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Glossary - Resources - Diagrams


Access card: A card used for gaining entrance. Maybe be of several types such as Magnetic card and Proximity card.

Access control: The means of influencing and regulating the flow of persons through a door (entry and/or exit).

ADA: Americans With Disabilities Act - For more information on ADA Accessibility Guidelines contact the US Access Board or visit their website at www.access-board.gov

Alternating current: or (AC) An electric current that reverses its direction regularly and continually. The voltage alternates its polarity and direction of current flow negative to positive. AC current increases to a peak, decreases through zero, and peaks in the opposite direction. AC current flows back and forth in the conductor and is expressed in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz).

ALOA: Associated Locksmiths of America

ANSI/BHMA Grading System: BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the voluntary standardization to develop and maintain performance standards for builder's hardware. ANSI/BHMA standards set forth different product grades for door hardware products. These product grades are defined by progressive levels of performance benchmarks in each applicable standard. The purpose of each is to help identify the quality and durability of locksets through a series of operational and security tests. The basic lock grades are: ANSI grade 3 is basic residential security. ANSI grade 2 is intermediate residential security. ANSI grade 1 is the highest level of residential security and often used for commercial installations where it will hold up better than grades 3 and 2.

Anti-passback: A feature that prevents a user from giving their code number or card to someone else to use. A user code or card must be used to enter then used to exit before it can be reused to enter again. This feature requires one device for entry and a second device for exit. (Such as a proximity reader or keypad on both sides of a door). Our multi door proximity card systems have this important feature.

Architectural hardware (usually commercial grade one type): Usually refers to hardware used in building construction.

ATM: Means Asynchronas transfer mode. It's a networking technology based on how data is transferred in small fixed length blocks or packets and commonly used in DSL broadband systems. This sometimes takes the place of TCP/IP in some segments of a broadband computer network.

Audit trail: locks or access systems that allow you to see who and when a premises has been entered. Great for when accountability is important. Usually done with a PC or laptop. We sell many devices with this valuable feature.

Backset: The backset is the distance between the edge of the door to the center of the main hole. The main hole is usually a round 2 1/8" diameter that the body of the lock fits through. The distance is usually 2 3/8" or 2 3/4". Today, most commercial and industrial doors are set for 2 3/4". The trend has been for more private homes set this way also. These are the two most common backsets. When measuring the backset make sure to do it carefully. The difference is small and it's easy to make a mistake especially if your measuring with the lock still on the door. You may have noticed that on cheaper lock hardware the backset often is variable. But this is not the case with the better quality heavy duty locksets. (I wish I knew why!) See backset diagram | See great tool for changing backset hole!

Blank - also key blank: a key that has not yet been cut.

Bumping: "Lock bumping" or using a "bump key" to open a lock is a real threat to physical security. Bump keys are a fast and effective hack against the low cost consumer grade locks sold in hardware stores and home centers, and renders them useless as a security device in seconds. Another reason to use either keyless locks or good quality high security locks such as Medeco locks. Also, it's important to understand that just because a lock dosen't take a key, that dosen't necessarily mean that the lock should be considered a higher security lock. Even though it may be pick proof or bump proof it can still be compromised by other methods or attacks. Unfortunately very few locks can really be considered as high security when you consider the facts. See lock bumping picture

Buzz in or buzzer system:: "Buzz in" systems are commonly used in offices where a receptionist wiil unlock the door from her desk. This is commonly done with an electric strike. The buzzing sound is often made by the ac current going through the electric strike. Keep in mind that AC current will kill an electric strike faster than DC current will. We sell a piezo type buzzer that will let you use DC current and still get that sound.

Category 5: or Cat5 is a popular unshielded and twisted cable very commonly used today for voice and data communication. Cat 5 may also often be used to connect Proximity Card readers over distances under 100 feet or so. Longer distace may require a shielded type wire. To be Cat 5 it must support speeds of up to 100MHz over 22 or 24 Gauge wire. It's commonlly used for higher speed twisted pair networks as 100Base-TX and Fast Ethernet. Another newer type cable is Cat 5E (enhanced) for up to 1,000Mbps of data transfer rate for use usually in fast ethernet.

Chip Key Reader: Data chips contain sophisticated electronics to store a personal identification number in a coin shaped, sealed, stainless steel canister. This superior design allows the Data Chip to be easily attached to any smooth surface including existing photo ID cards, badges, or keychains. Innovative packaging protects the electronic circuits inside the canister from dirt, moisture, corrosion and static discharge. We sell a few products that use chip keys the most popular being the Corby chip key reader.

