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Step Guide To Building The Ultimate 
High-Tech Grow Room Discrete Security Door Lock!


OK, Patients – Now for some Fun with Electronics. I’m sure everybody’s seen the
 nifty card-swipe locks at work, where you can unlock a door just by holding your
 pass card up to a sensor, like this:


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The Ultimate Discrete Marijuana Grow Room Security Lock Part 1







Neat stuff – if you’re like me, the first thing you thought was “Cool – that would be a neat way to add security to my growroom!” But not knowing how to go about it, you set the idea aside…

Today, we’re going to learn how to create this cool, hi-tech security system for cheap. OK, maybe if $200 is a lot of bread to you, you won’t find it cheap. Fortunately for me, I make a good salary and don’t mind buying toys from time to time. But good news, cheapskates – you should be able to find most parts via Ebay or online surplus places for a lot less. SmartHome is definitely overpriced, but always has the parts.

Let’s begin.

The concept:

An electronic lock that will unlock in response to an input.
Some mechanism for providing that input.

I am not going to get into the minor carpentry involved in replacing your regular door strike with this electric one, but will just say that it’s not too hard if you’re at all handy with tools. There are also surface-mount locks that can easily be installed by even a trained monkey (like me), and can also be controlled by the proximity sensor described here. (If this post is well received, I’ll write up one of those next.)

After installation, your doorknob and key lock will continue to work the same as always, but you’ll also have this neato Proximity System! In a follow-on tutorial, I’ll describe one of the surface-mount electric locks that has the advantage that you don’t need ANY externally visible doorknob or lock – very cool for stealth applications. I’m still working out a couple details on that one though.

The parts list
Electric door strike – Ebay for about $40
Proximity sensor — $110 from SmartHome – often available cheaper on Ebay
12v, 500mA power supply for Prox Sensor – easily scavenged or ordered from SmartHome @ $35

Here’s the Proximity Sensor in the box – several views…






And here are the electric door strike, and the A/C adapter. Pay close attention to the labeling on the AC adapter – tells us not only the voltage and amperage that it supplies, which are critical for correct operation of the proximity sensor, but also tells us how the power plug is wired – so we’ll know which part of plug is positive and which is negative.




Next, here is a shot of the wiring instructions for the proximity sensor. It’s pretty basic. There are two wires for power in, and two wires for the sensor’s output. Not exactly rocket science, eh?

This is *so* easy… let’s start wiring, following our diagram…

Connect the White wire from the back of the Proximity Sensor to the Positive (+) wire on the door strike.

Connect the White/Orange wire from the Proximity Sensor to the Negative (-) wire on the door strike.



Now, we’ll hook up the AC adapter to the Proximity Sensor’s power input wires.

There are two wires coming out of the power supply, typically terminated in a plug, which is illustrated on the label to show where the Negative and Positive outputs are. See picture earlier of AC adapter label – it explains.

For test and illustration purposes, I have not yet chopped the adapter off the power supply, but for real world application, that’s typically what you do, since it’s easier to wire up that way. In today’s tutorial, I just taped the wires to the plug using some masking tape, just to show it works.

Connect the Black wire from the back of the Proximity Sensor to the Positive side of the Power Supply output.
Connect the Black/White striped wire from the back of the Proximity Sensor to the Negative side of the Power Supply output.

OK – everything should be wired up now, so plug the AC Power Adapter into the wall outlet. This step should be pretty obvious, so I’m not illustrating it – if you need help with this, you shouldn’t be handling grow lights, much less reading this page.



Next, you’ll need to program the Proximity Sensor.

The Proximity Sensor’s instructions describe how to program the swipe keys by holding the Master key next to the sensor for 10 seconds, then holding the key to be programmed next to the sensor for a second or two. These instructions will be different depending on the kind of sensor, but are pretty basic – I’ll leave it to the manufacturer to explain, but suffice it to say that any semi-literate sixth grader could do it.


That’s it.

Here are three photos of the system wired up. There are some shadows and it’s a bit hard to see here and there, especially with regard to the action shots – can’t really convey the way the lock opens and closes in still pictures. I apologize.

The first photo is an overview of the system wired up on my bench.

In the second photo, notice that the indicator on the Proximity Sensor is red. Observe that I’m pushing on the door strike. As you can see – it doesn’t push in. Therefore, the door latch will catch on the strike, which won’t give. The door is locked.

In the third photo, you can see the Proximity Key resting on the Proximity Sensor. The indicator on the Proximity Sensor is green. Again, notice my finger on the door strike – as you can see, it pushes in easily, and the door latch would flow right through. The door is unlocked.

Well, that’s it for today.

Next time, I hope to show you how to mount a heavy-duty magnetic lock and control it with this proximity sensor. The lock I have requires power all the time to remain locked, and you remove the power to unlock – exactly the opposite of what my proximity sensor does. I’ll finagle a solution to that one and post it up soon.

I forgot to mention a key aspect of this system… you can mount the proximity sensor on the *inside* of the wall (provided the wall isn’t too thick for the signal to pass. This way anybody on the outside can’t even see it. A little gorilla glue squirted inside the lock, or better yet the electric deadbolt I mentioned on the *inside* of the door, and somebody on the outside won’t have any access to your lock at all. Only you know the secret spot to wave your magic key to unlock the door.

Also very useful for controlling locks on hidden cabinets. In this application, you could have a totally sealed box with no external locking hardware at all. Wave your key and the hidden spring-loaded door pops open. Totally James Bond!