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Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Information about locks themselves. Questions, tips and lock diagram information should be posted here.

Moderators: zeke79, keysman

Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby tballard » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:22 am

I finally found a SecureKey at a local hardware store. They only had a Grade 2 doorknob, and it only came in "ugly brown", but the important parts are all there. :)

Anyway, I took a few pictures, and thought I'd share while waiting for people with actual photographic skills to take better ones. It's a very interesting lock, with no less that 10 springs, and a lot of very tiny parts. I have yet to pick it. The dynamics are very interesting, due to the springs not being vertically in line with the sliders, and the amount of "wiggle room" in the chambers the springs ride in.

The greenish-blue section houses the springs and the tumblers, and pivots outwards like a reverse sidebar when the "reset" key is rotated to the 11 o'clock position. This disengages the teeth on the ends of the tumblers from the racks on the sliders. There is a catch at the bottom of the plug which holds the reset mechanism open when the reset key is withdrawn, and this also prevents a normal width (non-reset) key from entering when the lock is in reset mode. When another reset key (the original, or a new one) is inserted and the plug is rotated back to 12 o'clock, the biting keys the tumblers at the proper height until the mechanism pushes back into the plug, and locks them to the sliders.

(It's a bit complicated, and I'll try to describe it better in the future. Also, I've only played with it for about 15 minutes, so I may have misunderstood things)

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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby femurat » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:02 pm

Thanks for the nice breakdown and pictures. I was curious about this lock.

Cheers :)
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby FarmerFreak » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:32 pm

Thank you for the pictures.

After viewing the sidebar and sliders. I'm coming to the conclusion that these are likely to be easy to pick. As opposed to the smartkey, which isn't an easy lock to pick...

I keep planning to head over to the Home Depot to try and get one. So with any luck I'll get one of these soon enough.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby tballard » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:28 am

FarmerFreak wrote:Thank you for the pictures.

After viewing the sidebar and sliders. I'm coming to the conclusion that these are likely to be easy to pick. As opposed to the smartkey, which isn't an easy lock to pick...

I keep planning to head over to the Home Depot to try and get one. So with any luck I'll get one of these soon enough.

I'm not sure "easy" is going to be true. At least not with standard tools. I have yet to pick it open, and I can see the sliders, so it shouldn't be hard. :)

I think the main problem is that the tumblers are so "wobbly" and that, coupled with the angled tumbler bottoms, make most tools slide off quite easily, and once they slide off, they get tangled up in the the mechanism. (I got a Bogota hung up on something in there and was convinced I was going to break the lock getting it out.) I've got some DE and semi-DE ideas, but those are both less interesting, and not to be discussed here. As far as NDE via picking goes, I suspect I'll have better luck with either a tool with a notch to catch the base of the pin, or by using a probe to manipulate the sliders directly.

Oh, and none of the Home Depot's near me have anything other than pricey handleset with SecureKey. I found this at a Lowes, after painfully searching their website. The products which turn up in the Lowe's search for "SecureKey" weren't in stock, but some of the general Schlage SKU's have a "SK" appended to them (indicating "SecureKey") and I was able to find one of those in stock by repeatedly changing my location until I found one. More specifically, I searched for "Schlage" and then limited to "under $50", and sorted by price, lowest to highest. Around page 4 of the results (30 per page) you'll start seeing "SK" products, and then you can go to the top of the screen and do a "change store" repeatedly until you find one. (And yes, this is even more tedious than it sounds).
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby FarmerFreak » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:10 am

It's slow today. I got a chance to stop by home depot. I bought a handle set (I know was expensive), it was also the last securekey they had.

I'm having to eat my words on thinking it would be "easy" to pick. I've managed to pick it once. I've milled down a regular key to rekey it (yes I used a paperclip to help).

There are some other things that I've noticed. But that's not picking related so...

Is it easier to pick than a smartkey? (for comparison, not trying to say which is better) Yes, I still believe that it is easier to "pick" than a kwikset smartkey.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby globallockytoo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:32 am

I can definitely see benefits in this product, however....

Many job requests that locksmiths receive are to rekey or make keys to a lock that there either isnt a correct working key for or the required reset key is no longer in the customers posession.

I'm curious as to what we locksmiths will need to know to be able to reset the cylinder without posession of the reset key?

