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QUESTION: I wanted to get a biometric lock system but was told they are not dependable and anything with an audit tracking is expensive. I have looked at a lot of affordable locks online but they don't really say if or how you can tell who has entered.
Is there something whether biometric, a card reader or something else that will track this,not to difficult to install and affordable?

ANSWER: Is this for a residence or a business?

The current crop of residential biometric locks are still prone to problems. Mostly because they are cheaply made so that they can be cheaply sold.

For businesses there are good bio systems that have a separate bio reader attached to an access control system.

What do you consider affordable?

The commercial self contained card access locks can be hooked up to a laptop or handheld device to download the audit trail.


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QUESTION: It is a business but not many will need access. It is pretty secure but when I saw the biometric and card systems I thought it would give me added piece of mind to know exactly who came and went when. Even if I can't afford the audit part getting rid of keyed locks would save having to change the lock every time an employee leaves and prevent duplicates getting into the wrong hands. My range is $200 - $400 and I have looked at locks for less but don't really understand them or what they do.  Any helpis appreciated.

ANSWER: Hi Jayne. The best thing you can do with a $400 budget is buy restricted key interchangeable core lock cylinders for your existing locks.

A restricted key cannot be duplicated without your authorization. Once you get the key back from an employee you're sure it hasn't been duplicated. (unless he is some sort of machinist)

Typical brand names are Medeco, Multilock, and ASSA

Interchangeable core locks have an inner cylinder that can be removed with a special "control" key which you have.

When you want to change locks, you use the control key to remove the core, put in your spare core, and drop off/mail the cores to a locksmith to rekey to a new set of keys for the next time.

You will not find a reliable, accurate, stand alone lock for access control under $800.

Our typical access control installation, card reader, control panel, lock release, etc., runs around $2000 a door installed.

Stuff to Google: "interchangeable core", "high security keys/locks"

Sorry I don't have better news.

Dan Terrigno
American Safe & Vault Service
Cleveland, OH

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QUESTION: I went ahead and rated you 10 and thank you for your suggestions. I have another question though. I can get the system you suggest but is there any way you can think of that I can get even a time and attendance machine to somehow use in conjunction that would have to be used? I really need some way to know who comes and goes from my building even if its not used to access. I have 2 nightclubs in it and several managers with keys.  I only have 2 tenants in the building while remodeling but one am having problems with and need to know how many times people go in and out at night. They are the only ones in the building at night and my clubs could be broken into and cleaned out and I would never know until finding it the next day. I have cameras but poor quality, no notification or alarms which themselves could be stolen! I am shopping now for a better system so this will  unless you have any better ides???

Look at Isee video or equivalent.

It will take a ten second video clip of someone who comes through a door and forward it to your PC or phone.

You could wire it to your clubs' network which you already have in place.

Even if they steal the equipment, the video is already offsite and ready for the police.

The stuff is plug and play and some of it is even wireless. You attach the camera to the wall/ceiling and plug it into an outlet.



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Dan Terrigno


I can answer questions about commercial locks, card access systems, locksmithing except for cars, safes & safe opening, video surveillance and master key systems


35 years as a locksmith, security system designer and installer, trouble shooting and repair of all manner of security related equipment

Associated Locksmiths of America, Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Attended Miami University, Kent State University, continuing education through the Associated Locksmiths of American

Awards and Honors
Certified Master Locksmith. Certified ALOA instructor.

Past/Present Clients
Numerous Fortune 500 companies, DOD, and other governmental agencies

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