Archive for the ‘Locks’ Category

Install your own biometric lock – or look ma no keys – or see what my finger can do

October 15, 2006

Biometric locks and security devices are beginning to pop up all over the place.  The most common uses a fingerprint sensor.  Even some laptops use a fingerprint sensor to start up.  Locks, especially ones that do not need keys, intrigue me.  Until now, the cost and unknown accuracy of these biometric locks kept me away.  Costco recently started carrying a door fingerprint lock on their website, model Q-See Fingerprint & Keypad Deadbolt Lock for $280.  Costco’s excellent return policy made it so I had nothing to lose but a little time.


Although I am handy, there was much I needed to know about buying a door lock.  This new lock comes in two flavors, a left hand or a right hand model.  It depends on whether the door opens in on the right or left.  Both the lock and the strike plate need to be correct.  My door was a little more complicated because my door opens out.  That meant I needed a left-handed lock and a right-handed strike plate.  Costco did not make this easy because you have to choose one or the other, so I arbitrarily choose the left-handed model.  I called the manufacturer a number of times to get the correct strike plate.  After multiple calls, the company finally sent me both strike plates just to make sure I received the correct one.


Since I had never really tried a fingerprint lock, I was eager to get the package and start programming in my fingers.  Unfortunately the process is nowhere near intuitive.  You have to start by making one finger the master.  That master finger can only be used to add and delete fingers.  I found the screen for the finger a little too large.  There are too many different ways to put my finger on the screen and the lock is very particular.  The lock allows for over 100 fingers, so instead of programming each finger in once, I programmed each finger over and over.  That made each finger more reliable.  Each finger programmed has to have a numbered slot in the software, so make sure to keep good track.  You cannot just record a new finger in a used slot.  The previous finger has to be deleted first.


The lock has been in for a few weeks.  Aside from the enjoyment of having an exciting new lock, it does work well for me.  Other family members are not as enthusiastic.  You have to have patients to make sure you can repeat the way you set your finger on the pad.  Sometimes the lock works on the first try and on others it takes a few tries.  There are other ways of opening the lock.  You could use the combination or a standard key.  The standard key would work in an emergency, such as a dead battery.  If you can put up with the headache of programming, then I would recommend this lock for people who prefer not to carry house keys. 

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