Archive for Locks

Cam Locks—The Lock 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.  Cam 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: toolboxes, mailboxes, vehicle glove compartments, vending machines, slot machines, desks, cabinets and lockers, to name a few.

SideWinder Cam Locks

That’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 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
Cobra 7 Cam Locks

As you can see, 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 are really the Lock you use every day. Locking Systems can help you choose the correct Cal Locks for your application.

RV Locks-How Many People Have Your Keys

You just purchased your new RV, Motor Home, Fifth Wheel or Camper Trailer; you take it home, put all your stuff in it and start off on your first trip.  Now let’s consider the one thing that people forget: the RV Locks.  All RV’s have an entry door and storage compartments, the bigger the RV the more storage compartments. Now for the problem and how I discovered it.

RV Locks

I recently went looking at motor homes.  As the salesman walked us through the lot, we walked in and out of new and used motor homes.  We opened the storage compartments and the front entry doors.  Somewhere in this process I realized that the salesman was using one key to open all the entry doors and another key to open all the storage compartments.  He carried no more than a half dozen keys.

After some research I discovered that most RV manufacturers buy their RV Locks from just a few lock manufacturers that specialize in RV locks and locks mechanisms.  So, what should you do to make sure that your “House on Wheels” is secure?  The first and most important thing is to get the front entry door changed or call a locksmith and get it rekeyed.  Next, come up with systems to secure the storage compartments.  There could be 10 or more storage doors on some RV’s all having a lock.  That’s why I said earlier to come up with a system, so you don’t have to carry around a dozen or more keys.  Below are systems that you might consider.

  • Master Key the storage doors.  This is where all the doors will have a separate key, but there will be one Master Key that opens all the doors.
  • Master Key the left side of the RV and the right side with different master key systems.  In this case you will have to carry only two keys.
  • Keyed Alike: With this system you can have all the locks open with the same key or you can group doors, such as the left side opens with one key the right side with the other.

The important thing is to come up with a system.  I would prefer the Master Key System, this way when you take the RV in for service you could leave the keys for the storage doors that have serviceable items and keep the other securely locked.

I hope that this BLOG starts you thinking of security first instead of last.

If we can help you, please contact us at Locking Systems International.

Gas Pump Security Prevent Card Card Skimming

If you drive a vehicle your credit or debit card is at risk. Especially NOW!! As Gas prices increase, so does theft. What can you do and what are the gas pump operators and manufacturers doing to prevent and stop skimming? Credit Card Skimming is where the bad guys will put a device on the gas pump that will intercept your card number. I will go into where these skimmers are placed. Let’s start with what can you do to help prevent your card number from being stolen.

Credit and Debit Card Skimming
  1. The most important thing you can do is Do Not Use Debit Cards. Once your debit card number is stolen the bad guys can empty your bank accounts. The banks say you are protected, but until they investigate, you have no money in your bank account.
  2. Before using a gas pump look at it, do you see anything attached to it that looks like it doesn’t belong there?
  3. Are all the pump access doors securely locked?
  4. Does the store attendant have clear line of sight to the pumps?
  5. Are there surveillance cameras pointed at the pumps?

If you feel uncomfortable at a gas station or you find one of the above items, then leave and find another station, they are on every corner.

The gas pump operators are stepping up to try and prevent skimming by working with a specialty security company, like Locking Systems International, to come up with devices that stop this practice. The major point of attack are the card readers, this is where the skimming devices are placed. Below are some of the steps that gas pump operators are taking:

Gas Pump Security
  1. Replacing the gas pump locks with stronger and more secure locks, some operators are going with high security cam locks and padlocks. LsiDepot The Place for Secure Locks!!
  2. Installing a specially designed box that encases the card reader to prevent access to it. This card reader security box is locked with a special lock that has patented protection on the lock and keys.
  3. Installing a special cover, secured by security screws over the gas pump control board.
  4. Installing a special security box around the pulser, this device is what counts the gallons of gas dispensed.
  5. The card reader manufacturers are also increasing the security of the reader itself.

