Top critical review
32 of 37 people found this helpful
Very picky and annoying.
on February 16, 2011
UPDATE June 4, 2011:
Before you read my original review, you should read this update. I've now had a chance to live with two of these locks for a little over 3 months. In that time, I've become thoroughly annoyed by them and can not recommend them to anyone at this time. They worked fairly well at first, but as time went on the problems became more and more annoying. Let me explain...
First of all, I have two of these locks. One is on the front door to my house, the other is in the garage. I use them both on a daily basis. The front door lock worked well for the most part, but that was only after getting a chisel and really working at the wood in order to get the two door frame plates situated properly. The original door frame plates (from the lock I had on the door originally) weren't the same size as these new ones, and I had to buy a chisel and cut a wider hole for both. The screw holes also didn't line up, so I needed to drill new ones.
This doesn't sound too difficult, right? Well, it turned out to be very difficult. You see, this product has a very demanding spec. You either get it absolutely perfect, or it just won't work. If there's a millimeter of difference between the alignment of the two plates, it might work. Two millimeters? No, definitely not. Seriously, it's that exacting. You will be at it for hours. And it will seem to work for a few weeks, but then one day you get a fail, and soon after that, the failed attempts become the norm until you go back at it and re-do it again.
What I think is happening is expansion of the wood due to temperature and humidity changes over time. And I'm in Texas, so we have huge swings in temperature and humidity.
What I ended up having to do was to remove the two screws on the plate that holds the dead bolt to the side of the door, because the alignment internally changes slightly, which increases the friction of the dead-bolt moving against the plate and therefore drains the batteries and causes it to just not unlock or lock at all. By removing the screws, it allows it to wobble around a little over time, and it can prevent it from causing too much friction. The friction will prevent the motor from being strong enough to open and close the dead bolt. It will also wear down your batteries.
Oh wow, this just should not be this difficult! I just throw my hands up in the air at this point and claim defeat. There doesn't seem to be any way I can get this setup perfectly. At least not in my door and my door frame. Your mileage may vary. Maybe if I started with a completely new door and cut my own holes so on, maybe I could have gotten it to work. I'm not sure. I doubt it.
Also, if you decide to re-do your weather stripping on the inside of the door, it could push the door out of alignment. That may require that you pull the door shut and keep pulling as you use the product. Otherwise it will fail to lock and unlock. Remember, we're talking about a one millimeter margin of error. I have found that even though I didn't re-do my weather stripping, I still had to do this trick on occasion, because hot and humid days can expand the wood which will cause it to come out of alignment just slightly enough to mess it up.
Now, the second one of these locks was in the garage. From day one, it seemed like the remote control unit didn't work well on it. While I was able to remotely control the front door lock from 20 feet away or more, even through a wall, the one I put in the garage only worked on remote control if the remote control was right near it, within a few inches of it. It wasn't a big deal to me at first, so I didn't return it or whine about it. But after about a couple months, it just stopped taking remote controls at all, period. It must be a defective unit.
I have three remote controls for these units, and none of them work with it now. Something in the electronics has simply let go. And being an electrical engineer myself, I suspect it's a short or an open in the microchip itself, totally not something I can repair. The fact that it only accepted remote control from a few inches away originally should have tipped me off, and I should have returned it then. Live and learn.
In addition to this problem, the one I have in the garage also eats batteries like mad. I have to replace all four of the AA batteries in that thing once every 3 weeks. That hasn't been the case with the one on my front door, so I suspect I just have a bad unit.
But on the subject of batteries, I will say that I've had to replace the front door's batteries just once in these three months I've had it. I wanted it to last longer, actually, and I'm not happy with it just lasting 3 months.
This product doesn't give any warning that the batteries are low before it stops failing, by the way. The only way I knew the batteries were low was that the motor was no longer strong enough to unlock or lock the door. It simply gives up mid-way and beeps several times. Luckily I have the key to the thing and can open it manually.
This isn't the advertised behavior. It's supposed to beep periodically to let you know the batteries are getting low. Nope, mine never did that. Apparently what the designers consider "low" is not good enough.
One other thing. I did end up re-keying both locks so that they can use the same physical key. I just went to Home Depot and went too the locksmith there. They can easily re-key them. I think I paid $5 per lock and then about $2 for each copy of the key. They're super cheap. Oh, and re-keying them doesn't change the outside appearance at all, not even for the core.
This product had so much potential, and I was really happy with it at first. But I just can't recommend it now. I'm not sure what to recommend to people. I've not tried other key code locks. I think the only thing I can recommend right now is to keep using manual locks instead and check back in a few years for better products on the market.
I may keep the front door one if my hack works well enough for now. But the second one I have with the defective electronics just needs to be replaced. I'm not sure if the manufacturer will replace it now that I've had it for a few months. I may get another one and try it. If so, I'll update this review again later.
But for everyone else out there, I say look elsewhere unless you really have the time, money, and patience to mess with it. It's just too picky about how you set it up. You will literally have to count millimeters and try and try again to get it to work right. And you will probably have to adjust it as the seasons change. The motor strength is too weak. It loses its battery charge too fast. Remote control effectiveness is flakey. These problems are a constant annoyance.