The Kwikset smartkey can be rekeyed easily without the need for a reset key. It is slightly cheaper and more convenient.

I sense there are going to be many jobs coming up where these locks will have to be destroyed or removed because the reset key/s will be unavailable.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby Squelchtone » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:04 am

I wonder how many people will by accident or by choice use the blue reset key as their primary key, especially when they are too cheap to make copies and need to hand out a key to a family member after they use the brass keys for themselves.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby poor paperclip picker » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:51 am

squelchtone wrote:I wonder how many people will by accident or by choice use the blue reset key as their primary key, especially when they are too cheap to make copies and need to hand out a key to a family member after they use the brass keys for themselves.


I can see some people saying "Sweet a blue key, I am going to use this all the time. Plus it will be easy to identify from my other keys."

What if you picked it to the reset position, and used a modified key of your own to rekey it like FarmerFreak said? I would think that this could cause some issues.

It is an interesting concept. I saw on Lowes website you can pick up a deadbolt for $28. I may have to pick one up. It doesn't seem much more expensive (if at all) than other schlage deadbolts.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby FarmerFreak » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:23 am

squelchtone wrote:I wonder how many people will by accident or by choice use the blue reset key as their primary key, especially when they are too cheap to make copies and need to hand out a key to a family member after they use the brass keys for themselves.

We were talking about this at work. We figure the best course of action for future rekeys (when we get blanks, probably in a year :roll: ), will be to keep the change key and not to give it to the customer (unless they specifically ask for it). We figure that if they know how it works, they won't be calling us in the first place.

If they don't know how it works and someone uses the change key for regular use. Then at some point it is likely they will pull the key out in the wrong position. This in itself, might not be too bad... Your average criminal isn't going to be able to do anything with the cylinder partially turned, unless they had the special blanks on hand or a fair amount of knowledge... However, if a second person that uses the regular key needs to get in while the lock is in the change position. They simply can't. Which is a problem.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby tballard » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:46 am

squelchtone wrote:I wonder how many people will by accident or by choice use the blue reset key as their primary key, especially when they are too cheap to make copies and need to hand out a key to a family member after they use the brass keys for themselves.

It's not really *that* blue, and says all over it "don't use this stupid" (not that I really expect that to help much...)

I'm more concerned about the biting being stamped directly on the keys. Casting a key impression is hard, writing down (or remembering) 5 numbers is not. Plus, you can get keys cut to code a lot more easily than from a modeling clay impression. :)
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby Josh K » Sat May 01, 2010 3:58 am

tballard wrote:
squelchtone wrote:I wonder how many people will by accident or by choice use the blue reset key as their primary key, especially when they are too cheap to make copies and need to hand out a key to a family member after they use the brass keys for themselves.

It's not really *that* blue, and says all over it "don't use this stupid" (not that I really expect that to help much...)

I'm more concerned about the biting being stamped directly on the keys. Casting a key impression is hard, writing down (or remembering) 5 numbers is not. Plus, you can get keys cut to code a lot more easily than from a modeling clay impression. :)


I'll have to try walking into a lock shop with one of my Biaxial keys impressed in clay and ask if they can cut it for me. :D
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby dougfarre » Sat May 01, 2010 4:19 am

Questions and stuff:
- How hard was it to reassemble?
- What would happen to the functionality of the lock if the springs turn supple and non-responsive?
- When compared to your regular F series, how would you rate this lock to DE attacks?
- Why does the re-key key have the same cuts as the regular key? Does the lock have a static shear line reserved online for the re-key key? (what am I missing here?)
- If you pick the lock can you then re-key it without the re-key key?
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby tballard » Sat May 01, 2010 4:47 am

dougfarre wrote:- How hard was it to reassemble?

Good question. The first time I reassembled it, it wasn't too bad. Last night, I spent 20 minutes swearing before putting it in a ziplock baggie to fix "later". :) The hard part about it is getting the tiny little tumbler springs into their oversized chambers, placing the tumbler caps on, and then dropping that whole assembly onto the plug without one or more of the tumblers becoming misaligned.

dougfarre wrote:- What would happen to the functionality of the lock if the springs turn supple and non-responsive?