Many gas stations are requiring that you input the zip code that matches the credit card. When credit cards with a chip imbedded becomes mainstream many credit and debit card problems will go away. At Least until the Bas Actors find another way to steal your stuff!!

Lsidepot has Locks and devices designed to help prevent Credit Card Skimming.

Changeable Padlock Codes

The term “Changeable Padlock Codes” can mean a few different things. For this article I will define this as anything that changes the lock or key codes of the padlock. There are multiple ways that can accomplish this, let’s take a look at them.

  1. The removal of the lock cylinder and installation of a new one.
  2. Removing the current lock cylinder and rekeying it then re-installing it.
  3. Change the current lock code by turning a key as in the CobraMatic.
  4. Removing the lock cylinder as in the SFIC padlocks.
Cobra Universal PUCK Padlock

Let’s take a look at these one at a time. In example one CobraLock has two padlocks that are built to have their lock cylinders change very easily. The Cobra Universal Puck padlock uses standard vending locks that are easily changed. The Cobra Flex padlock uses the standard 7/8” cam lock that is easily changed. This is a very unique and patented process.

In the second example you would remove the lock cylinder then rekey it and cut new keys. To rekey a lock cylinder the combination pins are changed to the new lock code and the keys are cut to match. This method can be done many times. The lock cylinder can also be “keyed” to match another lock code that the user might be using. It should be noted that many padlocks cannot have their lock cylinder removed, therefore they are not rekeyable.

The third method must have a very special lock cylinder already installed. This lock cylinder is known under a number of trade names such as Cobramatic, ChangeMatic, and Gematic to name a few. These locks already have eight lock code changes built in. There is a special key the “Change Key” that allows the user to change the lock code to one of eight different codes. Once changed a new key must be used.

Cobra FLEX Padlock

The third method must have a very special lock cylinder already installed. This lock cylinder is known under a number of trade names such as Cobramatic, ChangeMatic, and Gematic to name a few. These locks already have eight lock code changes built in. There is a special key the “Change Key” that allows the user to change the lock code to one of eight different codes. Once changed a new key must be used.

The forth method is a padlock that comes with an SFIC (small format interchangeable core). These lock cylinders are very popular and heavily used in door hardware. Padlocks are also made to accommodate the SFIC cylinder. To remove the lock core you simply use a change key that is specially cut to remove the lock core. You use the same type of key to insert the new lock core. With this type of padlock it is possible to have a padlock or door unlock with the same key.

These are the most popular types of changeable padlock codes.

For additional information Pease CONTACT US..

Buying Locks On-Line

Buying Locks On-Line is a very easy way to find the correct lock for you needs. However, there may be times that it might be better to call US. Such as if you needed locks for your house or business and you are not able to install these house locks yourself. In most other circumstances buying locks on-line is a very good way to find locks that serve your needs.

Not all On-Line lock stores are created equal. Some will take locks off the shelf and ship them. You can’t order anything special such as locks keyed alike or keyed different. Also, some lock stores are not “Lock People” in other words they really do not know lock security and won’t be able to offer you any real help selecting a lock.

Here are some things to look for when Buying Locks On-Line:

  • Can you call them and speak to a real “Lock Person”?
  • Do they offer all levels of security?
  • Do they offer custom lock assembly?
  • Can they cut the quantity of keys that you need?
  • Do they offer patented lock products?
  • Are they an authorized service center and distributor for major worldwide lock manufacturers?

So, the above statement “All On-Line Lock Stores are not Created Equal” is very true. If you go to a big box store to buy a padlock, you find the padlock shelf and pick out the padlock. You will not get any help as to the security level or special keying options. You will find the same problem with some On-Line Lock stores, no help in selecting the right lock for your application.

