Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Door Lock Parts

How to Identify, Purchase, and Replace the Components of your Door Lock

A door lock is made up of several components of varying degrees of complexity. Here’s a look at some fairly universal components of your door:

The cylinder is really the heart of any door lock. The cylinder is the barrel-shaped core of the lock which is coded to accept a particular key.

The latch is the manual, non-keyed locking mechanism of the lock. If the lock is a deadbolt, the latch is typically a large “latch knob” that locks and unlocks the door. If the door lock is part of the handle, the latch may just be a small switch or knob.

The casing fits around the exterior of the mechanism, and provides the “facing” for the door lock.

The tang is the mechanism that connects the cylinder with the latch. It is essentially a small metal rod that translates the turning of the key in the cylinder into the lateral motion of the latch.

Strike Plate
The strike plate is the facing which attaches to the door frame. The strike plate is one of the most important- and most neglected components of the door. Without the strike plate, the lock cannot form a so-called “positive closure”- in other words, the door will not securely lock.

How to Find and Purchase Door Lock Parts
It’s often difficult to purchase individual parts for door locks at a general hardware or home improvement store. In general, stores like Home Depot and Lowes do not stock individual lock components. Additionally, you’ll find that door lock parts vary considerably from maker to maker and from year to year. If you’re looking for a replacement part, your best bet is to approach the manufacturer directly. They can frequently send you the part at little or no cost. You can also look around online. There are lots of specialty sites, locksmith sites, etc, where you might find the part you need. If you decide to try a hardware store, I would try to bring the component with you when you go. If that’s not a possibility, at least write down the manufacturer, lock type, and any part or serial numbers you can find. It will make the search much easier.

Cost of Repair Versus Replacement
One issue to weigh carefully is whether it’s cheaper to try to replace the door lock part that’s broken, or to just replace the entire lockset. A general rule of thumb is that less expensive locks are easier replaced, more expensive ones are easier to repair (in some cases)- with some exceptions. Strike plates are always relatively easy and inexpensive to replace. They tend to be more “universal”, and you’re quite likely to find one that will work for you. Cylinders can be replaced, or rekeyed, depending on the circumstances. This is really where you’ll find a difference between more and less expensive lock sets. It’s much easier to find a replacement cylinder for a high quality lock.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Door Lock Actuator

The term "Door Lock Actuator" is grandiose and mysterious enough to scare away many a do-it-yourself-er; but never fear! Life is not as complicated as it seems.

Basically, a door Lock actuator is a mechanism that causes your car door to lock and unlock automatically- in a sense, before the invention of automatic actuators, the passenger or driver of the car was actually responsible for the task of actuation!

The word "actuator" is applied in this sense to any mechanism that converts energy to motion. Actuators can derive energy from liquid, air, or electricity, and then convert that energy into motion, usually in the form of rotational motion (a turning motor). In a door lock actuator, the energy is provided by electricity from the car battery. This energy is then driven by a small motor into a series of small gears that convert the rotational motion to linear motion, a moving metal rod with a hook at the end. This metal hook, which is oriented vertically, then actually performs the function of mechanically rotating the lock.

A door lock actuator receives tens of thousands of uses over its lifetime, and unsurprisingly it is a common culprit for failure or malfunction. Fortunately, these actuators are relatively easy and cheap to replace. Door lock actuators for most makes and models run about $20-75, so the investment won't break your bank. If your door lock is broken and you'd like to replace it, try searching the internet for instructions for your particular make and model of car- you'll most probably find exactly what you're looking for.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Door Lock Types

When people are shopping for a door lock, there are so many options it can be very overwhelming to choose the one that’s right for you. Many people don’t even know what types of door locks are out there, so it’s essentially impossible to make an informed decision based on the facts. In this article, I’ll try to go over some of the basic types of locks and their uses, so that those of you who are shopping for a door lock will have a better understanding of what to look for. There are essentially 10 types of domestic door locks. These types are: Passage Lockset, Privacy Lockset, Dummy Knob, Entry Lockset, Deadbolt Lock, Surface-mounted Deadbolt, Mortise Lock, Night Latch, Handleset, and Keyless entry.

Listed out this way, the choices can seem even more overwhelming than ever. The first three styles, passage lockset, privacy lockset, and dummy knob, aren’t designed to provide any measure of security. These door locks are specifically designed for interior use, and are really for bathroom or bedroom doors that do not require any actual security, but where a measure of privacy is required.

The two types of deadbolts are probably the most typical types of exterior security locks. The reason they are called “deadbolts” is that they actually sink a metal “plug” into the door frame, rather than simply freezing the turning mechanism, as is the case with knob locks. Most deadbolt locks have a throw of about an inch, which is the currently accepted industry standard. The throw of a lock is how much the deadbolt penetrates into the frame. Obviously a longer throw is better, but anything one inch or greater is very acceptable. The only difference between the regular and the surface mounted deadbolt is that the surface mounted lock is actually attached externally to the door rather than being installed into the door. There is a metal flashing that attaches to the door frame that the throw sinks into.