Maybe my experience is unique. Maybe I'm just totally inept at setting things like this up. I admit that's a possibility. I doubt it, though.
Original review from February, 2011:
I bought one of these for my front door of my house, and now I want them on all outside doors in my house. It works perfectly. It's solidly built. There's nothing about this that looks cheap, flimsy, or tacky. And the price is right. I highly recommend it.
The reason I was in the market for something like this was because I kept fidgeting around for my keys after I got out of my car. I wanted a simple remote control to use, and this one has it. I just press one button, and it opens the door. In addition to that, I wanted something with a keypad on it so that I didn't need a key or a remote control to open it, just in case I locked myself out. But I also wanted something that let me use a regular key in case the batteries died in the device, and that's exactly what it has.
The remote control unit is a little weak, though. The product manual says it should go 30 feet, but I often find that I need to be within 6 feet of the lock for it to work. Other times it does work at 30 feet, which is puzzling. I have two remote controls, and they both do it.
One nice thing about this device is that if you type in 4 wrong passcodes in a row, it sounds an alarm for about a minute. You'll hear it if you're in another room. That should prevent people from trying to hack in. But even if they tried, with 8 digit passcodes, they'll be at it for quite a long time.
On the back side of the device is the manual lock knob. It feels solid when you use it. The motor actually turns it when you use the remote control or the numeric keypad, by the way.
The only thing I would have liked in this device is an automatic lock feature. It doesn't have that. I would love it if it would automatically lock the door after, say, 30 seconds. That would prevent accidentally leaving the door unlocked. But it's a minor thing to me.
There are a bunch of different products out there right now. I think this product has the best features for the price. For example, the Schlage keypads are a tiny bit cheaper but don't allow for remote control, and they only have 6 digit passcodes. This Morning Industry device has 8 digit passcodes, which is much more secure.
Schlage has name brand recognition going for it, so you're tempted to go with Schlage instead. And you see the picture of the device, but you wonder if it will look as good as a Schlage would look in real life. I know I thought long and hard about it. I was thinking that maybe Schlage would be the better product, more secure, built better, and might look better. But it's not true. The Morning Industry lock is built solidly and works well. It looks great also, not cheap.
Another thing about this device is that it lets you add up to 10 different codes and many different remote controls. A lot of similar devices only let you do one or maybe two codes, and that's it! Having multiple passcodes means that each family member can have a code that's easy for them to remember, because it's meaningful to them in some way. And if you have a babysitter, nanny, dog walker, or maid service that needs to come in on occasion, you can give them a code that you delete when they're not using it.
Sorry to pick on Schlage so much, but if you wanted to get something similar in a Schlage with remote control and multiple passcodes, you'd have to step up to their much more expensive "Schlage Link" system which has a lot of bells and whistles, including logging who opens the door and using the internet to lock and unlock the doors and send out emails and text messages notifying you about it. No thanks, I don't want to get that involved just to open my door! I'm sure it appeals to some people who feel they need their whole house wired to a computer, but for most of us, it's not something we would ever need or want.
And by the way, this device actually can be wired to the internet if you want. There are kits out there that let you do that, if you're a good hacker.
I looked into biometric locks also. Those are the kind that scan your fingerprint, retina, or face. The retina and face scanners are way too expensive right now, so just cross them off your list. The fingerprint scanners are cool, but get this: they have a success rate of only 70% or so on the first attempt. You would often have to scan your fingerprint twice in order to open the lock. Each scan takes as much as 10 seconds. But it gets worse, because before you scan your fingerprint, you would still have to type in your passcode! So you're spending a lot of time that way. In addition to those issues, the fingerprint scanners often can't scan your finger if you're sweating or wet from watering plants and such. No thanks. It's cool but just not worth the hassle. Maybe when technology gets better.
There's a product that I found that's similar but costs almost 3 times as much. Their product has no traditional key, but instead they have electronic chip keys that you just touch to the lock to instantly unlock them. That's neat. Almost as good as remote control, but I still prefer remote control.
That expensive lock advertises itself as being ultra-secure compared with similar locks. They even have a video showing how the device resists gun shots to it. And it has a solid (carbon or something) core inside of the dead bolt itself, so it resists cutting. I kept thinking to myself, why on earth would any robber shoot a gun at the lock or try sawing through the dead bolt when they could just kick the door open or smash in a window? Obviously, that product isn't going to be too useful for the average home owner. It might make you feel better knowing you have the best lock out there, but it doesn't protect you any more than the Morning Industry lock will.
One other thing. I wondered whether or not you could buy two or more of these locks and have a single physical key open them all. I talked with their support people over email (they got back to me almost immediately), and they said that yes, you just take the locks to a locksmith (Home Depot or Lowes for example), and they'll re-key the locks to the same key if you want. The prices vary, but I saw on the web that it's not expensive, maybe $10 per lock. It uses a traditional house lock.
Hope that helps!