KEYPADS: Essential Elements in Security & Access Control

Oct. 27, 2008
Wide Acceptance Boosts Popularity

Keypads were the first transition up from keys in access control. They continue to serve as essential appliances for user interface for security and access control applications. With the growing popularity of proximity credentials and the implementation of biometrics in identity verification, keypad devices will continue to hold a pivotal role in your installations. That is because the keypad is the most widely accepted user interface, even though it has long been recognized that the memorized code suffers as a foolproof identification factor.

Keypads continue to have value in authentication functions and serve effectively in a large number of security applications. A wide selection of hardware solutions is available. Keypads come in a variety of flavors and styles to suit applications. Applications and the equipment you install can range from single code non-electronic to networked multi-door systems used in conjunction with biometric and credential-based verifiers.

The new locks coming out offer intuitive solutions for access control management. Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, for example, has developed an offline access control solution with its new, improved Schlage King Cobra Series 2 (KC2) Locks, SNAP programmer and SNAP PC Application. This next generation in the Schlage lock family is smarter and more durable; and offers an affordable way to secure doors, manage lists of up to 1,000 authorized users per lock, and access an audit trial of the last 1,000 uses to see who went where and when.

The SNAP programmer is used to program the KC2 locks and communicates with the PC though a standard USB interface, much like a thumb drive or similar USB storage device. The new King Cobra 2 and SNAP also helps security dealer integrators create new and recurring revenue streams to grow your business. By upgrading your customers to electronic access control, and then managing those openings for the customer, revenues will grow and the relationship with that customer will remain strong.

“Most access control solutions are designed either for simple manual programming at the lock or for powerful offline or online functionality through software,” explains Chris Nieshalla, marketing manager with Schlage electronic security. “The KC2 lock and SNAP programmer create a nexus between the simplicity of a USB thumb drive and access control lock management. The system is specifically designed for the end user with multiple locks and employees, who finds it impractical to program each lock manually through the keypad, yet does not require the fully featured functions of higher price online lock and software solutions. Examples include retail operations, small to medium sized businesses, property management firms, commercial office buildings, schools, hospitals, airports and many other institutional facilities.”

Several improvements and features have been developed for this series of King Cobra locks. New features include the ability for the locks to be programmed using the SNAP programmer. Also, a new lock memory capable of storing up to 1,000 individual users and 1,000 audit trail events. Other features include a keypad and an iButton credential reader, providing increased security over mechanical locks and pushbutton-only locks. The KC2 may also be used with more fully featured software programs, such as Schlage Security Management System Express, offering the ability to program auto-lock/relock times.

The KC2 is a lock that can grow with a customer's needs. If all a customer needs today is a simple keypad entry solution, the KC2 can meet this need. As their business grows, along with the number of openings and employees, the need for the SNAP programmer becomes relevant. No worries here since the KC2 already has the smarts inside. In the future, it may become necessary to use a more powerful, more advanced system to manage openings – something that combines both offline and online openings into one. Schlage Security Management Systems Software can then be used again with the existing KC2 locks.

Several models are available. The KC5000 Series 2 is designed for cylindrical and mortise door preps. The KC2 Office Function lock provides a convenient lock/unlock button on the inside of the door, making it quick and easy to allow credential-free passage during the day and credential-only access at night. The narrow stile KC9000 Series 2 locks are designed for use with aluminum doors that rely on various latches and exit devices to secure the opening. The KCR 2 retrofit model provides an easy upgrade path from a mechanical pushbutton lock by matching the existing door prep and covering the lock footprint for a clean finish.

“The SNAP Programmer and SNAP PC Application takes off-line access control management to a whole new level – a much simpler one,” emphasizes Nieshalla. “Our customers have asked us to make software that manages people and doors, and the handheld programmer that delivers data to the lock, more intuitive. The new KC2 locks and SNAP Programmer accomplish this and do not require certification or special training. More importantly, the customer will not forget how they work, even when there are weeks between uses.”

With the KC2 lock, programming ports allow the locks to be managed using the SNAP handheld programmer, a unique, USB-based device that moves information from the computer to the lock. The SNAP Programmer features a simple keypad layout, LCD screen, and an iButton port to register iButton credentials. Partnered with the new, complimentary SNAP PC application, which is available as a free download on the website, it is a valuable tool that is used to manage people and doors, as well as download audit trails from the lock.

