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Access Control FAQ

What is Access Control?

When combined with a barcode reader and Electronic Door Controller, Gym Assistant can provide access control for your facility entrance doors. 

For access control at the front desk, you may want to install a turnstile or gate.  Members swipe a card and then pass through a turnstile, swing gate or half-height door. 

Install an electronically-controlled door lock on the outside entrance for 24-hour access.

Most turnstiles, gates and electronically controlled locks require the same type of input to trigger; they all work by momentarily closing a circuit.  Think of a doorbell where you press a button to trigger the doorbell chime.

How does Access Control work with Gym Assistant?

GateKeeper is a small program that comes bundled with Gym Assistant.  GateKeeper is basically the brains behind member check-ins -- it receives the card scan data, looks up the member record, records the visit and controls a door entrance.

Access Control with Gym Assistant works as follows:

Can I control who gets into the facility and when?

Yes. You can specify which members are allowed access in various ways. For example you might allow access for only certain membership types or only those members who pay an extra fee each month for after-hours access.

You can also determine the hours during which the entrance is active, for example you might allow access only between the hours of 5am-8am and then 8pm-11pm on weekdays but 24 hrs/day during the weekend.

Can I control access into special areas of my gym, like tanning?

Yes. For some examples:

How many entrances can I control?

We offer systems to control up to 8 independent entrances.

What is the difference between Barcodes and Proximity Cards?

A barcode is basically a series of black and white bars (zebra stripes) in a pattern that can be read by an optical reader. You will find barcodes on almost any retail product, on gym keytags and in many other places. Barcodes are inexpensive to produce (you can use any printer with special software), and they are easily reproducible. Gym Assistant barcode keytags are laminated to increase durability. To read a barcode the use usually slides the barcode through a slot reader mounted to the wall.

A proximity card is a plastic card (or key fob) that contains a proprietary integrated circuit. To read a proximity card the user simply places the card within 3-6 inches of the reader (a small plate) mounted to the wall. Proximity cards are also sometimes called "contactless" cards.

Pros-and-Cons of Barcodes vs. Proximity cards

Availability Barcodes are readily-available and non-proprietary. Proximity number range is limited to 65K.
Security Barcodes can be duplicated, proximity cards can not be duplicated.
Setup Difficulty Proximity setup is slightly more complex
Cost

Hardware cost is very similar.
Keytags: $.50+ each
Proximity Cards: $2.50+ each
Proximity Key Fobs: $5.50+ each

What type of lock should I purchase?

You can use any time of lock that works for your physical layout, but the most common types are electric door strikes and magnetic locks. 

An electric door strike is installed in the frame of the door -- when power is applied the strike releases and the door can be pulled open. To exit the door you simply turn the knob as you would normally. An electric strike works well on a single door with a self-locking latch, that is the door will lock itself when it is closed. A deadbolt lock will not work with an electric strike.

A magnetic lock (or "maglock") consists of a very strong electromagnet attached to the door frame and a steel plate mounted to the door -- when current is applied to the magnet the door is locked, and when the current is stopped the door can be pulled open. If your door has only a deadbolt lock (like many aluminum frame glass storefront doors) or if you have a set of double doors then a maglock may be the best solution.

The only requirement for Gym Assistant is that the mechanism must be controlled with a dry contact (like a doorbell button).  The dry contact can be either normally-opened (for an electric strike) or normally-closed (for a magnetic lock).

Wikipedia has some good general information about electric door strikes and magnetic locks.

Check out our own MagLock FAQ - How to purchase a Complete Magnetic Lock System.

We have also put together our own tutorial on How to Purchase a Magnetic Mock System.

If you have any questions, just call us for a free consultation.

Where can I purchase an electric lock?

We recommend that you consult with a local locksmith or security company and consider having the lock them professionally installed. If you prefer to do your own installation we recommend these online companies for the lock hardware:

MagLocks.com
www.MagLocks.com

SmartHome.com
www.SmartHome.com

Where can I purchase a turnstile?

Boon Edam Inc.
(910) 814-3800
www.BoonEdam.us/inc

Turnstile Security Systems, Inc.
(519) 833-9494 or Toll Free (888) 371-2222
www.TurnstileSecurity.com

Alvarado Manufacturing Company
(909) 591-8431 or Toll Free (800) 423-4143
www.AlvaradoMfg.com

Who will do my installation?

All of our products are straightforward to install and configure, but you will need some skills for installation and wiring. If you have any doubts about your ability to install our products, we recommend that you contact a local locksmith (for the lock hardware) or contractor. Or better yet, give us a call and we'll help you to understand exactly what is involved.