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October 18, 2019

Statement on Fingerprint Recognition Issue

A little over 6 years ago we wrote an article about issues with the fingerprint sensor affecting Apple iPhones.

The article here explains some of the pitfalls of biometric fingerprint technology and the ease in which some biometric fingerprint scanners can be hacked.

Just yesterday, Samsung made us aware at MWC 2019 (Mobile World Conference) of a simple hack through their new flagship S10 Galaxy phone that defeats the security protocols embedded within.

Similarly to other older known issues with competing brands of fingerprint sensors, used in door locks, safes, vehicles, time clocks etc, the hack involves simply covering the phone screen with a cheap and widely sold screen protector.

The hack can occur when already enrolled fingerprints are stored in the system but by using a screen protector, the sensor becomes "smudged" leaving the product susceptible to virtually any fingerprint.

It has been well know throughout security industry circles (for a great many years) that many fingerprint scanners can be defeated by simply covering the sensor/scanner in clear sticky tape. This effectively stores the last used correct fingerprint and mimics it too easily, by just using any finger on a taped sensor.

Samsung released a statement about 15 hours ago that you can read in the source below.

Will you trust your home or office security or even the security of your cellphone to a vulnerable fingerprint sensor?

Apple decided to remove the fingerprint sensor from their products in subsequent models for the proven, significantly more secure facial recognition technology that is much harder to compromise.

(source...)

September 12, 2019

Revive - The King Of Lubricant Protection

Many consumers in America love buying American designed, produced and manufactured products, especially products designed to make their lives easier.

About a generation ago (20+ years) a product entered the market in the USA that dramatically altered the motor racing and machinery industries.

This week, we attended to a customer who required some door repairs at their home. The customer was the gentleman (product demonstrator) in the next few videos.

Being in the locksmith and door repair/service business, about 35 years now and having worked on 4 continents, I have used and sought many varying types of lubricants to assist in the longevity of moving parts in door locks, hinges, rollers, springs, hydraulic door closers etc. Many locksmiths and fellow door service professionals tend to use their own preferred types of lubricants, greases or oils that offer long term protections to their customers, their own machinery, vehicles etc.

Revive is a unique product manufactured right here in St Louis Missouri, that has proven itself to mechanics, engine machinists, tool makers, motor racing enthusiasts and many other tradespeople who have found that the product expertly increases the long term viability of their equipment, protects their engines and increases their fuel economy, while reducing the cost of repair and service.

The videos below, we have broken into 3 parts.

The first video demonstrates how the Revive product works and shows it being tested using a unique tester/demonstrator. (When we visited out client, he performed a test on my preferred lubricant that I have been using and recommending for 25 years+)

The second video continues the demonstration and has some testimonials from users of the product.

The third video displays an onsite demonstration in a machine shop/mechanic to show the benefits of Impact Grease with Revive














A few years back we had written some posts about another lubricant product Promagic Lubragel that has enjoyed many thousands of views and a stunning number of requests for more details. I know the patent holder and original manufacturer, who has not produced the product for a while now, but this product Revive, looks to me, to be an even better product.


For purchase options and further details about the products, check the source below...


(source...)

September 5, 2019

Door And Window Sensor - Not An Alarm



An interesting product that has merits in this IoT era is the Mirabella Door and Window Sensor.

This small but powerful product is specifically designed to inform when the link is broken. Unlike an alarm sensor, that triggers a siren and/or communications to an alarm monitoring company, this sensor is designed to communicate through your homes WiFi system to inform you that the door or window has been opened.

The obvious advantages of this are simple. Know immediately when your children arrive home. know immediately when a door or window is opened, when it typically shouldnt.

Simple. wireless security that is cost efficient and noiseless.

Locks and deadbolts keep your doors and windows secure, alarms are designed to inform that a condition is occurring and make a loud noise. Alarms do not protect, just inform. Sensors do the same thing without the inconvenience of an alarm or paying a monthly alarm monitoring contract.

The Mirabella Sensor is wireless, local, noiseless and connected, to keep you aware of conditions without the pain of false alarms, monthly monitoring fees, police attendance invoices for false alarms etc.

Wireless electronic security at a fraction of the cost of alarm systems (that effectively do the same thing - except cost a lot more)

(source...)

Airlock - Tire Pump And Bike Lock Merged

 Continuing on the bicycle lock subject.....
Here you can see a new product currently on Kickstarter that combines a typical bicycle air pump with a bike lock included all in the one product.

A great idea that not only respects the frame of your bike with its size and shape but also doubles to secure your bike when you are not riding it.

Pumping your tire from completely flat might take about 200 strokes to get it pressurised correctly but having the same product also be able to protect your bike from theft, seems like a no-brainer,

The few parts required to build this product contribute to an affordable cost and a low weight ratio while generally fitting in place of most bicycles existing air pump. The hardened cable doubles as the air tube and is locked by a secure keyed cylinder when using it for security.

Available through Kickstarter for only $50, get in now before it goes viral and skyrockets in price.

(source...)

Bicycle Locks - Comparison List

The information below is based on a reader-supported website where the site may earn affiliate commissions.

We here at Master Key do not earn anything from the information and present the content for informational purposes only.

You can view the complete details about the products in the source below.



According to Coolest-Gadgets, a reader supported website, the best bike locks of 2019 are as follows.

Best Overall: Onguard Brute
This U lock has been voted as the readers choice number one overall best U lock in its category for overall strength, security and ease of use.



Premium Choice: Abus Bordo

A clear choice for readers/users but probably not equal to the security of the Onguard Brute, is the Abus Bordo Folding Lock.

The is not a typical U lock as it folds up to a compact form and uses a dial combination mechanism.
Manufactured by leading German manufacturer Abus Security, the product is backed by the solid reputation of one of Europe's longest surviving security product manufacturers.



