Lock Alchemy Locksmiths & Security is now a provider of home and commercial alarm systems.

Residential: We’re very excited to provide home alarm systems. We are so excited because we’re doing something different from other companies. We’re happy to bring the same customer service and support we provide with our other services to the alarm industry. The alarm industry sometimes gets a bad wrap and often times, rightfully so. Pushy door to door salesmen, bait & switch tactics, and long contracts with heavy early termination penalties. We’re changing that. No door-to-door sales. Honest upfront pricing. No contracts – everything is month to month. We plan on releasing more articles about how we’re doing something really different.

Commercial: You can affordably protect your business while away. With remote camera viewing and analytics – you can visually check on your facility and receive notifications of unusual activity. Many businesses qualify for an insurance premium reduction with a qualifying alarm system.

Choosing Lock Alchemy as your alarm provider can reduce the difficulty of contacting multiple service companies and having them play the blame game. Alarm, access control, cameras, locks, doors, and internet cabling can be under one service provider.

Qolsys is a leading alarm panel manufacturer. They produce residential and commercial alarm and fire protection products. Their current main product is their IQ2+ panel that works with their own slimeline sensors and other sensors from other manjor manufactures. They also have products that help integrate hardwired alarm systems with wireless sensors.

The IQ2+ provides several features that set it apart from other manufactures. Firstly, it’s a quality product that’s worthy of providing home and business security. It has a built in cell transmitter that eliminates the need to buy a panel and a transmitter – which reduces costs. The Iq2+ can use power G transmitters that have the longest range available making them an ideal choice for large homes and large commercial applications. The large range of sensor that the panel often times completely eliminates the need to buy new sensors when switching companies.

Some Key Features:

7” HD Touchscreen Easy to use, Feels like your phone
Bluetooth Touchless Disarming Leave your phone in your pocket
Dual SRF featuring PowerG 4x Range, Encrypted, Takeover wireless, Hardwired
Live Answer, Live View Safely answer your door from the 7” HD Touchscreen
Built in 5MP Camera Disarm Photos with Face Recognition
Built in Glass Break Add value without adding cost
Z-Wave Plus Lights, Locks, Thermostats, Garage Openers

I’m not a fortune teller and I make no promises but I have a few thoughts about the impact of Covid-19 on the security industry.

Thermal Cameras: I need to address this first.  Every manufacturer is going to try and sell a fever detection system. Companies have already been caught faking the technology and accuracy of these products. There are going to be a lot of snake oil salesmen looking to make money off of this. Quality thermal camera systems with fever detection will exist. At the moment there are a lot of claims and marketing hype. Is something better than nothing? Maybe. But only if purchasers fully understand the limitations of the product.

Touchless Buttons: We’re going to see a lot exit buttons on doors, ADA openers, light switches, and other controls. The technology available right now is good and most products still have the ability to manually press the button. I believe this is a sensible, cost-effective, high ROI thing for bushiness to do.

Anti-Microbial Finishes: Anti-microbial finishes for locks have been available for a while. Aside from medical buildings, prior to Corona virus an anti-microbial finish was an after thought and if brought up during a sale, would sound like someone is trying to oversell. An anti-microbial finish now sounds very appealing. I don’t foresee many businesses switching out all of their hardware. I would imagine the installation of hand sanitizer stations would be more attractive. However, I think these products will play a larger role in new construction. There has been some controversy about their effectiveness with Covid-19. One major manufacturer has explicitly stated that their anti-microbial does not work against the Corona virus.

The Time in House Factor: The more people are inside and have time to think I believe they’ll make a mental list of things they’d like to have fixed. I think this goes well beyond locksmithing – I believe the entire home renovation industry will see a boom. New carpet, new floors, new cabinets, new counter tops. People are going to be tired of things and want upgrades.

Undoing Lack of Socialization: People are by nature social creatures. We crave interactions with other humans. As much as people joke about enjoying staying inside and watching TV most people do enjoy going outside and at least being around other people. When the quarantine and stay at home orders are lifted I believe there will be a huge swing in people wanting to be part of social gatherings and where people congregate. How we still need to protect ourselves from the virus will likely influence if people choose to be a part of large crowds.

