Carnegie Mellon University


Safety and security are critical considerations in all of our residence hall communities. Whether your room makes use of hard keys or electronic locks, the information below will help you understand how the Housing lock system works, how to use your lock, and how to troubleshoot your lock. If you have further lock questions, email Housing Services or call 412-268-2139.

In general, to gain access to a room, you should:

  1. Hold your ID card with your thumb on your photo, and tap the top of the card (the section with the image of the building on it) to the black part of the lock.
  2. A yellow light should appear. Enter your four-digit pin (typically your birth month and date in number form - i.e. February 3 equals a pin of 0203).
  3. If you correctly entered your pin, the light should turn green. You can then open your door.

Yellow Light

Enter your four-digit pin number while the light on your lock shows yellow. If you correctly enter your pin, the light will turn green and you can open your door.

Red Light

A red light can occur for a few different reasons:

  1. You have access to the room but you entered an incorrect pin. Wait a few moments, tap your card again, and enter the correct pin while the yellow light is still lit.
  2. You were recently given access to that room (i.e. new assignment, room change, etc.). Wait two full minutes to allow the lock to search for updates, and then try again. If you still have problems after waiting two minutes, contact Housing Services.
  3. You do not have access to that room. Contact Housing Services if you need to gain access to that room.

Faint Red Blinking Light

The batteries are dying. Please contact Housing Services at 412-268-2139.

Green Light

You have access to that room, and can open the door while the green light is lit.

Blue Light

Your lock is configuring. Please contact Housing Services at 412-268-2139.

No Light

The batteries are dead or the ID card is damaged. Try the Mobile ID app to enter your room and remember to press the hashtag button (#) first. If the lock does not respond with a yellow light, the batteries are dead and please contact Housing Services at 412-268-2139.

If the Mobile ID temp code works, but you are still not receiving a light when you present your ID card, please visit the Hub and tell them the chip may be damaged in your ID. Replacement ID cards may come with a fee.

You can change your PIN online. Remember that once you change your pin, your new pin will be required for all CBORD card access locations or transactions.

If you are approved for a room change through Housing Services, you will be given a deadline for when you must move out of your room. During this time, you will have access (via your CMU ID card) to the room you are moving out of and the room you are moving into.

After Housing approves your room change, you will have to wait at least 2 hours before you can enter your new room. After that time, present your ID to the lock; it will show a red light. Wait two to five minutes and then present your card again. You should now get a yellow light and then you can enter your pin. If you present your card too quickly the second time, the lock will not have enough time to download the information from the servers and you will have to restart the process.

It's very important that you wait two to five minutes in between the first and second time you present your ID to your new room lock.

If you are locked out of your room, there are multiple ways to gain access. 

  1. You can utilize the CBORD Mobile ID app to receive a six-digit temporary lock-out code. You must be close to your lock and logged into the CMU-Secure WiFi on your mobile device to activate the app. Make sure you push the hashtag (#) button on the key pad before entering the six-digit codeView the Housing Services lock video for more information on the mobile ID app.
  2. If your phone is not available, visit the Access Housing website to acquire the one-time use temporary lock-out code.
  3. Call HOusing Services at 412-268-2139 Monday through Friday during business hours (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) or the Residence on Fifth Service Desk 412-268-1518 Monday through Friday 5pm-10pm and Weekends 9am-10pm.
  4. If no other options are available, contact campus police for lock-out access.
There is a button on the back of the lock that can be depressed to issue privacy. It can be overwritten by your roommate or a police master key.
Your lock gathers information daily between 3:00 - 5:00 AM by connecting to the campus servers. During this time, you may experience a few minutes of unresponsiveness with your lock. Please be patient and wait a few minutes and present your ID again. Repeatedly presenting your ID will cause the lock to reset multiple times and will result in you waiting longer for access to your room. 

Residents who have lost their ID card should visit the Card Office (located in the HUB, on the ground floor of Warner Hall) during business hours to request a new ID. The Card Office will provide you with a new ID card that includes your housing access. Once the new card is used in a lock, the lost card will no longer work in that lock.

Please note the charges which apply to the replacement of a student ID card are predetermined by the Card Office.

An iPhone® 6 or iPhone® 6 Plus enabled with the Apple Pay™ application will launch the Apple Pay™ user interface when presented to some physical access and logical access readers. The launch of the Apple Pay™ user interface is not an indication of communication between the reader and the phone. The phone sends no meaningful information to the reader when the Apple Pay™ application launches. HID readers cannot interpret or send any credit card number, bank details, or other personal identifying information. Despite appearance, this device behavior does not reflect a compromise of privacy or security.

Further, this issue has no impact on the performance of the iPhone® 6 when used as a credential for physical access control with HID Mobile Access®. At this time there is no reasonable way to avoid this behavior during an HID Mobile Access® “Tap” transaction, apart from disabling the Apple Pay™ application. Apple® representatives are aware of the issue.

Some iPhone® 6 owners may express concern about this experience. It’s important to understand the launch of the Apple Pay™ user interface is not an indication of communication between the reader and the phone. The phone sends no information to the reader when the Apple Pay application launches. Even if a valid biometric is presented, only an authorized payment terminal can retrieve information other than a meaningless random number. HID readers cannot interpret or send any credit card number, bank details, or other personal identifying information.

Lost Hard Key

When a resident loses a physical key, that was provided by Housing Services, they must request a new one by emailing   Once a lock change is in progress, it cannot be canceled. A replacement fee will be charged for lost metal key ($100).