Cipher Lock or Cypher Lock: With regard to locks and locking devices it can mean either of the following: In a generic sense any lock that works with a numbered keypad can be considered a cipher lock. Cypher lock refers to a specific heavy duty keypad system made by Continental Instruments. It is not really a lock. This product has been for many years and still is very popular with the US military.

Classroom Function: Outside knob/lever locked or unlocked by key only. Different from the storeroom function in that the outside knob or lever can remain unlocked when key is withdrawn. Inside knob/lever always free to unlock same as storeroom function.

Closed circuit or normally closed: (1) An electrical circuit in which current normally flows until interrupted by the opening of a switch or a switch-type electronic component. (2) A circuit or switch in which the contacts are closed during normal operation

Conductance: The ability of an electrical conductor to pass current; the reciprocal of resistance. Often used in exit type of switches where simple hand contact enables the release of locked door.

Controlled access: Same as access control. The means of influencing and regulating the flow of persons through a door (entry and/or exit).

Current: The flow of electrons through an electrical conductor. Current is measured in amperes or amps.

Cylinder: A housing that contains a tumbler mechanism and a key-way plug that can be turned only by the correct key. It includes a cam or spindle to transmit rotary action to a lock or latch mechanism. For security and keying versatility, authorities generally specify a pin-tumbler cylinder of no fewer than five pins. The two types of cylinders, the mortise cylinder (round, threaded housing) and the bored lock cylinder (sometimes called a cylinder insert), which both provide the same functional value of security and convenience and are often included in the same keying system.

Dallas Chip: see Chip Key Reader

Deadbolt: A bolt operated manually and not actuated by springs. When locked, the cannot be forced back. It's dead untill unlocked. A deadbolt is operated (projected and retracted) by a key cylinder or lever handle. An example of a high security type of deadbolt

Deadlatch: A latch in which the beveled bolt is positively held in the projected position by an auxiliary mechanism. The latch now acts as a bolt but is really a deadlatch Very often the weakest link in an otherwise secure installation. As a matter of fact it is not uncommon to see a a multi thousand dollar access system installed only to be compromised by a cheap or incorrectly installed deadlatch. This applies also (maybe even more) when an electric strike is part of the installation.

Delayed Egress: prevents a door from being opened from the egress side (going out), usually for a period of 15 seconds (sometimes 30 seconds). This type of device is often used to prevent theft while maintaining life safety. The system is most commonly comprised of an exit device incorporating delayed egress features or an electromagnetic lock and power supply, one of which would contain delayed egress circuitry. When the device is actuated, the door remains locked on the egress side for 15 seconds and then releases to allow egress. See delayed egress systems

Digital Lock: Usually refers to a stand alone lock that has a built in keypad and therefore uses digits such as a telephone keypad to unlock the lock.

Double pole double throw switch: (DPDT): A term used to describe a switch or relay output contact form (2 form C) in which two separate switches are operating simultaneously, each with a normally open and normally closed contact and a common connection. This form is used to make and break two separate circuits.

Double sided lock: Usually means a lock that has either a keyway or in the case of digital locks, a keypad, on both the outside and also the inside. This tyupe of lock is sometimes used on doors with glass and on gates.

Dual technology credential: usually referring to a card that has the ability to be read by more than one type of card reader. An example would be one card read by proximity and mag-stripe readers. We have these. Give us a call for more info.

Electric Strike or striker: electric door locking device (usually solenoid-operated) that will unlock the door when electrical power is applied to it. A fail-safe configuration will operate in the reverse condition (i.e., normally locked when power is applied and unlocked when power is interrupted).

Entrance Function: Outside knob/lever locked or unlocked by turning or pushing inside button. Key unlocks knob/lever from outside. Inside knob/lever always unlocked.

Escape room: An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. The games are physical versions of "escape the room type" video games. For an example of a popular Escape room device Click here

Fail-safe lock: An electric lock or strike that automatically unlocks with any power interruption. When power is turned off no locking will occur. All magnetic type locks are always Fail-safe.

Fail-secure lock: An electric lock or strike that requires power to unlock. When power is turned off lock will still be locked. Fail-safe is much more common.

Form C contact: A switch that contains three terminals normally open, common, and normally closed.

Gate box: Gate box usually refers to a square or rectangular shaped metal box that gets welded or bolted to an outside gate and the lock then is installed into the box. Usually made from steel but sometimes stainless steal and aluminum is used.

