For more than a thousand years, humans have been securing their front door with key-based locks. Until recently, there hasn’t been much innovation in the technology, but thankfully, several companies have tried to bring the door lock into the 21st century. One of them, Yale, has provided us with their key-free Touchscreen Deadbolt. I expected installation to be a piece of cake because I have experience in installing three Schlage keypad locks in exterior doors. Well, it turned out to be a lot more involved than I bargained for, but in the end it worked.With the installation of the Yale lock, I will have replaced all my exterior door key locks with an electronic version. The other ones are able to be opened by a key also, which is both a benefit and shortcoming. Using a key allows one to open the lock if the electronics break, but also leaves the door more vulnerable to a break in. The keyless Yale lock I received doesn’t have the break-in issue, but it should not be used if you have no other entry to your house in case of electronic failure. This is called out in the instruction manual, but it is just common sense.
- Illuminated touchscreen and keypad for night time access
- For use on all standard interior and exterior doors
- Tapered bolt accommodates misaligned doors
- Available in ZigBee or Z-Wave configurations
- Sleek aesthetics
- Operational efficiency
- Completely eliminate the need to manage keys
- No need to ever re-key – just set up a NEW access code
- Increased security
Besides the hardware, the device comes with an installation manual and template for drilling the holes in your door if you’re doing a new installation..
The keyed deadbolt on top is what we’ll be replacing with the Yale lock. The handle will remain.
The old deadbolt from the inside.
Before I began installation, I read the manual and FAQs on Yale’s website. It stated that it should take about 15 minutes to install with just a Philips screw driver if holes were already drilled. This should be easy… NOT!! I assumed (you know how that goes) that there was some standard for the size of mounting holes between vendors of deadbolts. Unfortunately, in my case the Schlage deadbolt was mounted in a 1.5″ hole and the Yale deadbolt required a 2- 1/8″ hole.
Luckily, my friend Ed was visiting at the time and he is a lot more DIY inclined that I am. Between the two of us, we came up with a plan to widen the hole so we could install the Yale deadbolt.
To keep the mechanics of the deadbolt centered on the larger hole, we decided to trace the current hole on to a piece of paper and then find the center point. We then placed the paper on a piece of wood that was then clamped to the door, centering the paper in the hole.
The next step was to drill a 1/4″ hole through the center point. A 1/4′ rod was inserted into the drilled hole and a 2-1/8″ hole saw was attached. Using a battery-operated drill motor, we were able to enlarge the hole and keep the lock centered over the bolt.
After the hole was enlarged, installation was a snap. I’ll need to touch up the stain a bit, but it looks nice. With multiple trips to the hardware store to purchase tools and supplies, we calculated it took about 4 hours from start to finish. After the hole was enlarged, it took no more than 15 minutes to get to the initial programming.
Here is the inside view of the installed Yale lock.
You may be wondering what would happen if the batteries died and the lock could not operate. Assuming you didn’t notice the low battery warnings and didn’t replace the batteries, you still have another chance to operate the lock from outside. Yale has provided an emergency power connection at the bottom where one can attach a 9 volt battery, giving enough power to operate the lock.
Upon initial battery insertion, the lock requires the selection of the master pin code. This number can be from 4 – 8 digits and is needed to program user pin codes and other lock settings. If you forget this number, you can’t make changes or add users, but there is a fail-safe, whereby a manual reset can be done setting the lock to its initial state. During programming mode, the lock will provide voice prompts to lead you along.
Up to 25 unique pin codes can be programmed. The codes can vary from 4 – 8 digits and they have to be assigned to a user number, which you’ll need to track. To delete a user code you need to know the user number. I would much prefer that a user code could be deleted by just knowing the code rather than the user number. Also, there’s no way to wipe out all user codes at once, other than doing a manual reset.
During programming mode, several lock parameters can be set, such as automatic re-lock, one touch locking, and privacy mode. The last one enables a button on the indoor side of the lock to disable the keypad. This would come in handy for security and catching a wayward teen/spouse trying to sneak in after curfew.
Here’s a demonstration of the operation of the lock.
Although I was caught off guard by the installation and spent way more time on it than I thought necessary, I like the Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt lock. Aesthetically, it matches my decor, and functionally, it’s much more secure than the mechanical deadbolt it replaced. I can live with the fact that it’s keyless because the other two entries to my house have a keypad/keyed lock. The ability to have 25 unique user codes allows me to give relatives and tradesmen access to my house while I’m away, and after a tradesman is finished, I can delete their code. Most importantly, I don’t have to fool around with keys anymore.
One confusing aspect of the lock, however, is the ability to control it from a network. The device can accept a module for a zigby or zwave network, but there is nothing on the Yale website that describes how they work or where the module can be purchased. There are some references to 3rd-party home automation vendors, which perhaps indicates that this functionality is not available to the DIY person. Just be aware that there are Yale Touchscreen locks available for purchase that have the module already installed. These cost significantly more than the standalone version I tested, but they won’t give you any more functionality.
Update from Yale:
One point I’d like to clarify is the issue of integrating the lock with a home automation system. The lock is available as a standalone or with a Z-Wave or Zigbee radio module installed. The Z-Wave and Zigbee versions allow the lock to be used with a wide array of home automation systems, from very sophisticated, professionally-installed systems to more basic DIY systems, such as the recently-announced Staples Connect system or Revolv. Integrating the Yale lock with a home automation system opens up a long list of additional capabilities, such as the ability to lock and unlock doors from web-enabled devices or create customized entry scenes for family members, neighbors and guests.
As for the cost, the Yale YRD240 (the Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt you tested) can be purchased with a Z-Wave module installed for a list price of $275. The standalone MSRP for the lock is $200, while the standalone MSRP for the Z-Wave module is $125. But most purchasers buy the package at $275. Here it is on Amazon for $274.60.