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Hotel Keycard Locks And Power Failures  
User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1674 posts, RR: 9
Posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16499 times:
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Most hotels that I stay in now use keycard locks, which I assume are electric. When the power fails, do these locks come open by themselves, since there is no power to keep them locked? Or do they stay locked, preventing you from entering your room until the power comes back on?

Bob Bradley
Colonial Heights, VA


Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHelvknight From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 16433 times:

They are battery backed and fail locked. The internal handle is purely mechanical (the external lock pulls in a solenoid that connects the outside handle to the locking mechanism) so you can always get out.

User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 16330 times:

I've worked (still work) for a few Marriott's...all the locks are battery powered. In the event of a power outage, your keys should still work. Pretty much every hotel I've worked for have locks that just take 4 AA-sized batteries. We can also program keys (E-Keys) that we can give to the fire department in case of an emergency that will override the deadbolt and unlock the door.

User currently offlineJETSTAR From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 16233 times:
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How often do they change the batteries and do you get a low battery warning on the lock.

JetStar


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 16230 times:
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Quoting JETSTAR (Reply 3):
How often do they change the batteries and do you get a low battery warning on the lock.


I know some of them have a low battery light. Several years ago I was staying a at a Holiday Inn and there was a red light that was flashing on my door lock mechanism. The key card worked fine. I asked the desk what the light was and I was told it was a low battery light. Somebody came up and changed the batteries, I guess, because the light was off later that night. I don't know if they had to come in the room to do it or not, I was away at a bar.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineAeroflot001 From Argentina, joined Oct 2009, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 16163 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 4):

I know some of them have a low battery light. Several years ago I was staying a at a Holiday Inn and there was a red light that was flashing on my door lock mechanism. The key card worked fine. I asked the desk what the light was and I was told it was a low battery light. Somebody came up and changed the batteries, I guess, because the light was off later that night. I don't know if they had to come in the room to do it or not, I was away at a bar.

Just assuming here but they probably did go into your room, Ive noticed that the hotel room locks appear to have a "top" or
cap that can be popped open to access the inside.

What I always fail to understand is how the keycards themselves expire. If the lock is not controlled electronically and hooked up to a system how can they prevent someone from coming back and unlocking it provided the keycard isn't damaged.


User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2670 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 16156 times:

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 5):
What I always fail to understand is how the keycards themselves expire. If the lock is not controlled electronically and hooked up to a system how can they prevent someone from coming back and unlocking it provided the keycard isn't damaged.

Either the lock is controlled electronically, i.e. has a li'l computer onboard wired in to the hotel's system and at checkout time the system tells it to quit honoring the current keycard,

or,

When you check in, your checkout time is encoded on the keycard. So the magstripe basically says, "Mr. Lock, please allow this person in unless it's after 12pm on Wednesday."

Maybe neither of those hypotheses are correct - I'll defer to SouthwestMDW.



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 16075 times:
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Does anyone remember the punch card type keys? I started collecting hotel room keys when I was a little kid and now have a big jar full of them from every hotel I have ever stayed at. I haven't got a actual key since 2002 and that was my first since the mid 1990s. I really have no idea why I collect them, it is just something that happened and I just keep doing it.

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/NWA747/keys2.jpg

The Louisville East key is from 1994 and I remember that because I accidentally locked myself out of the room in my underwear when I went out on the porch to smoke and the door latched behind me. I remember walking into the lobby in my boxers and t-shirt, it was funny looking back on it. The others are from the late 1980s. I want to say the white keys are from a Hyatt in the L.A. area. I don't recall where the brown one came from.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlinekiwiinoz From New Zealand, joined Oct 2005, 2165 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 16064 times:

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 5):
What I always fail to understand is how the keycards themselves expire. If the lock is not controlled electronically and hooked up to a system how can they prevent someone from coming back and unlocking it provided the keycard isn't damaged.

Not all hotel locking systems are "online" with a connection to the individual doorlocks. In fact most are not, (due to cost). the system merely cuts the keys to each individual door via a sequence


User currently onlineokie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3044 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 16048 times:

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 5):
What I always fail to understand is how the keycards themselves expire. If the lock is not controlled electronically and hooked up to a system how can they prevent someone from coming back and unlocking it provided the keycard isn't damaged


kiwi sort of touched on it but basically simply put if card 001 was your card then when card 002 was used then card 001 would no longer work.
I have run into problem while vacationing when issued 2 cards one for me one for GF, both will have the same sequence number. GF goes shopping while I hang out at the pool. GF leaves card in room and upon returning goes to the front desk and requests a new card, they give her one (the next sequence). I was unaware of her key issue so when I tried to get in the room my key would not work the desk gave me a new card (now 2 down the sequence) So her card would not work now. This was a dog chasing its tail and an effort in futility until I gathered up all the cards and went back to the front desk and had the 2 cards reissued with the same sequence number.

