Monday, March 5, 2018

Barricade Devices for Classrooms?????

When the shooting at Virginia Tech happened several rears ago, I was tasked with getting all of our classrooms capable of locking down.  We didn't have a lot of options like today.  We ended up putting entry function locks on the classrooms and panic hardware on the lecture halls with thumb-turns in place of keyed-cylinder dogging.  Those are still in place, and still work.

Recent events have caused a need for new forms of classroom lockdown.  Most hardware manufacturers have come up with a mechanical lock that is easy to use to lock the outside handle from the inside of the classroom without exposing the teacher to the threat in the hall.

What has me most concerned, however, is the push for BARRICADE DEVICES in the classrooms.  You can give me all kinds of reasons they are strong and won't allow someone in, but I can give you even more on how they fail to protect those who are behind them.

I understand that parents feel safer knowing that the classroom is barricaded, but what happens if you cannot get out, and the threat is in the room with you?  What if the building is set on fire, and you are trapped in a room filling with smoke?  For every argument you give me in favor, I will give you one NOT in favor.

Here are some examples pulled from the internet of some of the devices on the market.

 How easy is this to release so you can leave the room?  Can a second grader figure it out?

What happens if you can't reach the top of the door? 

Where do you keep the baton?  Could it be used for a weapon in the classroom? 

 This has to be aligned perfectly to work.  Can it get jamb'd and difficult to remove?  Remember that second grader trying to get out?

 I can easily see the receiver hole being filled with junk and this not working at all....
 How many precious seconds will this take to install on the door?

You need to hope you can reach it and have the closer on your side of the door.....remember, the Virginia Tech shooter barricaded the doors from the INSIDE!

I know there is a huge debate over what can and should be done.  But get some facts about what is available and what is legal.

Here is an excerpt from the 2018 Lifesafety 101 code, Chapter 15, Existing Educational Occupancies:   * Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry.
Classroom doors shall be permitted to be locked to prevent unwanted entry provided that the locking means is approved and all of the following conditions are met:

(1)  The locking means shall be capable of  being engaged without opening the door. 
(2)  The unlocking and unlatching from the classroom side of the door can be  accomplished  without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort. 
(3) The releasing mechanism for unlocking and unlatching shall be located at a height not less than 34 in. (865 mm) and not exceeding 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor.
(4)  Locks,  if  remotely  engaged,  shall  be  unlockable  from  the  classroom  side  of  the  door  without  the  use  of  a  key,   tool,  or  special  knowledge  or  effort. 
(5)  The door shall be capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with    the necessary key or other credential.
(6)  The locking means shall not modify the door closer, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware.(7)  Modifications to fire door  assemblies, including door hardware, shall be in accordance  with NFPA   80.
 (8)  The  emergency  action  plan,  required  by  15.7.1,  shall  address  the  use  of  the  locking  and  unlocking  means  from  within  and  outside  the  room.
(9) Staff shall be drilled in the engagement and release of the locking means, from within and outside the room, as part of the emergency egress drills required by 15.7.2.

 I put this video in to show there are other options available.  I know this product works and can be incorporated with any existing access control or mass communication system.  It is very easy, and not a Wi-Fi lock.  It uses a radio signal and is much more reliable.

There are mechanical solutions as well.  There are cylindrical and mortise locks with visual indicators that will show the person on the inside, and in some locks, the outside as well, that the door has been locked.

There are various functions of locking down a classroom in a mechanical lock.  I know of several schools that use Storeroom function locks on their classrooms.  These are in the locked position all the time.  It makes the instructor carry the key, but does have a downside.  A person can get in the room and close the door to do harm, and unless you have the key, you will not be able to get in...

Some use a Corridor Lock.  This is like a privacy in that it will unlock itself when shut if the button on the inside has been pushed.  You can, however, lock the outside handle from the inside with the simple push of the button.  For security at the end of the day, you lock the lock from the outside with a key.  To me, that is the more reasonable compromise for a mechanical lock.  However, you still have the button for someone to get behind the closed door and lock others out.

The Best option I have seen is Shelter from Best Access Solutions.  It is a classroom function lock that turns into a storeroom function lock when triggered by the system.  That system in turn also locks down others in the system without the need to visit the door and try to install a device or make sure it is locked.  It can also notify First Responders to a situation.  Get with your local Best Rep to find out how easy this is to use.

