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Multi-function Doorways, Part Two

Secured stairwell doors are among the most basic multi-function door applications.  In most jurisdictions they must (usually)* be both unlocked and positively latched in the event of a fire.  Unlocked so that if a person, fleeing into the stairwell during a fire, finds the stairwell full of smoke, they can safely exit the stairwell.  Positively latched so that the door will remain latched closed against the spread of the fire.

Until there is a need for access control, a passage function mortise lock, cylindrical lock with UL listed latch or exit device with passage function trim are fine.  The application begins to get interesting when the need arises to lock a stairwell door.

Right up front, electric strikes are out of the question because of the unlocked/positive latching requirement mentioned above.   It is not possible to positively latch a door when the electric strike is unlocked.  There is no such thing as a fire rated, fail safe electric strike.  If you configure a fire rated electric strike to be fail safe it voids the fire rating.

Since electric strikes are unusable for this application, that leaves either electric locks or electromagnetic locks.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  Fail safe electric locks positively latch whereas mag locks allow the installer to us the existing hardware on the door to accomplish positive latching.  Electric locks require running wire through the door and some means of getting the wire from the frame into the door, such as an electric through-wire hinge.  Not all inspectors like electromagnetic locks, so before you install them be sure to check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ ) – that is, Fire Marshal or Building Inspector.

If the stairwell door already has a fire rated exit device installed, there is probably a fail safe electrified trim available for it.  Once again, this means an electric through-wire hinge or other power transfer device would be required.  Sometimes existing exit devices are incompatible with the electrified trims available for that brand and model of device.  If that is the case, the exit device might have to be replaced with one that is compatible with electrified trim.

Alternatively, there are after market request to exit (a.k.a. RX) switches available for most exit devices.  One could be used to release an electromagnetic lock on the stairwell door.

Usually it is required that all electric locking devices on stairwell doors be controlled by the fire alarm panel.  When the fire alarm is in a state of alarm, it unlocks all the stairwell doors.  Two conductor wire is run from the fire alarm panel contacts to a special fire alarm relay in the power supply that powers the electric locks on the stairwell doors.  The alarm panel opens the circuit, causing the state of the fire alarm relay to change, thus powering down the fail safe locks and thereby leaving them unlocked.

An important detail:  technically speaking, according to most building and life safety codes, fire rated doors can only be modified in a fire rated shop.  Therefore if you field cut a raceway for an electric wire through the cross members of the door, for example, you are probably voiding the fire rating.  I have never heard of anyone being called on this, but it is good to keep in mind.  Just like it is good to keep in mind that the AHJ has total authority over what you can or can’t install.  Best make sure you’re on the same page with her or him, otherwise they do have the power to make you remove what you installed and replace both door and frame to repair the damage.

Happy hardware and good luck to you.


*Some jurisdictions specify that not all stairwell doors need be unlocked in the event of a fire, only certain doors.  For example, I have known some places where code was the door had to be unlocked at every fourth floor.  Check with your local AHD to find out what the rules are for your location.


Hot Stuff: Continuous Duty Electric Locking Devices

The Ohm Symbol

I regularly hear complaints about electric strikes, cylindrical locks or mortise locks that are hot to the touch.   When I ask, I am always answered that, yes, the device is being used in a continuous duty application.

Continuous duty means that the electric lock or strike is powered continuously, usually for several hours a day.  Most fail safe locks and strikes are run continuously, since they are usually locked part of the day and they require electric power to lock.  Whenever a door is kept unlocked by using an electrical timer, the lock or strike that is controlled by the time is run continuously for part of the timing cycle.

Heat in an electric lock or strike is caused by resistance in the electrical circuit as it passes through the coil of the solenoid inside the device.  Often this heat is sufficient to “burn out” the solenoid.   The solenoid does not actually catch fire, usually.  The term, “burned out” refers to a solenoid that has been ruined by excessive heat so that it no longer functions.

Heat from electrical resistance is exacerbated when there are problems with the supply of power.  For example, if the power supply provides less than sufficient amperage to constantly power the solenoid, the solenoid will ‘run’ hotter.  Similarly if there is a current drop because of a long wire run with inadequate wire gauge, the solenoid will not get sufficient current and will run hot.  Also if the voltage supplied is significantly higher than the solenoid is rated to accept, that could create a heat problem as well.

Often, however, there is no detectable reason for the solenoid to run hot.  Sometimes, it seems, they just do.

A great way to mitigate the problem of the hot lock or strike (when all power supply problems have been solved) is to use an electrical device in line with the electric lock or strike that provides it with a full inrush voltage and current upon activation and then reduces the voltage and/or current to a holding level, allowing the solenoid to run cooler.

