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Open Sesame! Keyless door entry systems for an apartment complex?
May 9, 2011 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Open Sesame! Keyless door entry systems for an apartment complex?

I will be replacing the door to my apartment (that I own) within the next few months. I don't feel the need to keep any of the old locks on the current door, and I'm toying with the idea of a keyless entry system (key fob, etc). What are the residential options that are available to me that work well and aren't a piece of crap?

A few things worth knowing:

1. I want a FOB that has to be held within a few inches of the door, ie. not something that can trigger the lock when I'm within a few feet of the door (due to the fact that my apartment is so small I am almost always within a few feet of the door).

2. I don't want a keypad or something that I need to press.

3. How hard are they to install? (Obviously it will need power, but how will I get the power to the door and is it difficult?)

4. If there is an option for me to open the door with my iPhone, that would be cool, but hardly necessary.

I've searched askmefi before, but all the posts are from about 4 years ago and I'm sure the technology has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.
posted by darkgroove to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
What's your price range? There are tons of DIY projects that use cheap microprocessors and parts, or commercial options that any local locksmith would be able to provide.
posted by odinsdream at 7:21 AM on May 9, 2011


I'd rather not go the DIY route, just because if something happens I don't want to have to hack it back together. I don't know what this kind of thing costs, if you could provide a price range that would be awesome. I honestly don't even know what a good normal lock costs since I've never had to buy a whole locking system before. If it was around $500 that would be ok.
posted by darkgroove at 7:22 AM on May 9, 2011


You talk about power, what happens when the power goes out? At my place of employment, we have prox badges that must be swipped within an inch or two of the reader and building/fire codes require that when the power is lost, all doors automatically unlock. This means the mechanism is built so it requires constant (but small amounts of) power to keep the door locked and swiping in turns off the electromagnet for you to open the door.

What does this mean for you? When you lose power in your building, your apartment will be unlocked and anyone can walk in.

HID prox cards are what we use where I work and I've set them up at a few other places. They tend more towards commerical applications, but the idea is the same for residential ones as well. I still think you need to check your local building codes and you'll probably find that any electronically locked door must unlock when power is lost. (Besides, would you like to be locked in when the power is lost?)
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:23 AM on May 9, 2011


At my old building, the front door was a keyless entry system with a FOB, but it also had a normal lock as well. So assuming the power went out, you could operate it like a normal lock. I wouldn't mind having this as an option because it isn't so much that I mind having a key on me, it's that I would rather just have to tap my keys to the door instead of opening the lock.

Surely there is a residential option that has this feature.
posted by darkgroove at 7:31 AM on May 9, 2011


Then you can just get something like this and call it a day.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:38 AM on May 9, 2011


Brian Puccio linked to the Lathem lx100. I've been considering one of these for a while and would love some feedback from anyone who has actually lived with one.
posted by Mitheral at 7:51 AM on May 9, 2011


Lathem's commercial stuff is pretty shit, at least in comparison to other products. I mean, it works fine, but the documentation is photocopied from an obviously larger manual and only includes the snippets for the most-common usage scenarios. Parts were obviously bottom of the barrel and had to be replaced within a few days operation.
posted by odinsdream at 7:55 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhat tangential, but are you sure you're free to put in any door/lock combo you want? Depending on how ownership in your building is structured, you may not technically own the front door.
posted by mkultra at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2011


HOA-friendly
posted by rhizome at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2011


I'm pretty sure I own my door. And even if I didn't, I'm still going to buy a new one as the current one functions like a screen door and lets every bit of sound right through it.

The Lathem looks like it would do the trick, but the fact that it doesn't have a key in addition to the FOB kind of kills it for me. The HOA friendly one that rhizome pointed out has some silly remote, which I'm not looking for either. I want to be able to just tap my keys to the door without pressing anything.

I'll do some searching and see what I can come up with, but any other feedback would be appreciated.
posted by darkgroove at 2:54 PM on May 9, 2011


It was just an example.
posted by rhizome at 4:04 PM on May 9, 2011


This may solve my problem and it works with your phone too.

https://lockitron.com/less
posted by darkgroove at 6:08 AM on May 18, 2011


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