Quiet Door Hardware Examined

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on May 06, 2012

The incessant buzzing of electrified door hardware can drive people crazy. Is noisy door hardware the norm? In this note, we examine the causes of 'noisy' door hardware, examine the business case for buying 'quiet' hardware, and compare the cost of 'quiet' technologies to common alternatives.

Overview

Major hardware manufacturers claim their exit devices are 'as quiet as a churchmouse'. Below is a recent advertisement pitching this:


Why Noise Occurs

Hardware noise occurs when the solenoid, the heart of these devices, gets energized. When a credential is read, the system automatically energizes hardware so the door can swing open. Take an exit device, for example. When 'secure', the device unpowers the solenoid (quiet), and throws the latch. When activated to permit entry, the solenoid is powered up, and the latch is retracted, allowing the door to swing open.

When the device applies AC power, it effectively 'bounces' the polarity of the solenoid at 50 or 60 cycles per second. Since the frequency is so rapid, the net effect still holds the solenoid in an energized position, but generates a noticeable 'chattering' noise. This noise is often referred to as 'buzzing'; as in 'Why don't you buzz that person in?'

The Solution to Noise

This problem is significantly mitigated when using DC only powered solenoids (versus the more common AC). Instead of polarity reversing rapidly 60 times per second, a strong steady impulse of power in one direction holds the solenoid thrown. The only noise that emanates is whatever is physically created by the solenoid to hold open the strike.

Typically, AC powered solenoids can produce ~70 - 80dB of sound, while DC powered solenoid device produce ~20dB. (Decibel comparison charts denote a quiet library typically measures 40 dB.) However, depending on device, this power selection may influence performance like speed of movement, heat produced (efficiency), or gauge and distance of wiring.

Alternatively, products like the Adams Rite ES [link no longer available] or SDC Quiet DUO latch retraction kit [link no longer available] further reduces this noise by getting rid of the solenoid entirely. Instead of the solenoid being continuously energized, it uses a motor to to drive and pull the latch open. A geared assembly is used to pivot the latch in and out of position, and the motor only is energized in pulses when moving the assembly. 'Ultra quiet' motorized hardware versions produce less than 10 dBs, notably less than even DC powered solenoids (though 20dB is quite low itself - less than a quiet bedroom at night).

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Where Quiet Counts

Controlling noisy openings may be important in several types of buildings. Hospitals, hotels, and libraries all desire quiet operations, and eliminating the constant buzz of doors being opened maintains peaceful environments. Other applications may include waiting areas next to main entries, where the high-cycle opening of doors may disrupt patrons or patients.

Comparison

For no additional cost, solenoid driven hardware can be adjusted to operate quietly. In recent years, devices allow 'field selectable voltage' and will operate with either AC or DC power. As a result, the 'noise' of hardware is something controlled in power supply design. Choosing a DC power supply to operate these devices mitigates noise.

If you need something very quiet, specialty items like motorized 'ultra quiet' SDC Quiet DUO are available for ~$425. However, this device is ~$100 more than 'traditional' solenoid assemblies.

Interestingly, despite several trade magazines running full-page ads, pricing for the Adams-Rite SE device is not yet available, and we are unable to include it in this report. When pricing hits the street, we will update this post accordingly.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door...
Vehicle Gate Access Control Guide on Mar 19, 2020
Vehicle gate access control demands integrating various systems to keep...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
Hands-Free Bathroom Doors For Coronavirus Mitigation on Apr 10, 2020
Coronavirus has increased concerns about picking up germs, especially from...
ZKTeco Presents SpeedFace Recognition + Body Temperature Detection on Apr 21, 2020
ZKTeco presented its SF1008+ reader with body temperature and face mask...
The Problem With Fever Detecting Thermal Sunglasses on Apr 15, 2020
While the media has promoted using thermal sunglasses to detect fevers, this...
Help Security End Users Facing Coronavirus Improve Remote Access on Mar 24, 2020
Many end-users and integrators are struggling with the impact of coronavirus...
Integrators Rising Against Coronavirus on May 27, 2020
IPVM integrator statistics make it clear - Coronavirus's impact on business...
K3 Wall Mounted IR Temperature Gun Tested on Jun 12, 2020
Is this the solution to not spending thousands of dollars on fever...
"He Is An Idiot!" Exclaims SIA Director John Mack on Mar 23, 2020
Here is another inside look into the "leaders" of the security industry. SIA...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...
Dahua Smart Motion Detection Camera Tested on Mar 03, 2020
Dahua has introduced Smart Motion Detection, AI-based VMD, claiming to use an...
Delayed Egress Access Control Tutorial on Feb 04, 2020
Delayed Egress marks one of the few times locking people into a building is...
China DVR/NVR Backdoor Discovered, Huawei Refutes on Feb 07, 2020
A backdoor was found in Chinese-produced DVRs and NVRs that secretly allowed...

Recent Reports

Taiwan Lilin NDAA Compliant Cameras Tested on Aug 13, 2020
Taiwan-based manufacturer Lilin is taking direct aim at Dahua and Hikvision...
White House Expands Dahua Hikvision Blacklist To Federal Funding on Aug 13, 2020
The White House is expanding the NDAA to blacklist anyone who "uses" banned...
Actual Coronavirus Testing Options Examined on Aug 13, 2020
Fever cameras have emerged as an indirect and flawed way to test for...
Video Analytics Online Show September 2020 Opened - Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, BriefCam, Genetec, Milestone + 30 More on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature 35+ Video Analytics companies...
The German Company Powering Many China Temperature Tablets (Heimann) on Aug 12, 2020
Many fever tablet suppliers market German-made Heimann thermal sensors while...
Salesforce Drops Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 12, 2020
Salesforce has dropped Dahua and Hikvision as customers, forcing the two mega...
Access Control Course Fall 2020 - Register Now on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry....
Genetec CEO Declares "We Don't Negotiate Payment With Patent Trolls" on Aug 11, 2020
Are patent trolls like terrorists? Genetec's CEO is coming out strongly...
Hanwha AI Analytics Camera Tested on Aug 11, 2020
Hanwha has released their Wisenet P AI camera, adding person and vehicle...
Alabama Schools Million Dollar Hikvision Fever Camera Deal on Aug 11, 2020
The Baldwin County, Alabama public schools purchased a $1 million, 144-camera...
Dahua Taunts Australian Government, Continues To Sell Illegal Fever Cameras on Aug 10, 2020
Dahua is effectively taunting the Australian government by continuing to sell...
HID Releases VertX Replacement Aero on Aug 10, 2020
HID is replacing two established and broadly supported types of access...
NDAA Compliant Video Surveillance Whitelist on Aug 10, 2020
This report aggregates video surveillance products that manufacturers have...
Telpo China Temperature Tablets Tested on Aug 10, 2020
The provider for overseas companies ranging from Canon Singapore to US'...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Camera Showcased by Chilean City on Aug 07, 2020
Deploying a fever camera outdoors, in the rain, with no black body, is...