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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
 


1. What is Access Control?

The pure definition is: the ability to permit or deny access of one person to another person’s residence or office. The more common daily understanding of this term is the ability to control the public’s access to a property. The most simplified version, which we’re all familiar with, is a lock on a door or gate controlled by a key.

One step above an ordinary key is a familiar combination lock. In today’s fast pace and sometimes complex lifestyles the ordinary lock and key are replaced by electronic systems which essentially provide Electronic Key Management. These are more reliable, efficient and easier to use.

The common denominator to all of Access Control electronic systems is a remote operated door lock. The Electronic Access Control Systems and devices are generally divided into the following groups:

  1. Stand Alone Access Control Operated Digital Keypads – these are self contained systems, comprised of a keypad mounted at the entrance and an electric strike. Authorized personal unlock the door by entering a previously assigned code. The code entry activates the electric strike thus unlocking the door.
  2. Intercoms with a remote door lock activation mechanism
    1. Phone Entry - these systems are comprised of the following main components: Door Phone, Phone Adaptor, and Electric Strike. Any standard home phone activates the lock with the push of a button.
    2. Stand Alone Intercoms - generally comprised of a door phone and a handset/intercom phone sometimes referred to as an interphone.
    3. PBX/PABX - Door Phone connects to a PABX (private automatic branch exchange) as an extension like any PBX/PABX phone extension. Usually it is wired to an electric strike. In this case access control including voice communication with a visitor and door opening is managed from any extension of the PBX switch board.
  3. A combination of groups I & II
  4. Card technology Group: magnetic stripe, bar code, Wiegand, 125 kHz proximity, contact smart cards, and contactless smart cards.
  5. Biometric technologies: include fingerprint, facial recognition, iris recognition, retinal scan, voice, and hand geometry.

All Electronic Access Control Systems can be stand alone (all the data codes and permits are stored in a memory chip of the device installed at the door), or they can be integrated with more than one electronic keypad card reader as part of a computer network, allowing the management of the permits and codes from a menu driven program loaded into a PC.


2. What are the costs involved in Installing and Maintaining an Access Control System?

A very basic yet reliable Access Control System includes a stand alone keypad and electronic strike lock and costs as little as $50. A more complex system depends on the number of cards or biometric readers and starts at about $60 for a basic station to hundreds and even thousands for a complex system, comprised of many readers and a network.



3. How do I choose an electric strike lock?

A. Fail Safe or Fail Secure

Electric Strikes are divided into two main groups Fail Secure and Fail Safe

Fail Secure - The door or gate will be unlocked when Power is applied to it.

Fail Safe - Electricity is applied constantly to electric strike to keep the door or gate locked. To unlock the electricity is removed.

The Fail Secure electric strike is used primarily in private residences and small offices while the Fail Safe electric strike is used more in public buildings such as hotels, hospitals, and office buildings, securing an automatic unlock of the door in the event of a power failure.

B. AC or DC Electric Strike

Electric Strikes are also divided into two other groups: those that are operated by a DC (Direct Current) Voltage and those operated by AC (Alternating Current) power. When AC power is applied to an electric strike it generates a buzzing noise for the duration that the voltage is applied, providing by default an indication to the person outside that the door is unlocked and should be pushed to enter. When DC Voltage is applied to the electric strike it will generate a click and will remain open for the duration that the voltage is applied.

All Fail Safe Electric Strikes operate from DC power sources while for Fail Secure strikes the AC power is more common.

C. Mortise or Cylindrical

Mortise Locks are usually common to older home or buildings and can be identified by the key being above the handle (knob) and a long rectangular plate at the edge of the door. Cylindrical Locks are the most common and are identified by the key inside the Knob (or door handle). The center of the handle is inline with the center of the lock and strike.



4. How do I know if my home/office phone is compatible with the Access Control/Intercom System I want?

If you are planning to install an Access Control System without an intercom you can install any of the non-intercom systems described in question 1. When choosing such a system you should consider a wide range of factors including:

  • Number of doors that should be controlled
  • How heavy is the predictable traffic through the doors
  • Local Fire code
  • Do you want to utilize the system strictly for access control or also for employee time management

If you would like to include an intercom as a part of your Access Control to help screen visitors from your desk you should take into account the following:

  • If you want to integrate the intercom with your PBX/PABX exchange you can choose a PBX Door Phone such as our Models ExTel and ExCode and connect them to an analog Phone Extension of the PBX exchange. Most of the PBX exchanges are analog (they can utilize a regular phone similar to the one in your home). In the case that your system is digital, it is very likely that one or two of the extensions are analog to accommodate fax machines and emergency default connection (during power failure).
  • If your office does not have a PBX exchange or does not have access to the PBX exchange, you can utilize a Door Phone (with or without Keypad) and a Phone to Door Phone adaptor. ILUS Electronics Phone Gate Systems will provide the solution for this option

5. What additional items will I need to power my Access Control System?

Most of the ILUS Electronics Access Control Keypads, Intercoms, and PBX Door Phones can operate via 12 VAC or DC power supplies without additional modifications. The overriding factor can be the type of Electric Strike chosen. For an AC operated Strike use an AC power Supply. For a DC operate strike use a DC power Supply.



6. How do I determine what type of electric strike lock I need?

See question 3


7. If I want a professional to install, who should I call?

In most cases installation is quite simple and can be performed by an experienced DIY who has performed some carpentry and electric wiring. If you choose to hire help to install the Access Control System the following professionals can potentially help: Security System Installers, Electricians, Locksmiths or a Handyman.

If you hire a professional, present yourself as a knowledgeable consumer and ask the potential installer the following questions:

  • Have you installed Access Control systems before?
  • If your system has an intercom, inquire as to the installers experience with intercoms.
  • If your intercom has a Door Phone to Phone adaptor find out if they have wired phone outlets before.
  • Since the system must be checked after the installation, do not forget to ask the installer if they are including a test as part of the job. This may include the programming of the door phone.