I know there are others, but we are a Best campus, and this is what I have worked with.

Look at the Trimco Lockdown Panic Button (see other blog about this device) for your large lecture and athletic areas.

Also get your administration to do a little research for the parent organizations and read some of the articles from this site:

Lock Don't Block

There are a variety of resources to use and people knowledgeable about what is legal and what is not.  Ultimately, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the one who must sign off on what you decide to use for security in your facility.  Make the smart choice, not the easy cheap one.  Find out from your hardware supplier or representative what is available........

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mechanical Lock-down Panic Release

It has been quite a while since I have written anything.  I have learned a lot over the last 4+ years about all kinds of hardware, both good and bad.  One of the coolest things I have had a chance to get my hands on is the Trimco LDH 100 panic bar release.  Developed right after the Virginia Tech tragedy, this item is one I was looking for to install on my classrooms and exterior doors that I had touch-pad panics on.  It is now available to the public from Trimco, a US company with a lot of great products for the Institutional Locksmith.

This device is currently able to be installed on the Von Duprin 98/99 panic device.  It is a very simple device to undog the bar with the simple push of the button on the end of the bar.  I don't know how many times I have had a request for dog wrenches, or doors not un-dogged when the building needed to be closed because no one could find a wrench.  But, I feel a lot better knowing that if there was a situation to arise, anyone could secure the room or building quickly and be behind a safe door.

Watch the video from the company on this cool device:

For those of us with other brands of panics (I personally love Precision Apex 2000 bars above all the others) this is coming for many.  See below what is coming:

The installation is very simple and straight forward.  Watch the video they have on the installation:

Designed by one of our own, an Institutional Locksmith, and made simple, yet very functional, this can solve a lot of headaches for both the locksmith and the security professional.  Call your local hardware supplier that handles Trimco and see this amazing device.  

The website for Trimco is:

(And don't forget to check out their door wraps....those are the best I have ever used)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why did they put THAT hardware in?????

I wrote a previous blog about,  "Grade 1 vs. Grade 2, What's the Difference?"  In that blog I showed the very basics of difference according to ANSI standards.  There are many levels of quality in a lock, even though all in that catagory meet the cycle testing to make a certain grade.  Just because a lock can pass with 800,000 cycles to meet a grade does not make it comparable to a lock that can pass at 4,000,000+.  Yes, they both pass, but one is definately a higher quality, and likely more expensive, piece of hardware.

At my previous job, I would ask for a particular lock or closer, or panic and (within budgeting) get what I asked for.  However, if we had a project that was decided by an architect firm or contractor, it felt a little like a lottery as to what was installed.  This is precicely why you need a spec, and it needs to be followed.

I have seen several specs from architects (and you should know they farm this part out quite often) which are written with a specific manufacturer in mind.  A lot of state and federal requirements specify that 3 equal locks be presented for bid.  However, some in the industry can supply 3 brands that meet the requirements, but are made by the same manufacturer.  This does not make them equal.  

Even though you ask for a grade 1 lock, there are different levels of quality and price in that grade.  To compare equally, you need to compare the premium line vs. premium, and a commercial grade vs. commercial.  The same is true for closers, and panic hardware.

I have attached a chart to this blog which will help explain some of what I am saying.

As you can see, for an equal comparison of locks on a premium level, you need to use Sargent/Corbin Ruswin vs. Stanley Best vs. Schlage.  Each of these companies has several grades in these brands, but in this way you are comparing manufacturers, not brand names.  This will help in doing specs more fairly and letting the end user get what they want, or match their existing system.

As the institutional locksmith, or owner, you need to ask your architect or contractor to make sure you are getting the quality you are asking for, or hardware that matches what you are currently using at the very least.  With the budgeting of projects these days, the lowest bidder will get the bid, and for the wrong reasons, security concerns with cheap hardware are rarely noticed until after it's installed.  

Ask for someone to write the specs with what you want, even if it crosses several manufacturers.  But even better, call the Consultant for the manufacturer.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Institutional Locksmithing: When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......