When you go to an On-Line Lock Store web site, it should be easy to find the type of lock you are looking for. From there you should find option selections such as; color, shackle length, keyed alike or keyed different, number of keys needed and other options. How many locks do you need? Let’s say you want to order 25 padlocks and want one key to open them all (keyed alike). You also want these padlocks to offer a patented keyway with the keys registered to you (high security). Can you get this from an On-Line Lock Store, yes you can from the right store.

If you are having a problem selecting a lock look for their 800 number, it should be easily found, and call them, you should be able to speak to a lock professional that can help you select the correct lock. If you can’t call them leave that site.

We can provide ALL of the above services, we are “Lock People”

Utility Cam Locks

Utility Cam locks should be very familiar to us, these are locks that are used every day. Examples of Utility Cam Locks are cabinet locks, locker locks, toolbox locks, storage locks and mailbox locks. These 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.

Features of Utility Cam Locks:

  • 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
Utility Cam Locks

The basic design of the Utility Cam 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.

The basic design of the 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.

I 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.

For additional information Please Contact US at: Locking Systems International

Extreme and All Weather Padlocks

All Weather 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, 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 a padlock operate in extreme environmental conditions:

  • 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.

Abloy Padlocks

Wxtreme and All 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.  The Abloy Padlock is a perfect example of this. 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.

The Abloy padlocks of this type 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.  Abloy 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 that are under contract with the manufacturer.  As stated above, they cost more than standard padlocks, but in return you get a high quality padlock.

As always please contact us for additional information at Locking Systems International.

High Security Lock Development The Process

High Security Lock Development can take two years or more.  Most will be patented to protect the key, keyway, and other novel operating features. Once the design of the lock and keys are complete and the initial patent search comes back clean, then these two will proceed together on parallel tracks. We at Locking Systems International has been through this process and succeeded in obtaining U.S. Patents.

High Security Lock Development

On the design track, a few locks and keys are handmade and tested for operation and function. Things that will be tested are how well does the lock hold up to environmental factors, cycle testing, key strength and other operational functions will be tested.  Cycle testing is where the key is inserted into the lock and operated many times.  This will make sure the key and lock will hold up to many real life locking and unlocking. If any breakage or excessive wear is discovered, then changes will be made to either the material or internal parts of the lock.

On the patent track, documentation is sent to the U.S. Patent Office. The application is assigned a patent examiner who will do a search to make sure that this new proposed patent is not like another.  Communications called “Office Actions” are sent to the Company asking questions.  This is where the Company will defend its Novel application with more documents or drawing showing exactly why their Lock and key are different than many other locks with patents. This back-and-forth process can go on for a year or more. When the examiner is satisfied that new lock and keys are a new and novel invention a patent is issued. Therefore, Companies spend a lot of money developing their locks and hire patent attorneys to help them search the patent office and prepare the documentation.

Back on the design track, after testing and modification, our engineers then figure out how to mass produce their new lock and key design. They also look at the different materials that can be used to make the product. This could range from stainless steel to a diecast material. The key material is important, it must work with the lock keeping wear down to a minimum.

Different materials will have an impact on the selling price of the product and must be carefully considered. Proposed pricing usually is discussed at the beginning of the development. A product must be made and sold at a price that the target customer will purchase.

I hope that this article shows just how long and expensive it is to develop a High Security Lock.

For additional informational please contact Locking Systems International.

The Cobra SideWinder Locks are Here!!

Cobra SideWinder High Security Locks have extreme picking resistance, limited key blank access and over 250 million key code combinations available. Each SideWinder lock has 14 combination locking plates each containing multiple anti picking grooves.

The 14 locking plates align with a sidebar to keep the inner cylinder engaged with the shell in the locked position. The SideWinder Symmetrical key that will work in either direction, making this a very user friendly lock.

ALL at an affordable price.

SideWinder High Security Cam Locks

Cobra SideWinder Locks

Cobra SideWinder High Security Cam Lock has extreme picking resistance, limited key blank access and over 250 million key code combinations available.

ALL SideWinder Locks have 14 combination locking plates each containing multiple anti picking grooves.

The 14 locking plates align with a sidebar to keep the inner cylinder engaged with the shell in the locked position.

