Giving an apartment keyless entry

The key for [rybitski]‘s apartment is a copy of a copy of a copy, and the landlord lost the original key years ago. The lock itself still works, but opening it with [rybiski]‘s key is a chore. He wanted to make it easier to get into his apartment, and with Arduinos and such he figured he could make a keyless entry device for his front door.

After figuring out how to open his deadbolt with an Arduino and a rather powerful servo, [rybiski] looked into wireless control options. He found a keyless entry remote, complete with receiver, that integrated perfectly to just about any microcontroller project.

After mounting the Arduino, receiver, and servo on a piece of plastic, he attached his contraption to the deadbolt. In the video after the break, you can see his key fob remote locking and unlocking the deadbolt, all without jamming an ill-fitting key into the lock.

Comments

  1. Dan says:

    The keyless entry is cool, but shouldn’t the landlord call a locksmith and re-key the door as soon as the original (or any copies) are lost?

    Properly working locks are a pretty important requirement, in my opinion.

  2. nobody says:

    I wouldn’t trust any lock that i haven’t installed myself. The first thing to do is to replace it. ;)

  3. rageahol says:

    i would have used it as an excuse to work on my key impressioning technique before going and building an arduino thing, but that’s just me.

    • zagrot says:

      If you have something to start with, a faster way to fix a key is to build up a thick pad of solder on the back of a copy of the troublesome key and file it to a thickness that makes the key work without employing the famous jiggle technique. This will yield a new master, as it won’t be rugged enough for continued use. Really, the copy is in case you don’t have the patience to complete the process (it can be a pain). There may not be anything cooler than when a key finally turns, but impressioning a key from a blank takes quite a while. Also, by the way, most cartridge style key copy machines loose 0.003- 0.004 inches per copy. Lock smiths copies usually don’t fare much better.

  4. tenantsdfdfsdfdsfs@sfsd.com says:

    “The key for [rybitski]‘s apartment is a copy of a copy of a copy, and the landlord lost the original key years ago.”

    Not the tenant’s problem – and a lock that old/worn is probably useless security-wise.

    Tenants: stand up for yourselves and stop letting landlords treat you like ATMs. Landlords collect over ten thousand dollars in rent a year in most places – they can afford to, once every DECADE, spend a couple hundred dollars on fresh locks.

    • John says:

      It’s not like most people have any recourse. You can quote the law all you like but unless you have a lawyer (something most people can’t afford) and take them to court (something almost no one can afford assuming you have a job) nothings going to happen.

      • adcurtin says:

        small claims court doesn’t need a lawyer. this is perfect for that.

      • Kris Damon says:

        Actually small claims court isn’t even necessary in most states. All you have to do is file a grievance with the court and they will set up an escrow account. You pay your rent into that escrow account. The landlord won’t see that rent money until the court is satisfied that the grievance has been answered to their satisfaction.

      • Leithoa says:

        Or depending on the cost of rekeying and the willingness of your landlord to co-operate with reasonable requests. You call the locksmith yourself get it replaced, make copies of the receipt and send them in with next months rent minus the cost of the new lock.

  5. Richemon says:

    I fitted the same receiver to my Honda 125 motorbike only it was switching relays not interfacing with an arduino.

    imma just paste it in here because it’s not obvious how to embed videos on HAD.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2zWauJsyh4

  6. mrmanager says:

    Ahah, a DIY lockitron. Most excellent.

  7. rybitski says:

    While part of the motivation to complete this project came from a pain in the ass lock, I mostly built this just for fun. Sure I could have called the landlord, but then I wouldn’t have this convenient door lock.

  8. sa_penguin says:

    How well does it work when there’s a power failure? Battery backup, or back to the old key?

  9. Pauldy says:

    I do rental homes and rekeying after each tenant, worth the 60 bucks to insure the previous tenant didn’t hand out keys to bad people. This is still a cool rig though, props on not defacing the property n the process.

  10. Don says:

    I suppose you could have gone to a locksmith and had a key made by the numbers instead of blindly following the copy of a copy.

    That would have been considerably cheaper.

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