Archive for Locks

Bluetooth Locks—Electronic Door Locks

It was bound to happen; after all, we use Bluetooth to gain access and start our cars, play our music, use our computers and many other things.  Now, we can use Bluetooth to open the front door to our homes among other things. The age of Bluetooth Locks has arrived.

Electronic SFIC Bluetooth LocksSo, how do they work?  First, you must start off with a good grade mechanical lock.  This means a door locks made out of strong materials with features that will defeat attacks on the lock itself.  Some Bluetooth locks have a key override; this means that you get a regular key to open the lock in case of electronic failure.  The lock cylinder should have a high security cylinder that provides key control as well as physical security.

Features of a Bluetooth Door Lock:

  • Lock has Bluetooth electronics built in
  • Programmed by Android or iPhone
  • Bluetooth key fobs come with the lock
  • Pairs with the cell phone and/or key fob
  • Mechanical key override
  • Battery operated door lock

Bluetooth Locks - ProgrammingAfter installing the control app on your phone, you then pair with the lock.  Once that is successful, you can program your door lock and your backup key fobs.  Now when you walk up to you front door and get within 4-6 feet, the lock will either open or activate waiting for you to touch it (depending on the manufacturer).  There is usually an LED light on the lock that will give visual feedback.  The lock latch will be open and closed with a motor or solenoid.

Software features and functions:

  • Program individual key fobs for different people
  • Delete key fobs
  • Keep an audit history of openings and closings by time and date (great for keeping tabs on children)
  • Program key fobs to only open at certain times
  • Locks can be rekeyed without the need of a locksmith
  • Operates on the new Bluetooth standard 4.0

One manufacturer has a patent pending technology that can determine if you are standing inside or outside your home.  This is an important feature so that if you are inside and someone rings your door bell the lock will not open because it senses that you are inside the home.

If the Bluetooth locks have a key override; remember that it is both a convenience and a liability.  You should make sure that this lock cylinder is a secure one.

It appears that the old mechanical door locks have finally reached the 21st Century, providing state of the art security.

For additional please contact us at Locking Systems International.

Cam Locks — The Locks You Use Every Day

What are Cam Locks?  The fast and simple answer is a small lock that has a “Locking Cam” attached to the back.  These locks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations and prices from about $.80 for a small mechanical cam lock to $150.00 for an electronic cam lock.  Where have you seen or used a cam lock: tool boxes, mail boxes, vehicle glove compartments, vending machines, slot machines, desks, cabinets and lockers, to name a few.

Cam Locks Cobra Utility LockThat’s a lot of information in a few sentences.  Let me explain this a little further.  The Locking Cam on the rear of the cam lock is usually made of steel and can be straight, offset or hook.  It can really have any design so that when the key is inserted into the lock and turned the locking cam will lock or unlock whatever it’s mounted on.

Below is a list of some popular cam lock styles:

  • Single Bitted – this is where the key is cut on one side
  • Double Bitted – this is where the key is cut on two sides
  • Tubular – this is where the key has a round or tubular design
  • High Security – these are cam locks manufactured by CobraLock, Abloy or Medeco and have a lock and key design that hold a U.S. patent
  • Electronic Cam Lock – the lock and key are electronic which provide a much higher level of security

Cam Locks Changeable Cabinet Locks-Patented Key ControlCam locks are very versatile.  They can be made out of many different types of materials and come in different configurations and sizes.  I will list some of these features below:

  • Can be made of steel, brass, zinc alloy and plastic
  • Come in sizes ranging from 3/8” to over 2” in length
  • Can be constructed so the lock core is removable
  • Can turn either left or right, either 90 or 180 degrees
  • Multiple diameters can be made (the standard is ¾”)
  • Can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed
  • Can be made in electronic versions

As you can see, the cam lock is probably one of the most versatile locks ever made.  Over the years, the designs have changed and evolved, the materials have improved and the security has increased.  One thing has remained the same; all cam locks operate a locking cam: this is the definition of a cam lock.

Cam Locks Changeable lock codes

Patented Cam Locks Custom Built

The Cam Lock really is the Lock you use every day.