The SNAP PC application resides on the user's PC and is used to create a list of users and door names, which are then merged together, determining who can go where and when. It is extremely simple to use. The intuitive layout, drag and drop control and functional design let administrators manage a database of users, PIN codes, iButton credentials and audit trails effortlessly. Files can be shared, e-mailed or transferred between PCs.

When finished working on the SNAP PC Application, the SNAP programmer is connected to the USB port on the PC. An “export” button is used to send all relevant information to the programmer. Once locks are installed, the SNAP Programmer is then taken to the lock and plugged in to download its instructions to the lock. At the same time, an audit trail can be retrieved.

“As needs grow and change for a facility, these new KC2 locks provide a pathway for growth,” adds Nieshalla.

Take a look at some more application specific models on the market:

Self-Contained Units

Speco Technologies SG-WR150 weatherproof ruggedized keypad and the SG-100 stainless steel indoor keypad are designed to meet most residential, commercial and industrial single door access control requirements. The electronics reside in these self-contained units. The SG-WR150 is a weatherproof indoor/outdoor surface mount device. A tamper resistant box is included. The SG-100 stainless steel indoor keypad is flush mounted into a single gang box.

Additional features of both units include: sounder; 130 users; input trigger for request to exit; independent relay outputs (5A/250V AC); adjustable time relay for up to 99 seconds for each relay output, or latched; each output is assignable by code; codes can range from 3 to 6 digits; and visual/audible function. For more information visit


Storefront doors are tough to equip with door control and electronic door locking due to constraints of the storefront construction and the severe demands typically placed on the hardware in such applications.

The TRILOGY DL1200/DL1300/PDL1300 Narrowstile PIN and PIN/Prox locks from NAPCO are for use with aluminum doors with Adams-Rite latch locks. There are 3 models in the Series. The DL1200 Series supports 100 users and is fingertip and/or keypad programmable; the DL1300 Series can maintain 2,000 users and includes 40,000 event audit trail and 500 event schedule. The DL1300 is also Keypad or PC programmable and includes 2 Lithium 3V batteries. The PDL1300 has PIN & PROX, and provides the same features as the DL1300 Series.

The DL1200 is an electronic keypad lock designed for use on aluminum storefront type doors equipped with common Adams-Rite type storefront locking hardware. The unit is compatible with both deadbolt as well as dead latch locks, so it can be used for full time access control applications, or

for operating an auxiliary deadbolt. If an electric strike is mounted on the door frame, remote door release functions may also be provided.

The DL1200 provides a real ten numeral (and the symbol buttons “*” and “#”) metal keypad and can have 100 user codes programmed, along with a set of extremely useful functions which enable the lock to be configured to suit the application. The mechanical design of the AL1200 is simple, and so is programming. For more information, visit


With its unique design suited for aluminum storefronts and its iButton compatibility, the Schlage Narrowstile King Cobra also fills a niche. By providing iButton keyfobs in addition to access codes, you can achieve a higher level of security by preventing unauthorized entrance. An access control administrator can choose to require a pin code, an iButton, or both to gain authorized entry.

Because codes and iButtons can be easily and quickly added or deleted, security can be enhanced by increasing the frequency with which codes are changed, while also cutting down on the labor time and cost to accomplish this. The Schlage iButton utilizes a Dallas Chip, which is an indestructible, highly secure and versatile device.

The iButton is a computer chip enclosed in a 16mm stainless steel can. All iButtons use their stainless steel “Can” for their electronic communications interface. Each “Can” has a data contact which is called the “Lid” and a ground contact which is called the “Base.” Each of these contacts is connected to the silicon chip inside. The “Lid” is the top of the “Can” and the “Base” forms the sides and the bottom of the “ Can. ”

The two contacts are separated by a polypropylene grommet. By touching the I-Button to the reader communication from the I-button to the reader occurs using a 1-Wire protocol. For enterprise-wide systems, an iButton credential can be enrolled and or disallowed in as many locations as are required without concerns about facility code, or enrollment code conflicts.

No wiring is required to install King Cobra; it is battery powered and requires no external network connections or external electric lock since it's all on board.

The narrowstile King Cobra is suitable for new installs and retrofits, and is designed to be used with Adam-Rite 4711 type latches and accessories. Simplified installation translates into a lower cost of installation and ownership. For more information, visit