Several companies offer these units.  Here are some examples:

  • HES:  Model 2005M3 Smart Pack controller
  • COMMAND ACCESS:  CRU-2 current reduction unit
  • TRINE:  LC-100 line conditioner

 

 

Full Height Housings for Electromagnetic Locks

Maglocks are generally great problems solvers, but they also create problems.  One significant problem is the fact that they are usually installed on the header, and therefore only lock the top of the door.  If the only lock on the door is a magnetic lock and the door is fairly flexible, a reasonably strong person may be able to pull the bottom of the door open four or more inches.

One solution to this problem is to install mags top and bottom on the lock side leg of the frame rather than on the header.  If you have an opening that measures at least 35 inches from stop to stop and you use magnets that are three inches wide or less, you can install mags in the opening and still have 32 inches clear to comply with the American Disabilities Act.  The problem with this idea is that no matter where they are installed in the opening, users are likely to bump into them with some body part or other.

Enter the full height housing for electromagnetic locks, an enclosure that houses one or two maglocks and mounts on the stop of the lock side leg of the door jamb as illustrated below.

The illustration above is one I prepared for a customer so that I could order a custom built, full height housing for two electromagnetic locks.  The drawing shows the dimensions I requested as indicated by the lines with arrows at both ends:  height of the opening from threshold to header stop; distance from header stop to center line of upper maglock prep; distance from threshold to center line of lower mag prep; and distance between the center lines of the mag preps.

Provided the opening is at least 35 inches clear and the housing is no more than three inches wide, the opening will still comply with ADA after the full height housing system is installed.

 

Multi-function Doorways, Part One

As seen in Doors and Hardware Magazine.

Whenever something is invented, humans find more uses for it.  This is certainly true for door automation and electric locking.  It was not long after people realized a door could be unlocked remotely using an electric strike and a door could be opened automatically using a power operator (automatic door opener) that they began using these devices together.   Of course this combination of devices was soon interfaced with intercoms.  Exit devices with electric latch retraction and electromagnetic locks were thrown into the mix, as well as access control, delayed egress and/or security interlock systems.  Any of these systems alone is sufficient to complicate an installation, but when you start to use several on one opening, that’s when things really start to get interesting.

A hospital can be one of the best places to run into a doorway that needs to perform many functions (pun intended).  Hospitals seem to have more varied reasons to keep different people out at different times, or to let them in or out by different means.  In addition to standard life safety and security issues, hospitals also have to anticipate the needs of patients who may be under the influence of medication and/or mental disorders and/or have physical limitations.  Some patients must be kept inside for their own safety while all patients must be able to exit swiftly and safely in the event of a fire.

Let’s use as an example a hospital emergency ward entrance used primarily by ambulance drivers.  The hospital wants only ambulance personnel and the security guard  to be able to activate the power operator, and to control access by use of a remote switch operated by the security guard  for the general public and an access code by hospital employees (other than ambulance personnel).

Since it is a pair of doors, concealed vertical rod exit devices are the most efficient, safe and secure way to lock them and provide reliable free egress in the event of an emergency.  However, since there is a power operator involved, these devices must be equipped with electric latch retraction; and since use of the power operator was to be limited, a second electric means of opening the door would be required.

A simple way to solve the problem of the second means of unlocking is by using electrified exit device lever trim with one of the concealed vertical rod exit devices.  Persons not requiring the power operator can get in by using the access control, or the security guard  can “buzz” them in using one of two remote buttons.  Because there will be two means of unlocking the door electrically, the security guard  will need a small desk unit with two buttons:  one that activates the power operator and electric latch retraction and one that activates the electric exit device trim.

Below is an amateur wiring diagram (made by me) of how, basically, the system works.

Central to the concept is an access control device with two relays and a request to exit input.  This allows several of the connections to be made through the access control system.  If the access control system on site does not provide more than one relay, the same functions can be accomplished by using additional relays in the power supply.

The system as shown in my illustration above works like this:

Ambulance personnel activate the power operator using the access control system.  The access control system signals the power operator via contact closure in Relay #1.  The power operator triggers the relay in the power supply to retract the latches of the exit devices, then opens the door.

Other authorized hospital personnel use the access control system to unlock the lever trim.  The access control system changes the state of Relay #2, triggering the relay in the power supply to unlock the trim.  They turn the lever, pull the door open and walk in.

Injured people arrive on foot at the Emergency Room entrance.  The Security Guard sees them (or is notified by intercom, not shown) and lets them in by pressing the red button, activating the power operator, or by pressing the green button that unlocks the exit device trim.