Foldylock is another variation on the Abus Bordo except that this one is key operated.
I decided to post this one as I really like the look of it compared to others in it's genre.
It is a more compact product that is also lightweight but extremely strong.
Here is what it looks like attached...
The compact yet nouveau take on a U lock appears well made and easily attached/stored on your bike when not in use. It's lightweight is a strong pro in my opinion that doesn't strain the weight of your bicycle and looks cool too.

Kryptonite bike locks have cemented their reputation for quality offerings backed by their significant longevity in the bike lock manufacturing business and their latest New York U-Lock is no exception.
They improved their designs to include 4-point locking and strengthened shackle and a heat resistant coating.

My personal favorite from this reader-contributed list is the Wearable Hip Lock.

This unique design is not attached to your bike while riding, meaning it doesnt get in the way like many other types of bike locks can.
Designed to wear around your waist, you can understand the definite advantages in such a product.
The product may be limited to only 44 inch waist lines, but this should encourage you to ride your bike more often (jk).

It is easily applied, see...
The close shackle padlock is designed to prevent bolt cutter attack. The shrouded body protects from smashing/grinding.


For more information on these and the other recommended products visit the source below.

(source,,,)

September 3, 2019

Rental Car - Fail (Locked Out)


A rather interesting article hit my desk this week that made my eyes and ears prick up.

In recent years, I have been posting here about my feelings regarding many of these modern day IoT (Internet of Things) products and services that i feel are rather insecure and problematic.

It is no secret that the IoT industry has made significant impacts on consumers, industry and life in general, but the industry is still in it's infancy and much to the dilemma of consumers, far too many issues and problems are arising with all this "connectivity".

The article from The Atlantic current affairs publication, describes the authors issue with their recent Zipcar rental car, where they drove into a region NOT covered by cellphone or wifi connectivity,

You see, for the Zipcar system to work, the vehicle requires to be in a "connected" locality.

The Zipcar system, provides a proximity card to access the vehicle or an app on your mobile phone, that allows you to open, enter and start the vehicle you are renting.

But what happens when you are no longer in a connectable location?

By being unable to communicate with the Zipcar technology hub, the renter was locked out of their vehicle. And even if they were able to unlock the vehicle, they would not be able to start it and drive away.

While some may perceive this to be a security blanket to protect the company from vehicle theft, the inconvenience to the renter is maximised. If you are in an inconvenient location, where cellphone access is non-existent or wifi connectivity doesnt exist, what do you do? If cellphone service is unavailable, how do you call for help?

Then, to make matter worse, the renter managed to find a landline to call Zipcar who nicely agreed to waive their fee, but suggested waiting for a tow truck or cab to pick them up. They were in a location where no cab would attend. The tow truck arrived after a while and towed them to an area where there was cellphone connectivity. They were able to unlock the vehicle but it would not start.

An episode that appears to be becoming commonplace in todays IoT connected world.


Another example also mentioned in the article describes, coincidentally a similar issue that happened to (curiously) an IoT expert. He rented a Zipcar to go to the J Paul Getty museum, parked in the underground garage and when he returned, his cellphone had no connectivity and consequently he couldnt operate his zipcar either.

The pitfalls of modern technology are becoming all too common today. Many consumers understand and appreciate the benefits that IoT technology can bring and this has made an impact in the consumer marketplace. But at what cost? When conventional non-connected technology that has worked flawlessly for generations is replaced by nouveau modern technology that has been rushed to market too soon before being tested adequately, perhaps we are better served by maintaining some of yesterdays proven technology that is usually cheaper and longer lasting and significantly easier to maintain.

In my business, technology is also seeing ineffiencies and pitfalls. I continue to sing the praises of mechanical security technology because it is so much cheaper and better quality than many electronic offerings.

With the impending economic doldrums the world may be facing shortly, are you going to rely on IoT technology and battery powered products that are (arguably) designed to fail in two years, or will you continue to benefit from mechanical technology that stands the test of time with low maintenance?

(source...)

August 27, 2019

Closed Until September 3.

Family commitments require us to close until September 3, We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for understanding.

August 21, 2019

Safes Are The Logical Alternative To Weapons Safety And protecting All Residents And Citizens Without Altering Gun Laws.



As talks rage on in America about the Great Gun Debate #GreatGunDebate, perhaps educating Americans about gun safety might make a topical subject, worthy of inclusion in educational institutions and across wider society in general.

Americans really do not like being compared to other countries, especially when it comes to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The second amendment to the USA Consitution has repeatedly come under fire from many opponents to the basic right of all Americans, produced during a time in American history when possessing and carrying a gun was an almost necessary fact of life, due to all ranges of varmints, critters and (#RedCoats) others wanting to destroy the fabric of a burgeoning young nation.

I personally grew up, living in regions where firearm safety and security is/was a very important and vital aspect of society.

I fully support the individual right to choose for oneself. And this notion extends to not just firearms, but healthcare, abortion, religious freedoms among other pursuits.

A recent article in Inverse.com exposes the statistics about guns and suicide rates among Americans.
The article, "Controversial Approach To Gun Safety Links Gun Storage With Fewer Suicides" explains statistics  compiled through 2017 and published in 2018.

"The paper presents evidence that military personnel who might have had recent thought of death or self-harm, were significantly less likely than their peers, to keep firearms in their homes. But among those who did keep firearms in their homes, those with a history of such thoughts were only about half as likely to store their weapons safely"

In the survey, which involved data on 1,652 active-duty military personnel collected over 37 months, “safe storage” meant unloaded and locked up. Military personnel at high risk of self-harm were unlikely to store their weapons in this way.

The increasing amounts of shootings and mass murders in this country certainly identifies a mental health issue among a number of "supposedly" licensed and registered weapons owners and also the increasing numbers of non-registered and licensed weapons users. This argument augers well for governments to implement weapons storage ordinances,

Many locksmiths and safe manufacturers, distributors and resellers have deliberately trained in safe knowledge and product knowledge aimed at better protecting all residents from the nastiness of weapons theft, availability and ease to obtain.

