BeCode AIR+ NFC-enabled locker cam lock

I have this thing on order:

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The helpful people at BeCode confirmed that it only authenticates NFC tags using the UID and nothing else - so no monkeying around with other sectors like the Yale Doorman lock does. Also, more importantly, it means I can reuse my Doorman-programmed implant to authenticate on the BeCode lock.

I intend to install it on my locker at work, which I use to store clothes, sundry items and towels to shower after cycling to work every day. So that’ll be one less key I have to lug around - and lose - on my bike. Although I must say, that’s an expensive convenience: the lock probably costs as much as the entire locker cabinet :slight_smile:

Of course, that’s assuming my implant is detected and read by the device. I’m taking a chance that it will be. The BeCode rep couldn’t confirm that the lock will work with a glass transponder, because they’ve never tried it.

So stay tuned to discover whether it’ll work or not.

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Definitely following this one

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I’m one of those people who will pay for convenience, within reason of course.

How much are we talking though?
100? 200?

If this is reasonably priced, it’s great. There was load of talk on these kinda locks a while ago on this forum and people threw in their suggestions with mixed opinions on every solution that we could find.

The device is EUR 186 ex-VAT. With 2 different size extra cams (in case I want to reuse it somewhere else later), 3 printed Mifare Classic cards I didn’t need but what the hell, VAT and shipping, I parted with EUR 229.

A little pricy but it might be worth it just so I dont have to fuck around with with trying to determine which tubular lock belongs to which key on the machine I am currently working on.

Pricy, yes. But then I look at it as an investment: if I ever leave the company I currently work for, I’ll take it with me since it’s mine, and I’ll reuse it someplace else. Same thing with the Yale Doorman: when I leave my rented house, the lock comes with me.

In short, I’m building up a collection of NFC devices that will follow me and my implant, and that I intend to use to simplify my daily life everywhere I happen to patronize regularly.

Now I’m on the market for a NFC-enabled scandinavian cylinder tumbler to replace the one on my company’s bike shed door. Once I find it, I’ll finally be able to go to work without any keys.

I actually don’t think thats that bad. Especially for your use case.

Oh totally, thats what I plan on doing with the locks I am putting on my shop and things but I’m not sure how many uses I have for cam locks outside of work.

Okay, I got the BeCode lock installed on my locker door at work, and… it works! Not only that, it works surprisingly well too. Check it out:

Here’s a photo of our lockers at work: can you guess which is mine? :slight_smile:

Closeup of the lock:

So, for a quick review of the device:

The lock I bought is the BeCode AIR+ Fixed. There are two versions: fixed mode and free mode. The former allows you to assign one or more cards to a lock permanently, while the latter lets any card “take ownership” of a lock temporarily until it’s unlocked - and then the lock is free again to use with some other card.

My lock came with no less than 3, nicely pre-printed but otherwise vanilla Mifare Classic 1k cards:

I have fewer keys to get into my safe at the bank :slight_smile: Incidentally, I misunderstood BeCode’s quotation and failed to pay for my 3 cards. But BeCode offered them to me anyway. Classy! Thanks Jörg!

To be honest, only two cards are used (aside from your implant that is): the Main Admin card and the Admin card. The Main Admin card is used to program one or more regular Admin cards into the lock. The regular Admin card(s) are then used to program user cards into the lock. Only the user cards lock/unlock the device. If you come from the Unix world, think of the Main Admin card as root, and the regular Admin cards as the wheel group.

Now here’s what’s not so hot: the first time you power up the device, it has no Main Admin card programmed in. The first card you present it becomes the Main Admin and YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT AFTERWARD! So don’t be hasty and don’t scan your implant first thing after getting the lock, because it’ll become the Main Admin card, and the Main Admin card can’t actuate the lock. Also, don’t lose your Main Admin card, else you won’t be able to add or remove regular Admin cards.

If you mess up the initial Main Admin card registration at power up or you lose your Main Admin card, you’re hosed: you have to return the device to BeCode to have them reset it. Frankly, that’s really stupid: there should be a reset button on the backside, that the user could access by unmounting the lock from the door, to reset the device themselves. But… there ya go. That’s what it is.

