Suitable Electronic Door Lock Technologies for Residential Exterior Doors?


Neurorad; I am thinking of doing the same here.
My front door looks like the door depicted on the left above.
That said it is about 10 years old.  Initially about 8 years ago I put in side glass panels and a mostly glass second door in front of the installed original door.
That was a big mistake. 
All the framing for the side panels baked and today are cracked and warped.  The all metal door is also baked and warped today.  It still all looks nice from a distance unless you walk up to it and look at it closely.
Years ago in old house went to an all wood door with the same afternoon sun; that said I would have to refinish the door every 3-4 years (in a span of some 30 years).


Senior Member
DELInstallations said:
Since I can't really get any information about the door itself, there should be a lot of hollows on the door, albeit filled with foam. Realy not a difficult retrofit assuming the installation of a couple of "plugs" or use of contacts installed in the rails for DSM it's really not too hard or outragous of an install, but it would need to be done with the door removed from the frame. Actually easier if the
Core from latch through stile to rail, then core across to other stile, then core to middle hinge for electrified hinge. Basically a modified "U" but angled like a "V"
You don't even need to really drill if you do it right, heated ball bearing or steel marble....that's how many guys do ICF or stress-skin panel wiring.
Install contact in stile, then all you have is to fill the hole on the butt side that was used as an access point. Prewire plug comes to mind.
On fixed panel, install magnet in location of stile to match up with DSM.
What type of access control would you use, for this, assuming the coring is feasible?  I currently have 1 mechanical contact on the door (will replace with magnetic, and add a second for the other door); door status monitoring is taken care of, unless I'm missing something.
Is the DSM wired to a separate access controller?
If you use a 3/4 magnetic contact, you only need to install 1, not 2, and be able to supervise the entire opening, assuming no astrigal is installed in the opening. In that case, it's relatively simple. Contact in 1 door, magnet in other leaf. You'd need a 4 wire hinge or power transfer (generally power transfers are not DIY friendly to install). Usually we'll use an 18/4 and run a single cable through a door and pick up the lock and DSM together. The hinge or transfer will almost always need to be a center hinge.
What form of access control that is used depends on what sort of host systems are installed. If you have an M1, all you really need is some shielded 6/22 from the KP and ideally, a pair from the reader (LED control, R/G) and then a pair to the lock.
If you don't have a controller, you need to determine what sort of item you want, web based programming or generic standalone....what sorts of credentials, what sort of integration with other systems, if any.
You need to determine how much slop/preload exists in the door as installed, then factor in how invisible or visible the installation ends up being...the least visible but most fragile (IMHO) is generally a handset, and the most robust is usually a strike. Usually a handset is more difficult to work with because you need to get a pile of wiring around the handset and all those movable parts.
Coring is always feizable, the only variable is how much labor one wants to put into the door to facilitate what they want. The more commerically oriented door manufacturers always offer some form of predrilling or harnesses, but in the 3rd party removed market, unless exceptionally custom ordered, doubtful.


Senior Member
DEL, that's extraordinarily helpful. Thanks so much.

Next step, I'll watch the Elk Access Control webinar. Didn't realize the M1 could do all this natively; thought I was missing a piece of the puzzle.

Any specific model suggestions (Assa Abbloy has dozens of brands), for the motorized lockset and/or motorized deadbolt? I'd like to read some spec sheets and install instructions, before writing this 'fragile' option off.

My experience with strikes is only with loud commercial units. I also understand some of the motorized bolts are loud.

I wish there was an easy way to find a local installer familiar with this. Hundreds of locksmiths, few with specific experience.


Senior Member
Most of the locks I deal with on a daily basis are silent - other than the confirmation beep.  Some facilities have an obnoxious buzzer sound - I haven't personally dealt with the wiring on those, but my understanding was it's the difference on those types of strikes in whether they use AC or DC to power, with AC making the noise and DC being quiet.  The ones in my current office and data center are mostly silent - they just quietly release and the handle becomes unlocked.
The M1's access system capabilities are actually pretty decent with no additional equipment required; they've been kind enough to include an input and output at each keypad, along with weigand input terminals an all but the KPAS IIRC... I know I have a weigand device attached to one of my KP2s and hiding invisibly in a wall.  You don't know they're there unless you look close - but they'll work with a variety of industry standard readers to accommodate most card types, as well as RF, RFID, keypads, and any other option that follows the 26-bit weigand standard (sure wish they could do 37 bit though!).


Senior Member
Thanks, Todd.  Any issues with using the panel inputs and inputs, rather than a KP?  KP is a good 20 feet away from the front door (out of sight), and the cable route wouldn't be direct.
I'm familiar with Wiegand readers, in that I've read the name a thousand times, and they're available for Elk, but I have no experience.  Are they for disarming at/near the keypad exclusively, or would one be used for door access credentialing? I've used card swipes for door access, but never for arming/disarming. 
Locks don't beep ^_^  (except for delayed egress mags or chexsit's, but that's another item altogether)
The buzzing locks are units that are powered by AC (or have an external buzzer installed so the end user knows they're unlocked). Strikes and handsets are relatively quiet, however if you really pay attention, you can hear the solenoid sucking in, just some are quieter than others.
In the specific case of the M1, the cheapest way to go is to get the pigtail for the KP and connect the reader to that, however I believe the M1's restriction in distance from either a KAM or KP is 10', shielded cable, but a call to the engineers would confirm any ways around this. The output(s) can be driven from the panel, a KAM or you can use the collector on the KP to sink the voltage from the reader. While more costly, the easiest way to do an edge based install would be to have a local power supply for the lock and install the KAM as close to the door as possible....then you can use that for the DSM and give yourself a few open collectors to play with
The variable of the reader manufacturer would determine if you need 5 or 6 conductors and how you actually control the LED, but that's easy programming on the M1. Elk's reader has no native action on the reader, just a beep when it reads (typical with most readers in the industry) and the LED stays lit red and only blinks green on a read (off the top of my head) and would be wired as a 5 wire if you wanted the LED to show access granted/locked. That's why the M1's KP has the open collector on it as well as the weigand input....the KP controls the LED and the weigand is bent onto the M1's 485 at the KP, with the input being typically used for DSM.
With the KAM, and if you have a 6 wire reader, you could actually drive armed status lights out to the reader itself using the collectors so you have access and an armed/disarmed indication outside.
In the case of the M1, you determine how the host system behaves....the credential could only unlock the door but you may require a keypad entry to disarm or you can have the prox do it all. All in how you program the system and what hardware you connect to the panel.


