[Pcmofo] has shared a well-built, well-explained example of how to implement an RFID key system for a door. We call this the right way because it is well thought out and functional. In the past we’ve seen doors that unlock via a secret knock, keypads, and RFID, but they are all non-permanent solutions capable being transplanted from one door to another. Rather than building a mechanism to turn the door handle, this implementation uses an electric strike mounted in the framing of the door to allow access. These are used for security doors in buildings and are built to keep your door secure.
The hack in this case is the electronics. Using an AVR ATmega168 running the Arduino boot-loader, [pcmofo] has prototyped a two-part design. An RFID reader is mounted outside the door with data wires running to the inside where the microcontroller resides. A hard-coded RFID card is used as a “master” to train any number of tags for entry. The master puts the device in training mode and the next tag to be read is added to the list of tags authorized to open the door.
We like messy wires and quickly thrown together devices but this is built to last and will look great once mounted in an appropriate enclosure.