The whole Main Admin Card > Admin Cards > User cards hierarchy is overkill for a single user like me. But clearly it’s made for large facility managers with staff to manage a large number of lockers, like in swimming pools or gyms. I wish I hadn’t had to go through the whole programming rigmarole - which is useless to me - but it’s a one-time job and it’s quick enough to do anyway.

Now then, for the installation: all you need is a 24mm wrench, a T30 Torx wrench and a Phillips screwdriver. It’s a 10 minute affair. Clean and easy. You can order 3 different cams for the lock, with 3 different offsets: no offset, 4mm and 7mm. Since you can install the cam in reverse, you have 6 possible length combinations available to fit any locker door / frame.

You can take measurements on your locker and order what you think is the right cam, but I suggest you order all of them: not only will you be able to reuse the lock somewhere else, but if you measure the locker wrong, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration. Me, that’s exactly what I did: I thought I needed the 7mm offset cam, but it turned out I needed the one with no offset. I don’t know how I managed to get it so wrong, but I’m sure glad I ordered all the cams.

Once the lock is installed, it just works. It’s that simple. It’s solid (for a locker lock at least - I suspect a good sledgehammer wack would bust it easily enough), it’s well made, it looks smart, and most importantly for us, it works extremely well with implants. Seriously, it reads an NFC implant even more easily than an ACR122. For a battery-powered device, that’s really quite remarkable.

The BeCode AIR+ only identifies the cards with the UID. This means it won’t overwrite data into your implant without telling you, or set its own keys in your Mifare Classic - if that’s what you have implanted. It also makes it compatible with a wide range of NFC chips. Of course, it’s less secure than a challenge-response authentication but… hey, it’s a locker lock :slight_smile:

Finally, I should mention that BeCode is a very responsive and very helpful company, and they answered my technical questions straight without giving me clueless salesman replies. It was a pleasure to do business with them and I would not hesitate to buy from them again.

That’s my review of the BeCode AIR+. If you’re serious about going keyless and you have a locker at work or elsewhere that you can fit one onto - and you have disposable income - get yourself one: you won’t be disappointed. It’s not cheap, but I reckon it’s worth it.

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Nice find and review :+1:
What is the projected battery life?
What type of batteries does it take?
What sort of reminder alert is there for low battery?
Is there an “emergency” power back-up port etc?

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Very much tempted, wonder if my boss would spring for a couple.

The battery is the unusual CR2477 giant 3V button battery that was apparently designed for King Kong’s hearing aid. You replace it using a special plastic ring tool that’s supplied with the lock (see the manufacturer’s instructional video). It looks easy to damage when you do it - both the tool and the device in fact.

There is no emergency power backup: if the battery is dead, you need to have a new one ready to go and the ring tool to replace it. If you don’t, you won’t shower that day :slight_smile:

No idea about the battery life. BeCode says 12,000 closings / 3 years. I’ll report if it lasts less than 3 years. But right now mine is brand new, minus a couple lockings/unlockings.

Thanks, 3 years is a good period of time to track down a CR2477 :wink:

Worst case scenario if that thing died prematurely it looks big enough that you could give it a good hard twist rather easily and hopefully not break it in the process of moving the cam out of the way.

Hmm no: cam locks aren’t simply screwed onto the door. There are flats on the sides of the threaded shaft to prevent them turning. Otherwise cam locks would be trivially easy to defeat :slight_smile: The flats aren’t super-strong (particularly those on the door, which is sheet metal), but they’re enough to prevent random passersby forcing their way in without making quite a noise.

As a result, weak though cam locks are, if my BeCode lock terminally dies on me, removing it will require enough force to damage the locker cabinet. My employer wouldn’t be very happy.

Depends on where they are installed, I’ve seen mailboxes with cam locks that you could open by jamming a flat head in the lock and twisting the whole lock 90 degrees since there was nothing close enough for the flats to stop it.

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The mailbox is defective then: the hole for the cam lock shouldn’t be round.

Anyway, cam locks are hardly safety devices: they’re just there to keep honest people honest. And in my case, it doesn’t really matter: unless my toothbrush or my dirty cycling underwear somehow turned into collectible items, the content of my locker is worth less than the lock itself. I’d be more worried that someone would want to steal the lock :slight_smile:

Depends how much toilet paper you got in there

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I have a mystery bidder on the line… :moneybag:

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:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: