Schlage FE599NX Lever Door Lock

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Introduction

 

Schlage is a well-known name in door locks, but where do they stand as far as their smart locks go? Although I can’t attest to their full range of products, I do like the one I bought (the FE599NX CAM 716 ACC 716 ). It’s a battery-operated lever lock with a non-wearing numeric keypad that supports multi-user codes. The keypad lights up when activated, so it’s easy to use at night. There’s also a key slot for manually locking/unlocking the door.

The quality seems ok. It’s definitely not a flimsy or cheap design. It’s advertised on Amazon as being “ANSI Grade 2 certified for enhanced security”. ANSI (American National Standards Institute) sets forth the minimum standards that door hardware must meet. Based on the quality of the product, the hardware will be certified for a specific grade. There are 3 different grades to this standard:

  • Grade 3 is the lowest grade, but products still meet the minimum standards to be considered good enough for residential security.
  • Grade 2 offers a higher level of security and durability and is ideal for high residential security or light commercial applications.
  • Grade 1 is the strongest and is designed for heavy duty residential or commercial security.

Each grade indicates the minimum acceptable performance based on the following factors:

  • Operation (key torque, cycles)
  • Security (pull strength, impact resistance)
  • Finish

With all that said, I wouldn’t bet on this lock against a sledge hammer.  I also wouldn’t recommend a smart lock on any exterior facing door. However, if your primary means of entering your home is through a garage, then this lock is perfect. Don’t get me wrong, it would work just fine on your front door, I’m just not comfortable with it. Mine has never malfunctioned, but if it did, at least a would-be thief would still have to get past the garage door.

This lock uses wireless Z-wave technology, making it compatible with the SmartThings hub platform. It works well with SmartThings routines. You can set your door to automatically lock when you leave for work, and unlock when you come home with an armful of grocery bags.

The exterior side of the lock consists of a keypad and the lever itself. To enter a locked door, you enter your code, then turn the handle. You’ll hear the locking mechanism engage when you correctly enter your code. The Schlage FE599NX isn’t like some of the smart locks out there that use a motorized deadbolt. This lock uses a pin that engages to allow you to turn the lever to open the door. It’s different from all other mechanical locks that I’ve used. With a mechanical lock, when the door is locked, you can’t turn the handle. With this lock, you can always turn the lever (from both the interior and the exterior), even if the door is locked. However, if the pin isn’t engaged when you turn the lever from the exterior, it won’t open the door.


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The door always opens from the interior lever. The buttons control whether or not the outside lever opens the door.


There are two buttons on the interior of the lock- a lock and unlock button. These buttons only affect the exterior handle. The door always opens from the interior lever. There is no need to push the unlock button first. If the door is locked when you turn the interior handle, the door opens, but it will automatically lock again (you’ll have to enter your code to get back in from the outside). If you press the unlock button, the door can be operated from the exterior until you lock it again.

The lock is battery-operated. It’s powered by 4 AA batteries which Schlage claims should last 3 years. I just replaced my batteries after 18 months. It had 30% left according to SmartThings, but when it’s low on battery the Schlage light will flash and it takes a few extra seconds for the door to unlock.

The lock is available in several colors. Ours is aged bronze. It’s a beautiful finish and hasn’t faded or rubbed off in over a year of use.

The Schlage FE599NX has some unique features, such as vacation mode, which disables all user codes if you’re going to be away from home for a while. This prevents someone from brute forcing your 4-digit lock code by repeatedly guessing combinations (which could take up to 10,000 attempts for a 4-digit code, but maybe they get lucky). It also has a default auto-lock feature, which ensures your door is never unlocked for very long. If the door was previously locked, and you open it from the inside, then it auto-locks 5 seconds later. If you don’t want this to happen, just press the unlock button before you go outside. The lock will stay unlocked until you lock it again. There is no way to disable the auto-lock feature.

I purchased my Schlage FE599NX CAM 716 ACC 716 from Amazon in February 2016 for $190, which is actually cheaper than the current list price of $201. It’s been a reliable, trouble-free lock.

 

  • Features
  • Reliability
  • Ease-of-use
  • Documentation
  • Price

Summary

The Schlage FE599NX Door Lever Lock is a great addition to a SmartThings home. There's far less fiddling with keys when you have your arms are full or if you're in a hurry. Just have your door unlock itself when you get home. More importantly, never forget to lock your door! It's good-looking and reliable. There are two preprogrammed user codes, but you can have up to 19. It installs as easily as most mechanical door locks. However, convenience does come at a cost with this door lock, as the price tag is a little steep.