Some countries require all weapons purchasers to store their weapons in government approved safes and cabinets, often with a separate lockable cabinet or drawer within, for the separate storage of ammunition.

Such ordinances contribute to the growth of the safe and security products industries, while providing basic protections for the general public, who can appreciate such rules aimed at protecting life.

While altering any constitutional amendment requires a constitutional convention, ratification by a majority of states and approvals of the justice system, the likelihood of such communal agreement in a timely and effective timeframe, is ambitious at best.

In the short term however, weapons owners can protect their investments, their families and their friends and acquaintances, by being pro-active and choosing to secure their property in high-security safes and security cabinets. Consulting your local professional locksmith is a great first step to learning about the wide range of products currently available to protect life and the lives of your fellow residents, while complying with the current laws and without changing or adding to existing weapons rules, laws and ordinances.

See the article in the source below.

(source...)

August 20, 2019

Gate - All-In-One Wifi Deadbolt



The world of Smart Locks, sees a new entrant to the market with an all-in-one product that allows for WiFi control, smart phone control, temporary user codes, video door bell and intercom, mechanical key operable all in one small and unique footprint that looks classy while maintaining a high level of security.

Gate is available from a range of suppliers, the product is priced at the upper end of the range of similar offerings.

The product is available in 3 distinct service plan options.

2-Year Premium Plus Service plan sells for $349. It includes 1 lock and 2 years unlimited Premium Plus Service which includes:


  • Receipt Of All Notifications
  • Real Time Video Streaming
  • Real Time 2-Way Audio
  • Remote Lock And Unlock
  • Unlimited Admin/Permanent Access Control
  • Unlimited Scheduled Access
  • 30 Day Video History
  • 30 Day Video Sharing
There is also a 1 year Premium Plan which is effectively identical to the Plus plan but only allows for 10 users on scheduled access and 5 days worth of video history storage and sharing.

The basic plan offers no scheduled access control and up to 4 permanent users, FREE.

It is an interesting idea I think. One that might meet certain users needs.

Personally, I am not enamored with many battery powered smart locks, because batteries fail at the most inopportune times and weathering (shifting door frames, house settling etc) is an all too common occurrence with todays changing climate,

August 7, 2019

Platinum Safes - A Unique Australian Safe Manufacturer And Distributor




We recently wrote an article about the Ross BLE Safe Lock Option, that we are seeing increased views of, thanks.

Today we are writing about another colleague and true professional safe manufacturer and distributor of some of the finest safes available in the Australian market, Platinum Safes.

We really have been impressed with this forward thinking company for using modern professional manufacturing techniques to create competitively priced safes that physically protect your cash, documents or jewelry.

The state of the economy today is prompting increasing numbers of people to prefer to keep their cash and valuables at home or the office as opposed to financial institutions, often because the ridiculously low interest rates, combined with fees, provide little to no return on investment. In fact, many financial institutions actually charge you a fee to access your own money.

Improved security options, like the products produced by Platinum Safes mean that you can expect super-high quality protection of your cash and valuables, within easy (and virtually) cost-less, easy reach.

The ages old "store cash under the mattress" idea is not a feasible and secure alternative to a impressive quality security protection container especially produced using high-quality locking products from KJ Ross and la Guard.

Competitive value at competitive prices with a wide dealer network across Australia. What more could you want?

For more details about their range of products, please view the source below.

(source...)

August 1, 2019

Ross BLE Safe Lock - A Mechanical Key Operated Safe Lock with Bluetooth Access Control Included

I first met Keith Ross about 32 years ago when I was an apprentice locksmith working for one of Australia's leading locksmith companies.

He is an affable chap who is an old school engineer and specialty security product manufacturer that has built a highly respected reputation around Australia, many parts of the southern hemisphere and gradual penetration into the markets of the northern hemisphere.

KJ Ross Security Locks began it's life in 1951 and grew to become one of, if not the most highly respected names in the Australian Security Lock industry.

Their wide range of products are all designed and manufactured in Australia and continue to be produced there today, despite the potential for cheaper manufacturing alternatives elsewhere.

The Ross BLE Safe Lock option, is one of their newer products recently released to market and is seeing significant traction in the safe manufacturing industry.

This great product offers increased security alternatives to commonly found digital lock products, you may see in other safe product offerings.

The body of the safe lock is comparable size to other manufacturers technical specifications, meaning it can be retrofitted in place of many other brands of safe locks.

The unique difference with the Ross BLE Safe Lock is that you can control the lock using your Bluetooth enabled Apple iPhone (Android compatibility is in development).

The product is totally off the grid and does not use the internet or cloud to store any data. This is important, given the increasing data breaches we hear about constantly in the news. All authorised users and ekey data is completely stored within the PCB controller itself.

The product is stand alone and operates using two (2) 1.5 volt batteries that can be replaced easily. the legendary Ross Six (6) Lever mechanical key lock system is incorporated within the product too (a necessary feature when batteries go flat) It uses a unique wave key design that is almost impossible to duplicate. The product also comes with an escutcheon plate and a wave key insert that installs into the dial combination spindle hole of the safe door.

Operating Features

  • This model provides a proprietary multi-layer security encryption with rolling code to eliminate unauthorised access.
  • Comprises an advanced self-defence protocol.
  • Contains intelligent anti-hacking controls and counter-measures.
The Administrator App
  • Profiles the way the lock is to be opened by its endorsed users. Operating modes include –
  • (Manual) that requires an ‘Unlock’ button to be pressed on the smartphone, or
  • (Pin-Secured) that requires a PIN to be entered on the smartphone. The ‘eKey’ profiling feature includes –
  • Distribution of ‘eKey’ profiles to all users granted access to the lock.
  • Profiles an ‘eKey’ prior to its distribution by granting a date and/or time profile that defines the time-frame in which the lock can be opened.
  • An ‘eKey’ is distributed as a steganographically encrypted SMS attachment that is unique to that user’s smartphone.
  • An Audit Trail display facility is provided.
  • Instigates the purchase of additional ‘eKeys’.
  • Has the provision to store (96) ‘eKeys’.
The User App
  • Engages with the ‘eKey’ access profile when it comes to opening the lock. Features include –
  • The ‘Open’ activation period can be set from (1) second to a (4) minute time-frame.
  • An automatic re-lock occurs at the end of this activation period.
  • A low-battery warning feature is included.