Grade one hardware: locks that are classified grade one generally are made for commercial installations and can be used hundreds of times each day and still work for many years. Even though they are commercial grade, many are used on homes where people want the strongest hardware possible.

Grade two hardware: locks that are classified grade two are made for residential use. Grade two hardware should not be used in commercial installations.

Grade three hardware: this is the lowest quality type of hardware usually sold in most hardware stores and many internet stores that are not really familiar with quality hardware. We strongly suggest you never use this cheap hardware!

Ground: A conducting connection between an electrical circuit and the earth or other large conducting body to serve as an electrical ground, thus making a complete electrical circuit.

Handing: On some products it's important to know the handing of the lock. In general, to determine the appropriate handing for your door, look at the hinges from the exterior side of the door. If the hinges are on the left, you require a left-handed lever. If the hinges are on the right, you need a right-handed lever. Also, next to the pictures of most lever locks we show you a left or right hand lock as a guide. See lock bumping picture

Hard-wired: as opposed to wireless - Such as an intercom that is wired from station to station as opposed to a wireless or radio frequency intercom.

Hines Locking System: A higher security lock cylinder no longer made that was sold by the Segal Lock company. It had a unique way of being a higher security type of cylinder.

Hospitality Lock: Hospitality Locks generally speaking are locks that allows for long distance or remote code generation. An example is renting a house or apartment from a different state. There is no connection between the lock and the internet. The lock uses an ingenious method by coming the unique serial number built into the lock and a special algorithm.

Interchangeable Core or IC core lock cylinder: a special lock cylinder that can be removed from the lock with a special key to rekey without removing the lock. Usually used in commercial installation

Keyway: The area on the face of the cylinder of a keyed lock where the key is inserted into the cylinder. The keyway may be referred to a particular type of keyway such as KWI for a typical Kwikset lock. Some lock brands may have different shape keyways even the they are the same brand. Schlage locks for instance often come in a "c" or "e" type keyways. The keys that fit into these particular keyways would have a slightly different shape. For a special keyway identifier tool

Keyed Alike or (KA): usualy refers to more than one lock that is made to function with the same key.

Keyed Different: or (KD) usualy refers to locks with different keys. The opposite of KA.

Lock Bumping: "Lock bumping" or using a "bump key" to open a lock is a real threat to physical security. Bump keys are a fast and effective hack against the low cost consumer grade locks sold in hardware stores and home centers, and renders them useless as a security device in seconds. Another reason to use either heavy duty keyless locks or good quality high security locks such as Medeco locks. Also, it's important to understand that just because a lock dosen't take a key, that dosen't necessarily mean that the lock should be considered a higher security lock. Even though it may be pick proof or bump proof it can still be compromised by other methods or attacks. Unfortunately very few locks can really be considered as high security when you consider the facts. See lock bumping picture.

Magnetic lock: A magnetic lock is a lock that works completely on magnetism and has no moving parts to accomplish locking and unlocking. Magnetic locks are always DC devices and maybe be 12 or 24 vdc. Magnetic locks generally last a long long time because there are no moving parts that can break. But magnetic locks are not always approved by the local fire authority for every type of installation because there have been occasions that people have been hurt when a magnetic lock wouldn't release during a building fire. Always check with your local fire authorites and your insurance company before using a magnetic locking system. We sell many types of magnetic locks. Give us a call if you need help choosing.

Mantrap: sometimes also known as interlock or airlock, a mantrap is designed to allow controlled access to a vestibule area or room and creating a secured area. Only one of the two doors may be open at any time so it's a very effective way to control traffic. Many variations are possible. Mantraps are often used in jewelery and coin stores, banks, goverment buildings, embassies and airports. We sell a mantrap system that can be customized just for your needs.

Master Keyed or (MK): When all lock can be locked or unlocked with one key. Similar to keyed alike but in a master key system, all locks may be keyed differently but the master key will override the regular user key. In this way one key can open all locks and the locks may be all keyed differently. Useful for office buildings.

Metric To Inches Conversion:
3 mm = 1/8 inch
8 mm = 3/8 inch
12 mm = 1/2 inch
15 mm = 5/8 inch
18 mm = 3/4 inch
22 mm = 7/8 inch
25 mm = 1 inch
30 mm = 1 1/4 inch
35 mm = 1 3/8 inch
40 mm = 1 5/8 inch
50 mm = 2 inches
60 mm = 2 3/8 inches
65 mm = 2 1/2 inches
130 mm = 5 1/8 inches
178 mm = 7 inches


Mortise lock: In the lock industry this usually means a lock that has it's bolt cut into or mortised into the door as opposed to another type of lock, a rim lock, where the bolt travels along the surface of the door. Sometimes when a locksmith refers to a mortise lock he may be referring to the older style and big decorative lock that was very popular in the past. Although they are still made, they are more expensive and more difficult to install than the modern type that goes into a simpler and smaller round hole.