Functionally, I think it would continue to work just fine so long as gravity and vibration could be depended on to drop the sliders back down if they are raised beyond their proper level. I have some vague attacks in mind which involve compromising the springs, but nothing concrete. (And they might be considered advanced too...)

dougfarre wrote:- When compared to your regular F series, how would you rate this lock to DE attacks?

With the disclaimer that I have very little real DE experience, and without getting into too many DE details, I would suspect this lock would be more susceptible to DE for the same reasons a KwikSet SmartKey is more susceptible than a normal KwikSet. On a regular pin-tumbler lock you kinda have to know where to drill, or you have to drill a LOT. On these locks, there a certainly better places to drill than others, but there are enough important small parts that I think a decent hole in it anywhere would be enough to compromise the plug.

Squelchtone has reported that he has possibly seen anti-drill plates in the deadbolt model, which would be game-changer. I don't have those in mine, which came from a keyed knob. I will also point out that at $24 bucks, this is about the cheapest Schlage you can find in a hardware store, so it might not have all the bells and whistles. (I really wanted the deadbolt because the bolt itself is a ANSI grade 1 supposedly)

dougfarre wrote:- Why does the re-key key have the same cuts as the regular key? Does the lock have a static shear line reserved online for the re-key key? (what am I missing here?)

There are no shear lines. The "locking" function is purely a product of the sidebar on the left side of the lock (looking at the face) being able to push in due the the sliders being aligned. The "rekey" function is activated by rotating the plug to 11 o'clock, which requires the primary sidebar entering the plug, which requires the sliders at the correct height, which requires a properly bitted key. One the plug is at 11 o'clock, the grayish-green part of the plug which contains the springs and tumblers (top right quarter of the plug from the face basically) is going to try to expand outward into the shell due to some springs in the plug making it act like a "reverse sidebar" With a normal key, this expansion is prevented because there is a little "catch" mechanism. The "reset" key trips this catch with the extra protrusion is has.

dougfarre wrote:- If you pick the lock can you then re-key it without the re-key key?

So far I can't pick the lock at all. (though I haven't tried overly hard). But FarmerFreak has, so it must be my tools at fault, right? :lol: If you have picked the lock, you could easily push the little catch to allow the plug to expand at 11 o'clock, but you would (I think) need a narrower bladed key to rekey. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the plug segment which moves tilts, more than expands, and that causes the top of the keyway to narrow, thus requiring a narrower bladed key to rekey. I can tell you that a normal key does not fit when the rekey function is engaged.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby FarmerFreak » Sat May 01, 2010 7:25 am

tballard wrote:Squelchtone has reported that he has possibly seen anti-drill plates in the deadbolt model, which would be game-changer. I don't have those in mine, which came from a keyed knob. I will also point out that at $24 bucks, this is about the cheapest Schlage you can find in a hardware store, so it might not have all the bells and whistles. (I really wanted the deadbolt because the bolt itself is a ANSI grade 1 supposedly)
The one I have has the anti-drill plates. They appear to be of little or of no inconvenience. And I'll stop talking anything DE right now.

tballard wrote:dougfarre wrote:
- If you pick the lock can you then re-key it without the re-key key?

So far I can't pick the lock at all. (though I haven't tried overly hard). But FarmerFreak has, so it must be my tools at fault, right? :lol: If you have picked the lock, you could easily push the little catch to allow the plug to expand at 11 o'clock, but you would (I think) need a narrower bladed key to rekey. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the plug segment which moves tilts, more than expands, and that causes the top of the keyway to narrow, thus requiring a narrower bladed key to rekey. I can tell you that a normal key does not fit when the rekey function is engaged.
Yes, you would still need a special rekey key. A regular one won't work. Also note, to get it into the rekey mode I had to use 2 picks. One for the side trigger and one for the back. At least I think there is one in the back, there is in the patent... I haven't taken mine as far apart as yours, only enough to take the sliders out.

So far I have only been able to pick mine counterclockwise. The biggest tip I can tell you is to try and keep your pick tip centered with the springs. If you start pushing it up from the side, the pin tries to tip sideways and binds. This happens even if you aren't applying tension, and even more so if you are trying to lift it on the side closest to the sliders.

This seemingly simple problem can confuse and confound the picker. ...So annoying.
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Re: Schlage SecureKey breakdown

Postby dougfarre » Sun May 02, 2010 12:43 pm

Im still confused about why the re-key key has the same biting (spel?) as the regular key.
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