How-To Geek

DIY Door Lock Grants Access via RFID

If you’re looking to lighten the load on your pocket and banish the jingling of keys, this RFID-key hack makes your front door keycard accessible–and even supports groups and user privileges.

Steve, a DIYer and Hack A Day reader, was looking for a solution to a simple problem: he wanted to easily give his friends access to his home without having to copy lots of keys and bulk up their key rings. Since all his friends already carried a Boston public transit RFID card the least intrusive solution was to hack his front door to support RFID cards.

His Arduino-based solution can store up to 50 RFID card identifiers, supports group-based access, and thanks to a little laser cutting and stain the project enclosure blends in with the Victorian styling of his home’s facade. Hit up the link below to see his code–for a closer look at the actual enclosure check out this photo gallery.

RFID Front Door Lock [via Hack A Day]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/28/12

Comments (14)

  1. r

    and if there is a power failure you are locked out unless you have your key,
    which contradicts the point of all this entirely

  2. dragonbite

    That’s like saying if you lose your keys it contradicts the point of locks in the first place! Depending on the person these two events (power outage and losing keys) may occur at the same frequency and to the same effect … somebody sitting outside waiting for the person with the necessary means to get inside (without breaking a window at least).

  3. r

    no, not at all –can’t remember ever losing a key in my life, but I’ve experienced countless power failures.
    So, that kinda’ kills that theory for me.

    If I lose my keys then I’ll be angry with myself, but if there’s a power failure then I’ll be angry with the technology. At any rate I wouldn’t be too concerned with theories of frequency & effect at this point.
    I’d just basically be pissed off.

  4. Tape wizard

    I’m with r. I’ve never lost my keys.

  5. Lee

    Couldn’t you just hook it up to some kind of battery backup so even if your power did go out, you could still get in? It would really have to be a huge battery I don’t think, because you wouldn’t need it to last too long in case of a power outage, just enough to get in (you could even have the battery on a switch so you could just switch it on when you needed to unlock the door).

  6. r

    yes, I guess I probably could spend time finding & buying everything, hook up some kind of battery backup system-thingy with a switch to the card identifier mounted somewhere (because not everyone has a little window next to their front door like in the picture). And also install an electric door strike on the door (to enable an electrical opener for the lock). Connect everything up nice and neatly in a way that doesn’t have wires hanging all around the inside of my front entrance. Find and get a bunch of cards made to actually use it………………..or, I could just simply use my key.

  7. Diiino

    Wouldn’t regular keys still work in power outages?

  8. r

    Exactly, & that brings us back, full circle, to my main point, “…and if there is a power failure you are locked out unless you have your key,…”, which I find defeats the point of installing all this, cuz I’d now be carrying a card & the same amount of keys.

  9. David

    The guys is a geek and a DIY-er. I would be surprised if this doesn’t have a battery back-up (or it’s own fusion reactor).

  10. s

    @r the point is that he is carrying the card no matter what and so is his friends. it is not some extra burden as you describe it. he expands the use of that common card to give limited access to his house rather than handing out keys to everybody which could potentially give unwanted access and be abused.

    i do however agree that the “solution” in it’s current form is incapable of replacing normal house keys. it is an interesting project none the less

  11. r


    Yes, I totally agree. It is an interesting project, could be lots of fun to do & practical to use actually.
    There really is no burden in carrying one extra card. However, that’s a completely different argument to the point I was making. My comment was directed toward the opening statement of the article,

    “…If you’re looking to lighten the load on your pocket and banish the jingling of keys,…”

    After considering the benefits & disadvantages if I were to have such a system, I then realized that there really is no point. It would be nice to have but it wouldn’t actually “lighten the load on my pocket”.

  12. s


    i understand now that your comment has been directed towards the author of the article, jason, and not this guy’s steve’s project. i tend to skip directly to the source when reading these types of articles as they tend to be more detailed and precise which is probably why we have been talking past each other.

    your point is valid and i agree it does not lighten one’s own pocket as it is stated in the quote. at least doing so would be a risk and somewhat foolish.

  13. r

    @r…cheers !

  14. confused

    Ok so how did you connect the locking mechanism with the board?

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