Open circuit or normaly opened: (1) An electrical circuit in which current does not flow until permitted by the closing of a switch or a switch-type electronic component. (2) A circuit or switch in which the contacts are open during normal operation.

Panic hardware: Usually refers to bar type locks that are installed across the door so as a person leaves a premises they only have to push the bar to leave. Panic type locks are usually specified and used on fire exit doors.

Panic-proof locks: Locks that provide immediate exit from the inside at all times.

Passage Function: Both knobs/levers always free. Door can latch closed but not lock.

Peanut Mortise cylinder : a tiny limited use and production mortise cylinder. Only 3/4" in diameter. We have these for sale so let us know if your looking.

Pick proof or pick resistant: usually refers to a lock cylinder and that the cylinder is built to resist a pick type attack using lock picks consisting of a pick and tension tool.

PIN or Pin number: Personal identification number

Power-over-Ethernet or (PoE): Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) eliminates the need to run 110/220 VAC power to Wireless Access Points and other devices on a wired LAN. Using Power-over-Ethernet system installers need to run only a single CAT5 Ethernet cable that carries both power and data to each device such as card readers and electric strikes. This allows greater flexibility in the locating of network devices and significantly decreasing installation costs in many cases. More info on POE - View a POE electric strike and also a POE Prox card system

Power Transfer or Power Transfer switch: When used with locks or access control, it is a means to transfer house current to an exit device from the frame to the door to the lock. Usually used when a device can't be powered with batteries. Also commonly used in delayed egress type systems. Power transfer can be done a number of ways but usually with heavy duty armoured cables or electrified hinges.

Pre loading on an electric strike: is pressure put on the keeper of the electric strike by the latch when certain conditions are present. These could be warped wood doors, damaged or bent metal doors, misaligned hardware applications or heavy door seals/weather-strip. When pressure is applied to some models of electric strikes, the coil may not have the ability to mechanically release the strike keeper because the pressure binds it against the latch. In general, better quality electric strikes deal with pre load conditions better than cheaper electric strikes.

Relay: An electrically controlled device that opens and closes electrical contacts to effect the operation of other devices in the same or another electrical circuit.

Rekey or rekeyed: a locksmith term. It means changing the key combination of a conventional pin tumbler type lock. As in to call in a locksmith to rekey locks when a key is lost or stolen.

Shabbos lock: generally refers to a lock that can be used by observant Jews during the Sabbath. The lock must not use a key or have a power source so usually a pushbutton mechanical lock is used. We have a large selection of Shabbos locks

Shielded cable: a metallic layer placed around a conductor or group of conductors to prevent electrostatic interference between the enclosed wires and external fields.

Single pole double throw switch: or (SPDT): A term used to describe a switch or relay contact form (1 form C) that has a normally open and a normally closed contact with a common connection.

Single pole single throw switch: or (SPST) A switch with only one moving and one stationary contact, available either normally open (NO) or normally closed (NC).

Solenoid: An electromechanical device that operates the lock-bolt or latch part of an electric strike. When electricity is applied, a mechanical motion is obtained that will move the bolt. Commonly used within an electric strike.

Stand Alone- When used to describe an access product it usualy means a pushbutton or card reading lock that does not require any other products to be a complete system. Usualy takes the place of a conventional key lock.

Storeroom Function: Outside knob/lever always locked. Unlocked by key or on board keypad only. Inside knob/lever always free to turn and open or unlock. This is the function you'll want to have the lock, lock automatically every time the door closes. This is the norm with access control. See also: Classroom function.

Left Hand: or (LH) From the outside, if the hinges are on the left and the door opens in, it's a left hand door.

Right Hand: or (RH) From the outside, if the hinges are on the right and the door opens in, it's a right hand door.

Left Hand Reverse: or (LHR) From the outside, if the hinges are on the left and the door opens out, it's a left hand door.

Right Hand Reverse: or (RHR) From the outside, if the hinges are on the right and the door opens out, it's a right hand door.

160 Prep: 2-3/8" cross bore hole, 1" edge hole with 1" x 2-1/4" latch mortise

161 Prep: 2-3/4" cross bore hole, 1" edge hole with 1-1/8" x 2-1/4" latch mortise

Proximity Reader: a front end device for an access system that enables entry using a small key fob or card. This is a radio frequency device where the receiver and transmitter do not need to touch but come within a certain proximity to read each other. A very secure technology.