Institutional Locksmithing: When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......: I haven't posted in a while.....been kinda busy.  I wanted to bring something to attention that resulted from a lack of oversight.   I ...

When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......

I haven't posted in a while.....been kinda busy.  I wanted to bring something to attention that resulted from a lack of oversight.  I will try to put in order the events which led to our little, not problem, but what could have been better.

We have on our campus a new building, very nicely done, designed for our students as a new gathering place.  Large TV's, gaming stations, restaurants, study areas, and offices for Alumni and Student association.  Also a very nice conference area.  The building was a design-build.  The architect had in mind to build a showpiece, one that could be put up for awards.  Everything in the building is high end, down to the one of a kind custom furniture.  I am personally not very keen on the design-build concept as an end user, but that is what led to our situation.

We have on our campus an A2 system for locks using a SFIC (small format interchangeable core, see other blogs).  For that, I was asked what kind of hardware I preferred in the building.  I presented what I would like to see installed, and gave them a book with all the different locks listed.  I use a lot of different brands of locks on campus, from Grade 1 Mortise, to low-end imports.  Each has it's own uses.  For this building, we were being presented with a steel and glass building, this made for a lot of store-front, curtain wall systems.  I asked that all doors be installed with a geared continuous hinge.  The architect looked a little shocked at my request, then thanked me for asking for that to be done.  I have a preference for clutching levers when I install new hardware, so I asked for Stanley Best 9K's  ( ) as my grade 1 choice, or Yale BAU5300LN's ( )  for my grade 2 choice.  All panics were to be Stanley Precision  (  ) for which I have a particular affinity (see other blogs).  For the closers', I asked for LCN's 4041's and 1461's (  )  throughout except for the automatic door openers, which again, we would use Stanley Low Impact  (  ).  For the storefront doors to the offices,  we were told they would be glass doors, so I asked for Adams Rite hardware to be installed  ( ).

So you are probably asking, why is there an issue?  Well, here is what happened.  

We supplied what we would like to have installed on the doors, I was sent a list of the hardware model to be installed, and found nothing objectionable.  One problem.  I wasn't told what kind of door they would be installed on.  All I knew was Aluminum storefront with glass, or FRP doors on the mechanical rooms ( the mechanical doors had flush bolts and cylindrical locks).  The few wood doors wouldn't be an issue.  When told aluminum storefront, you assume narrow-stile, 3-0 x 7-0.  What they installed was medium stile interior, and wide stile exterior.  Interior was 3-0 x 8-0, and exterior 3-6 x 8-0.  That can make quite a difference on your hardware.  One catch, the hardware was ordered before the door designs were finalized.  Again, a design-build type problem.  Me being the locksmith for the contracted company at the campus, not the contractor, I didn't see what they were finally putting in till they were already in.  There were several layers of people above me making decisions about the building, and I don't think any of them were looking at the hardware.  After all was said and done, even the builder was asking me about hardware issues on some of the other buildings they were working on.  I have come to learn that hardware is confusing, even to people who deal with it for a living.

 Both of these are correct.  The Best Access 9K electrified lock at bottom, and the correct Precision FL2800 in the upper picture.  Note that the head on the Precision is the wider type.

Let me show you what is ALMOST correct.

Inside and outside views of the same set of doors.  These are 4-0 x 8-0 Special-Lite FRP doors ( we love this type of door ), with concealed vertical rods.  I was asked if I could install a rim-cylinder on the bar to open it from the outside, but there wasn't room to do that. All I could do was add pulls and make the bar be cylinder dogged.  Note the style of bar used.  This one is designed for narrow style doors, not flush doors.  The bars were added at the factory where the doors were built.  No way to change them without adding a mullion.

Notice how close to the edge of the door the rim cylinder is, and the head on the bar on the inside.  Again, right product, wrong model.

The one that irritates me the most is this one.  The framing has an unusually wide jamb on the frame, (at least to me), and they used the narrower model of the Adams Rite lock which crowds the jamb with the mortise, making it harder to unlock, and it looks aesthetically wrong to me.