There exist many possible variations of this system.  Knowledge of access control systems and door hardware are required, but the most important principal in play is the use of contact closure to signal multiple devices.


Exit Device Checklist

See also Exit Device Basics

Here are a few questions you need to be able to answer before you order exit devices:

  • Is the door made of wood, hollow steel, Fiberglas, aluminum and glass, or all glass?
  • Is the door is fire rated or non-fire rated?
  • Door width if single door or pair of doors with center mullion?
  • Door width and height if for a pair of doors without mullion?
  • Door thickness?
  • Exit device finish?
  • Will this be an exit-only device, or will there be outside trim?
  • If there is outside trim, what function is it?

It will save you time and aggravation if you know the answers to these questions before you call your hardware vendor.

You may also want one or more of these or other mechanical options:

  • Cylinder dogging (not available on fire rated devices)
  • Less bottom rod (for vertical rod exit devices)
  • Double cylinder (trim locked or unlocked from inside secured space)

There may also be electrified options:

  • Does the exit device need to have electrified trim?  If so, fail safe or fail secure?
  • Does the exit device need to have electric latch retraction?
  • Does the exit device need to have push pad or latch monitor switches?
  • Do you need a delayed egress exit device?

Save time and money by gathering the necessary facts before shopping for exit devices.

The Elusive “Touch Chip” Credential

A few years ago, Ingersoll Rand (IR) purchased Locknetics Security Engineering in Connecticut, and since then gradually rebranded the line as Schlage Electronics.   A little over a year ago, as part of the process of closing the Connecticut facility, Schlage Electronics started phasing out its TR80 and TR81 touch readers.  These readers were based on the old technology of the Dallas chip, otherwise known IR/Locknetics land as the touch chip or iButton.  By the end of 2010, Schlage phased out all commercial electronic locking products that incorporated touch chip readers, such as touch readers and locking technologies that incorporated the touch reader, such as the CM line of computer managed locks and their electromagnetic locks with on-board access control.

When the new price books were released in January 2011, the touch chip credential was completely absent.   When questioned about legacy systems, representatives from IR indicated that touch chip users should migrate over to prox tags.  With the new AD and CO series electronic locks, Schlage made available new software and a new hand held programmer (the HHD-KIT) that is backwards compatible with the old hardware.  They also produced a tag with a prox chip on one side and a touch chip on the other so that legacy facilities would be able to carry both credentials over the period of years during which the old CM or other series locks would age out of the system.

One might think that the touch chip has completely faded from the Schlage Electronics scene, but such is not the case.  Looking through the Multi-Family Price Book what do I discover but the new SRT-100 touch reader and a barrage of “iButton” touch chip credentials such as the one pictured.   The new CT-5000 controller that replaces the old CT-1000 controller is also available for those who need to replace ailing legacy systems.  It is my understanding that the iButtons that appear under the multi-family division are fully compatible with legacy technologies such as CM locks or KC-2 series locks.

There is also a new line of smart residential locks that incorporate touch chip technology.  So it is safe to say that touch chip technology is not going to disappear anytime soon.  So if you have a large facility full of old Locknetics products that take iButtons, don’t panic.  At least for now you can still get them.

 

Interconnected Locks

 

Sargent 7500 Series Interconnected Lock

An interconnected lock is actually two locks that are connected by an assembly that retracts both the deadbolt and the latch simultaneously when the inside handle is turned.   This is done to fulfill the life safety requirement under NFPA 101 that egress should be accomplished by one motion with no prior knowledge necessary, and at the same time provide the user with the security of a deadbolt.  The same function could be provided by an entry function mortise lock, but interconnected locks are cheaper, since they are usually cobbled together out of (usually) a grade 2 cylindrical lock and a tubular deadbolt.

The history of the interconnected lock is a twisted, strange story of different companies reinventing the wheel with different distances between the centerlines, connected or separate latch/bolt assemblies with correspondingly different strike preps, and radically different hole patterns on both interior and exterior door surfaces.  The end result has been many, many doors and frames prepped for locks that are now irreplaceable.

Today, preps are much more standardized.

These are some of the interconnected locks available today and the measurements of their preps:

  • Falcon H Series – 4 inches CTC, 1-3/4 inch hold above, 2-1/8 inch hole below
  • Schlage H Series – 4 inches CTC, 1-1/2 inch hole above, 2-1/8 inch hole below
  • Schlage S200 Series – 4 inches CTC, 1-1/2 inch hole above, 2-1/8 inch hole below
  • Schlage CS200 Series – 4 inches CTC, 2-1/8 inch holes above and below
  • Sargent 75 Series – 4 inches CTC, 2-1/8 inch holes above and below
  • Yale 4800LN series – 4 inches CTC, 2-1/8 inch holes above and below

Replacing any of the locks above with any of the others would not present an enormous problem.