Contact us at LsiDepot.com

Commercial Locks

Generally speaking Commercial Locks are purchased from service centers such as Locking Systems International. This is because of the higher cost of the locks, the additional keying requirements Commercial Locks Made in the USAthat might be needed and installation services. Now that you know where to get them what is the difference between residential and commercial locks?

  • Commercial locks are ANSI Grade 1 or 2
  • They are heavier duty made with commercial grade parts
  • They typically will have a higher number of master keying capabilities
  • They are designed to fit a larger range of doors with different thicknesses
  • They can interact and work with electronic door locks
  • Upgraded finishes with increased colors

Commercial LocksTo better understand this I am going to explain in a little more detail what the ANSI/BHMA grades are. First ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute, BHMA is (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association). The three grades are the same for both. Here are some of the differences between grades:

  • Cycles-Grade 1=1,000,000, Grade 2=800,000 and Grade 3=800,000
  • Latchbolt Projection-Grade 1=3/4 inch, Grade 2=1/2 inch and Grade 3=1/2 inch
  • Impact Test-Grade 1=10 blows, Grade 2=5 blows and Grade 3=2 blows

These are just some of the differences there is almost a dozen that grade sawing resistance, different impact tests, force to latch door and others. The important thing to remember is that all locks are not created equal.

Commercial Locks

Medeco High Security

You will also find more high security lock cylinders used in commercial applications. Most of these lock cylinders will be protected by U.S. patents. This usually means that the cylinder is built to very high standards and they have very high key control.  Keys are registered to a particular company and identification is needed to cut additional keys. Key blanks are available at authorized service centers such as Locking Systems International.

The master keying abilities are also increased with the ability to have multiple levels of a master system. For example each floor of a commercial building could have its own master key with all the doors on that floor keyed different. The master key will open all the doors on that floor. There could be a grand master key that will open all the doors on every floor in the building.

Locks for commercial applications should be grade 1 or at least a higher quality grade 2. These will stand up to the repeated use in commercial buildings and businesses. It is also important to choose the right service center, Locking Systems understands commercial locks and locking systems.

For additional information contact Locking Systems or go to LsiDepot.com.

LsiDepot.com

Wi-Fi Door Locks And Much More

Wi-Fi door locks can be controlled by the internet.  That statement is true but there is so much more.  In this article I will explain what Wi-Fi door locks are and I will touch on other items in your house that can be controlled giving you a complete Wi-Fi house.

Wi-Fo Door Locks

The mechanical part of the lock must be made of high quality materials and should meet standard ANSI lock specifications.  Most of these locks will be battery operated and may have a key override or at least some other way to gain entry in case of battery failure.  You may see push buttons on the front of the lock which is becoming a standard feature. Many Wi-Fi Door Locks look like regular door locks and the mechanical part of the locks will operate the same.

The lock has a small computer and Wi-Fi chip that will communicate through your house Wi-Fi.  The setup is usually done through a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.  Entry codes are set up so that everyone in the house has their own code.  Temporary codes can also be issued, for example, to service people, a friend or relative.  They can be set up to expire in a certain amount of time.  Reporting and logging the entry and exits are also available.  It can log the time, date and what person opened the door.  If you are not home you can still communicate Electronic Push Button Lockswith the lock through its Wi-Fi connection.  For example, someone you know might need to get into your house and you are not there.  They will call you on your cell; you will then send a temporary code to the lock.  The person at the front door will enter that code and gain entry.

There many items in your home that can be controlled via Wi-Fi and more are coming, here are a few examples:

  • Thermostat-the temperature in your home can be remotely controlled just like the lock
  • Camera- commercial cameras have been able to be remotely controlled for years, now they are coming to the residential market
  • Plugs-when you are able to control a plug remotely then you can control anything that is plugged into it
  • TV’s, music, curtains, water leak sensors, refrigerators, and much more

We are very quickly approaching the point where we will have the “Connected House”.  Years ago the first home automation technology was called x10, it is still around today, however it is being replaced by Wi-Fi technology and in some cases a combination of x10 and Wi-Fi.

For additional information please contact us.

