How to Know if installing Buzzer System is Right for Your Business

What is a door strike?

A strike plate is the piece of metal that captures a door handle latch when the door is shut. The strike is installed inside the door frame, parallel to the door lock. When opening the door, one turns the handle retracting the door latch. Doorknob latches are spring operated, i.e., the handle doesn't need to be turned in order to shut and lock (which is why many people get locked out — they shut the door keeping the key inside.)

The right strike plate, will ‘catch’ the door latch in the exact location to hold the door shut, keeping it perfectly aligned with the frame. Strike plate can work with any lock, for instance a deadbolt that is not spring-loaded; however, since we are talking about an Electric Strike, we will focus on doorknobs as in most cases you will find them together.

Door Strike

A metal plate installed inside the frame. The above strike has two gaps; one for the doorknob latch, and one for the deadbolt

Doorknob Latch

On the left side you can see the doorknob latch. In the above picture it is in its retracted position right before released into the strike plate

What is an Electric Strike?

A regular strike as explained before is a solid static piece of metal. To open the door, the door lock must be retracted. With electric strikes, it is the opposite — to open the door the strike is what becomes unlocked and the handle doesn't need to be turned!

What happens is this: the strike gets an electric signal from a trigger button. One side of the strike becomes unlocked and is spring operated like a doorknob. When the door is pulled, the latch hits the strike side pushing it back. The strike plate's side spring then releases, coming back to the original position. The arrow in the picture is pointing to the side that gets released when triggered.

What causes the electric strike to 'buzz' when triggered?

The strike is connected to an intermediatory component which decides when and when not to give it electricity. Usually, connected directly to a switch. The other side of the switch is connected to a power supply coming from the wall. When the switch button is pressed, a full circuit of electricity is created and the strike can release itself

The buzzing sound comes when AC power is directed to the electric strike.

You may notice that not all electric strikes have a buzzing sound. The ones that don't make a sound are getting DC voltage. In brief — AC power causes a buzzing sound, DC doesn't. Security-wise, there is no difference between installing AC or DC. It is simply a matter of preference. Some businesses prefer to have a buzzer electric strike and some would rather their door be silent.

Is it dangerous to install an Electric Strike?

Simply put, no. Strikes run on low-voltage (usually 12v, 16v or 24v.) You will not get electrocuted by low voltage. However, there is the risk of you ruining the system if the wires are not connected right. That is why I recommend having a professional install them. If you are looking for a professional access control installer in NYC, then we would be happy to advise you on the best course of action. 

 What Type of Businesses Most Commonly Have Buzzer Systems

Electric strikes are for anyone that wants to have the option to trigger the door to unlock, remotely. This can be done via a reception button, a cellphone app or even a small remote. You will find them most commonly in:

Jewelry Stores with Double-Door Buzzer Entry

Jewelry stores usually have two doors to enter the store, an external and internal. When a customer arrives they ring the bell and the first door is buzzed open. Only when the first door closes will the internal one be able to open. Part of the reason for this is that in case someone tryes stealing a product, they can get locked between both doors if not opened from the inside. This also happens when when the security system is triggered, it can go into auto-lock mode to prevent theft. Diamond and jewelry stores need extra heavy-duty electric strikes in case there is an attempt of forced entry

Jewelry electric strike buzzer systems most commonly use AC electricity with a buzzing sound as they want to notify the customer that the door is open. 

Building Office Suites with Video Intercom Doorbells

I remember walking up to my accountant a year ago. I entered the tall NY building in Midtown and when I left the elevator I finally found the Suite no. I rang the little doorbell and a few minutes later I was buzzed in by the receptionist. She was able to see me through a video camera installed. Frequently, offices don’t have someone at the reception desk. They want to make sure that when someone enters the office they are greeted in the right way.

Apartment Complexes with Intercom Systems

The most common setting for an electric strike to be installed. The electric strike is connected to an intercom system. A standard audio-video intercom system in New York works as the following:

1) A visitor finds the apartment no. code on the intercom panel, enters it and presses the ‘ring’ button.
2) The intercom apartment unit rings in the selected apartment, and the tenant can see and speak to the visitor.
3) If the tenant agrees, they press the unlock button on their panel which releases the building electric strike

We won’t go into detail about how Intercom systems work exactly, but there are different types with different technologies. You can learn more about the intercom systems in NYC right here. 