Home Security Systems & Security Cameras: Uncertain times always make people more interested in security. Home alarm system sales are already up. People will naturally feel strange living their homes after being home so long. Many people will want to be able to monitor their homes when they’re away. Smart home integration with alarm systems continues to become more robust and people will enjoy the interconnectivity that systems offer.

Firearms & Safes: Firearm purchases always go up during difficult times. Gun owners are interested in securely storing their firearms to prevent unauthorized access and to prevent them from being stolen. Gun safes and bedside gun storage unit sales will increase.

 

Working with SFIC locks requires learning a new skill set and terminology. It’s a different way to think about locks. One point of confusion is the difference between machine and stamped caps. The LAB pinning kit comes with both machined and stamped caps and both types are readily available from suppliers. So which ones should you use and why? If you don’t care for the details – machined caps win.

How do you cap SFIC cores?

First, we need to understand how caps are placed in the chamber. They are either pressed in or struck lightly with a soft mallet. When I use a mallet (for mobile SFIC core production) I use a raw hide 2 oz mallet made by Garland. It’s around $20, works well, and reduces the risk of damaging anything. At the shop, I use an arbor press and a LAB SFIC Annex. A-1 made a press that would cap 7 at a time, however they’ve gone out of business. There have been rumors going on that someone has/will purchase the company and resume production. That remains to be seen. Aside from buying a used press the only other option right now it buy a BEST original capping system which is around $2,000.

So what is actually the difference between the machined and stamped caps?

They’re the same in diameter, the machined ones are flat on the top and bottom, the stamped ones have a slight taper on one side. The taper allows them to enter the chamber easier when using a hammer. Machined stamps can also be hammered into place but might be slightly more difficult – but it works.

Does the Brand of the Core Make a Difference?

Yes, no, and it depends. I try to use BEST original cores when possible. One, it’s a quality product that I can trust. Two, it costs me money and reputation having to return to fix something. However, the cost is more than double then “aftermarket” cores. This can add up to a lot more money and make a big difference to the customer. I always offer the option of BEST original or aftermarket explaining the difference. There are lot of aftermarket SFIC core manufactures.  GMS, KSP, Medeco and others just to name a few. When ordering from suppliers you often don’t have a choice in what you receive, they send what they have in stock. I’ve had bad luck using stamped caps with GMS cores. It’s almost impossible to get them to seat correctly.

The Verdict

It’s fairly inexpensive to try both out with your cores and see what works for you. In my experience, the stamped cores go in slightly unevenly and provides a less polished look. There also seems to be a little brass half oval that’s created when pressing them down due to them not being completely parallel. Machined stamps seem to win hands down.

Pictures

Here in the lab, we capped used BEST SFIC 7 pin cores using all machined caps on one and all stamped caps on another. It’s difficult to get clear pictures of them so close. An overhead and side view of each core was taken.

machined

machined SFIC cap

machined

machined SFIC cap

stamped

stamped SFIC cap

stamped

stamped SFIC cap

 

Our businesses has been deemed essential (security and network infrastructure). In order to promote the safety of our workers and the general public we are still in minimal operation in the field. We are only taking high priority service calls: lockouts, lock and key issues for essential businesses, fixing hazardous door issues, fixing security cameras etc. We are not taking service calls for projects that can feasibly wait until after the shut down has been lifted.

The Corona virus has resulted in the temporary shut down of many buildings and businesses. We are available to secure buildings during this time. We are able to change exterior keys to prevent employees from entering the building during the shut down. We can also install additional security upgrades to minimize potential break-ins and vandalism during the shut down.

The shut down provides a unique opportunity for businesses to address issues with their lock and door hardware. We are also able to address issues on exterior and interior doors that may not be typically easily accessible due to a high volume of foot traffic.

Many business owners don’t typically have time to sit down, plan, and discuss their building’s security. We are meeting with business owners online to discuss locks, door hardware, electronic access control, alarms, and security cameras.  In some instances, such as a building being closed, we can complete larger jobs. This is different than completing non-essential work in areas that are currently occupied by people.

We’ve always taken personal safety very seriously. We are using protective gloves, masks, and using appropriate cleaning products.

On a personal note, we’d like to thank you all of the essential employees still operating as normal to reduce the amount of disruption in our life, provide us utilities, and keep us safe. I hope this all ends very soon but that we don’t lose the valuable insights we gain during this difficult time.