Keith is an awesome fellow and produces his products in Knoxfield Victoria Australia (I grew up in Victoria).

KJ Ross Pty Ltd also produce a number of other well deigned and manufactured security products, some of which we have sold here in North America in the past.

Products like:

The 600 Series weld on safe lock

The 700 Series that is designed to easily replace most standard 3 wheel dial combination locks using the existing spindle hole without need to modify the safe door.

The 102 series  (which incidentally, I use on the safe I built from scratch during the third year of my apprenticeship in 1987)

And many other unique products.

see the site in the source below.





July 25, 2019

Tascent - New Distributor For Leading Iris Scan Technology Provider

Access Control Moves Into The 21st Century And Beyond - Post Revisited








We recently traveled abroad and during our travels we notice certain security enhancements in various airports and train stations. Perhaps it is a quirk of ours, but everyone has their own fascinations about things. Mine just happens to be security products and security technology.

I am pleased to see that more and more facilities are beginning to adopt and adapt to the constantly changing world around us. I have seen, on this last trip, iris scanners, like the one here and also an increasing number of facilities using Salto - Inspired Access Control solutions


We originally posted this article in September 2010 and February 2015 was our most recent update before today. We continue to see a great many views of the page. There is absolutely no doubt that advancing technology is influencing many significant parts of our daily lives and with new products from Tascent like the one pictured here, we will soon be seeing this advanced wizardry in everyday use.

The AOptix InSight™ VM (now Tascent) iris recognition system takes the qualities that make the originalInSight system so extraordinary and wraps them up in a new form factor that is compact and visually appealing.
It is functionally the same as the original InSight system and delivers the same unprecedented capture volume, 2 meter standoff distance, and advanced imaging and image quality metrics for outstanding ease-of-use, throughput, and matching accuracy. The VM also relies on the same deployment-tested communications interfaces, maintaining a focus on ease-of-integration and standards compliance for biometrics and ID management, IT infrastructure, and physical access control.

Form and Function

The InSight VM’s new shape isn’t just about looks. At less than 9 inches wide and deep, the VMis uniquely well suited to applications where footprint space is at a premium. We've created a system for end users, integrators, and architects that is purpose-designed for applications including:
  • Immigration control programs, especially sleek installations at immigration counters
  • eGates or expedited, automated immigration programs
  • Checkpoint booths
  • Government and corporate access control including turnstile, revolving door and standard door installations
Now, the power of the InSight iris recognition system is available to open up a new range of applications.

View the source below to visit the company's site and see a video of just how the unit works.


I suggest that the reality of total secure access control, using iris recognition technology is upon us. Perhaps the Star Trek future is becoming a reality?

I can see many positives in this kind of system, especially for companies requiring secure access to controlled locations, like vaults, computer rooms, drug storage facilities, hospital bacteria free zones, even the presidents office.

What do you think?

July 17, 2019

We Are Back

A big thank you to all our customers and friends for their understanding, while we were recently away for a family emergency.

We are back and open for business.

Thanks again.

Danny & Esti Golman-Gurvis

July 5, 2019

Closing for Family Commitments Abroad

We are closing due to family commitments abroad.
We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding

June 27, 2019

Smart Speakers Are All The Rage Today Except....



We have written numerous articles over the last 12 years about locks, lock systems, safes, master key systems, doors, repair techniques etc.

Curiously, smart speakers like those offered by Amazon, Google and others have certainly made many of our lives significantly easier but they are found wanting too, as the above video, comediclee shows,

We posted the above video to our social networking pages and are seeing increasing views and likes from our viewers.

It does bring up a topical discussion though and one we feel is important to our readers here too.

Some of the articles we have written about new age smart locks can be seen here

In the above video, the man returns home only being unable to gain entry. Smart locks, for all their good intentions, suffer from many issues that should be considered prior to purchase.

Issues that can include:

  • Poor Battery Life
  • Weathering
  • Low Security
  • Hardware Failure
  • Increasing Insurance Premiums

Poor Battery Life

Many of today's smart locks operate using 4 AA batteries. We suspect manufacturers decided to use these low power systems due to their extremely cheap price points. 
I find repeatedly, customers often calling for locksmith services where their batteries have failed and they either do not have their mechanical over ride key available or their product has no mechanical key over ride function

It's not just digital smart locks. We are also seeing increasing calls to open safes, where battery failure is a common symptom. Often there are additional issues besides poor battery life including internal wiring not lasting or corroding that contribute to other issues where just replacing dead batteries may seem like a simple fix.

Weathering

Weathering is another common pitfall that occurs repeatedly with battery operated smart locks. Often, once installed the lock will operate efficiently for sometimes 3 months before the user may need to replace batteries. But even correctly installed locks suffer from earth movements that affect the correct alignment of doors into their frames. This will often make operating the deadbolt too difficult for the motor inside the product to correctly throw the bolt. People may leave their homes expecting their door to lock behind them automatically, whereas they are often unaware that the product failed to adequately lock and secure their doors.

Other weathering issues rarely considered include, many digital smart locks are installed to external doors or prime entry doors, Sure the batteries might be on the inside but the keypad will be outside and naturally affected by changing weather. In some regions high humidity can cause internal  components to attract condensation. The water can make internal electrical components to short circuit. Also, when the weather patterns change to cold conditions, the freezing air and rain etc can cause batteries to wear down faster.

Low Security

Many manufacturers, to compete in the global marketplace, decided to use lightweight materials in the construction of their products. Security and access control are some of the reasons some people choose battery operated lock systems. Why anyone who cares about their families security and peace of mind, would choose to spend ~$195+ for a poor quality digital door lock, that is designed to fail within (often) 2 years, puzzles me!

