© 2011 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
At CES 2011, SCHLAGE, a leading U. S. lock manufacturer, introduced an electronic combination lock known as the Link System, which can be controlled by your computer, iPad or iPhone. It’s a step up from their standard keypad series and can be upgraded to control many other security and household devices.
The Link System starter kit is designed to provide remote control locking/unlocking of your door(s) via your iPhone, iPad or computer. In addition, accessories are available allowing viewing of live video from a wireless or wired Schlage network color camera, controlling lighting and adjusting your thermostat with more enhancements in the works. All these features may be programmed to text or email alert you of who’s doing what, where and when in your home. Naturally, manual keypad door access is possible by means of 19 personalized, 4-digit codes for individuals needing regular or temporary access to your home. These codes may even be programmed for weekly specific time frames or one time use and can be reset remotely as well. Future enhancements will include window sensors and a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) from a camera that is motion activated with the video stored for recall on the Schlage server and available, when you’re alerted, for playback on your computer, iPhone or iPad.
Installation, if you have an existing 2 1/8” hole in your door, is relatively easy. If not, cutting this hole may be tricky. While the instructions refer to a web site to guide you thru this process, you’ll soon find that the explanation is missing. If you’re all thumbs, I would suggest hiring a handyman who’s imaginative and has some computer knowledge to complete the installation.
(TIP: To drill the required size hole when a smaller hole already exists, a common issue with doors 10 years or older, you’ll need to fabricate a plug that snugly fits in the existing hole. This will allow a bi-metal hole saw with arbor (Milwaukee # 49-56-9668) to make a perfect cut. Failure to make a perfect cut could prevent the proper alignment thus affecting the final installation/operation resulting in relocating the hole and covering up the original one, or replacing the door. I’m told that second party kits for this purpose are also available.)
Once successfully installed you are ready to program the lock and any accessories you’ve added to the network. These steps are easily explained in the supplied instructions. This system does require a dedicated wireless router, however, a computer need not be powered up to keep the system remotely operational. The locks use self-contained battery power and will work manually during power or Internet outages. Low battery indications are provided on both the lock and web site, as well as text/email alerts. A key is supplied in the event of an all-out power failure.
(TIP: If you use a MAC to complete the programming and setup you will need to use Firefox 3.0. PC users will need Internet Explorer 7.0.)
IPhone/iPad use requires the downloading of a free app. Once installed, you’ll indicate the use of a phone on the initial setup, complete the questions asked, and then be supplied a code to activate the app. When activated, you’ll create a password to be used each time you wish to remotely control the Schlage Link System. The lock receives a signal causing an audible five-second beep and engaging the knob used to lock/unlock the deadbolt. Once the beep stops the knob is once again freewheeling and unable to perform this function.
Schlage charges a monthly or annual fee to remotely operate the network features. Currently the fee is a one size fits all, however, I’m told that a tier rate structure, based on server storage space required, is under consideration. It’s possible to work the keypad manually without this network fee. Current fees available at http://link.schlage.com under “Home Automation”.
The Schlage Link System is well designed and constructed. It’s perfect for rental property owners, guesthouses and condos where frequent access by non-permanent residents is required. The expansion capabilities not only offer additional peace-of-mind and energy conservation, but also solutions to access control. The important thing is, it works! Quite a feeling to hear the door click after depressing the button on your iPhone. Available at retail and on-line, in deadbolt, lever and non-remote models in various finishes.
(TIP: Consider adding a push plate above your lock to avoid dirt buildup common with long-term use. Instead of installing a metal plate, purchase a magnetic vent cover. Since most front doors have a metal covering, a magnetic vent cover mounts in place with no hardware and is easily cleaned and replaced, if necessary. Available at retail or on-line, in white or use colored self-stick vinyl to match a specific color or pattern.)
MSRP: Starter kit $299.99 – Light module $49.99 – Wireless camera $189.00 – Wired camera $49.95 – Thermostat $159.00 – Non-remote models starting at $129.00
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.