The night latch is what most people think of as the “hotel-style” lock, which basically consists of a chain, which is attached to the door frame and that slides into a slot on the door itself. Night latches make great secondary locks, but it is not advisable to rely on this type of lock as your primary safety device, because the latch still allows the door to be opened a crack. Think of this type of lock as a “backup”.

The crucial thing that I want to point out is that it's very important to consider first and foremost the security level of the lock you're looking for. While aesthetics and other features certainly play a role, your main point of departure when making a selection should be how secure you need the lock to be, and how it will function in your home.

Thanks for reading my door lock blog!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Door Lock Video

Here's a video of one of those fingerprint door locks I was talking about in my last post. Very cool high-tech stuff!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Door Lock Technology

It’s unbelievable the amount of door lock technology that’s out on the market right now. Safety concerns have never been higher, and although the economy seems to have hit a rough patch, people are still spending like crazy on home security. There have been many interesting developments in this field recently that I’d like to share.

One of my favorites is the fingerprint lock. A few years ago, the only fingerprint locks that existed were in science fiction books and movies. But now they are a reality for home use. Of course, most of us don’t have anything valuable enough to warrant this degree of security, but it’s still a marvel to think about. There are even models that come with a remote control. Just touch your finger to the tiny pad and the door opens without you even having to touch it- amazing! If you’re interested in buying one of these bad boys, they’ll run you about $200-300 per lock. You’ll want to look for one that has a nice high resolution. The resolution determines how many different points of your finger the lock can measure, and thus how accurate and secure it is. It also has a large bearing on the ease of recognition. Because the technology is still largely in its infancy, many commercially manufactured locks aren’t actually terribly good at recognition, with a success rate of about fifty percent- that doesn’t mean you’ll be locked out in the cold, it just means you’ll have to try again. But the good news is, that the newer fingerprint locks, with a resolution of 400-500 DPI (Dots Per Inch) have a recognition success rate of about 95%, which is fantastic. The other thing you’ll want to look at if you’re considering a fingerprint door lock is how many distinct prints it will hold. Most will hold quite a few- I’ve seen locks that hold as many as 99 prints, which is amazing.

Of course, as I said before, most of you reading this blog probably won’t need to run out and buy this type of door lock. It frankly would be overkill for most average uses. It’s just very amazing that the technology is out there. Over the next few years I expect to see continued expansion in this field, and who knows what other science fiction gadgets will become a high tech reality. Thanks for reading my door lock blog, see you next time!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Picture of a Door Lock

door lock

This is one serious door lock!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Choosing a Door Lock

There’s a lot to choose from when selecting a door lock. From the outset, it might seem to be a simple task, but there are simply so many options, things become very complicated very quickly. In order to select the correct door lock, you should be very aware of what your needs are, ask questions, and make sure that your standards are met.

One of the most important things to consider is how “safe” you want the lock to be. There are so-called “privacy” locks which are designed for interior doors, and then there are actual dead-bold type, chain, and other serious exterior door locks. Privacy locks are typically intended for interior use on bedrooms or bathrooms, where the primary focus is not on keeping out burglars or murderers, but rather merely making sure that nobody walks in while you’re changing your clothes or going to the bathroom. These locks are made from soft metals with an emphasis on cosmetics, and are most often made with the ability to “jimmy” them from the outside with relatively little effort, either using the enclosed key or just with a hairpin or butter knife.

Typically exterior locks are of the deadbolt variety, and actually sink a metal plug far into the door frame rather than just stopping the handle from turning. These are generally made from brass or another type of alloy. The important thing to remember with these kinds of locks is that up to a point, you really do get what you pay for, but the curve is exponential. In other words, there is a HUGE difference between a $20 lock and a $100 lock, but for all practical purposes there is not a great difference between a $100 lock and a $200 lock. Generally a mid-priced lock is sufficient for most peoples needs unless you live in an area that is incredibly unsafe, or have jewelry, antique paintings, or other items of a valuable nature stored in your home.

If you have the money, some of the pricier exterior door locks are actually combination activated, which is great, because it means that you don’t ever have to worry about locking yourself out or forgetting your key. Of course, if you don’t remember numbers and combinations well, this type of lock might not be for you.

As I said, just make sure that whatever lock you choose meets your needs, and that you don’t sacrifice quality for convenience or price. I hope to have some reviews of specific door locks up soon. Thanks for reading my door lock blog!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Door Lock Privacy Policy

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Door Lock

Welcome to my Door Lock blog. Here you'll find all the latest information and technology as well as product reviews for door locks!