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 8):

Not all hotel locking systems are "online" with a connection to the individual doorlocks


Unfortunately for me the one time I have ask for a late check out and the locks were online and my key would not work after 11am because they forgot to program it in, a little frustrating.

Okie


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8453 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 15934 times:
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Twice I stayed on a hotel ship in Duesseldorf and my key card had my name and the dates of my stay printed on them. Nice touch.


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1547 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 15919 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 7):
Does anyone remember the punch card type keys? I started collecting hotel room keys when I was a little kid and now have a big jar full of them from every hotel I have ever stayed at.

I hate the Ving cards. I hadn't seen them forever, but I stayed at a La Quinta in San Antonio a few months ago that had them. They seemed to work only in about 1/2 the rooms about 1/2 the time. Talk about a pain in the behind.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6037 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 15918 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 7):

Does anyone remember the punch card type keys?

I still run into them on occasion. Usually at smaller, or older properties. The last one was a month ago with the La Quinta TPA airport.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinejetblast From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 1231 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 15882 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 7):
I haven't got a actual key since 2002 and that was my first since the mid 1990s.

I forgot to take a photo when I was there but the U-City hotel in Narita (Japan) still issues regular, metal keys for each room.



Speedbird Concorde One
User currently offlineadh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 15855 times:

Quoting okie (Reply 9):
kiwi sort of touched on it but basically simply put if card 001 was your card then when card 002 was used then card 001 would no longer work.
I have run into problem while vacationing when issued 2 cards one for me one for GF, both will have the same sequence number. GF goes shopping while I hang out at the pool. GF leaves card in room and upon returning goes to the front desk and requests a new card, they give her one (the next sequence). I was unaware of her key issue so when I tried to get in the room my key would not work the desk gave me a new card (now 2 down the sequence) So her card would not work now. This was a dog chasing its tail and an effort in futility until I gathered up all the cards and went back to the front desk and had the 2 cards reissued with the same sequence number.

That is interesting logic. Basically when the next guest enters the room, the previous guest's key is turned off.

This reminds me of the time I stay at the Hilton Americas in Houston. I checked and was given my electronic key. When I arrived at the room, I discovered that someone else was already using that room. They were not there at the time but their stuff was. I went back downstairs. The front desk corrected the error and gave me an unoccupied room. Using the logic above, this means that I invalidated the key for the guy in the first room. When he got back to his room his key would not work and he would have to go to the front desk for a new one.

Andrew


User currently onlineokie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3044 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 15836 times:

Quoting adh214 (Reply 14):
When he got back to his room his key would not work and he would have to go to the front desk for a new one.


Exactly, and of course the problem would seem to be the key malfunction to the customer not the mistake by the clerk.

Okie


User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6037 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 15792 times:

Quoting jetblast (Reply 13):
I forgot to take a photo when I was there but the U-City hotel in Narita (Japan) still issues regular, metal keys for each room.

Last time I got one was last year, when I stopped a REALLY nice motel/restaurant/bar/indoor pool at Henryetta, OK. It was very nice, for sure, very old school, but it still had large screen TVs in each room.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3529 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 15677 times:

As mentioned, the door locks have batteries. I actually opened one up (the college residence I lived in had them) after my roommate or his moronic friends decided to stick some paper into the slot on the lock on my bedroom. IIRC, I had to use an allen-key to open the mechanism and access the keycard reader/batteries.

Thisthread reminded me of a system I made so that I could open the door of my room when I would lock myself out (being that I was in college, the reasons are obvious..lol). Since the facility charged us each time they had to send up someone to open the suite door, I tied a string to the door handle and ran it down to the bottom of the door. I then taped the string along the bottom of the door (out of sight from everyone including my d*ckhead roommate). To open the door, I'd just have to find the string under the door and pull it which in turn, pulled the door handle down so the door would swing open. This way I could always get into my bedroom if I locked myself out without needing to pay a lock-out charge. It came in handy many times, trust me 

[Edited 2011-06-16 19:39:27]


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User currently offlineALTF4 From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1212 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 15634 times:

The scary thing is, a $30 kit from the web will let you print all the key cards you want. Just check in once, see how the card is programmed, and play around with it to make new cards for any room you please.

Fortunately many hotels now have encryption on the cards, but still, most are very, very weak encryption - about on par with WEP - and you get a decent computer to crunch numbers for 20 minutes and you can easily decipher the encryption.

So, always remember to use a anti-theft lock if you leave a laptop in the room, and deadbolt the door when you're inside!







Disclaimer: While I know this from experience, I have not done anything illegal with the knowledge or access gained from the methods above. All key card "hacking" was done with permission from the premises owner.

/covering my ass

[Edited 2011-06-17 06:37:13]


The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
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