Remembering that it is often all about price, how much is the security and ease of use worth to you?
Often consumers may spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and shoes or thousands of dollars on furniture, electronics or art only to secure their homes with cheap lock systems, It doesnt make any logical sense.

Hardware Failure

Like mentioned above, "the pain of poor quality lasts longer than the pleasure, cheap price provides"

Or

"if you only want to pay peanuts expect to get monkeys"

Consulting your local trained professional locksmith before purchasing locks or other door hardware would be your best approach, in my opinion. Locksmiths have deliberately chosen to train to provide customers with quality offerings aimed at making your lives easier and secure.

You trust your mechanic to fix your car, You trust your electrician to keep your lights working. You trust your plumber to keep the water flowing. Doesnt it make perfect sense to trust your locksmith to keep your home secure?

Increasing Insurance Premiums

An often overlooked issue that many purchasers of digital door locks rarely consider is how installing a digital door lock might affect the amount of insurance you pay.

A number of companies including Walmart, Amazon and others are embarking on delivering groceries and purchases made online to homes and entering your homes to deliver, stock the fridge etc. These new services are attempts to deal with the porch theft phenomena that has resulted in recent years with the expanding delivery markets, While this practise might be considered more secure and more convenient, are you really willing to open your private abode to persons you dont know?

Insurance companies are salivating at the opportunities presented by allowing access to your private dwellings from people who "don't belong".

Also, many digital door lock users will give each user a code. How sure are you that any person is not sharing a code? How would you know if someone who is not authorized, enters your home?



Mechanical keys provide much more immediate security than digital locks because you must have and use a key to operate your lock. Besides the significantly cheaper cost of mechanical products, no requirement to replace batteries ever, even the ease to lock your door if weather affects your installation, you are better protected by using a key to access your property.

This article is primarily about digital battery operated products. Many commercial systems are significantly more expensive for good reason. They are made with higher quality components, often use stronger batteries or are hard wired to mains power. You see many commercial installations that use card/fob access control systems where you simply present your credential to a user interface. These are deliberately hard wired systems, because they last much longer and work continuously without having to maintain batteries.

June 12, 2019

Walmart To Offer Free In House Delivery Including Stocking Your Fridge

A new service by Walmart, introduced this week is set to compete with Amazon for home deliveries of products ordered. Except that Walmart will have their couriers unlock your door, enter your kitchen, open your fridge and stock your purchased groceries on your behalf.

All you have to do is install a wifi operated lock to your entry door, give permission to Walmart employees to enter your home and to stock your fridge.


That all sounds wonderful, doesnt it?

Amazon introduced a similar service last year after successfully merging their acquisition of Ring and Bleep into their company, We wrote a few articles about Amazon Key and related services here.

Are you owner or resident,willing to allow people you dont know, permission to enter your home when youre not there, have access to your kitchen and pretty much the run of your house?

Are you prepared to pay the increased insurance premiums that will no doubt be incurred?

Even if these companies compel their employees to wear body cameras, so you can view them as they enter your private home, are you really going to open yourself to the privacy concerns?

Modern technologies are great in idea and sometimes in practise. But some ideas are just plain silly.
As a locksmith security specialist, experienced technician and appraiser, I continue to explain to my customers the pitfalls of some modern electronic battery operated security products. Many will agree with me once they understand the potential security and privacy concerns.

I often discuss with clients about their current push button battery operated deadbolt they may have fitted. In many of these discussions, the client points out that, after the third or fourth time replacing the batteries, they will go back to using the mechanical key. The most common reason, is they did not expect the regular and repeated need to replace batteries, adding significantly to their cost of their chosen product. Combine this with they being locked out of their residence when they least expect it and still requiring to call a locksmith to pick their lock open due to not carrying their key.

Electronics do indeed improve our quality of life. But at the exhorbitant cost of a ~$250+ electronic lock, that is more prone to power failure, weathering, house and door movement etc, requiring increased maintenance over the mechanical products that have been around for hundreds of years, the cost differences alone, one might think to keep using and relying on maintenance free security.

(source...)

May 26, 2019

Door Repair - Replacing Broken External Frame Part

 We havent written in our blog for over a month, although we still have been busy with projects.

One project we completed recently, was for a returning client that requested a door repair.

A powerful wind storm had taken hold of his storm door and the door closer failed because the screws that hold the bracket to the frame were not long enough to effectively hold the door to the frame.

The result is what was pictured here, the frame breaking in half, exposing the poor workmanship that contributed to the problem.
 You can see in this second image, where the door frame broke away from the rest of the frame and the exposed hole in the top corner underneath the brickwork.

When we arrived initially to survey the project (free quote), we advised the client that the usual practise was to completely replace the door and frame.

The client inquired as to the cost and we informed them that the average cost in the St Louis region was between $1500 and $2400 depending on the selection of replacement door and frame.

The average cost for a standard external door and frame (no glass window in door) in this region, at discount hardware chains like Menards can be ~$480-$700 depending on color, style and preference. Average installation by a trained and qualified technician can be ~$800 - $1200.
 Notice the shape of the protruding cinder blocks and brickwork.

You can also see how the original door frame is constructed,

The use of round wooden splints to connect the outer part of the original frame to the other section of the frame displays the 'cheapy" construction of an average door and frame.
 This image shows the bottom portion of the brickwork and cinder blocks and the threshold.

The client did contact a few other door installers at our advice to compare costs and called us back because we were the only ones to offer a solution that did not require complete door and frame replacement.

Our cost effective solution was to provide a single piece of hardwood 4x4, custom shaped onsite to the shape of the brickwork and cinder blocks, enabling complete coverage of the exposed cavity.
Because the house was still settling and the foundations shifting (after 50+ years since original construction), the door cavity was crooked and we were required to carefully carve the inside of the hardwood piece to accurately fit around the different protruding bricks and cinder blocks. We used our orbital saw, our power file and hand chisels to expertly carve the inside of the new piece to the required shape of the fitting.

