Here are at Lock Alchemy in lovely Cleveland we like to mix it up and do the unusual. The latest thing to come out of the Lab is a DIN rail for fast prototyping, experimenting, set up, and trouble shooting.
What is a DIN rail? A DIN rail is a metal rail of a standard type widely used for mounting circuit breakers and industrial control equipment inside equipment racks.” (Wikipedia).
They’re used for PLCs (programmable logic controller) and other industrial applications. They’re a convenient was to connect different devices, remove / modify connections, and allow for modular expansion. The also happen to look over cool, especially when they’re neat and have ferrule connectors (something many equipment manufacturers actually require).
They can be used for complex light and automation controls but are typically not seen in completed access control systems.
Learning and buying DIN rails can be confusing but it’s not so difficult. Amazon has a great kit that comes with 20 terminal blocks, ground blocks, ends, and a rail.
What’s the point of using a DIN rail? For my purpose it’s like a wire but, beanie, dolphin connector, wago connector etc. It’s a great way to easily connect components, switch them around, and disconnect them.
For example: I have a new reader and want to test it or I’d like to make a change in the settings before installation. I can hook up wires from the panel to the blocks. Then hook up the reader to the blocks. All this with no cutting or adding connectors. I can insert the wires and screw down the terminals. When I’m finished, I can just disconnect them.
Here at the Lab, we have lots of wired pre-cut door testing. For example, I have 22/6 wire with farrules on both sides of wire. I can run the from the panel to the terminal blocks and then swap out different readers.
It’s easy to experiment when you can easily switch things out. I can also clearly see which color wires are being connected. It’s not a mess of different color wires in a bundle.
This entire system has a lot of uses. I can bench test every reader, strike, sensor, etc before deploying it in an install. Manufacturer defects aren’t common but this would help identify any. Also, it eliminates a step in field troubleshooting. I know the product works and know there’s a different issue in the system.
This set-up also makes it very fast to program components like readers. If I need to change on board settings such as lockout time, turn off a buzzer, or change a light setting on 5 readers going in for installation I can program them on my test bench.
Sure, one can change these settings at a door but there are reasons not to if you don’t have to. The gain is in saving time. I’d much rather spend an hour programming at my test bench instead of at the door. One, I can program them during an off hour late night and use my day hours for something more productive – things that can only be done during the day. Two, standing at a door isn’t always fun. People see going in and out and you might not want to deal with the interuptions at the door. Three, if someonthing isn’t going go to to go smoothly – I’d rather figure it out on my own time not in view of a customer.