Knowledgebase: Troubleshooting
ACTAtek Unit Freezes or Locks Up
Posted by Dan F (Import) on 09 September 2006 12:16 AM

Overview of Problem

Electrical "noise" can cause the ACTAtek to become unresponsive. This "noise" is typically the result of a Back Electromagnetic Field, or BEMF, produced by either an electric strike or magnetic lock that is not properly installed. In some cases, Electrostatic Discharge, or ESD, can cause the ACTAtek unit to freeze or reboot itself. Since most of the ACTAtek's freezing issues result from BEMF and not ESD, users should always verify that solutions in the BEMF section below are in place and properly executed!

Issue #1: Back Electromagnetic Field (BEMF)

Description:

In the case of the ACTAtek system, the Back Electromagnetic Field, or BEMF, causes an electromagnetic field that interrupts the proper operation of the ACTAtek unit . This BEMF is caused when a DC locking mechanism, such as an electric strike of electromagnetic lock, is either energized or deenergized. If the ACTAtek system freezes or locks up as described in the symptoms below, BEMF is the cause of the issue in 95% of the cases.

Symptoms:

  • The ACTAtek screen freezes, with the clock stopped, and the keypad is unresponsive.
  • The ACTAtek freezes intermittently or always after a user is authenticated.
  • Power cycling the ACTAtek restores the unit to normal operation.

Solutions:

Each ACTAtek unit is shipped with at least two 1N4004 diodes and a simple wiring diagram. The 1N4004 diode must be installed properly to avoid issues relating to BEMF. Verify that the diode was installed correctly.

Information regarding the proper installation of the diodes can be downloaded from here: ACTAtek Wiring Manual

Issue #2: Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Description:

ESD can be created when a certain materials becomes electrically charged after coming into contact with a different material and then are separated. This process causes triboelectric charging that creates the ESD. Problems with ESD are particularly prevolent in areas with low humidity and carpeted areas. Attempt should always be made to eliminate or minimize the effects of ESD on any electronic device including the ACTAtek system.

Symptoms:

  • The ACTAtek screen freezes, with the clock stopped, and the keypad is unresponsive after touching the door handle.
  • The ACTAtek reboots after touching the door handle.
  • Power cycling the ACTAtek restores the unit to normal operation.

Solutions:

The most important step that can be taken to help eliminate issues arising from ESD is to make sure that all metal parts on the door a properly earth grounded! This includes: metal doors, metal door frames, door handles, electric strikes and electromagnetic locks.

Information regarding the proper installation of the diode can be downloaded from here: ACTAtek Wiring Manual

In extreme cases, the following proactive measures can be used to help prevent the development of ESD:

  • Installation of a humidifier in environments with low relative humidity.
  • A weak solution of general fabric softener and water sprayed on the carpet periodically has been reported to help reduce ESD
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