Cargo Locks-Securing Trailers and Containers

Cargo Locks are something that we don’t think about very often, maybe we should.  With terrorism high on everyone’s mind it is a different time then it was before 9-11.  Think about all the Tractor-Trailer (Semi-Trucks) that are on the road.  What are they hauling or what could they haul?  What about all the shipping containers that enter the U.S. through our ports?  Are they secure?  There are two ways to secure trailers and containers: one is by using security tags that are placed on the locking mechanisms and are tracked by serial number or RFID.  The other way is Changeable PUCK Cargp Locksto use Cargo Locks and Locking Systems.  In this Blog I will discuss Cargo Locks.

Types of Cargo Locks:

  • King Pin Lock: This lock secures the “King Pin” on the trailer. Once placed on the King Pin, the trailer is not able to be hooked up to the tractor.  The tractor king pin is what connects the trailer to the tractor.
  • Glad Hand Lock: The “Glad Hand” is a coupling device that connects the air supply from the tractor to the trailer. The Gland Hand Lock secures this device so that the trailer cannot be connected to the trailer.
  • Air Brake Lock: This lock connects to the dash board of the tractor securing the air brake switches.
  • Gear Down Lock: This lock secures the landing gear of the trailer preventing them from being cranked up into driving position.
  • Vertical Door Bars: These locks secure the rear doors of the trailer to prevent them from being opened.
  • Roll Up Locks: These locks secure the roll up doors that are found on some trailers.

Locks:

Abloy Environmental Cargo LocksThe above locking systems are only as good as the locks that go with them.  All of these devices have some type cam lock or padlock.  These Cargo Locks should be high security and patented.  This will provide both physical security and key control.  Padlocks from Big Box stores are not a high security lock as they don’t offer key control.  I have discussed key control in past articles and blogs, briefly, if you can take your key to any store and have it duplicated you DO NOT have key control.

There is more effort being placed on the security of Trailers and Containers.  New style locks have RFID built in.  Electronic locks are being deployed.  Tracking tags are getting additional electronic tracking capability.  GPS devices are being used.

No matter what is being used, the rear trailer door should be locked and the trailer should be secured from moving unless authorized.

Locking Systems International is an Authorized Service Center and Manufacturer and all types of locks including Cargo Locks.

 

CobraLock Padlocks … You Choose Your Security Level

Not all locks are created equal and that holds true for CobraLock Padlocks. You can purchase padlocks from $1.50 all the way up to $150.00 per padlock. So what is the difference?   In the example above the padlocks will range from mechanical to electronic and from small to large padlocks.

Choosing Cobra PadlocksThere are many other considerations when choosing a padlock such as; what is the padlock size, how large is the shackle, what material is the padlock body and shackle made of, and what type of lock cylinder does the padlock have. The first three concern the physical security of the padlock. The last item, the lock cylinder, is one of the most important yet one of the most overlooked.

If the lock cylinder is not secure it could be subject to picking, pulling or other forms of attack. CobraLock has come up with a very unique and patented padlock that allows the user to choose their level of security.  This was accomplished by manufacturing a padlock body that accepts standard lock cylinders.  As the security level of the lock cylinder increases so does the price of the padlock.

Lock Cylinders:

User-Changeable CobraLock Padlocks

Hardened Security

Some of the lock cylinders that the CobraLock Padlock accepts are Cobra7, CobraMatic7, Abloy and Medeco Lock Cylinders.  All of these are protected by U.S. Patents and when combined with the CobraLock Padlock the complete Padlock becomes patented.

When choosing a padlock lock cylinder consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (the shed in your backyard or the back of a delivery truck)?
  • What will the padlock secure (lawn equipment or a truck full of electronics)?
  • Will the padlock be indoors or outdoors?
  • Type of “Key Control” that you require?

When buying padlocks you should consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (indoors or outdoors)?
  • What size should the padlock be?
  • What should the padlock body and shackle be made of?
  • What size (length and diameter) should the shackle be?
  • What type of lock cylinder should be used?

