Inner doors - keeping them open a bit longer

We have recently been keeping the inner doors closed at the space, as a simple measure to improve security.

This stops passers by looking in, and provides a bit more of a buffer between the outer world and the space.

But it’s a bit difficult when getting projects though, or bringing in your own transport such as bike or motorbike.

I’d like to throw an idea out there to make it easier to come and go without having the doors propped open.

Using some magnetic door holders, and a simple timer relay, we could make a circuit which holds the doors open for 10 or so minutes when opened then releases them, at which point the door springs will close them again.

The parts would be:

This would mean you could just push open the doors, they’d latch, and the relay would start counting down. Then after the given time, the doors would close again. Noice.

This would be a fairly straightforward project too if anyone would like to have a go and unless there are any major objections from others or the board.



I’d suggest using a floor mounted magnet instead of the wall version as when the doors are fully opened they don’t reach the wall. Would save us having to buy/make a bracket. Geofire 3-84-0301 Floor Mounted Magnetic Door Holder - 24V DC 200N

I’d also suggest adding in the ability to hit a button to extend the duration with the timer display being clearly visible.

A gentle beep/alarm shortly before the doors close might be a good idea so a member doesn’t get hit by them without warning


Sounds good to me

My personal opinion on the matter is that we should have a door closer on the outside door for the sake of security and accessibility , rather than upgrading the inner doors.

Though this would make it mildly more inconvenient to bring a bike into the space (which I do every time I come in), I think the benefits to security would far outweigh this. You can even buy hold-open door closers which hold open if you pull the door open past 90 degrees, solving the bike issue, and aiding the disabled access of the space vs trying to pull the quite heavy door closed behind you.

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I was going to look at fitting one to the outside door, but if we did it looks like it would create an issue with regards to the electronic lock we have fitted.

Based on what Greg Morris told me in the telegram chat, if you unlock the door via the electronic lock and you don’t open then close the door. It will result in the door remaining unlocked but appearing closed, since the door closer will hold it in.

So if I walked up to the door and swiped my fob it would unlock the door then remain unlocked until the door was opened / then closed again. Without the door closer it means the door will swing open and make it more obvious that the door has been left unlocked.

To get around that would probably involve looking at a different form of electronic lock in addition to the door closer.

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I think someone making the effort to travel to the space, swiping their fob, then leaving without opening the door vs. say leaving the space with their arms full, and forgetting to return to close the door after loading their car are very different likelihoods, and the better situation in both cases would be that the door is shut, even if not locked.

A double door system helps obscure what’s inside, but if it is 1am and the front door is still open, the chances of no one being in the space are pretty high.

I still think a door closer on the outside is our first line of defence in the event of the door being unlocked/the lock failing in whatever way. Of course the external door closer and the internal doors idea can exist in harmony, but given we currently only have agreed <3 years on the space lease, i’d rather spend a tenner on the cheaper, quicker and simpler option of a door closer, and start spending money in the space, on the equipment our members want, rather than on the infrastructure around it.

If opinion is divided on this though then we can always add it to the agenda for the members meeting.




Having caught up on this - it makes sense to want a door closer on the outside but before we do that we need to address the locking situation.

As some may know, the current lock takes some force to close, as the act of closing the door tensions a spring which is the force used to unlock it when you scan your fob. This means a door closer won’t work at the moment at all - it’ll not be strong enough to lock the door, and if there is one strong enough, it’ll be really hard to open.

There is a solution…
@Marcus6275 and I have been looking at reinstating the crash bars on the front doors so that it becomes an operable fire exit again. The big push to exit button is not a release button. It requires software to be running and is not the same as green “break glass” buttons.

To get crash bars again (they were take off on moving in to fit the current system), I bought a fail secure (if the power goes off, it stays locked) strike, essentially a latch that can release if powered up. Steve from metalworking fashioned a holder for it and having tested it on the snackspace doors, it will work.

However, before we reinstate the crash bars, we would need to update the entry system software; at present the lock needs a pulse of 0,5s to unlock at which point it’ll remain unlocked forever until someone opens and closes the door, but with the new lock as long as power is applied it’s unlocked and the second power stops, it locks again even if the door wasn’t opened and closed.

I can’t do this software update though - only two people in the space have the ability to update the software on the current lock. The software update needs to be done at the same time as fitting the new lock, so it will require some organisation. Once we get this software update, we can release the lock for 10s giving people enough time to open the door.

We can then fit the crash bar on the left (normally opening) side of the door and strike on the right side (the normally fixed door).

Once we have the new locking setup in place, we can install a door closer to the left door, which will mean that the door will guaranteed close and lock itself.

Tangent - right hand side door
Eventually, to get the right side door fitted with a crash bar, we will need to move the entire access system off the door as it currently obstructs the existing mounting holes.

I’ve been updating the keypad system to accommodate a keyfob reader meaning we could have a replacement already operable, but this will naturally take a while given I’m not in Manchester any more. If someone wants to assist with this, they can mount the square fob reader I have underneath the keypad with the wires coming through the wall to the inside.