How is the Sunnect AP501 Advanced Protection digital door lock different from a conventional lock?

Glad you asked. There are 2 fundamental differences and 2 fundamental similarities. First, the most obvious difference is that AP501 does not have a conventional keyhole. The elimination of a keyhole is tremendous since it keeps the lock from being picked. There are so many stories of people buying a cheap lock-picking tool off the Internet and picking a door lock without any training. Well, with AP501, that worry is gone. The other equally-tremendous benefit of not having a keyhole is that it keeps the lock from being easily vandalized with sand, gum, or glue, stuck in the keyhole.

The other difference is the convenience of digital technology. How often have you wished you didn’t have to carry a key when you went out for a jog? Or how many times have you wished you knew for sure you locked the door when you left home? Well, with AP501, both of these wishes are granted. AP501 lets you use a passcode to enter and it automatically locks the door when it is closed.

The 2 major similarities between AP501 and a conventional door lock are the ease of installation and standard finishes. Both fit standard doors so that you only need a screwdriver to install. Both have standard finishes (Bright Brass, Aged Bronze, and Satin Nickel for AP501) so that you can install the AP501 deadbolt and install a knob or a handle with a matching finish.

Can AP501 be picked?

No. There are many news reports of someone using a lock-picking tool or a “bump key,” but AP501 does not have a keyhole to pick. Its digital Tag Key is practically impossible to pick or copy. Even if someone managed to steal a Tag Key, it can easily be deleted from the AP501 lock so that it quickly becomes useless. This protection from lock-picking is one of the major reasons our customers purchase an AP501 digital door lock.

How does AP501 stand against kicking, hammering, prying, and even drilling and sawing?

Well, with determination, power tools, and a lot of time, any lock can be destroyed, or any door for that matter. But AP501 makes it very difficult to do so. In fact, AP501 has many features, mostly invisible from the outside, that are designed to keep a vandal or a burglar out of your home even if he tries to “destroy” the lock. For instance, all of the vital parts of AP501 such as the motor, deadbolt drive, CPU, batteries, etc., are mounted on the inside of the door so that a vandal cannot reach them from the outside.

Plus, even if a vandal spends enough time with power tools to drill many large holes (if he does not mind making such loud noises), it would still be very difficult for him to reach the deadbolt control mechanism because of a specially-treated protective plate that blocks access to the deadbolt latch, unlike other locks where the deadbolt control mechanism is easily visible once the outside unit is compromised.

Security is further enhanced by a rock-solid deadbolt latch bracket, located inside the bore hole behind the protective plate, that totally embraces the deadbolt latch control mechanism. It would be one tough job to penetrate that bracket, and without penetrating the bracket, a vandal will not be able to access the deadbolt latch.

In case a vandal tries to go after the throwbolt, the throwbolt is fortified with a 5-mm thick carbon rod that resists sawing, making it extremely time-consuming to try to gain access by sawing the throwbolt.

In addition to all this, the vital parts in the interior unit are further protected by a heavy-duty interior mounting plate that disallows any access to such parts as the CPU, PCB, batteries, motor, etc. We made sure that it would be extremely time-consuming (and very loud) if anyone tries to break the AP501 digital door lock.

How is AP501 protected against high-voltage shock attacks?

Some digital door locks can be vulnerable to high-voltage shocks if someone made a special machine to instantly generate and apply about 15,000 volts of electricity to the 9V temporary power terminal. Such a shock could burn the PCB (printed circuit board) inside thus disabling the lock. The AP501 has a bypass circuitry that protects the PCB in case of such a high-voltage attack so that the lock remains locked.

How secure is the deadbolt latch and the strike?

The AP501 comes with the industry-standard 1-inch throwbolt (the part of the deadbolt that protrudes from the lock). It also has a 3-part strike assembly: strike plate, strike lining box, and door frame reinforcer. The door frame reinforcer strengthens the door frame so that it can withstand a greater level of force exerted from the outside. The strike lining box, also called a dust box, keeps dust out of the strike chamber so that the throwbolt can enter the strike chamber without impediment. The strike plate is the cover but it also adds to the strength of the door frame.

Why does AP501 not use the RFID technology?