We then attached the outer piece to the inner existing frame with 4" countersunk wood screws and embedded them deeper into the new hardwood single piece, so we could fill the holes after and provide a satisfactory look.

We made sure to have enough length to shape around the threshold too, but the shape of the brickwork still revealed a significantly different size gap at the bottom from the top.


The finished result is not perfect, but significantly improved from before and much longer lasting.

Way more competitively priced than complete door and frame replacement, the total end cost to the client was $870 including all parts and labor.

We caulked around the top and sides of the new trim and frame with water-resistant Silicone caulk (to protect from future wet weathering).

We suggested the client to paint the frame themselves at their convenience (as we are not professional painters). 
An interesting yet time consuming repair, that saved the client a lot of money and looks and operates great,

Remembering back to the beginning of this post, where we mentioned about poor workmanship often being a cause of future issues......

"if you only want to pay peanuts, expect to get monkeys"

and

"the pain of poor quality lasts long after the pleasure of cheap price is obtained"

April 10, 2019

Keyless Security Has Turned The Corner - No External Interface Means Nothing To Attack


VL464 Versatile Deadlock
Pictured here is the fabulous Versatile Deadlock from Outlocks, the distributor of Knock-N-Lock technology, we have previously discussed here over the years.

Knock-N-Lock technology is an upmarket Israeli designed and manufactured, high-security lock system that is virtually impregnable.

Why?

Because there is no external keyhole. No keyhole means nothing to attack.

This version of the deadbolt lock is available in hardwired or wireless (battery) operated versions.
It is rather industrial looking but is extremely secure because a would-be attacker will have no knowledge of it's location inside your door.

All Knock-N-Lock products operate with the use of a unique external keyfob

This keyfob is the only way to operate the product.

Following is a video that explains the unique locking system uses and how the technology works.
We have been receiving numerous inquiries from customers lately desiring the highest form of security, due to attackers finding methods to beat virtually all other systems they have installed.




There are a number of products made that we can show you after the break.
All operate with the use of the unique fob.

The product is in use in many Asian countries and is finding traction in North America too.

Tellcard Systems EGT - Awesome Standalone Commercial Digital Access Control Product

 The Tellcard EGT is one sensational product. I have fitted 2 of these commercial digital locks of late and they not only look very professional, they are simple to fit, straightforward to program and easy to operate.

I found these products on recommendation through The Society Of Professional Locksmiths, an organization of like minded professional locksmiths, where I am a founding member.

Tellcard offered a promotion a while back to get their products further into the market. Initially I was shy, but thought "why not".

And I'm very pleased with the end results. But more importantly, so are my customers.
 Inside view is as important as outside view, in my opinion because this is the point of view everyday users will see all the time. The Tellcard EGT houses a battery pack that is easily accessible meaning replacing batteries is a simple task.

Life expectancy of the battery pack with typical use (20,000 operations) in a year is about 12 months.

The extra nice feature of this product is that it is not only operable by battery. It also includes connections within for hard wiring, which means you can also hook it up to your internal alarm system and enjoy mains power without requiring to replace batteries. If power fails, the batteries will be your back up power to maintain access control.
 The particular fitting of this unit was to an existing door where someone had previously installed a handle and separate deadbolt. (You can see where the lazy installer used a knock in bolt instead of a correct wooden door installation bolt) This is the outside view of the application.

We were required to drill 2 additional holes, 1 just below the crossbore hole (deadbolt) and one a little farther below where the original commercial lever or knob would have been.
The inside view shows a clearer image of the original holes where the commercial lock once sat.

The end product and fitting, in the first image above displays a beautiful product that fits with the buildings decor and maintains a uniformity with other products in the building.

We also master keyed the mechanical key cylinder in the lever to allow for the building manager to enjoy unfettered access without having to have multiple differing keys for all doors in the building.

Learn more about Tellcard Systems by clicking on the link the source below.

The Society Of Professional Locksmiths continues to grow in stature and offers unique training and fraternity for aspiring locksmiths, click the link above to learn more.









(source...)

April 9, 2019

ERA Bolts Makes Securing Unusual Doors A Painless Yet Simple Exercise





 A project we completed this week for a medical surgery was to help them comply with modern HIPPA codes that many AHJ's (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) are requiring medical surgery centers, across the country to comply with.

The call was received to find suitable and cost effective locking solutions to secure cabinets in patient examination rooms that hold drugs and supplies that need to be secured from unauthorized access.

Also requested was a solution to secure a set of double doors on a closet used for the centers computer server. The double door closet was unusual because the doors had been split in two, effectively creating four (4) separated leaves. We suggest this was done to minimize the space being used inside the server room, which also doubled as another patient examination room.

Era Bolt Installed Into Upper Leaf
Installing the ERA bolt, which is a door security bolt that uses a standard STAR type key and mortising it into the bottom of the upper door, allows a simple method for connecting the top leaf to the bottom leaf.

The upper leaf on both sides already have roller bolts that hold the top leaves into the steel door frame.

The ERA bolt is a simple install into the bottom of the upper door on both sides.
Chiseling The Strike Plate Into The Bottom Leaf





















The bottom leaf of each door already had flush bolts installed to connect the bottoms to the floor beneath, so all that was required was a simple solution to connect top and bottom leaves.
Many other technicians choose to use surface mounted barrel bolts that sit on the inside surface of each door and while this is a simple and cost effective solution also, it means a user is required to reach around the rear of each door to operate the barrel bolts. The ERA bolt solution allows front operation using a standard key and is painless to perform easily.

