Electric Imp Locks and Unlocks your Door Automatically

2013-11-19 14.23.18

When the folks over at PinMeTo moved into a new office, they were dismayed to find out an extra key would run them a whopping 500 sek (~$75 USD). Instead, they decided to build their own automatic door lock using the Electric Imp system.

If you’re not familiar, the Electric Imp is a small SD card designed to provide internet (Wi-Fi) functionality to consumer devices. While it looks like an SD card, you cannot just plug it into any SD card slot and expect it to work — it still needs a prototyping board. We’ve seen it used to make a wireless thermal printer, or even make a tweeting cat door to let you know of any feline intruders!

Anyway — back to the hack. To move the lock cylinder they’re using a basic RC servo connected directly to the Imp. A flex sensor is installed on the side of the door over-top the lock — this provides feedback to the Imp whether or not the door is in fact locked. The Imp then communicates to Everymote to allow for keypad access from your mobile phone.

It probably ended up costing more in time and money than a new key, but hey, it looks like it was a fun project to do!

Key code door lock won’t endanger your security deposit

College students have returned in droves to dorms and apartments at campuses everywhere. So this is the time of year we usually start seeing some coded entry hacks. [Charmonkey] recently took on the challenge at his new apartment. There were some caveats though. He needed to ensure the Landlord could still enter using a key, and he didn’t want to alter the door or the jamb in any way. What he came up with is a coded entry system that can turn the deadbolt.

In order to mount some hardware on the door he removed the inner part of the dead bolt assembly and used the pair of threaded tubes on the adjoining lock section as anchor points. This holds the Pokemon tin he’s using as a project box securely in place. The rest of the components all mount to it. These include the stepper motor that actuates the deadbolt, a switch for manual operation, an Arduino, and a motor driver board.

He got really creative with the keypad. The wires connecting it travel through the door’s peephole and into the smaller plastic project box that hosts the rest of the hardware.

[via Reddit]

QR code opens doors to you

[Jeremy Blum] wrote in to share his LibeTech QR Code Door Lock project. He developed it during his Senior year at Cornell University along with three of his classmates. It seeks to move away from magnetic card locks in favor of optical locks that authenticate based on a QR code.

The hardware he’s using here is definitely cost prohibitive, but we’re sure the concept could be greatly simplified. In this case a BeagleBone running embedded Linux monitors a feed from a webcam. When it detects a QR code it compares it with a database of approved keys and will unlock the door for you.

There are problems with this technique, one being that an attacker might be able to get a usable photograph of your key without you knowing. But the majority of hotel locks in use right now are even less secure than that. On the upside, the key to your room can be emailed to you for use on just about any device with a screen, or printed out on a piece of paper.

You can find [Jeremy's] presentation video embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

Easily movable RFID door lock is great for dorm rooms


One of the first things that [Eric] hacked together when he got to college was an RFID door locking system. He found that he was often in a rush to get in and out of his dorm room, and that using a simple wireless key was a great way to streamline his days.

Over the years, he has refined his design, and while his original prototype was functional, it was a bit rough around the edges. In the video posted on his site, he thoroughly explains how his system was built, and shows off the revisions he has made over time. One key consideration when building this system was the fact that the installation had to be non-permanent. Since schools typically frown on physically altering your rooms, he found a non-intrusive means to mount his system in the way of zip ties and foam board.

His RFID door lock looks to work quite nicely, and we especially like the inclusion of the reed switch to ensure that the system knows if the door has been opened or not. If you have about half an hour to spare and are interested in building an RFID entry system of your own, be sure to check out [Eric’s] video below for all the details.

[Read more...]

RFID door lock – the right way

[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.

Custom car door keypad


[Michael] has a keypad in his previous car’s door and he missed it enough to hack one into his Dodge Caliber. He bought a Ford keypad and mounted it inside his door with some custom electronics. He started with an Arduino nano to receive and authenticate button presses. This then splices into wires in the door that control the door lock. The program has a 5-digit code to unlock the door, but simply pressing 1 twice will lock the doors. He also implemented a lockout feature to prevent people from brute-forcing the combination. Although it isn’t wireless, it’s significantly simpler.

[thanks Michael]

Cell phone controlled door lock

Inspired by the knock to open hack, [ashish] put together a fairly simple DTMF decoder to control solenoid door unlocker and connected it to a Nokia 1100 cell phone. Call the phone, input the magic code, and the door unlocks.