Archive for Padlocks

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

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.

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.

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.

Utility Locks and Single Bitted Locks

Utility Locks should be very familiar to us, these are locks that are used every day. Some examples of Utility Locks are cabinet locks, locker locks, tool box locks, storage locks and mailbox locks. Utility LocksThese are just a few examples to get you thinking about the uses for these types of locks. One of the biggest examples is the single bitted or SB Cobra locks. These are very inexpensive to manufacture and sell from $2.50 to $3.50 per lock.

SB Utility Lock Features:

  • Usually made of a zinc alloy through a di-casting process
  • Is usually sold with two keys and a locking cam for one low price
  • Is available with a stainless steel cap in different colors
  • Dust cover
  • Can be keyed alike or keyed different
  • Comes in five or six different lengths
  • Cuts are on one side of the key

Cobra Utility LockThe basic design of the SB Utility Lock is a cam lock. However this type of lock can be made into different designs such as cabinet, display case or locker locks. They can also be incorporated directly into many other types of devices made by any manufacturer. An example of this is the “paddle handle” found on the storage (basement) doors on RV’s. The lock is incorporated into the handle itself.

Not all cabinet, locker or storage locks are utility locks. They might have been upgraded to a higher security such as a push button or electronic lock. Most times the actual item will be sold with a traditional mechanical utility lock. The end user then will decide if this is enough security, if not most items can be upgraded to a higher security lock.

As stated earlier cam and utility locks are often used to describe the same lock. This is not accurate as cam locks are a complete lock category to themselves. They have many different designs and security levels all the way to electronic cam locks. Cam locks can be used as utility locks, however some utility locks cannot be used in the place of a cam lock.

Cobra Utility Group LocksI think that in the security industry you will find many different terms that mean the same thing. I don’t think that this is meant to confuse the consumer, but it is an industry that has gone through many different versions of the same lock, sometimes identifying them by different names. In many instances this is done for marketing purposes to show a new lock (that looks like the older lock) is better, more secure or for some other reason.

To find out more about these Locks contact Locking Systems International.

Home Automation – How Much Is Too Much?

Is it home automation or home invasion?  Before this became popular, home automation was done by a few companies that specialized in it or it was a DIY for the home owner.  In either case the home owner owned and controlled the system.

home automationToday everyone wants to get into home automation, your phone and cable company, cell phone provider, alarm system company and many others.  They all offer the same services: the ability to control things in your home through your smartphone or tablet.

I recently saw a TV commercial from my cable company showing how you could control or monitor things like your heat or air conditioner, an open door or window, garage door, what about the water, do you have a water leak in your laundry room, how about your hot water heater is it leaking, these are just a few thing that can be monitored.  What the commercial failed to say was that to monitor just the above items, all your windows and doors will have to be wired, sensors will have to be installed on your water heater and in your laundry room, you will have to get new thermostats and new fixtures for your sinks, showers and tubs.

So let’s say that you wanted this and had all the modifications made to your home, great, now you can control and monitor all those things from anywhere in the world.  I hope that this gives you peace of mind, but…let’s look at the dark side.

Whoever is providing the monitoring service for you will know what time you leave the house and what time you return.  How long did you stay in the shower this morning, what is your air or heat set to, how many times you do laundry, and how much electric do you use.  I think that you can see that for everything you have monitored that data will be stored somewhere and if it is stored it can be accessed…think NSA.

Now let’s talk about your cell phone or tablet that controls all of this home automation, are they secured, do you have internet security software installed and updated, do you have a plan ready in case you lose one.  What will you do if a bad guy steals your cell phone and now has the keys to your kingdom?

I am not saying that home automation is a bad thing, but sometimes we can take things too far too fast.  Slow down and think about what you really want.

For more information visit LockingSystems.com.

Environmental Padlocks — Extreme Weather Padlocks

Extreme Weather PadlocksNot all padlocks function well in bad weather, think freezing temperatures, or salt air and water.  As the weather turns very extreme most “off the shelf” padlocks will fail to open or function properly.  So, is the solution to purchase very expensive padlocks?  The simple answer is no; however, Extreme Weather Padlocks that are designed to operate in extreme conditions tend to be priced higher than standard off the shelf padlocks.

Let’s take a look at what makes an Extreme Weather Padlocks:

  • Most are built out of high quality brass that is usually chrome plated
  • Hardened steel shackles available in different lengths
  • Protection of the lock cylinder
  • No pins or springs in the lock cylinder
  • Patented keyways and keys (this will provide the “high-security label)

Most padlocks operate by the key pushing the locking pins in an upward direction until they reach the “Sheer” line and the lock opens.  Springs provide a downward force on the pins.  This means of operation is fine for most normal weather conditions; however, when it turns extreme, the pins and springs can freeze or get dirt or other debris in the pin chambers.  When this happens the padlock jams and will no longer function.  This is when you see people heating their locks with a torch or squirting a solvent in the lock cylinder in an attempt to clean it out.

Extreme Weather padlocksExtreme Weather Padlocks do not have locking pins or springs.  They operate on a “disc rotating principle”.  The locking pins are replaced by discs; no springs are used or needed.  When the special key is inserted into the lock and turned the discs rotate to the open position determined by the cuts in the key.  These locks do not have individual pin cylinders; instead all of the discs are positioned on a sleeve.  This is the reason why extreme weather conditions do not have the same effect of these padlocks as they do on regular padlocks.

Most Extreme Weather Padlocks  have keyways that are protected by a patent.  This is so the keys can be controlled and sent to Locking Systems International to be cut and controlled to the end user.  These Extreme Weather Padlocks are referred to as “high or maximum security padlocks”.  They are not available from the big box stores and are only available from Locking Systems International who is under contract with the manufacturer.  As stated above, they cost more than standard padlocks, but in return you get a high quality padlock.

For additional information please contact us at 1.800.657.LOCK (5625) or LockingSystems.com.