Senior Member
So, the KAM is the missing piece of my puzzle.  That 25' distance limitation on the M1KAM is somewhat limiting, for my open foyer application.  I'm going to have to think about where to locate it.
Power to the lock or strike is another issue.  I want to keep that on battery backup, if possible.
I think I'm at the point where I need to do more reading.
Thanks again, DEL, and Todd.
I would talk to Brad and the guys at Elk regarding the wiring limitation....there must be another portion of the equation because the real hardware has distances usually in the hundreds of feet, so something else must be going on or there's another consideration.
I wouldn't worry too much about the lock being on battery, you want to have a fail secure setup, and if you lose power, so be it, maintain a key override.
As far as locking hardware goes, it's easier to run 24V and you have more options, but some hardware is very sensitive to getting the exact voltage and not over....most of the handsets are literally the same as the manual units, they just have a solenoid installed or some circuitry, but side by side, that's it. Believe it or not Assa actually sends manual hardware out to their other internal companies to be modified to be electric.

We commonly use Sargent and Yale for handsets, have a few hundred at one site. Strikes, I prefer HES.


Senior Member
If you haven't already, also download and read the documentation in the M1's manuals for both the keypads and the KAM - I'm pretty sure there are details in there about the wiring restrictions (it's been at least a year since I've read them though).
One thing I'll mention - I personally probably wouldn't do JUST a KAM unless I also put a reader on a keypad somewhere else, even if just the internal one on a keypad in the utility closet - at least not for a home user.  Someone like DEL who works in the commercial world is very familiar with how facility and card codes work, and working in a site you're ordering batches and know exactly how the sequencing works; for a home user, it may not be as well understood what you're getting when you order codes and how to use the Elk translation utility to figure out the CardID... this can be important because it's impossible to enroll from a KAM - you'd just have to enter all the right values into ElkRP; but with a keypad with a reader attached, you can go into the user and hit Enroll and swipe your card, and it takes care of all the magic for you.   If you're dual-purposing your work badge or ordering super small batches of preprogrammed prox cards, this would take a little bit of the legwork out for you, as you could take any compatible card that your reader can read and just swipe and be done.
That said - if you need a KAM, I'll give you a deal on a NIB one that I ordered and never opened  B)  - for my purposes, when I discovered that the KP2 had the weigand input, that worked out better for me anyway so I went with it.
The KAM does have some advantages over a standard KP, but in the case of the OP, you can still do a KAM and then put the internal reader into the KP for enrollment purposes. The KAM will automatically shunt the DSM during access, so in theory, with rules, you could essentially never have to touch a keypad 99% of the time....access, change arm to stay and be done. Only disarm would be if you opened doors/windows...hell, if you put a REX PIR in near the entry/exit door, you'd never have to even disarm to leave.
If you're using Elk's flavor of reader and credentials (Ness) all the information is printed on them....but that does wear off over time, especially on a fob. Only downside I know of their credentials is in the locations I tried them on standard HID readers, I didn't get a read, but I really didn't look too deeply into how and why.
The work badge scenario would really require a lot of information for an end user to get a compatible setup at home.


New Member
I am planning to install electric strike for my house. All the walls were finished so I think I would have to put some labor into drilling, fishing and routering. Would you Professionals have any suggestion or tip to make the fishing and routering less painful? I imagine I would need to route the frame first, which is my first time, drill through the frame and 2 studs behind it, then finally fish the wire down from my attic. 
First is routering. Which router bit would you suggest for wood and heavy gauge metal door? And do I need those metal templates for routering?
Second is fishing. How do you fish the wire from the attic to the strike location with least cutting on drywall? My framing is like the picture. There is the double top plate right on top of the door. Above that plate is the attic but my roof is not sloping that much so my attic is very low at that spot so I can't crawl too close to the door frame to drill or do anything from above. Although I can use a fishing rod with a hook to grab any wire from far away. I am thinking about cutting a spot on the drywall so I can push in the longgg flexible drill bit to drill through the top plate.
http: //  (Sorry I cant post link yet)


It’s 2014, and I suggest you switch to a more professional security system. Case in point iSmartAlarm. I have been using it and trust me the DIY and self-controlled device is an excellent home security system. It doesn’t require any monthly fee or a contract, and comes with a mobile app (for iPhone and Android phone) which will let you monitor your home’s security even when you are away. 


Senior Member
andreagold said:
It’s 2014, and I suggest you switch to a more professional security system. Case in point iSmartAlarm. I have been using it and trust me the DIY and self-controlled device is an excellent home security system. It doesn’t require any monthly fee or a contract, and comes with a mobile app (for iPhone and Android phone) which will let you monitor your home’s security even when you are away. 
You have an interesting definition of a "professional security system"... maybe you'd be better off advertising on the Home Shopping Network....


New Member
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