hinges run the entire length of the door and are often used on exterior doors.

Pivots are used to hang the door when the door is heavy, the design of the door/frame requires pivots or because of an aesthetic preference.

Secure the door



Mechanical locks: There are many types of mechanical locks: tubular, cylindrical, mortise, interconnected and deadbolt. Below are the pros and cons of each type.

Tubular: Tubular locks have a center spindle assembly that extends through the center of the lock body and latch, allowing for retraction of the latch when the lever or knob is rotated. While this type of lock is very common on interior doors and in residential applications, they are considered the least secure lock type.

Mortise locks are stronger and heavier duty than cylindrical locks,

making them ideal for use in hospitals and schools. They are heavy enough to support ornate and solid cast knobs and levers. Mortise locks also provide a wide variety of choices
for function, trim, keying systems and nishes, allowing for architectural conformity with the design of the building or locks and door hardware already on site.

Interconnected: An interconnected lock is comprised of two locks that are connected together so operating the lever handle will retract both the latchbolt and deadbolt simultaneously. The latchset is either a cylindrical or tubular lock, and there is a deadbolt above. These locks are most commonly used on dwelling unit entrance doors in multifamily residential buildings.

Deadbolt: Deadbolts, also called deadlocks, are available with a single cylinder or a double cylinder. The single cylinder deadbolt operates by a key on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside. A double cylinder deadbolt requires a key for unlocking on both sides of the door, but it must only be used where speci cally allowed by the applicable code. With the exception of residential dwelling units, deadbolts are typically not allowed to be used on a door with another lock or latch installed, as the egress code requirements mandate one motion to unlatch an egress door.

Electrified hardware: Fail safe or fail secure

Electri ed hardware uses power to control the locking and unlocking of the door. Most electri ed hardware is available in one of two functions: fail safe or fail secure. Fail safe and fail secure refers to the status of the secure side (key side, outside) of the door. Most electrified hardware allows free egress from the egress side (inside) of the door.

Basic definitions: Fail safe: Power o = Unlocked Fail secure: Power o = Locked

An electric strike replaces the regular strike for a lockset or panic hardware. It is used as part of an access control system to provide added security and convenience such as tra c control and remote release. An electric strike is typically paired with a storeroom function lockset or panic hardware, so access is controlled by the electric strike.

An electromechanical lock is a lockset that has been electrified so that it can be controlled by a card reader, remote release or other access control device. Most electromechanical locksets allow free egress at all times.

An electromagnetic lock is an electromagnet that mounts on the frame, with a steel armature
mounted on the door. When
power is applied to the magnet, it

bonds to the armature, securing
the door. Electromagnetic locks
are only available fail safe. When
you remove power, the electromagnetic lock unlocks.

Upon re-alarm or power failure.

Fail safe electric strikes can’t be used for stairwell re-entry, because re door assemblies require fail secure electric strikes for positive latching. (Fire doors do not require fail secure electric locks—only fail secure electric strikes.)

Be aware that when a fail safe product is used, the door will be unlocked whenever there is a re alarm or power failure, which is an obvious security risk.

Electromagnetic locks are only available fail safe.
Electric latch retraction panic hardware is only available fail secure.

Fail secure products are more common than fail safe due to security concerns. Fail secure products provide security when there is no power applied.

Most electrified products, with the exception of electromagnetic locks, allow free egress at all times, regardless of whether they are fail safe or fail secure.

Liberty Locksmiths can provide you with all the latest locks and the installation. Give us a call at 407-260-2727 for a consultation. Serving Orlando . Florida
and surrounding area. Visit our Commercial Door services website.

Liberty Locksmiths

Story of Locksmith

With 37 years in the business, Rob Kowal still encounters formidable locks—and clients.

Rob Kowal

Rob Kowal


Meet the smiths. His last name “is short for Kowalski,” Kowal explains. “In Polish, ‘-ski’ means ‘son of.’ For us, it was ‘son of blacksmith.’ His father liked the idea of being a smith, so “he started a locksmith’s shop in Carson City, Nevada. He taught my oldest brother, who taught me, and then I taught my younger brother.”

Born around the Fourth of July. That’s when Kowal founded Liberty Locksmith of Apopka in 1999, three years after he arrived in Central Florida. As for the name, “My grandfather came to Ellis Island from Poland in the early 1900s, and settled in Jersey City, which is how we got the name Liberty, because the Statue of Liberty is in Jersey City. It was in my backyard.”

Buyer beware. “Most states don’t require locksmiths to have a criminal background check,” including Florida, says Kowal, whose website prominently advertises his criminal background check policy. “You’ve got criminals coming out of jail for breaking and entering.” When they can’t get a job, they consider becoming a locksmith. No one is going to ask any questions. “You just go downtown and get a business license, and that’s all you need.”

Locksmith beware. “So I went to this one house in downtown Orlando. The woman wasn’t acting right.” Kowal requires a valid ID to open a house for someone, but the woman said her license was locked inside the home. It turned out the house belonged to her brother, who had recently died; she had driven from Tampa to get at his possessions before her sister did. Kowal called police.

A lot of experience and a little luck. Unlike TV representations of lockpicking, “it takes two tools: a turning wrench and then the pick.” And some locks won’t give no matter what. “You can’t always pick a lock. There are more and more locks that are not pickable, and you have to drill them out.”

Safety is key. “People should rekey their locks, but they don’t. It’s silly. They buy a new house, and they don’t rekey the lock. It’s cheap insurance.”

He’s left cars in the dust. Cars are too cost-prohibitive to justify Kowal’s time. “You have to put so much money into the electronic programming equipment and the electronic key fobs, and then every six months you have to buy an update because they change. People say, ‘I had to pay $250 for this key.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I had to pay $10,000 to make it.’ ”

Working evictions is the worst. “I’ve done a couple where they had the sheriff there, and they had a moving company there. People were literally getting dragged out of the house, and their furniture was getting dragged to the street.”

Late-night sting. Kowal has done undercover work for the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. One middle-of-the-night operation required Kowal to enter the house, storage unit and office  belonging to a suspect. After opening the building, “I’m sitting in my car and these guys are all covered with helmets and machine guns, and I thought, “What am I getting myself into here?”

Hotel and Bank Safety Deposit Boxes

Hotel and Bank safety deposit box lock and keys service duplicated, opened and replaced, yeah we do that!

Just some interesting pics

Just some interesting pictures of old antique locks…

Looking for a Safe?


Are you looking for a safe that is built with state of the art technology?, made to provide superior protection for your documents and valuables against both fire and burglary.


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Easy to use Electronic Lock available on this Safe

The easy to use electronic lock gives you the ability to open the safe quickly, and also offers fast and easy combination change ability. The built in detent feature insures that the door will automatically lock when it shuts, eliminating the chance of leaving the safe unlocked.


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Liberty Commercial Doors Services

This may not look like much, but you can not operate  commercial doors in a building

…without having a door closer and exit bar and it must be inspected and passed in order to get your certificate of occupancy. Liberty Locksmiths and Liberty commercial door services makes sure that the right hardware is installed properly and it works the way it’s supposed to.
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