Changeable CobraLock PadlocksWhen you walk into the “Big Box Stores” to purchase a padlock you will be given a wide choice of different size padlocks.  You will be able to go through the list above and find a padlock to meet your needs, that is everything except the most important, the lock cylinder.  You will have a limited choice of different key codes (lock cylinders) to choose.  There is a very good chance that many people will have the same key to open the brand new padlock you just purchased.

So remember, when purchasing a padlock, think about the lock cylinder, without YOU controlling the key codes you can’t control your security. The CobraLock Padlocks provide a unique way for you to control your security.

For additional information about CobraLock Padlocks contact Locking Systems International.

Key Codes — Are Yours Secure?

What are Key Codes? They are the numbers that come with the lock that you just purchased. They contain information that identify the pinning sequence in the lock and in turn provides the information necessary to cut a key. For example, suppose you take your house key into a big box store to get more keys made. The store clerk will identify the type of key you have (the lock manufacturer), then he will either duplicate the key or use the number stamped on the key to make new ones.

Key Codes - High Security

Now, if you read the above paragraph again you will notice that you are never asked for your identification, meaning anyone can take your key and have another one made. In other words, there is no accountability and hence no Key Control.

With high security locks, the key code is registered to you and that information is put into a database program that tracks your codes. The key code is usually blind, this means that by looking at the code you cannot get information on how the lock is pinned or how to cut a duplicate key. The blind code is matched with a pinning code which has all the information.

Key Codes:

  • Used to identify the pinning sequence of the lock
  • Used to cut duplicate keys
  • High security locks require identification before keys are cut
  • High security lock codes are registered to the end user
  • Blind codes do not give away the pinning and cutting information
  • High security codes are maintained in a secure database

Key Codes - Control

Convenience vs Security:

The locks that you buy at hardware stores or big box stores offer convenience in a mid-security level, this might be OK for most people. However, always ask yourself what are you trying to protect or lock and if that is valuable is it worth a little inconvenience.

You can’t buy high security locks at hardware stores or big box stores. They are purchased at Locking Systems International, an approved service center. We will sell you the hardware and then register the lock code to you. We will also provide you with the secure lock code and a way for you to use it if necessary. We will also secure that code into a database where it will not be assigned to anyone else.

So, are your lock codes secure, do you even know where those code are? Maybe it’s time to look at your locks, count your keys and decide if it’s time to get a higher security lock.

For additional information contact us at Locking Systems International or our store LsiDepot.

Custom Locks — Built To Your Specifications

Before I explain the benefits of Custom Locks, let me explain the difference between custom locks and standard “Off the Shelf Locks”.  When you walk into a big box hardware store and purchase a door lock or padlock, those are standard locks.  When you contact a lock “Service Center like Locking Systems International, you get the opportunity to have the locks assembled to your exact specifications, these are custom locks.

Changeable Cabinet Locks-Patented Key ControlWhen you purchase custom locks, you get the ability to determine the security level, decide if you want them keyed alike or keyed different and the number of keys you want cut.  Once all of the options are considered “Our Assemblers” will put your order together using lock parts.  One of the most important advantages is that we will registered the keys to you, meaning that you will have the only keys to open your locks.  When you buy locks from big box stores the keys are very likely to repeated.  This means that someone else will have the same keys that you do.

Benefits of Custom Locks:

  • Choose the exact number of locks needed
  • Do you want them keyed alike (one key opens all locks) or keyed different (each locks requires its own key to open)
  • How many total keys
  • Security level (this is directly related to price), the higher the security level the higher the price
  • Registered key and lock codes
  • Choose the finish of the door lock
  • Master keying options (Master keying is where each lock has its own key with the master keys being able to open all locks). Master keying systems are usually registered.

Custom LocksThe choice that you make is convenience over security.  It is very convenient to be able to walk into a big box store, choose your locks and leave and for some applications this is a very good choice.

The decision that you should make before you purchase a lock is “What are you trying to protect”.  If you need a padlock for a storage shed where you keep your lawn mower, then buying that  at a big box store would be acceptable.  On the other hand, if you are buying a lock to put on the front door to your house then you should consider a custom lock; after all, you are protecting the most important thing you have, your family.

