Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll find answers to many of your questions in these FAQs. If the information you want isn’t covered below, feel free to contact us today!
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Answer #1: Define Access Control & How it can be Achieved
Simply put, access control is allowing or denying entry through any door, and it is essential to the security of homes and commercial buildings. While standard locks and keys are still popular, they are being replaced in many circumstances by electronic locks that offer greater security and dependability.
All electronic access control systems (or electronic key management) offer remote lock control for enhanced convenience and security. Here’s a look at the most common types of electronic access control:
Stand Alone Access Control Digital Keypads - These are stand-alone systems comprised of:
- An electronic Access Control Keypad mounted at the entrance
- An electric Door Strike or Magnetic Door lock or any other type of electric lock or Motorized gate
A code is typed into the keypad to control the lock.
Intercom Systems with Remote Lock Control - These are video intercom systems providing video and voice of the caller. They include
- Mounted door phone with camera
- Phone adapter for the inside phone
- PBX Door phone in which the phone connects to a private automatic branch exchange, or PABX, as an extension. Most employ electric strike locks.
The system allows the management of the door lock via any extension of the PBX switchboard. There are 2 types, wired to an extension or co line or wireless operating via the cellular networks.
Systems comprised of components from Groups A & B - Refer to above descriptions.
Card Technology Systems - In these systems, cards with either magnetic strips or bar codes may be used. Most employ card readers such as those made by Wiegand. The 125kHz technology supports both contact and contact-free smart cards.
Biometric Systems - These leading edge systems offer convenience and greater access control security through technologies including:
- Fingerprint recognition
- Facial recognition
- Iris recognition
- Retinal scan
- Voice recognition
- Hand geometry recognition
Storage of codes and permits in the local unit means that most electronic access control systems can function as stand-alone units. However, they may be connected and controlled through a central computer network system employing one or more electronic keypad card readers with permits and codes managed with software installed on a PC.
Answer #2: What does it cost to install and maintain an Access Control System?
A basic system that provides you with excellent dependability can be purchased for as little as $60. Such systems include a stand-alone keypad for entering access codes and a reliable electronic strike lock.
Card systems can be purchased starting at about $140 for basic systems. Complex card systems range into the hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on how many card readers or biometric readers are included and the number of cards supported.
Answer #3: I would like an electric strike lock. What are my options?
You’ve got several reliable choices, and our technicians will work with you to select the best system for your application. Your choices are:
A. Fail Safe or Fail Secure: These are the two most common types of electric strike locks.
- Fail Safe: The electric strike is continuously powered to keep it locked. When an approved code or card is used, the power is interrupted, and the lock opens momentarily to allow entry.
- Fail Secure: Operation is opposite to the Fail Safe type. The electric strike remains in the locked position until power is applied to it.
Fail Secure electric strikes are most often used in homes and light commercial settings. Fail Safe locks are best suited to public buildings, and they are in wide use in hotels, hospitals, office buildings, schools, government buildings and other locations where it is important for the locks to automatically open if the building loses power.
B. AC or DC Electric Strike
Electric strike locks are also differentiated by the type of power they use. DC locks operate by direct current voltage, and AC locks function with alternating current power.
AC electric strikes and locks are always Fail Secure. They buzz when power is applied, indicating to the visitor that the lock is off and the door can be opened. DC electric strike locks click and remain unlocked when voltage is applied.
All Fail Safe electric strikes are operated with a DC power.
C. Mortise or Cylindrical
Mortise locks are an older system rarely installed today. The distinguishing characteristic to a mortise lock is the keyhole located above the handle, not part of the handle.
Cylindrical locks feature the keyhole in the center of the knob/handle, and the keyhole is in line with the lock and strike plate.
Answer #4: How can I determine if the Access Control/Intercom System I prefer will work for my application?
If you do not need an intercom for communicating with arriving visitors, then your options include:
- Stand-alone keypad systems
- Card reader systems
- Biometric reader systems
Keep these factors in mind when selecting a non-intercom system:
- The number of entry points
- How many times a day the door will be used
- Fire code requirements for electric strike locks
- Whether or not you want to include employee time management technology as part of the system
For intercom Access Control systems that give you the advantage of screening guests before allowing entry, consider these factors:
- Number of doors/entries- Our video intercoms are capable of controlling up to 4 Entries
- How many telephone lines are available on the property
- Weather elements - we carry outdoor stations / door phones with weather resistance level from IP50 up to IP65.
- Is your Telephone line or PBX Extension Analog or VOIP - If your phone system is VOIP (Voice Over IP) and it has an analog extension, you can connect our PBCx door phones directly to the analog line/extension. If an analog extension/line is not available, you can use an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) to convert a VOIP line/extension to analog and utilize our PBX door phone. Although our PBX door phones are analog, they were designed considering compatibility with VOIP. (Insert link to PBX door phones)
- If a PBX exchange is not part of the system, use a door phone with or without a keypad and a phone to door phone adapter.
Whichever type of system you need, Entryvision will help you select the right one for your needs.
Answer #5: What power supply is required for my Access Control System?
The majority of our keypad, intercom and PBX door phone systems use the included 12V AC or DC power supply. Use an AC supply with AC-powered electric strikes; for DC-powered strikes, use a DC power supply.
Answer #6: What is the right electric strike for my purposes?
Your options include fail secure locks that remain locked until power is applied. They are best suited to residential and light commercial use.
Your first option is a fail secure lock that remains locked until power is applied. These locks are best suited to residential and small office use. The second option is a fail safe lock which is continuously powered and opened by interrupting the power. Fail safe locks are designed for commercial use.
Both AC and DC electric strike locks are available. For more details, please refer to our answer to Question #3 above.
Answer #7: What are my options for professional installation?
Before we point you to a professional, we’d like to remind you that DIY installation is possible for most of the systems we sell. If you’re handing and have basic skills in electrical wiring, you’re a candidate for doing the work yourself.
Options for professional installation are:
- Security system installer
- Experienced handyman
Read the material that comes with the system you purchase, so you’ll have working knowledge of how it operates. Then, when you contact installers, ask these pertinent questions:
- Have you installed this specific system before?
- [For intercom systems] What is your experience installing the relevant intercom systems (Video Intercom 2 wire, 4 wire or telephone entry)?
- [For systems with a door phone to phone adapter] What is your experience wiring phone systems?
- Is a test of the system part of your cost estimate for installation?
- Is programming the system part of your cost estimate?
- Will you read and understand the system installation and programming before the actual installation?
- What warranty do you offer on the installation?
- When can you start the work, and how long will it take?
- Can you accommodate my schedule with weekend or evenings installation?