 

Sargent 7500 Series Door Prep

New PS914RFK Retro-fit Kit from Von Duprin

According to IR tech support, the PS914RFK is a bracket and main board assembly designed to install into existing PS873 enclosures.  The idea is to ease PS873 replacement and it looks to me like it will accomplish that.

In addition to the PS873, you will need to replace all existing option boards that are present.

  • To replace 871-2, use 900-2RS
  • To replace 873-BB, use 900-BBK if you need batteries included.  If not, use 900-BB for the board only
  • To replace 873-FA, use 900-FA
  • To replace 873-4TD, 873-AO, or 873-SI, use 900-4RL
  • To replace 873-2Q, use 900-2Q

The following boards have been discontinued:

  • 873-AL
  • 873-AC
  • 873-DE

In several pieces of Ingersoll Rand literature I have seen the 900-BB board depicted as if it includes batteries.  It does not.  So if you want your battery kit to come with batteries, you need to get the 900-BBK.

 

PS900 Series Schlage Electronics and Von Duprin Power Supplies Demystified

Von Duprin and Schlage Electronics are divisions of Ingersoll Rand. Both are major manufacturers of power supplies for use with electric locking systems and access control. As of January 1st, 2011, Ingersoll Rand discontinued two of their power supply product lines, the PS800 series Von Duprin and the Schlage Electronics 500 series, and merged them into the new PS900 series.

A split in power supply branding may or may not remain, depending on what document you are looking at, but whether they say they are Schlage or Von Duprin, they are all the same PS900 series.

Here is the lineup:

PS902 – 2 Amp output at 12 or 24VDC, field selectable

Compatible with these option boards:

  • 900-BBK: Battery Backup – back up power in case of power outage, includes batteries
  • 900-FA: Fire Alarm – relay for interface with fire alarm panel  – wires to main board
  • 900-2Q: 2 Relay QEL control Board – to run 2 Von Duprin QEL devices
  • 900-4R: 4 Relay Output Board – four relay outputs to operate 4 electric locking devices, not QEL or EL
  • 900-4RL: 4 Relay Logic Board – for man trap or security interlock systems
  • 900-8F: Fused 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, fused for circuit protection
  • 900-8P: PTC 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, circuit breaker protected
  • PS902 can accommodate 1 of the above option boards in addition to the 900-FA option and battery backup.

    For use with electric locks and with Von Duprin Quiet Electric Latch retraction (QEL) exit devices, but NOT with Von Duprin electric latch retraction (EL) exit devices.

    PS904 – 4 Amp output at 12 or 24VDC, field selectable

    Compatible with these option boards:

  • 900-BBK: Battery Backup – back up power in case of power outage, includes batteries
  • 900-FA: Fire Alarm – relay for interface with fire alarm panel  – wires to main board
  • 900-2Q: 2 Relay QEL control Board – to run 2 Von Duprin QEL devices
  • 900-4R: 4 Relay Output Board – four relay outputs to operate 4 electric locking devices, not QEL or EL
  • 900-4RL: 4 Relay Logic Board – for man trap or security interlock systems
  • 900-8F: Fused 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, fused for circuit protection
  • 900-8P: PTC 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, circuit breaker protected
  • PS904 can accommodate up to 2 option boards and battery back up.

    Note:  no plug-in for fire alarm relay on main board.  900-FA is only usable with the PS904 if used with an option board.

    For use with electric locks and with Von Duprin Quiet Electric Latch retraction (QEL) exit devices, but NOT with Von Duprin electric latch retraction (EL) exit devices.

    PS906 – 6 Amp output at 12 or 24VDC, field selectable

    Compatible with these option boards:

  • 900-BBK: Battery Backup – back up power in case of power outage, includes batteries
  • 900-FA: Fire Alarm – relay for interface with fire alarm panel  – wires to main board
  • 900-2Q: 2 Relay QEL control Board – to run 2 Von Duprin QEL devices
  • 900-2RS: 2 Relay EL Control Board – to run up to 2 Von Duprin EL devices
  • 900-4R: 4 Relay Output Board – four relay outputs to operate 4 electric locking devices, not QEL or EL
  • 900-4RL: 4 Relay Logic Board – for man trap or security interlock systems
  • 900-8F: Fused 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, fused for circuit protection
  • 900-8P: PTC 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, circuit breaker protected
  • PS906 can accommodate up to 3 option boards, fire alarm interface (with option board) and battery back up.