The RFID technology allows the user to unlock a lock without physically touching the key to the sensor, and Sunnect has sold other digital door locks in the past that used the RFID technology. But for the AP501, whose first and foremost mandate was ‘real security’, we decided not to use the RFID technology for two reasons. First, a plastic cover would be required for the RFID sensor which would weaken the robustness of the lock. Second, the RFID sensor consumes far more battery power than the Tag Key technology if it is always on. If it is not always on, it would require an activation button which negates the convenience of the RFID technology. The Tag Key technology we adopted addresses both of these concerns by allowing us to mostly use metal parts for the sensor and to eliminate an activation button.

Why does AP501 not use biometric functions such as fingerprint or voice recognition?

There are fine products that use biometric technologies (mostly for commercial indoor use and not for residential doors exposed to the weather, however) but we decided against such technologies so that we did not have to compromise our security. For instance, fingerprint recognition would require a scanner, whether with an optical or silicon sensor, that can easily be vandalized. The voice recognition technology would require openings to accommodate its microphone that can also be easily vandalized. Plus, those digital door locks with fingerprint or voice recognition we tested showed unacceptable levels of error rates in recognizing the fingerprint or voice input.

My battery is completely drained. How can I get in the house?

The AP501 runs on 6V power supplied by 4 AA batteries located on the inside of the door. If these batteries run low, there will be both visual and audible warnings each time the lock is used. If the batteries are allowed to drain completely, then you would need to use the 9V temporary power terminal to temporarily supply power to the lock.

To use it, attach a 9V battery to the 9V temporary power terminal nodes located at the bottom of the lock. The battery’s polarity does not matter. Wait a few moments until the lock is powered up before attaching the Tag Key or entering your passcode. Keep the 9V battery attached until the deadbolt latch is retracted.

Keep in mind that even in case of a complete battery drain, the passcode and Tag Key registrations are preserved so that you still need one or the other to release the lock with a 9V battery. Once inside, immediately replace all 4 AA batteries.

Can I open the lock from the inside even if the battery is completely drained?

Yes. The AP501 is designed so that you can open the lock from the inside under all circumstances including a complete battery drain. The Manual Override knob is directly connected to the deadbolt latch with a metal bar so that turning the Manual Override knob will physically and directly control the deadbolt latch’s retraction and extension.

Under normal circumstances, we recommend using the Open/Close button instead of the Manual Override knob. The AP501’s internal structure is optimized for the Open/Close button.

How can Sunnect afford a two-year warranty for all parts when most companies offer only a one-year warranty on electronic parts?

The AP501 digital door lock is designed to provide many years of security and convenience for your home. It is constructed using top-notch parts and materials from suppliers whose parts and materials have been used in digital door locks for many years in a dozen countries. Based on our extensive testing of these parts and materials and their history of quality, we feel confident about the robustness and reliability of AP501, enough to offer a 2-year limited warranty that covers all of its parts including electronic parts.

We also make it easy for you to use the warranty service. For instance, we offer you an option in which we ship a replacement lock to you immediately and give you time to replace the lock and return the old one to us. Please refer to the Warranty Service statement included with your lock or refer to the Warranty Service page for details.

I lost my key. How can I make sure no one uses it to get into my house?

It’s simple. As soon as you can, re-register the remaining keys (Tag Keys) on your door lock and any key that you no longer have will automatically be deleted from the lock. If you’ve lost all of your keys, then you can delete all keys from the lock. Follow these procedures.

To register one or more Tag Keys.
1. Press the Key Registration Button.
2. Touch the Tag Key Sensor with a Tag Key to be registered.
3. Repeat step 2 for all of the Tag Keys you want to register, up to 20 Tag Keys per lock.
4. Press the Key Registration Button again.

To delete all Tag Keys from your lock.
1. Press the Key Registration Button.
2. Press ‘00’ (2 zeros) on the keypad.
3. Press the Key Registration Button.

Please refer to the Tag Key registration section of the User Manual for details.

NOTE: If you have activated the Master function on your lock and you’ve lost the Master Tag Key, you can still disable the Master Tag Key by using the Master Passcode. Please refer to the Registering a Master Tag Key section of the User Manual for the procedure.