There is nothing wrong with any of the hardware used as far as not functioning, they all work, and work pretty well, just not quite correct.  What needs to be done for any future project that we do which is design-build is be more involved in what is being ordered to be installed in the building.  I am not the only department having an issue.  Our plumber was not happy at all to see cast-iron going in under the slab instead of PVC, and the electrical was a little undersized for what they have asked to add since it was built.  We have finishes that are unique to this building on campus which now requires us to store more tile types and paint colors.

Anytime you are involved in this type of project, try and make it a point to be active in the decisions for your discipline.  And if you are the one ordering the parts and making the choices, PLEASE  keep the end users in the loop before ordering.  A little conversation can go a long way to avoiding migraines.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Storm Damage....Now what?

Institutional Locksmithing: Storm Damage....Now what?: Friday the 13th .....usually one of my better days when it comes around.  However, this past Friday the 13th, we had a "weather event".  We...

Storm Damage....Now what?

Friday the 13th.....usually one of my better days when it comes around.  However, this past Friday the 13th, we had a "weather event".  We had a micro-burst by the facility I work at.  I had gone home at my usual 5:00 and had just set down to supper when I heard a rumble of thunder.  I told my wife that is sounded like it was going to rain.  Ten minutes later, my boss called and said we had some windows broken on our arena and could I come in, "and bring your camera".  As I was arriving, the street leading to the facility was blocked with power poles that had been snapped about 3' above the ground, I had to take the back way in.

When I arrived, I saw the satelite uplink building having the roof covered, fences down, trees split in half, and then I saw the broken windows.....WOW.  The wind had blown out some windows on the mezzanine level, and pushed an office wall across the hall, blown out one of the exit doors on the Entry ring level, and had damaged a curtain wall on the opposite side of the building.  I didn't learn till later that I had 8 sets of aluminum double doors damaged on the main ground level entry.

Here is the video from a security camera outside the building.....

This is what happened in the lobby where my doors were damaged.....

The guy in the bottom video was looking for something to catch water...(even with the doors flying open like they were)

The doors are only 3 years old.  They are Kawneer medium style with Dor-O-Matic panics (no I didn't spec them, I have a different preferance) with LCN 4041 closers. The curtain wall is original to 1972.  My understanding is that they were latched when the weather event started.  Usually, they are dogged down.

I took right at 400 pics of damage, including a Pepsi machine that was blown down the stairs to the Mezzanine.  The event was only about 15 minutes in duration.  The airport 2 miles away recored 68 mph winds, but we think it was around 80 here.

This is what the exit door on the upper level looked like afterward....Only a year old on the doors, but the framing is from the original build in 1972.

We have had the insurance adjusters here this past week, and they are sendng a sructural engineeer to make sure everything is above board.  Now, we get the parts and do the repairs....

Part of the job as an Instutional Locksmith.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew

Institutional Locksmithing: Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew: As the installer of hardware, I'm not sure that the situation I am going to talk about is totally in my scope, but I will take part of the b...

Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew

As the installer of hardware, I'm not sure that the situation I am going to talk about is totally in my scope, but I will take part of the blame.

When an architect or designer decides on a hardware finish, there is usually a reason behind it.  Where I work, most of the hardware, when I started, is 606.  We are now switching most of it to 626, and 613.  If you don't know what I am talking about, here is link to the BHMA/ANSI  chart:

What we fail sometimes to think about is that others we work with don't know what we know.

Finishes have warranties on your hardware.  Some have limited warranties, some have lifetime, and some, like 613 are called "living finishes".  Below is a chart from one of the larger manufacturers.

You will notice on the bottom some care guidelines.  Here are some of those guidelines:

On some charts is suggests that you use graphite to re-lube the lock.   Unless you understand that a VERY SMALL amount of graphite needs to be BLOWN into the lock, don't use it.  Instead, use a lube with PTFE in it.  My favorite is Tri-Lube.  It bonds to the metal and puts a Teflon coating on the finish.

So let me explain why I am writing this article.  About a week ago, our cleaning crew was told to sanitize the panic hardware on the entry doors to one of the buildings.  They cleaned the oil-rubbed bronze hardware with ECOLAB--Lemoneze, followed by a disinfectant.  Here are pictures of what it should look like, and what it did when they got done.