In the first image above, you can see we installed a lever storeroom lock to match the upper door. Use of the locks individual key is required to open the lock and the handle cannot be left unlocked.
rather than simply providing the operating key to the authorized computer server technician, we decided to install a Supra mechanical combination key box to the metal frame of the door, to house the operating key. This onsite container means that the server technician is not responsible for possessing the operating key and potentially losing it, requiring the lock to be rekeyed. A user with the combination can access the mechanical key box onsite to operate the door lock. This also offer a significantly inexpensive option to battery operated door locks that require the constant need to replace batteries.




Supra Mechanical Combination Key Box Installed To Door Frame




The actual original request was to install cupboard locks to selected cabinets. We used CompX Double Door Hidden Cupboard locks to provide simple security to double door cabinets and simple cupboard locks on cabinets in each patient examination room.

View the attached link for more details on the simplicity and effectiveness of the CompX double door locking solution

How To Secure A Double Door Cabinet Using Only One Lock 

April 8, 2019

Cannon Safe Digital Lock Replacement


A few weeks ago we were referred by a continuing client (who has been regularly using our services for about 10 years now), to a parishioner who required some professional services to help with her malfunctioning safe.

The safe in question is made by Cannon Safe Company and is a large 2000lb container most often used as a rifle safe but in this case became the safe for the family business records.

The safe was originally purchased about 20 years ago and worked flawlessly for that time. It used a LaGard brand digital safe combination lock with a purpose made digital dial with the company logo (a canon) on it.

Cannon sold the safe with a lifetime warranty and honored that warranty by sending out a replacement lock and digital dial. The only issue was the customer having tremendous difficulty communicating with Cannon customer service. First, they took 30 minutes to answer the phone, then they kept the customer on hold for 3 hours before dropping the call. The customer called back 3 times with the same result each time, before seeking outside assistance.

Her parish piut her in contact with me and I attended the site, rang and spoke with customer service, organized a replacement lock and the whole call took 45 minutes total.

I then attended a week later to complete the install along with some extra jobs requested.

See the images below

First image is safe with original lock on it
Interior image 

Image of interior mechanism
wired to lock


Oldlock on left, new lock on right




Original lock on left, new lock on right
Digital lock button sticker needs to be removed to access the connecting screws 


finished project

March 26, 2019

Continuous Hinges _ Not Just For Aluminum Shopfront Doors






We are often called in by homeowners to find cost-effective solutions for door repairs.

Often a home owner may be trying to sell their property and an inspection reveals items that require to be fixed before a sale can take place.

The images below show a basement door on a 100+ year home, where the door butts up against the cinder block foundation wall. this door opens inward and as you can see, the top of the door hits the floor joist, not allowing the door to travel fully.

The home owner had attempted to simply replace the hinges, but their attempted repair failed because the wood in the frame was rotten and the screws wouldn't hold.

Typically in this situation, the recommended solution would be to replace the entire door and frame. that can be a costly endeavor, especially because many similar situations require custom made doors and frames, that are often quite dear.



 The first image shows the door detached from the frame at the bottom and you can see the top of the door is taller than the floor joist.
 the second image shows the external side of the same door.

You can see that the old door is in a state of disrepair and the hinge at the bottom has nothing to screw to.

We could have simply moved the hinge higher to a new location, but we couldn't be sure that the wood was not also rotten there too.

Our solution is a long term fix because the continuous hinge we installed (which is more often used to repair shopfront aluminum doors) comes with a 50 year warranty.
The completed installation of the continuous hinge, required us to cut about 4" from the top of the hinge.

The continuous hinge is screwed on like a typical piano hinge, in that it applies completely along the edge of the door and frame.

The correct installation of a continuous hinge ensures long term use. they are held to both door and frame using about 10 screws on each leaf. We installed it to the surface of the door and frame, which allowed us to screw into fresh (not rotten) wood.

The finished result looks great and the door works easily like it should.

Total time for repair ~2 hours.



Continuous hinges are not cheap. But quality products are often pricey and come with sometimes lifetime guarantees.

We continue to install increased quantities of continuous hinges to shopfront aluminum doors, where the top and/or bottom pivots wear quite quickly. A continuous hinge is the most cost-effective and simple repair method for many single door applications and the products are not limited to just shopfront aluminum applications.

Contacting your local locksmith would be your first stop in getting quality professional door repair services, with technicians that can advise the different options.

Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic) Testimonials And Sites That Recommend Us

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Testimonials

Danny was very professional and friendly at the same time. He not only gave me the quote and fixed the exterior door and explained his work. He was prompt and upfront about the work and did the work. He came in time took care of it on the same day. (Sasheethn K St Louis MO) June 2018d out problems but assured not urgent. Please feel free to have Danny pass out my number for my total experience review 314-351-5553

Charlie M. (St Louis, MO) November 2015


Danny was pleasure to meet and was very knowledgable. He explained several lock replacement options but I decided none of them were a good fit for a storm door, however, I did replace a lock on my entry door with a type of lock I had never seen before. I would highly recommend this company.
Patricia J (Bridgeton, MO) March 2014
They were prompt and showed up when he said he would show up. He knew his stuff. I had ordered new handles and he was honest enough to say that we don't need them that he can fix the doors and he did. Made me lock and unlock my doors to his satisfaction so that I knew what to do. Am very, very pleased with the service and cost.
Joyce K (Glencoe, MO) May 2015

Showed up on time for appointment. Was very knowledgeable about the project and offered a solution beyond what I asked to be done.
Stephen G (Chesterfield, MO) May 2015


Daniel was right on time, assessed the problems I had with two doors, made the repairs, and explained what caused the problems to begin with .... He is a "door expert" and a true professional. I highly recommend him.

Vince V (St. Louis MO) May, 2015




Danny was fabulous! He went over my concerns and he provided me with more than a fair quote. He was there when he said he was going to be there. I would highly recommend Danny. Cheers!
Denise S (Imperial, MO) May 8, 2014

Hired Danny to re-key locks on "new" house purchase. He advised to replace with new deadbolts & door knobs on 3 entry doors instead which I agreed with. All doors have 1 matching key & the safety of excellent quality product & workmanship. He also added new strike plate to door frame to complete project.. I recommend as your 1st & only call to a Locksmith.