Retail and Storefronts

Most storefront doors in NYC are a see-through aluminum or glass commercial door. Though the businesses are looking for as much foot traffic as they can get, in some cases they rather have the door locked with a remote buzzer system. For example:

1) - the store needs extra protection as it is in a bad neighborhood. They want to make sure they have complete control of foot traffic.
2) - The business staff is not always in front of the door to greet the customers.
3) - Instead of keys, each employee has their own electronic fob card to enter the store.

Besides, some stores want to limit the number of people that are in the shop at any given time (this is especially relevant to the new COVID-19 precautions.) 

A Few Benefits of Installing an Electric Strike Operated Buzzer System

When transferring over from a mechanical to an electronic security device, there are many options. You can install a Magnetic Lock on the top of the door, or you can switch the lock itself to a smart lock. Right now I want to outline 3 main benefits of replacing your door strike with an electric strike buzzer system.

You Can Keep Using Your Original Key

Since we are not changing the lock itself, if you wish, you will still be able to use your original key. That means, everything can work as it did before, using the same key for the same original lock. From the inside, you can also open it as you did before. 

No Complex Door Modifications or Fresh Installations

The beauty of installing an electric strike that in most cases you will find one that has the exact dimensions of the regular strike you had before. That means, no custom drilling in the door or cutting the frame. You still will need to connect the wires coming into the frame, but other than that, it is plug-and-play.

Easily Integrated with your Access Control System

The Electric Strike wiring can go directly into the access control panel. Meaning, you can monitor which doors were opened and by who all through the software. This will work only if you have an electronic entry method such as a keypad or proximity reader for fobs and smart cards 

Installing an Electric Strike

This next section I will describe in a very brief manner the steps to installing a Buzzer System for your business. The following content is for informative purposes only, do not attempt to install a system without knowing what you are doing. Dealing with electricity is dangerous and only qualified installers should carry out installations. Furthermore, you risk damaging your hardware if not installed right.

1) Find your power supply

On the account that you want a simple electric strike that isn’t connected to a fancy Access Control System, you can get your power directly from an AC outlet. You will need a power transformer that converts 120v AC to 24v/16v/12v (on the account that you are in the US.) 

2) Run wires from your power supply to the activation switch

Out of the transformer, run two wires to your trigger button. Usually, you will find instructions on the button on the input and output wire terminals.

According to the electric strike instructions, make sure the wires go into the right place. Also, check if your Electric Strike is NO (Normally Open) or NC (Normally Closed.) A NO electric strike means that on its default position the electric strike will not be getting any electricity. This is the simple generic electric strike we were talking about before. However, on many electric strikes, you have the option to switch it around – the electric strike stays locked when electricity is flowing towards it and opens when it doesn’t get any current. Before installing your low voltage electric strike locking mechanism, please make sure you know what type of device you are installing.

We will explain more about this in another post, but for now, just make sure you carefully look at the wiring diagram that came with your Electric Strike and trigger switch.

3) Mount your Electric Strike

Use the template that came with the device and sketch on the door frame the cutout. Make sure you use the proper tools (e.g., a RotoZip is helpful.) Before making any modifications, make sure the electric strike will be completely flush and parallel with the door lock latch.

Risks of Installing a Buzzer System by Yourself

Let's start out with the electric strike voltage. Make sure you run the right voltage from the power supply to the electric strike. If you give an electric strike that works on 12v higher voltage (e.g., 24v) you might short the electric strike.

Also, during the process ensure you don't accidentally close the circuit by having the positive (+) and negative (-) wires touch each other. This can cause a shortage in your power supply and lead to other problems in the installation.


This article is meant to give you a brief overview of the electric strikes. We discussed that the benefit of electric strikes is the simple clean installation with no lock systems needing to be replaced. The benefit of being able to keep using the key as done before. The advantage of connecting it to a whole access control system. We talked about the type of business that most commonly-used electric strikes, and what type of businesses should have them installed.

We then had a brief guide on the installation of an electric strike system. The guide is not meant to be a step-by-step tutorial, but to give anyone that has a basic understanding of how electricity works, with the ability to run wires the know-how on installing an electric strike buzzer system. The last part was the ‘words of caution’; what to be wary of when installing an electric strike.

If you have any questions about electric strikes, always feel free to reach out to us, or contact us if you are looking for a professional buzzer system installer in nyc.

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