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  • Key Override. Explained.

    It’s questions we are asked often. What is the key override? Why do I need this if I am “going keyless.” Which one do I get?

    While the first keyless locks we offered in 2003 were 100% mechanical and didn’t have a key override feature, it has become more commonplace in the years since with the advent of electronic locks, powered by batteries. But first a little history is in order. The keyless lock was pioneered by Unican in the 1960’s. Like the first mechanical locks we began to offer in 2003, it was also mechanical, and didn’t provide for a key backup, or override. As the Unican lock matured it eventually became manufactured with an interchangeable (also known as removable) core prep, allowing customers to incorporate their existing key systems into their new keyless locks. The value being the ability to use the same key in all locks throughout the facility, whether keyed, or keyless. This offered facilities a path to gradually replace keyed locks over time to the new keyless models, without needing to make changes to their key systems.

    This is one of the benefits key override in keyless locks continues to provide today. Virtually all of the manufacturers of the new battery powered electronic locks offer the IC / removable core mechanical key option. Hospitals with Sargent master key systems, or small businesses with 2 or 3 doors on a Best interchangeable core setup don’t have to worry about their new electronic locks not integrating with their current keys, or worry about needing to account for and keep up with more keys than they already need to. The mainstream core preps are Best, Arrow, KSP, Falcon, Sargent, Schlage, Medeco, ASSA, Yale, and Corbin. We have a keyless lock to match up to all of these preps. Alarm Lock even offers an niche electronic card lock, the Trilogy PDL3000K, which can be custom ordered to audit the use of the key.

    Is the key override necessary? In most situations it’s really not. Mechanical keyless locks have a fail rate that is virtually negligible, and the battery powered electronic locks‘ performance along with low battery indicators are so good now, the gradual transition to keyless locks, and giving administrators the ability to unlock the door with the same master key they’ve always used are the only purposes the key serves. Companies like Yale on the residential side, and Kaba on the commercial side have even recently developed 100% key free electronic locks, the Yale Real Living 240, and E-Plex 2000, and PowerPlex 2000, respectively. Our professional recommendation is that if you are worried about the batteries putting you in a pickel, or simply like the idea of having a backup, to go ahead and get your new keyless lock with key override, but to take the following steps in making sure you are not creating added vulnerabilities. One, if you are ordering multiple locks with the key backup feature, have us key them all the same so you do not have multiple sets of keys for multiple locks. We can master key them, or key them alike for you, and match them up to an existing keyway you already have. Two, go into this with the idea that the backup key is for an emergency only. Store it in a safety deposit box, safe, or at the very least in a keyless lock box.

    Chances are, you’ll never need these backup keys anyway.

    Trilogy PDL3000 Stand-Alone Fob / Card Access System

    Yale YRD246 Key Free Touch Screen Deadbolt – Satin Nickel

    Kaba E-Plex E2031LL626 Keyless Access Lock

    Kaba PowerPlex P2031LL626 Self-Powered Lock