Maglock Installation Guide: Installing & Unlocking

Magnetic door locks (also commonly called maglocks) are great options for modern businesses that want a modern option to secure their doors. They use an electromagnetic lock — typically mounted on the top of the door — to secure building entrances. Magnetic door installation can help you keep your business secure, and it can also help protect the people in the building in the event of an emergency, as the door will unlock when it loses power. 

Here, we’ll explain how to install a magnetic door lock on your doors as well as how to unlock a magnetic door lock and use it in conjunction with your access control system. 

Magnetic Stripe Cards

How Do Magnetic Locks Work? 

Magnetic locks consist of a two-part mounting mechanism as well as wires to connect the lock to a power source. There are two pieces of the magnetic lock: a thin plate called an armature that is installed on the door and the electromagnet, which is installed on the door frame. You might also need mounting brackets depending on the configuration of your door. The electromagnet is the magnetic locking mechanism, and it also houses the wires that you’ll use to power the lock. When the two parts of the lock touch, the magnetic force keeps the door securely locked. 

Wires connected to the lock carry electricity to the magnet, and it’s this electricity that charges the magnetic field and engages the lock. Maglocks are fail-safe, which means the lock is locked or activated when there is a steady power supply. When the power is cut, the door unlocks. For this reason, magnetic locks can be a safety feature in a building in the event of an emergency. If an event were to happen that cut power to the building, the doors will unlock, and people will easily be able to exit. 

Magnetic Door Lock Installation 

You can definitely complete the magnetic lock installation yourself as long as you are careful to align the magnets and you can correctly and safely connect the wires to a power source. Below, we’ll walk you through the basic steps of maglock installation. Of course, refer to your instructions and user manual for instructions specific to your lock. 

  • Step 1: Gather your tools. In most cases, you will need a pencil, a ruler, a drill, appropriate drill bits for your surface, a Phillips head screwdriver, and screws (these should come with your lock).
  • Step 2: Prepare to install the thin armature plate on the door. Choose the location for your lock and use your pencil and ruler to mark the spots where you’ll need to drill holes. When you’re marking your holes, make sure you measure while the door is closed. Any lip on your door might affect where the lock needs to be mounted. Once you have your hole spots properly marked, drill the holes in your door. 
  • Step 3: Screw the thin armature plate onto the door. Depending on the configuration of your door, you may need to use mounting brackets to install the armature plate onto the door. 
  • Step 4: Prepare to install the electromagnet portion of the lock on the doorframe. Use a ruler and pencil to mark both the screw holes as well as a hole for the wires. Be very careful when measuring and marking for the electromagnet to make sure it’s perfectly aligned. Measure while the door is closed and line up the two pieces. To make sure you have the correct location, you can also momentarily turn the lock on so that it snaps right into place. Then, you can mark where it lines up. 
  • Step 5: Screw the electromagnet to the door frame. 
  • Step 6: Run the wires through the wall and connect the lock to a power source. Because maglocks need to be connected to a power source, this part of the installation can be a bit tricky. If you are not experienced with wiring, or if you are not confident in your ability to wire the lock correctly and safely, it may be best to hire a professional for this part of the installation. 
  • Step 7: When you’re finished with your maglock installation, test the lock to ensure it works. When you test your lock to ensure it is working, first test it while it is locked. Pull on the door to ensure the magnet is aligned properly and has a strong hold. When the door unlocks, it should open freely and easily. 

When you’ve completed your magnetic door lock installation, you’ll also need to make sure it unlocks and works correctly within your access control system. 

magnetic door lock equipment

Unlocking a Magnetic Door Lock

Depending on the type of door you have and the model of the lock you choose, there are many different ways to unlock a magnetic door lock. Of course, as a fail-safe lock, it will automatically unlock any time the electromagnet loses power. 

You’ll need to wire your lock to your access control system for users to be able to unlock the door. Depending on the type of system you have, the user might use a key fob, smart phone, a fingerprint, a PIN, or something else to unlock the door. When they request access and are granted access, the access control system and the controller will cut the power supply so the door can unlock. 

You can choose to add a manual override to your magnetic lock as well, which is strongly encouraged. This is often a traditional key you can use to unlock the door, something that is particularly helpful in the event of an emergency. 

Regardless of which maglock you choose to install, you should have multiple ways to unlock the door, including some sort of manual override so that you never run into a situation where people are trapped in your building. 

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