    For use with electric locks and with up to 6 Von Duprin Quiet Electric Latch retraction (QEL) exit devices, but NOT with Von Duprin electric latch retraction (EL) exit devices.

    PS914 – 4 Amp output at 12 or 24VDC, field selectable

    Compatible with these option boards:

  • 900-BBK: Battery Backup – back up power in case of power outage, includes batteries
  • 900-FA: Fire Alarm – relay for interface with fire alarm panel  – wires to main board
  • 900-2Q: 2 Relay QEL control Board – to run 2 Von Duprin QEL devices
  • 900-2RS: 2 Relay EL control Board – to run up to 2 Von Duprin EL devices
  • 900-4R: 4 Relay Output Board – four relay outputs to operate 4 electric locking devices, not QEL or EL
  • 900-4RL: 4 Relay Logic Board – for man trap or security interlock systems
  • 900-8F: Fused 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, fused for circuit protection
  • 900-8P: PTC 8 Zone Distribution Board – 8 outputs, circuit breaker protected
  • PS914 can accommodate 2 of the above option boards, plus fire alarm interface (on one of the boards) and battery back up.

    Capable of powering:

  • Up to 4 Electric Latch retraction (EL) exit devices with 900-4RL board
  • Up to 2 EL devices with 900-2RS board
  • Up to 4 Quiet Electric Latch retraction (QEL) exit devices
  • Up to 4 Chexit (CX) delayed egress exit devices off the main board (use 900-8FA combination board if Fire Alarm relay is required)
  • Electric locks or strikes
  •  

    Ordering Tips:

    PS-914 is a 4 Amp power supply that is double the capacity of the old PS873, however, from my conversation with IR tech support, their feeling is that it is prudent to power no more than 4 EL devices per PS-914.  Theoretically the power supply could support as many as 8 EL devices however this presents the challenge of timing the relays so that no two can change states at the same time.  If two EL devices are powered up simultaneously the PS-914 could be damaged.

    None of the PS900 series power supplies are a drop-in replacement for their predecessors, and the old and new option boards are not cross-compatible with the old and new power supplies.  Therefore, replacing old power supplies with new can present a rewiring challenge.

    Ordering back-up batteries can be a little tricky, since they have very similar part numbers for the batteries, the charging circuit board, and a set that includes the board and the batteries.

  • 900-BAT – Pair of batteries only
  • 900-BB – Battery back up board only
  • 900-BBK – Power battery back up kit, board and batteries
  •  

     

    Glass Door Electric Locking Solutions

    Installing an electric locking system on an existing, currently unsecured all-glass or Herculite door can be a challenge for the security professional, but there are solutions.  Here are a few:

    Electromagnetic Locks

    Securitron Glass Door Solution

    The Securitron solution to the glass door locking problem is… glue.   When I sell this solution, I usually use:

    • M62G (1200 lb. holding force electromagnetic lock with conduit fitting)
    • AKG (adhesive kit for glass doors)
    • GDB (glass door bracket for armature)

    For all glass doors with all glass headers, I also use the HEB-G header extension bracket.  This can also be glued in place using the Securitron AKG.  Since the AKG includes enough glue to do 10 glass-door mag installs, there is more than enough to do one all-glass door and one all-glass header.

    Everybody Else’s Mag-Lock-for-Glass-Door Solution

    As far as I know, no one besides Securitron really deals with the situation of an all glass header.  For all-glass doors, all the other companies that make electromagnetic locks use variations of the HDB, or Herculite Door Bracket.  This bracket is a U-channel that slides down over the top of the door.  It’s a clip-on system:

    Illustration from Rutherford Controls web site

    The Herculite door bracket concept seems to work well except in cases were there is a reduced gap between the top of the door and the header.  In that case the U-channel idea is out because the HDB bracket will keep the door from closing.  Then it’s the Securitron and the glue or something else altogether.

    RCI Cushion-Lok

    A pricey but classy and easy to install alternative to the electromagnetic solution is the Rutherford Controls Cushion-Lok.  The Cushion-Lok is a specially constructed, fail safe electric strike and passive latch that gently locks the door upon closure.   Shown below is the RCI 3360 which is pre-installed on patch fittings that slide onto the glass of the door and “frame” when the entire doorway – door, lintels and header – is made of glass.

    Not shown is another version for use with a wood or metal frame and Herculite door.

    It is worthwhile to note that the reason security professionals are faced with installing electric locks on existing all-glass doors is because of a lack of planning on the part of the architect or project manager.  It is much easier for a glass door manufacturer to pre-install a locking system than it is for a security professional to install it after the fact.


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