For extra security and customizable features, electric strike locks are an easy upgrade from regular, manual lock-and-keys. They provide a customized access control solution that can be looped into a smart control system, providing a greater depth of control along with useful emergency features.
Let’s take a quick look at how these locks work, and then we’ll dive into our simple and straightforward guide to electric strike installation.
How Electric Strike Locks Work
Just like regular strike locks, this lock secures a door by sliding a metal bolt or “strike” from a door into a recess on the door jamb. But in this case, the movement of the strike can be locked and unlocked with an electrical impulse.
Electric strike locks can also be synced into a larger access control system to supplement other door entry systems.
For example, in an apartment building with an electronic strike lock paired with an intercom/video system, guests on the front step can’t enter until they have communicated with a resident inside, who can push a button and release the strike to open the door. The residents themselves may have a traditional key to unlock the latch, or a wireless fob or keycard to communicate with the electric lock and unlock the door that way. There are several different possible configurations, which makes installing an electric door strike lock an easy upgrade.
Electric locks also have another useful feature: the ability to respond to power outages by locking or unlocking. A fail-safe electric strike will unlock when the power goes out, and a fail-secure lock will lock when power is cut and unlock when it receives power again.
This means the door can be wired to be fail-safe and provide an extra exit in an emergency, or fail-secure to provide extra security to an inner room during an emergency.
With these features on the table, let’s move on to how to actually put one of these locks in place.
How to Install an Electric Strike Lock for Doors
Electric door strike installation is fairly straightforward with the right tools. We’ll go over the outline here, but remember to consult the user manual for your lock as well as a good locksmith if you have any questions. Remember: measure twice, cut once.
- Remove the existing non-electric strike plate. A screwdriver is generally up to this task. If using power tools, be careful not to strip any screws, which can make it harder to remove the plate.
- Make room for the new strike, a.k.a. the metal bar that actually crosses the gap and locks the door. The strike for an electric lock is generally larger than a non-electric one. Use a pencil to trace around the edge of the strike on the door frame, and confirm the depth of the hole. Then use a drill or roto-zip to enlarge the hole.
- Make room for wires. An electric lock needs wires to provide power and directive impulses. One way is to run wiring through the wall to a point near the door frame. Then, drill a deep hole through the door frame to run wires from the lock to the wires in the wall. Another way is to run wires around the inside of the door frame to a connection point on the hinge side of the wall
- Connect the wires for power. Electric strike locks come with two-pronged power wires in both 12V and 24V specifications. Select whichever one is correct for your facility’s wiring. Plug the connected base into the lock, and then use the two end points to splice into the greater wiring network. The user manual for your particular lock should show you exactly how to do this.
- Place the electric strike door lock. Make sure that the lock is aligned correctly so that it slides easily into the strike hole. Screw all pieces in securely.
- Connect the door lock to your central wiring system. The electric door strikes can stand on their own, or they can be wired into a system with a credential reader, access control panel, and power source.
That’s it for the installation–now to test the function of your new lock!
How to Test an Electric Strike Lock
Once the door is powered up and in place, you should be able to control it with the access control system.
If you’ve connected a credential reader to the lock, test it out to see if it opens when a credential is presented.
If you want your lock to instead be controlled by the central control panel, make sure you can lock and unlock it from there.
You can also test the solidity of the physical installation by rattling the door and making sure all the pieces hold against stress.
If you’ve hired a locksmith or security company to help you, make sure you do all these tests before they leave the premises–it’s a lot easier to iron out any wrinkles now as opposed to making another appointment.
Electric strike locks are a fairly easy install that create an extra layer of security thanks to their rugged construction, easy integration into a smart access control system, and the ability to control them remotely or set time parameters for their locking and unlocking. They are a good choice for any facility wanting an access control upgrade!