To add a higher level of security to your home you’ve decided to install an electric strike plate to your front door. Great! That’s a wonderful way to manage entry into your home!
The strike plate is sitting on your table in its packaging waiting to be installed. Feeling a little intimidated by the process? Don’t worry! Here are some handy tips on how to install your own electric strike plate.
How do they work?
Electric strike plates improve access control and eliminate the need for a key – so no more worries about a burglar picking your lock! Just share the access code with the people you want to enter your home. Electric strikes can also be used with HID (card) readers. To gain access you simply swipe your card. Think fancy hotel rooms!
Electric strikes are similar to normal strike plates in that they consist of a strike plate that blocks the latch. The obvious difference to normal strike plates is that they work on electric impulse to unlock the door. While a key moves the lock latch, the electric impulse will move the strike plate.
An electric strike plate replaces a standard door strike. It is connected to a power supply and when activated, it releases the door latch, and hey presto, the door is unlocked! When the door closes it will lock again automatically. From the outside, electric strike locks stay locked all the time.
Fail safe or fail secure?
Or both! An electric strike plate can be set up as either fail safe or fail secure. When the power is cut, a fail-safe lock will unlock. A fail-secure lock will remain locked if there is a power cut and only unlock when power is restored.
Now let’s take a look at how you would go about doing a DIY installation of an electric door strike to your front door.
An electric strike plate is easy to install, sturdy and can be used as an emergency exit if wired as fail-safe.
Electric strike plates can be installed with many types of doors and locks. They are attached to the door jamb and will sit flush against it.
An electric plate usually takes the place of an existing plate. If this is the case, installation is a bit easier. If no strike plate is in the door already a new mold will need to be cut into the wall and it will need to be drilled in.
Please note that installation on a metal door is a bit more of a challenge than on a wooden door. If your front door is metal, you might need to look at professional installation unless you have the specialized cutting tools that could possibly be needed.
Tools You Will Need
- Multi cutting tool
Step 1 – Remove
If the door already has a traditional strike plate attached, you will need to remove this. Unscrew the screws using your screwdriver.
Step 2 – Cavity
The electric strike plate is probably larger than your current strike plate. You will now need to make the cavity bigger. You can do this by using a multi cutting tool, a roto-zip or a drill fitted with a spade bit. A chisel will be needed for the finer details of the fit.
Most electric strikes will come with a template. Use the existing holes from the strike plate and draw vertical center lines to help you align the electric strike. Place the template over the cavity. If there is no template, simply trace the edges of the plate onto the doorframe. Make sure you mark the depth that needs to be cut out as well. And remember to make sure all the wires will fit into the cavity too.
To accommodate the wiring, you might need to cut through the sheetrock behind the doorframe. Make sure you have a tool able to do this. An option for wiring is to make a notch out of the door frame and run the wired inside the frame.
Step 3 – Wiring
Power will need to be provided to the strike plate. The easiest way to provide power is by using a regular wall socket. Split the two power wires by cutting off the very top of the wires and pulling them apart. You should now be working with six wires – two from the control box relay, two from the power source and two from the electric strike plate. Please read the instructions provided with the strike plate so that you make the correct wiring connections.
For card access control doors, you will also need to wire the strike lock to the access control reader. It is the electrical impulse that is fed to the reader that will cause the door to lock or unlock.
Step 4 – Fitting
Now that you have made the cavity fit the plate, you can place the electric strike onto the doorframe and secure it with screws. Make sure that the door can open and close with ease
Step 5 – Finishing Touches
If you find that the door frame has been scuffed during installation, you might need to do a bit of a touch up job with paint to make the finish look good again.
Step 6 – Testing
Switch on the power source and test the new strike plate to make sure that it is working properly. When the strike is supplied with power and give the correct voltage, the door should be triggered. You should hear a “click”. A good idea is to try different things with your door to see how the lock reacts. Try and force the door to open without unlocking it. Pull on the door or perform other forceful actions. This is the best way to find out if your lock is robust enough to handle whatever situation is thrown at it.
Test the connection to the access control system. If you have a card system, test the cards to see that they all work.
Please note that there are certain compliance issues that might need to be checked. Firstly, the regulations on fire safety demand that people are able to exit the building quickly and easily in an emergency situation. Check the safety codes that relate to your city and building. Make sure there is a way to open the door if the power goes out and make sure that everybody who uses that door knows how to open the door in such an event. You might want to think about a manual key override for such a situation.
Don’t Have An Electric Strike Plate Yet?
You can find quite a few different strike plates available for purchase online that won’t break your bank. We took a quick look through those on Amazon and we particularly like this one – Get the latest prices from Amazon!
If this one doesn’t suit your needs there a lots more to choose from.
What do I do if the electric strike isn’t working properly when the door is closed?
Open the door and energize the strike. If it operates correctly while the door is open, it could be that the lockset is preloading (this is when any pressure on the keeper of the strike plate makes it bind). Adjust the horizontal relationship of the strike and the lockset. This will stop the binding of the bolt and the keeper.
Does an electric strike plate use a lot of electricity?
No. They generally use less than .300 Amperes or about 3.6 Watts to be activated.
Well done on installing your electric door strike! We trust that the added security this provides you will give you peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your family.