What I have found out is that the warranty will not cover the finish that was removed.  It may not be able to be refinished......... I had 8 bars cleaned off.  I will take some of the responsibility because I did not make sure the cleaning crew knew how to clean the hardware.  I am hoping the natural patina will return with a little help, but as you can see, it is already starting to corrode.  

So the moral of the story is, make sure everyone knows what is expected on finish and color, and they know how to clean it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: WHY YOU NEED A SPEC BOOK..

Institutional Locksmithing: WHY YOU NEED A SPEC BOOK..: At our facility, we are building a new building for the first time in almost 15 years.  This will be a new multi-use building for students a...


At our facility, we are building a new building for the first time in almost 15 years.  This will be a new multi-use building for students and staff and alumni.  When dealing with the designers, it has become abundantly clear that a SPEC BOOK is vitally needed.

Having worked with spec books and other building specs required for bidding in some of my other positions, I was prepared for this.  Some of my fellow co-workers in charge of some of the other building disciplines were not so lucky.  Our plumbing, CCTV/Alarm, and some others had to go through the plans with the architect to explain what they wanted in each location so it could go out to bid.  Admittedly each situation is different for them, and requires specific types of fixtures or systems.  I had my requirements in a book with pictures and expectations ready.  I was in there for 20 minutes, not the 2+ hours the others had to spend.

We have several contractors doing work on our facility, and a written spec is vital for bidding.  

For us, I have written a spec with the following guidelines.

First and foremost is that all hardware must work with our existing key system.  We have a patented SFIC (small format interchangeable core) see other blogs)) and all hardware must work with that type of core.  We have had in the past a designer have a local hardware supplier spec a job and they would spec something they sell, and it would not work with what we already had in place.  I have learned that you have to keep track of projects so they don't install something you have to replace later.  

I have a specific type of Grade 1 lock that I specify (Stanley Best 9K), a particular type of Grady 2 for some applications, like offices and non-classroom areas (Stanley Best 7K).  A particular type of Grade 2 I like for classrooms and dorm rooms (Yale 5300LN), and a certain type of deadbolt for particular applications (Stanley Best T-Series).  

I am very particular on the type of panic hardware I use (Precision) and closers (LCN) .  I would also recommend that you try to move to continuous hinges in your projects.  You will discover that a lot of your door issues will go away.  I recommend Select Continuous Geared Hinges.

The binder I handed to the architect on our new project was almost 600 pages (mostly copies of the catalogs that showed the products) and he actually said thank you.  The actual spec sheet is only 6 pages, and covers as many types of hardware as I use, from door type to door stop to sweep and seal.

Many of  your suppliers will help you write your spec book, and I would recommend that you take them up on it.  Of course, they will spec their hardware, but I would expect you to work with your favorite hardware supplier anyway.  They will, if asked, put what YOU want in your book, and I have taken advantage of that.

Since we can hand a spec to anyone doing work at our facility, they have no cause to install something we don't want and have to pay to replace.  It saves both time and money for both parties.

Not everyone will think this is important, but until you have someone install hardware that doesn't work with your system, and you have to replace it at your cost, I can only recommend that you look at having this done, or write one yourself.    

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Key Control Software

Institutional Locksmithing: Key Control Software: Over the years I have been asked by several about a way to keep up with keys being issued and a way help with inventory etc.  The first time...

Key Control Software

Over the years I have been asked by several about a way to keep up with keys being issued and a way help with inventory etc.  The first time I did a complete facility re key, after looking at several systems we looked at key control software's.  There wasn't a lot out there 15 years ago that met our needs, but times have changed.

We looked at several software programs for key control, but after we decided on Best Access Systems, we looked at their Keystone 600 software.  I have to say right now that I am biased to this software, but for good reason.

Some of the software's we looked were no more than an excel  spreadsheet, while others were more elaborate.  Some even had the ability to make a bar-code for each key.  All in all, there are some good programs out there designed for a Human Resources department, or a large business to keep track of who has what key.  But this does not help the Institutional Locksmith.

What I needed was much more.  I needed a way to know what key opened what door, who had a key for that door, and how many there were issued, along with how to make a new one from code.  The Keystone 600 fit that criteria and more.  

The first version of the software I used was a stand alone version to control the master key system.  The latest one I am currently using is a networked version.  Attached is a link to the PDF for the system:  (I highly recommend you download the demo version of the software to explore)

What this allows me to control is actually more that I need.  

