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Keylock Biometric Fingerprint Door Lock

Biometric security devices are becoming more prevalent and are finding their way into devices such as door locks. One of those is the Keylock Fingerprint and Keypad Lock Model #6600-86 by Digi Enterprise, a lock billed as easy to install and use.

I had been looking into purchasing a biometric lock when the opportunity arose to evaluate a unit from The Gadgeteer. Smarthome.com had sent her the lock, she was unable to review it for the same reason mentioned below. I jumped at the chance and several days later the item turned up on my doorstep. Eager to install the lock I opened the box and immediately noticed that it seemed to be backwards. What I mean by that is that I would have to install it on the inside of all my outer doors for it to fit. That didn’t make any sense to me, so I went to their web site and learned that the lock comes assembled for either a right or left hand doors and apparently I had a right hand lock and only had left hand doors. I considered installing the lock on the inside of an infrequently used door or on the master bathroom door. Luckily I didn’t, as it would have been catastrophic as will become obvious.

Fortunately, my daughter Krista and son-in-law live close by and all their outer doors are of the correct orientation to install the lock and they agreed to let me use their house for the review. We chose the door from the car port to do the installation. This entry is the most used and would provide the data for a comprehensive review

We unpacked the box and inventoried the items. Conspicuously missing were any installation instructions. I suppose the illustrated parts breakdown drawing was meant to serve as the installation instructions. But, it only detailed some of the parts. Not to worry as I had a secret weapon – Mike. That’s my daughter’s husband. He’s is a mechanic by trade and was able to install the lock in 57 minutes as recorded by my Suunto N3i
watch. He did however have to do some jury rigging. The lock interfered with the original position of the deadbolt which had to be relocated. Also, it required a bit of shimming and longer screws to line up with the striker plate.

Now that the installation was completed we were all anxious to give it a spin and after installing the 4 AA batteries, we sat down and actually read the programming instructions.

The lock has 3 modes of operation: fingerprint detection, keypad and key. Unfortunately, the instructions are written in fractured English and have statements such as, “When add the same fingerprint randomly for N time, you should also delete the fingerprint for N times all the same”. We were able to decipher most of the document and after entering the master password into the keypad, we set up several keypad passwords. These have to be exactly 8 digits and are comprised of the limited 4 digits (0-3) available on the key pad. The * and # characters are used for commands.

Entering fingerprints into the lock was more problematic. After entering a series of commands and codes, the user puts a finger on the reader and listens for a series of beeps and removes his finger. This turned out to be a hit or miss proposition. Of the 4 adults in the house only Mike was able to consistently register his fingers. Krista and I made 6 attempts before we could register a digit and Janis, my wife never could. She was relegated to using the keypad.

Over the next several weeks the Keylock 6600-86 got a workout. Mike and Krista used it on a daily basis and Janis and I used it during our weekly visits.

Operation of the lock is simple. One slides the cover up and either puts their registered finger on the reader or enters the 8 digit code plus the command key on the keypad.

In practice, the fingerprint reader only detects correctly one out of four attempts. After each failing event you have to close and open the cover to reset the reader. I was able to increase my chance of success by running my finger under hot water, but that doesn’t seem like a practical solution.

The key pad has its own problems. You are forced to use an 8 digit code plus a command key. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was a ten key pad, but with only 4 digits to choose from, it’s less easy to generate an intuitive number. We found the keypad hard to see, especially at night because the numbers are so small. It’s
better to set the combination position specific rather than numbers (ie: 2 presses upper left, one lower right, etc.)

Krista has given up and uses the key, which appears to be very unique. We haven’t checked, but it doesn’t look like it can be duplicated.

The bottom line: The Keylock is going to be removed and will be relegated to a less frequently used entrance. It is too unreliable and difficult to operate. Using a key to open it obviates the advantages of a biometric device.

 

Product Information

Price:399.99
Manufacturer:Keylock
Retailer:Smarthome
Pros:
  • None
Cons:
  • Unreliable
  • Complicated
  • Obtuse programming instructions

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Julie November 22, 2006, 2:07 am

    Post your comments on the Keylock Biometric Fingerprint Door Lock review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/keylock_biometric_fingerprint_door_lock

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • Airwick November 22, 2006, 2:40 am

    This is a personal pet peeve of mine … as I’m completely opposed to the increased use of Biometric devices for security (assuming that a reliable device could be produced <grin>)

    Reason #1: The Malaysian guy who had his finger cut off:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4396831.stm

    I remember many a joke about that … but its happened for real … and the more biometrics get used, it seems likely that this will happen more frequently … my car or my house are not worth my fingers or my life … that’s what insurance is for.

