Troubleshooting a Magnetic Door Lock System That Is Not Working

Fatima Buzdar

December 14, 2022

A close-up image of an automatic door closer mechanism installed by a locksmith at the top of a door frame. The device is metallic with a visible flexible conduit connected to it. Several screws secure the mechanism in place, and a red light indicator is visible.

Magnetic locks, also known as mag locks and electromagnetic locks, are an extremely reliable type of locking mechanism. They make use of the electromagnetic field in order to lock the door with robust firmness and durability. Powered by electricity, they reliably keep a door locked especially if supported by a backup battery.

However, as reliable as this system is, its intricate mechanisms can face malfunctions that lead to magnetic door locks not working. This can especially occur if the magnetic locking system lacked adequate maintenance. A mag lock system requires to be maintained regularly in order to sustain functioning properly. Otherwise, you can face an unexpected break-down of the system breaking, and a lock system breaking down is never convenient! Getting locked out is bound to get you in a frenzy.

What might be even causing the issue behind your magnetic lock malfunction? And can you fix a magnetic door lock that does not work so that things can get back in order? It is good to keep in mind that while it helps to have clues as to what is going wrong, it is best to leave the actual work to a professional locksmith. As you know, electromagnetic locks have an intricate system powered by electricity, and it can even be potentially unsafe for a layperson to work with them if they lack the proper knowledge.

Loose or Worn Out Wiring System

The wiring supports and powers the whole electromagnetic door lock system. It utilizes the electricity from the power source unit to generate the electric current needed to run through the magnet. The magnet then generates a magnetic field that attracts the it and armature to each other to lock the door.

If these cables get loose or if they have worn out or gotten frayed, then this can cause the lock to malfunction or stop working altogether. When such an issue occurs, it is likely that the door would be unable to lock properly. This is because a mag door lock system requires constant power supply to keep the door locked. It is a common reason behind mag locks not working.

Repairing the wiring system should be able to have the locks back to functioning reliably. If the wires have grown loose, then they need to be tightened up again into their placements. However, in the case that the wires have been damaged through wear down or being frayed, then they must be replaced by new wires to fix the problem.

Misaligned Door 

When opening and closing the door, do you notice it is rubbing against the floor or frame? It is not just a hassle when it comes to interacting with the door, but it is also a very plausible culprit behind a magnetic door lock not working. The door being unable to open or close without grinding results tends to result from the misalignment of the door, so this is what needs to be investigated.

A rubbing door disrupts the locking operation, since it requires the locking system to exert extra force in order to unlock or lock the door. Due to the misadjustment of the door, the essential locking components can also lose their proper alignment and be unable to carry out their functions. The electromagnet mounted on the top of the door frame needs to be in proper alignment with the armature installed on the door in order to form the firm bond required to lock the door. If their positions are misadjusted, then the bond is disrupted, causing the door to not lock properly.

The cause behind misaligned doors often results from the door hinges not supporting the door properly. Over time and usage, the hinges can lose their firmness over the door and require their screws to be tightened up in order to properly support the door again. It is also possible that the hinges have worn down or been damaged, and as a result they are unable to have the doors firmly hung on them. Bad hinges should be replaced with new hinges to sturdily support the door.

It is also entirely possible that the hinges are not to blame for a misaligned door. The door might be warped, either due to getting old, going through harsh weather conditions like excessive humidity, suffering a high impact of force, etc. In this case, it is likely best to replace the door to fix the magnetic door lock.

Malfunctioning Door Closer

An automatic door closer functions to control the smooth closing of the door once it is opened. If the door closer does not function properly, then the magnetic locking operation gets disrupted as well. Besides the maglock not working properly, it can also be noticed through the door closing motion not being smooth. For example, the door might slam or not close properly. This can adversely affect the locking hardwares and cause be the issue behind mag locks not working.

The issue may stem from the fasteners for the door closer being loose, requiring to tighten up its screws. Alternatively, the closer may be damaged and require to be replaced. If you notice oily residue on the closer, then this is a strong indication that it requires a replacement.

Cut or Inadequate Power Supply

As you know, power is the foundation of this system. The lock needs power to keep the door unlocked, and the power should be disrupted automatically only to unlock the door if someone tries to gain access through the proper access control means like keypad. If the supply is cut due to a power supply problem, then the dire result is its failure to lock. Even if the power is merely weakened, e.g. it produces low voltage, this will disrupt the proper functioning of the lock. If the lock buzzes in a low sound, then there is likely a low voltage at play.

As aforementioned, this issue can stem from a damaged wiring system which is a common reason behind mag locks not working. However, alternatively, the power supply unit itself may be faulty. In that case, the power supply likely needs to be replaced with a new one so that the locking system can be adequately powered again. You would likely need a 12-volt power supply, as most magnetic lock systems utilize it. Generally, power supply systems last up to 5-10 years, so you can expect to have to replace it within that time frame.

Rust Accumulation

While the electromagnet and armature plate have a protective coating to prevent corrosion, they still can be prone to rust accumulation and suffer damage as a result. This can especially happen over age and the protective coating wearing down, being unable to resist rust. This can degrade the performance and cause the lock to stop working as expected, e.g. the door might not lock or unlock properly. Having the rust cleaned off may fix the lock. However, if the corrosion is too severe, then you may have to replace the lock entirely.

Is Your Magnetic Door Lock System Not Working? Call Us for Prompt Troubleshooting and Repair

Magnetic locks can suffer various issues in the crucial parts that support them, like electromagnet, armature, power supply and wiring, as well as other related parts like the door and door closer. These issues lead to the door not locking or unlocking properly. A magnetic door lock not working can greatly hassle you and even leave you locked out. Additionally, it can be hard or even potentially hazardous for a layperson to take it on themselves and attempt to fix this electrical system.

It is best left to professional locksmith services to investigate the issue and resolve it. Our Whitby locksmiths can promptly arrive to your location to troubleshoot your magnetic lock. We will inspect it to diagnose the issue and repair it or replace any parts as needed in order to get your lock back to working as good as new!

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.