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Installation

 

If you’ve ever installed any interior or exterior door handle, then installation should only take somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour. The first thing you will want to do is to write down the programming and user codes. You can locate these codes on a yellow sticker on the back of the keypad.


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On the back of the keypad you’ll find your programming code and two preprogrammed user codes.


It’s a wise idea to pair the lock to SmartThings now. Because SmartThings uses the lowest possible transmission strength when initially communicating with Z-wave products, you’ll want to be very close to your hub (5 – 10 feet) with no obstructions if possible. The Schlage door lock is a little different than most SmartThings devices, as it needs input from the lock during the pairing process.

To do this, temporarily hook up the connector on the keypad to the connector on the baseplate (the part with the battery compartment) and insert the batteries.

Here’s how to complete the rest of the pairing process:


Slideshow- Tap or click to view
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This starts the SmartThings pairing process. Let the app continue searching for the device.

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Enter the 6-digit programming code. Wait for the lock to beep 3 times.

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Press the Schlage button.

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Finally, press 0. The Schlage button will blink 3 times to let you know pairing was successful.



Now that you have your lock added to SmartThings (and also verified that it works), next you’ll need to physically install your lock. Installing the door lock isn’t much different than any other door lock. For installation instructions, refer to the manufacturer’s installation manual . For a quick walkthrough, see the slideshow below:


Slideshow- Tap or click to view
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Install the latch in the door. The latch faceplate is reversible, so make sure the latch faces the correct direction (beveled side towards the door jamb).

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View of the latch from the exterior where the keypad side of the lock mounts.

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Rear view of the keypad side of the lock.

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Insert the keypad through the latch. Ensure the connector runs beneath the latch.

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Ensure the handle’s tailpiece lines up with the latch mechansim.

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While holding the keypad from the other side of the door (hold the keypad all the way up against the door), loosen the screw until it sticks out past the hole. This will be used to make the rest of the install “hands-free”.

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The keypad should stay in the latch, but if not, just keep supporting it for now. I was able to let it go and work from the other side without it falling out, just be careful. You don’t want to drop it.

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On the other side, install the baseplate. Run the connector through the baseplate, then line it up with the screw you adjusted earlier. Notice it protrudes through the baseplate. While holding the keypad side, press the baseplate toward the door until you hear it snap into place. You should be able to work hands-free now.

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Snap the connectors together, then tuck it behind the clip.

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Go ahead and install the batteries.

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Install the battery cover.

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Now all you need to do is install the two screws that hold the cover plate on. That’s it!



One issue I had after I installed mine was SmartThings would intermittently drop the signal. My SmartThings hub sits in a closet, and there are about 3 walls between the hub and door lock (even though it’s only about 20 feet away). I had to purchase a cheap Z-wave repeater , and the signal has been solid ever since.

Programming the Schlage FE599NX

 

Schlage allows you the following programming options, all performed at the door lock itself:

Add a user code:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “1” button on the keypad.
  • Again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Enter a 4-digit user code.
  • Once again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Reenter the user code to confirm you entered it correctly. You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

Delete a user code:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “2” button on the keypad.
  • Again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Enter the 4-digit user code you want to remove.
  • Once again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Reenter the user code to confirm you entered it correctly. You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

Change the programming code:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “3” button on the keypad.
  • Again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Enter the 6-digit programming code you want to change.
  • Once again, you’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Reenter the programming code to confirm you entered it correctly. You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

Enable Vacation Mode:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “4” button on the keypad.
  • You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.




Disable Vacation Mode:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

Enable/Disable Beeper:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “5” button on the keypad.
  • You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

Delete all user codes:

  • Enter your 6-digit programming code.
  • You’ll hear 3 short beeps and the “Schlage” button will flash orange 3 times.
  • Press the “Schlage” button. You’ll see the numeric keypad turn blue. Press the “6” button on the keypad.
  • You’ll hear 1 long beep and the “Schlage” button will flash green.

The lock supports up to 19 user codes. If you want to keep tabs on when your kids or guests are entering your home, simply give each person a unique user code.

Conclusion

 

I love the look and the quality of this lock. I’ve been impressed with the reliability so far. We haven’t had any major problems out of it. The Z-wave range could be better, but it’s a battery-operated lock so keep that in mind. I did need to pick up a Z-wave repeater to make sure the signal was reliable. The price could be a little lower too. Expect to pay around $200.

We have our SmartThings set up to automatically unlock the door when we arrive home. It does what it’s supposed to, every time. I was hoping the battery life would be a little better, but 4 AA batteries every year and a half might be getting a little picky.

All in all, I would recommend this product if you’re in the market for a smart door lock.

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