    Reason#2: If biometrics are used on a large scale – it really just means that one is then using the same password on all of the affected systems. Any large scale use means a common encoding system – so that, for instance, your fingerprint gets encoded as some specific series of letters and numbers. While it may take a cut off finger to create the code the ‘right way’ using the fingerprint sensor – on any connected system, a creative cracker would eventually be able to find a way to communicate with the back end … pretending to be the scanner, and, in that way, get into the ‘secure’ system …

    Thanks for listening … rant over …

  • woofb November 22, 2006, 9:43 am

    I’ll add my anti-fingerprint rant, too. :-)

    Airwick wrote:

    Reason #1: The Malaysian guy who had his finger cut off:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4396831.stm

    Yes. I remember in _Blakes 7_ (Brit SF TV show), one of the characters holding the security guard’s hand to the lock and explaining very reasonably ‘We only need the hand’. Apparently this idea turns up in a few films as well.

    But it needn’t be as drastic as that. Apparently latex fake-fingerprints are already possible, or at least being worked-on. If biometrics are brought in too fast and hard because it’s ‘proper security’, the only thing we can be sure of is the criminals won’t be too far behind learning how to (mis)use the new technology.

    Airwick wrote:

    Reason#2: If biometrics are used on a large scale – it really just means that one is then using the same password on all of the affected systems. Any large scale use means a common encoding system – so that, for instance, your fingerprint gets encoded as some specific series of letters and numbers. While it may take a cut off finger to create the code the ‘right way’ using the fingerprint sensor – on any connected system, a creative cracker would eventually be able to find a way to communicate with the back end … pretending to be the scanner, and, in that way, get into the ‘secure’ system …

    I didn’t think of that, and it seems to be a good argument against this. It’s a good argument against any over-reliance on any single technological solution–all the criminals need is one breaking-point the inventors didn’t think of, and they’re inside the whole lot.

    You missed out the ‘ordinary consumer’ reason for being against fingerprint biometrics in consumer items, btw:

    Reason 3:
    As currently implemented, the technology is far too unreliable for use. I tend to get annoyed by popular consumer gadget TV shows or magazines (like Five’s _The Gadget Show_ in the UK) that test, say, a ‘fingerprint handbag’ over a short time and say, ‘Hey, isn’t this cool!’ Every single review on consumer fingerprint biometrics that does it properly (over time) that I’ve seen seems to suggest there’s a problem with ‘mucky hands’, and in particular that the reader gets so dirty under normal use that it becomes unusable and the user has to type in the password. If these devices worked 9 times out of 10 over a year or two they could be useful, but it’s nothing like that good. In fact, this review of the door lock seems to suggest that there’s a problem with registering fingerprints right from the beginning, and only chance provides the right sort of fingerprint for the reader.

  • isobutane November 22, 2006, 9:46 am

    Did any of you see the Mythbusters episode where they cracked a biometric lock using nothing more than a Xerox copy of a fingerprint held against the finger? No matter what kind of ingenious protection you put up…if someone wants in, they are going to get in. Better to put the money into a decent security system.

  • Meredyth November 22, 2006, 3:46 pm

    Interesting review. I found it interesting that a device that focuses on security (biometrics being a controvesrial security topic aside) doesn’t have a larger range of numbers on the keypad!

    Speaking of controversial security devices, has anyone seen the RFID door lock?

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/77af/

  • viqsi November 23, 2006, 6:31 am

    Y’know, I look at this and at that RFID lock and I just can’t help but think “what happens when the batteries run out?” :eek: :D

  • moldor November 24, 2006, 10:00 pm

    We looked at all sorts of locks here in Australia when we bought in a rural area – RFID, biometric, swipe card, keyfob remote – and all suffer from the same battery problem unless you use something like a “power transfer hinge” (i.e. a special door hinge that allows power to be routed to a door lock).

    Problem with that is that we suffer from frequent inconvenient power outages in this area and short of putting the locks on a UPS, which is an expensive option, we stayed with key locks.

    Fortunately, in this area, crime is almost non-existant and even neighbors who can’t stand each other (we only have one !) tend to keep an eye on stranger’s comings and goings.

    Lockwood do manufacture a keyless lock that is a “mechanical” push-botton lock, and needs no battery – you can see it at Lockwood NZ – their only disadvantage is that you have to remember a 5 or 6 digit code and, given enough time and/or luck, they can be cracked. Most people don’t vary the factory-preset “ABC123 <command>” key combo, making them a fairly pointless exercise.

    They do, however, come with a key override.

    I guess the only really REALLY reliable electronic lock would be a DNA-based one, or a retina scan lock, where active blood flow and/or temperature could be measured, avoiding the “body part removal” option for serious criminals (hand removal – Hally Berry in James Bond, and eye removal – some bad dude in Sylvester Stalone’s “Judge Dredd”.)