Denise F (St. Louis, MO) April 3, 2014


Danny was very helpful in solving a pretty complex problem involving many lock.
Scott C (Eureka, MO) March 27, 2014




Needed patio door track to run smoothly. Arrived early, fixed door and explained what he was doing during repair. Quick and easy. Door works great, my wife will now speak to me, and I've become a better dancer.

Mike W. (Arnold/Oakville MO) July 2013


The owner spent a longtime with me on the phone helping diagnosis the problem. He was on-time, friendly and helped resolve my issue. I will definitely use him again!

Chris C (Lake St Louis, MO) July 2013


I had a very pleasant experience with Master Key Systems. They came out, did the job (which took longer than expected) and they did not change the price they quoted me. Now, I am not certain that it was a great value for the money because I don't have a comparison, but they did what they said, when they said, for the price they said. Enough said!!!

Antonio B (Saint Louis, Missouri) March 2013


Professional.. Upfront about charges. Fixed the sticky door within 20 minutes. I will recommend Master Key for exterior door issues.
Muthu R (Ballwin, MO) July 2012


Danny was a master craftsman, knowledgable and professional. I will be calling on him again in the future as well as passing on his services to friends and family.

Marsha L (Saint Louis, MO) July 2012


Danny was excellent! I called him on a Monday to fix a sliding glass door. He happened to have the exact part we needed (and it was not an easy find - we had looked everywhere) and he came over Tuesday evening. He stayed until 8:00 until the job was done, and cleaned up afterwards. He was courteous, professional, and efficient! I could not be happier!

Rachel P Maryland Heights, MO (July 2012)


He did an excellent job. Got there on time and quickly solved the issue. Was very pleasant and explained the situation and how to keep the door from sticking in the future. Would definitely use Master Key LLC again!

Neil F. (Saint Louis, MO) April 2012


Danny was very friendly and knowledgeable, although his apprentice seemed to do most of the work, Danny kept an eye on him to make sure it was done right. He had very reasonable pricing for re-keying.
Greg D (St Louis, MO) October 2011


He was extrememly fabulous and helpful and did a wonderful job. He was very professional.
Shannon M. (Arnold, MO) October 2011


Growing up spending so much of my time in Italy, the uniqueness of the Nova Classico left quite an impression on me. To be able to have and enjoy them in my own home here in the states is a nostalgic indulgence I'm enjoying beyond words. Thank you Danny for coordinating this transaction.

Joseph M (Chicago, IL) September 2011





great job. hired on the spot and he did job right then at great price

Ron B (Arnold, MO) July 2011







I searched the internet and found your services. I received three phone calls within several days. A service call was scheduled. Two gentlemen arrived promptly, analyzed the problem and fixed it.
James & Florenc M Saint Louis, MO July 2011

The repairman was on time and did an excellent job of fixing a very stubborn door lock. He was persistent and cleaned up the work area afterwards. I would use this service again.

Brenda F (Saint Peters, MO) June 2011


Danny at Master Key Systems has succeeded in making the purchasing of our Meroni door locks, from Italy, an absolute breeze. Even though I live in Australia with a 16hr time difference and was ordering door knobs from Italy that weren't in stock, the whole process was faultless. Danny was prompt and efficient with all his emails and made sure we had covered every possible variable so that the product I received was exactly as required. I would have no hesitation in recommending Danny for your next purchase.
Patrick Carr (Canberra, Australia)


Your product really helped because I needed to secure a nurse's station adjacent to a waiting room and needed a pocket door. Unfortunately, no real options were available to lock a pocket door effectively that would keep me compliant with HIPAA and secure an area that stores medical supplies. This was vitally important as this particular waiting room was for "waiting detox patients". Thank you very much.
Randall R The Fritz Clinic (Birmingham, Al) March 2011


Danny was very polite and knew what the problem was and how to fix it. He also gave me some information about other issues that could arise with my door and locks. Will hire again if I ever need that type of work done.
Jason M Imperial, MO March 2011




I had an exterior basement door that dragged when opening and closing. The hinges were not fitting properly and the door frame had shifted, probably due to the age of the house.The screwswould not go far enough into the wall without hitting stone...even using a special drill bit. Dan worked a long time drilling and sanding to shore up the door as best as possible. I know it will never be perfect. He could have easily sold me a new door and the same issue would happen. He was honest, thorough, and did an excellent job without charging me a fortune. I'm satisfied with the door now. If you want an honest, experienced man, Then Dan is the man

Roger M Saint Louis, MO March 2011


I purchased the Cowdroy P697 Pocket door lock with key over the internet. I emailed questions before my purchase and was provided with the answers quickly by return email. The purchase was quick and easy and the lock was shipped immediatly. Installation is quick and easy. But you do need to convert millimeters to inches (use the internet) in the installation instructions. And the lock looks great and works great. I will do business with them again. THANK YOU

Ed D (February, 2011)





Who Are We?





Welcome to Locks210.com.
This site is to inform about historical and modern approaches to Keys and Physical Security products and services.
Locks210.com, a division of Master Key Systems America LLC, established in 2006, offers residents and businesses of St Louis Locksmith premium quality products and services. As the Premier Bilock Extreme Security Dealer in The Mid-West,
Our conveniently located workshop and service vehicles are uniquely designed to offer trade qualified, bonded, insured tradespeople with knowledge and experience spanning multiple countries and product lines.
Locks210.com offers services tailored to our core operating hours of Monday - Thursday 8am-8pm and Friday 8am-6pm, to help local residents and businesses of the St Louis, Missouri region to find quality lock services at day rates. For service, please call (314) 266-1533 now!

Shipping and Returns

All products are sent in manufacturers condition.
All products are subject to sales tax where applicable.
All products are dispatched within 10 business days of remittance.
All products are subject to manufacturers warranties.
All products returned within 30 days, will be 95% refunded less shipping.
Prices are subject to change without notice.

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