The SideWinder Symmetrical key that will work in either direction, making this a very user friendly lock.

  • Comes in three sizes: 16mm(5/8″), 22mm(7/8″), 29mm(1-1/8″).
  • Over 250 Million Key Codes.
  • Anti-Drill Front Plate.
  • Symmetrical Key which will work in either direction.
  • Patented Protection.
  • Tightly controlled key blanks.
  • High Security at very Affordable Prices.

Cobra SideWinder PUCK Padlocks

Cobra SideWinder Locks

The Cobra Lock® Universal PUCK® With SideWinder Lock Cylinder padlock is made of Solid Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum and has no visible shackle.

It comes with the Cobra HIGH SECURITY Patented High Security Lock Cylinder. High Security at Very Affordable Prices!

  • Available is Solid Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Body’s.
  • This Padlock is protected by a U.S. Patent.
  • Shackle is not visible, therefore cannot be cut.
  • Comes standard with the Cobra SideWinder HIGH SECURITY Lock Cylinder  (High Security and Patented Lock Cylinder).

Cobra SideWinder Vending Locks

Cobra SideWinder Locks

Cobra SideWinder High Security Cam Lock has extreme picking resistance, limited key blank access and over 250 million key code combinations available.

Each SideWinder lock has 14 combination locking plates each containing multiple anti picking grooves. The 14 locking plates align with a sidebar to keep the inner cylinder engaged with the shell in the locked position.

The SideWinder Symmetrical key that will work in either direction, making this a very user friendly lock.

  • Available with or without Dust Cover.
  • Over 250 Million Key Codes.
  • Anti-Drill Front Plate.
  • Symmetricial Key which will work in either direction.
  • Patented Protection.
  • Tightly controlled key blanks.
  • High Security at very Affordable Prices.

For additional information on our NEW SideWinder Locks please click HERE.

The “Hockey Puck” Padlock

What is the “Hockey Puck Padlock”?  As the name suggests it is shaped like a hockey puck.  It is 2-7/8” wide by 1-1/2” thick.  It has no visible shackle and is usually made of solid hardened steel.  It comes with many types of lock cylinders and security levels.  Most manufacturers stick to the basic size and construction materials, with the difference in the lock cylinders.  More on this later.

Hockey Puck Padlock

A weak point in padlocks is the shackle, which is the attacking point.  Some shackles are cut very easily with bolt cutters.  The Hockey Puck Padlock was designed to combat this by not having a visible shackle to cut.  It has an internal shackle that is operated by the lock cylinder.  When the lock is opened it moves down and out, this moves the shackle to an open position.  When the lock cylinder is closed or locked the shackle moves to a locked position.  In this position the shackle will go through the holes of specially designed hasps.

Hasps designed for this type of padlock usually shrouds the padlock so that it can’t get attacked on the sides or get “wrenched”.  These hasps are usually made of hardened steel and are designed for a specific application.

Features:

  • Round padlock usually made of hardened solid steel
  • No visible shackle to cut
  • Many different types of lock cylinders
  • Steel shackle
  • Choice of security levels-dependent on the lock cylinder
Hockey Puck Padlock

As I mentioned earlier in this article, the lock cylinder is the major difference between the designs of these padlocks.  Most of the hockey puck padlocks are physically secure and very difficult to attack.  The cylinder is the factor that makes the difference between the padlocks.  As in all types of locks the cylinder defines the security level.  To get a high security hockey puck padlock you should look for one that has a patented lock cylinder that provides key control.

Most of these padlocks come with a particular lock cylinder and it cannot be changed, so the security level can’t be changed.  There is a new style patented hockey puck padlock on the market that allows the end user to change the lock cylinder.  This new Lock was designed and manufactured by Locking Systems International. This is a unique design in that the end user can purchase a lock for a particular application at a particular security level, if the need arises to go to a higher security level, the end user can very easily change the lock cylinder.

Contact Locking Systems International for additional and help.