    Ah well, back to the Sci-Fi movies…:-)

  • npeters May 25, 2007, 8:03 pm

    I just started looking into biometrics for some writing that I’m doing, and I too had the question about what you do if the batteries die while you’re gone, and you can’t get back in. My seven year old daughter overheard me talking to my husband about it, and came up with a novel but simple answer:

    “Mom, why don’t you just keep batteries in the car so that you can replace them when you get home if they need to be changed?”

    From the mouths of babes… :)

  • johnseattle August 11, 2007, 11:06 pm

    I just purchase keylock86 from http://www.akmelock.com . It is only $249 and free shipping. The lock work great. :)

  • jds srivastava January 20, 2009, 4:33 am

    i also have this lock but i am not satisfy with this and i loss user mannual
    so can not use this

  • Jason May 17, 2009, 7:45 pm

    We went through a few fingerprint locks that we got at http://www.AvidBiometrics.com With rechargeable quality batteries, they aren’t as much of a nuisance.

    Some of the newer locks can recharge themselves through an alternate powersource or power hinge. It’s only a matter of time before it is refined to a T.

  • laura December 13, 2009, 9:16 pm

    I have this lock installed on the backdoor of the house I am renting, and the batteries have died!
    Because I didn’t install the lock itself, I don’t know how to open it up to change the batteries, and the ever-so-useful landlord cannot find the manual. I managed to find one online (http://www.step.cl/download/Manual%206600-86.pdf) but it doesnt have any info on batteries! How do you get the back off the unit?

    Any help? Please?

  • Bill December 15, 2009, 11:58 pm

    I have responded with battery change details via PM and am awaiting her reply as to whether she was able to replace them.

    Bill

  • Jerry Li January 14, 2010, 7:04 am

    Thanks for the review. I guess the fingerprinting reading success rate is comparable with my HP tablet PC: very inaccurate. And it seems to like thumbs more than any other finger. However, my brother’s Thinkpad’s finger print reader, seems to be much better.

    As for the funky key, it is common type use in China for “anti theft doors”.

  • Eduardo February 7, 2010, 6:59 pm

    Hi Folks, I got a #6600-86 fingerprint locker but I never got to add my fingerprint on it. I’m just using it with the password to open. Following the instrucions, I press “1+#” + mastercode + fingerprint + Dee. But when I finish to press the mastercode I hear “dee-dee-dee” that means failure of operation. Can anyone help me with this please? I’m really losing my patience…

  • bill February 7, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Eduardo,

    As stated in my review, this lock is very unreliable. I stopped using it because several family memebers could not record their fingerprints.

    Bill

  • tayyab February 28, 2010, 7:26 am

    i want internal diagrame of that

  • Bill February 28, 2010, 11:12 am

    tayyab,

    The lock did not come with any internal diagram. Prehaps you can get one from the manufacturer. The web site is available in my review.

    Bill

  • Drew Texas March 28, 2010, 6:56 am

    Digital combination locks from home depot or lowes, I have installed them on my whole families homes and they have worked great for 2+ years, no battery issues, there is a key back up and the things beep if they need new batteries (which has only happened in 1 of many locks in 2 years) I wouldn’t use rechargable’s they run out much faster. Buy energizer or duracell lithium ion (a little more expensive) batteries and don’t mess with them for years. Never had a security problem, You can set pass codes that only work once or in a given window of time so you can give a temp pass code to friends or the maid, etc. Don’t buy a model that physically turns the dead bolt for you, that is a waste of your battery life. Get one where you punch the code to unlock it then you turn the deadbolt yourself. That is all the advice I can think of. Again, I am completely satisfied and the locks I own cost about $110. Well worth it.

  • Bill March 28, 2010, 9:55 am

    The review peeked my interest in keypad locks also. I subsequently purchased 3 Schlage units and have had them for about a year. No worries about lost keys and I can give unique codes to relatives to allow them entry to different buildings on my property. Bought my units on Ebay for about 30% less than in the retail stores.

    Bill

  • eReplacementParts September 29, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I like these things, but I don’t like how easy they are to disable from the outside. There are plenty of ways to get that battery cover off, take out the batteries and screw someone over. Just saying, They are still pretty cool though :)

  • DAVID COOPER March 2, 2011, 11:35 pm

    how do i get the cover off to replace the batteries on the 6600-86. i bought the house with the lock and cannot figure it out. thanks!

  • Bill Kuch March 3, 2011, 6:30 am

    There’s a small ring that screws between the handle and cover on the inside that normally requires a special tool to remove, however, you can use a pair of channel locks to loosen it and remove it. You can see the ring in the first picture of the review. It’s laying on the intructions.

  • d cooper March 6, 2011, 10:55 am

    Thanks! It was driving me crazy. I saw that ring but I thought it was screwed in with tiny screws. i didn’t think it rotated. The pliers ( old term} did the trick.

    By the way, the written instructions are so funny. Maybe this was made in North Korea because they state when trying to program the fingerlock, “Try to select a finger that is not scarred, dry, or excessively worn.”

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