Magnetic door locks are sometimes employed as part of an access control system. In order to work correctly and keep a door locked, there are many working parts that need to be functioning properly. The magnetic lock also needs to have a steady power supply. If any of those parts fail, you won’t be able to lock the door.
If your lock isn’t working properly, there are a host of issues that might be going on. Here, we’ll explain some of the common problems you might face with a magnetic door lock as well as how to fix them. We’ll also explain when it’s time to replace your lock.
What is a Magnetic Door Lock and How Does it Work?
Before you can fix the lock on your door, you need to have some basic understanding of how your magnetic door lock works. Magnetic door locks are usually on the top of the door, and they lock the door shut with a holding power of anywhere from 50-1800 pounds. Most people can exert anywhere from 55-90 pounds of max force, which makes these doors very secure, especially if they’re on the higher end of the holding power scale. Depending on the strength, it would be very difficult if not impossible for somebody to be able to pull the door open.
Magnetic door locks require power at all times to keep the door locked. When somebody uses an access control card or is granted another form of access, the magnet momentarily loses power and allows the user to open the door.
The strong magnets on the lock are often made of a number of metals, including zinc, copper, aluminum, and iron. Once a user has been granted access, the door slowly closes with an automatic overhead hydraulic closer, and then the lock engages.
Problems with a Magnetic Door Lock
Because there are a lot of parts in play, there are a number of reasons a magnetic door lock might stop working. Problems with magnetic door locks can go both ways; the lock might fail to lock, or it might fail to release. Both are issues that need to be fixed.
Wear and tear on the lock can make it stop working over time. The lock is also subject to effects from the elements. Extreme weather, extreme temperatures, moisture, and rust can all cause a lock to stop working. This can lead to improper alignment in the locks or warped parts. Human error can affect alignment as well. If somebody pulls too hard on the door or tries to force it open, it can affect the alignment and strength of the lock.
Another common source of issues with magnetic door locks is the power supply. Faulty electronics or thin cables can cut power to the lock. This can cause the door to unlock at inopportune times. Cables that supply power to the lock should be at least .2 mm or thicker. If they aren’t, they might not be able to properly carry the power necessary to hold the lock in place, and they can break easily. Any loss of power for any reason will cause the lock to stop working.
A final common problem with magnetic door locks is a problem with the striking plate. This mechanism is where the magnet sticks. If something gets thrown off in this system, it can affect the entire door.
How to Reset Magnetic Door Lock
If your magnetic door lock isn’t working and you’re wondering how to reset magnetic door lock, there are many things you can try to fix the lock since there are so many working parts. First, see if you can determine where your problem is coming from so you know which part of the lock you need to fix. Check the manual for your lock as well to find any troubleshooting solutions specific to your lock. If you aren’t able to determine the cause of your problem, work through some of these common solutions.
It’s important to regularly inspect and test your lock to keep it in working order. If you do this, you can hopefully resolve any minor problems before they become major problems that cause the lock to stop working completely.
Inspect the door for any rust or oil residue and clean it off. If there are parts with a lot of rust or oil residue, consider replacing these parts. It’s also important to check the alignment of the door and the lock. Check the hinges, make sure the door frames are sturdy, check the door closer, and even check the paint on wooden doors.
If you find that the magnets are misaligned, readjust the door. However, if the door is too warped or damaged, you might need to replace it. Tightening the screws on the automatic door closer can help with an alignment problem as well.
If you believe cables supplying power to the lock may be the problem, measure the voltage where the lock is when the lock is engaged. Also, inspect the cables for any tears or visible damage. If there is damage or the voltage isn’t high enough, replace the cables. Because power outages will make the lock disengage, install a battery for backup power as well.
When to Replace a Magnetic Door Lock
Most magnetic door locks are designed to last a maximum of ten years. If yours is older than that and it’s not working properly, it might be time to invest in a new lock. Additionally, if fixing the problem is costly and very involved, you might be better off replacing the lock with a newer one.