RS232: Usually refers to serial data transmission, the most common type of computer interface. RS232 is ideal for data transmission for up to about 50 feet at frequencies of 0 through 20 kbps. Connections are usually with 25 pin D shaped or smaller 9 pin connectors. Often used in access systems to conect system to a computer or printer. For longer distance wire runs, shielded and or low capacitance wire is used.

RS485 Also a serial type of interface but of a balanced nature. Connectors may be 9 pin or 25 pin with non standard pinning patterns. In access control systems used mostly for point to point communications and up to 64 and sometimes even more devices can be interconnected at long distances at high speed.

Throw (lock or bolt throw): The measurement of the projection (throw) of a deadbolt or latch

Thumbturn or thumb turn: The small knob turn piece on the inside or inner trim that operates the deadbolt and sometimes the latch.

TCP/IP: Means transmission control protocol/ Internet protocol. Combined protocals or methods supporting the inter-networking of computer systems.

User code: A user code is simply the code that each person is given. With mechanical pushbutton locks there is only one code but most electronic locks and keypads can have many, some as many as several hundred.

Vacation door lock: vacation Lock generally refers to a type of lock that allows for generating a user or renters code from a remote location as when renting out a vacation home.

VA: power in watts for an AC system - example:100 VA equals 100 Watts

Weigand: Usually refers to a keypad or proximity reader that when activated with the correct key or combination sends a special set amount of voltage to to a controller enabaling it to perform the task of unlocking.

Please note that this Glossary is copyright protected and can not be used without our permission.








For People With Disabilities


The categories that work best for people with disabilities are in our opinion:

Electronic Deadbolts Locks Stand alone - (digital or remote) but because this is a deadbolt and not a latch it will not lock automatically. This may or may not be a consideration. Because this type of lock has a power source, the keypad numbers are easy to depress.

Digital Electronic Pushbutton Locks (Electronic and not mechanical) - these are stand alone latch locks that will lock automaically. Some have a setable passage function that enables it to be opened from the outside without knowing the combination. This feature is easy to enable or disable by just pressing a few numbers on the keypad. Because this type of lock has a power source, the keypad numbers are easy to depress.

Electronic Keypad Digital Entry - as above digital locks but the keypad is a seperate item from the locking device. The keypad may be installed almost anywhere, on the frame, on a wall or even on the door. This type of installation will not run on batteries and needs to be wired in. A wired in installation can be a difficult installation. Because this type of lock has a power source, the keypad numbers are easy to depress.

Chip Reader System - similar to the above electronic keypad but instead used a small chip key instead of a digital keypad. Because the chip only need to touch the reader module and position is not very critical, it has been a popular key substitute for people with weak or disabled hands. It may be installed anywhere on the frame of the door or wall or even on the door. This type of installation will not run on batteries and needs to be wired in. A wired in installation can be a difficult installation.

Proximity Reader System - as the chip reader above but even better because the card and reader do not need to actually touch. The card or fob only needs to be held a few inches from the reader. It may be installed anywhere on the frame of the door or wall or even on the door or inside the wall or behind the door. It is able read through the wall or door! This type of installation will not run on batteries and needs to be wired in. A wired in installation can be a difficult installation. For people with disabilities this is probably the best method.

Biometric - fingerprint reading the newest technology used for controlling access. Because only a finger is needed to activate a lock, this technology may be the most promising for disabled people. But there may be some draw backs to this new technology. Some fingerprints seem to have a difficult time being read. Some may take a few run throughs to register and others may first need to have the finger moistened and some fingers may just not work. Hopefully this technology will improve.

Please note: mechanical pushbutton locks are not a good choice if your fingers are weak or if you have difficulty pressing buttons.

§See the article we wrote in "New Mobility" Magazine in the September 1997 issue that helps to explain how some of these great products are used by people with disabilities. It's on page 57 and Titled, "Door Locks Go High-Tech"

If you don't already receive their fine magazine, why not try it? Depending on the kind of lock or system you choose, some of the installations can be tricky. If you'll be having someone install one for you, first look for a local locksmith or alarm company that may have had some previous experience with this type of security.


ADA: Americans With Disabilities Act - For more information on ADA Accessibility Guidelines contact the US Access Board or visit their website at www.access-board.gov



If there is more information that you would like to see on our site that would help you decide which type of system is the right one then please let us know. We are always looking to make this process easier and your feedback is the best way to get this info.









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