(copied from Stanley Web page)


The Best Access System Keystone® 600N5 key and core control software offers all of the same security, convenience, and functionality found in the original Keystone® 600 program, but with the added ability to operate in a network configuration. Keystone® 600N5 will assist you with the tedious task of managing your key and core records in today’s environment, in which multiple people in different locations may need to access the data simultaneously. Designed to operate over modern network environments, such as Windows® NT, XP or Windows® 2000. Keystone® 600N5 includes special help screens that can be accessed whenever you need assistance.
Complex commands and detailed menu trees are eliminated by the function key index at the bottom of each screen. Select the information tab desired and the appropriate screen is called up.Instructions and help screens are immediately available.

  • Password restricted logins enable administration to restrict individuals access for designated cards

  • Designed to support multiple facilities
  • Display people, keys and departments with access to a building
  • Lists departmental access, designating the people, keys and keyrings that have access to that department
  • Displays buildings with doors, cores and locks in the building

  • List all keys and items currently due back (or due back by any day designated)
  • Lists keys that have been issued and keyholders
  • On-screen display of BEST masterkey code records entered
  • Records issuance of keys, keyrings, cores and locks to people
  • Maintains historical records on all keys, keyrings, cores and locks
  • Shows all “keyrings”, keyring holders, and what buildings, cores and doors the keyring accesses
  • Maintains “key cabinet” records displaying the keys, keyrings and locks located on a “hook”
  • Tracks “out-of-service” keys, keyrings and other items that are lost, stolen or destroyed
  • Displays cores, departments, doors, buildings keys can access

  • Lists all cores and their location, buildings and doors
  • Cross-references employees, keys and departments

  • Displays people, keys, keyrings, cores, locks on one record
  • Maintains list of deleted employees (and doors) with the ability to display and reactivate them
  • Searches for and identifies people by name, ID, department, title and type
  • Cross-references people to cores, doors, buildings they access

  • Displays locks, lock location and the people, keys and departments with access to that lock
  • Lists manufacturer product records with items connected specifically to that manufacturer’s product

  • Shows the doors with cores, locks and other items that are installed on the door
  • Displays doors and people, keys and departments that can access those doors

Software – general
  • Comprehensive list of reports available as an on-screen menu
  • Built-in easy-to-use backup program
  • Program always displays date of last backup
  • Lists users who made backups with dates
  • Dynamic searching capability for all records
  • Large note field available on all card records
  • On-screen indicator shows when historical info. is present for a record
  • On-screen indicator appears when notes are present on a record
  • Able to operate in an NTFS network environment with TCPIP protocol
  • Multiple users can access program at same time
  • Stanley service that Import/Append data (Some formats)
  • Mass deletion

I could have typed all that, but it was easier to copy it.

What this has allowed us to do, is let the HR department issue keys that I provide, and return them so there is an accurate record when that person leaves.  Security also has the ability to see who has access to an area, but cannot do transactions of keys.  The software will let you determine the abbount of access a person has when signed in.  I may not want someone to see the key-cut codes, or certain other areas.

One of the features that I use currently is it's multi system capability.

I have our "old system" that we are trying to replace with a new patented system, and our "new system" both being controlled on this one software. One of my old systems is an A3 system.  I also have 4 different A2 systems, in addition to our "new system" (which is  a patented A2 key system from Stanley Best).  The ability of the software to help with keying, and core  pinning for A2, A3, and A4 is advantageous.  It helps to be able to click on a core, and have its pin stacks shown where you can print it out and give it to someone to build if necessary.  It also takes the headache of figuring the math out to make sure it works for all the keys assigned to that core.

I also have a couple of Corbin and Schlage systems in it.  It won't help with the building of the core, but you can track keys and enter their key cuts.

I would be lost without this software to help me do my job.  It saves an enormous amount of time, and helps with accuracy.  Also, the tech support offered for the system is unmatched.  You will have the codes for your keys, and ability to manipulate them.  Not all companies will let you have the codes without going through a middleman who may want you to use them for the information.

If you use a different software for A2, A3, or A4 systems, I would love to know what you use, but it would be hard pressed to beat the Keystone 600N.