Custom locks give you choice and once you choose they are built to your specifications.

Contact us at Locking Systems or LsiDepot for more information on Custom Locks.

Credit Card vs Debit Card

Credit Card vs Debit Card, this has been debated before and there are pros and cons to both types of cards. Let’s take a look at both cards, but before we do, a lot of what is in this article depends on your own self-control. If you can control your use of credit cards then what you read below applies. If you can’t control your use of credit cards or you think of credit cards as cash, then you should lean more towards debit cards in most purchases.

Credit Card vs Debit CardI will start by asking what might be obvious to most: Did you ever wonder why when you open a new checking account the bank falls over itself giving you a debit card? That is because this card is tied directly to your checking account and in some cases you savings account also. The bank makes a large amount of money charging for overdraft protection and on overdraft fees just to name a couple.

When you try and get a credit card you must fill out a credit application and depending on your credit score the issuing bank or financial institution might send you a card. If they do a credit limit will be attached, which means you cannot charge over that credit amount. You will get a bill once a month that should be paid within the terms.

If you have a dispute with a merchant both types of cards offer a way to resolve that dispute. With the debit card the merchant usually already has your money. With a credit card many times the card company will freeze the amount in dispute until resolved. This means that the merchant does not have your money. Let’s say that you charge a vacation through a travel agent and that company goes bankrupt before your vacation begins. With a debit card the money is taken from your account almost immediately the bank will probably put your money back into your account, but it could take some time. With a credit card nothing is taken from your account.

Credit Card vs Debit CardIn the case of your card number being stolen, you are protected with both types of cards, however in the case of a debit card it could be weeks before your money is put back into your account. With a credit card you simply don’t pay those charges. So in the debate of Credit Card vs Debit Card, which is the best for you?

As I said in the beginning of this Blog if you can control your use of credit cards, then professionals would say that they offer you the best protection.

Visit us on-line at Locking Systems International.

Lockable Key Rings Provides Key Control

Lockable Key Rings secure your keys on either a flexible or solid ring.  The ring is locked by a standard type cam lock in an aluminum housing.  The main reason that you use this type of device is Key Control.  I have discussed key control in past blogs; without some type of key control you do not have a secure lock.  Key control is the most important part of a locking system; however, it is often the most overlooked.

Lockable Key Rings-Provides Key ControlKeys are put on the lockable key ring and it is locked preventing removal of the keys unless the lock is opened.  To remove the keys, the key ring lock needs to be opened by authorized personnel with the proper key.  All the keys are held together and cannot be taken off the key ring.  This provides key control as someone can’t “lose” one key.  If the cable is cut that would indicate possible compromise of any locks that those keys open.

The rings come in either flexible stainless steel cable available in 4 different sizes: 6,8,12 and 18 inch or solid stainless cable in 5 different sizes: 1.5,2.5,3,4 and 5 inch.  The lock body is made of aluminum that is covered with a protective polyurethane boot available in 15 different colors.  There is also of choice of locks.

Features of Lockable Key Rings:

  • Available in 4 sizes of flexible stainless steel or 5 sizes of solid stainless steel rings
  • 15 different colors of protective boots
  • Choice of locks
  • Aluminum lock body

Lockable Key RingsThere are a number of locks available to lock the key ring.  The choice of the lock will be dependent on what the keys are securing and the value.  The locks available are from medium security to high security.  They can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed.  It is advisable to key these locks all different or in some cases master keyed.

Type of Locks Available:

  • Cobra 7 (patented protection)
  • CobraMatic 7 (8-change lock)
  • Medeco high security lock
  • Abloy high security lock (environmental protection)

So, where would lockable key rings be used?  Anywhere keys must be controlled.  I will list a few examples of where these are used today.

Possible uses for tamper evident key rings:

  • Vending and laundry routes
  • Military facilities and government agencies
  • Prisons, armored cars and security services
  • Casinos, hospitals and universities

As you can see from the above list, they can be used anywhere that needs a tamper evident key control system to restrict access and prevent unauthorized key removal.

To find out more go to LsiDepot.com or call 800.657.5625.