If you found this article, you are either standing helpless in front of your Korean digital door, locked and with no battery, or you are just curious to know what to do in such eventuality. Either way, here is a step-to-step guide to help you open this locked door.
Step 1: Analyze the situation
If you’re sliding your key lock or pressing the keypad but no lights come up or it light up for only a second before turning off again, there’s a big chance you might be out of battery.
Step 2: Buy a 9V square battery at the closest convenience store
Show this picture to the cashier at the convenience store if you can’t find it yourself. Also, don’t forget to buy new batteries for your door (generally 4 AA or AAA batteries) to change once you get inside your house.
Step 3: Find the 2 Oblong or round tabs and the 9V sign on your door lock
Try to look for the following on your door. They can sometimes be on the bottom part of the door lock (like shown at step 4).
Step 4: Press your 9V battery against it
Press you 9V battery against those 2 circles, the + sign should be on the left circle and the – sign on the right circle. You should keep it pressed for around 20 seconds.
Step 5: Type your code and unlock
After charging it for approximately 20 seconds, your keypad should light up when you touch it and you can type in your code. Finally you’re home!
Step 6: Open the cover of the battery pack and change the batteries
You don’t need screwdrivers, just slide the cover open.
Step 7: Don’t forget to put the 9V battery in your mailbox for example, in case you need it again
(Note: Amadas made new door locks that recharge the battery with your cellphone’s flashlight.)
If those steps are not working and you’re still locked outside of your house, batteries might not be the problem, and you have 2 options.
Option number 1: Try to call your landlord or if you have one, security guard. They often have a “master” key that allows entering the house without typing any code. If they don’t have one, they will probably call a locksmith for you.
Option number 2: If it’s late at night or you don’t want / can’t to call your landlord, you can call a locksmith directly. Prices during night hours and weekends are sensitively different so be prepared to pay almost twice as you would during weekdays. If you don’t speak Korean, ask someone (neighbor, friend) to call for you. You can also call the Seoul Call Center at 02-120 and press 9 to reach the foreign language service. The Seoul Call Center offers many services including interpretation service, so they will be able to help you call a locksmith.
Next time, before getting locked out, learn to recognize the warning signals of a low door lock battery. Depending on the brand, it can be a small green light that suddenly turns red on the inside portion of the door lock. It can also be that the sound when you type in your code is changed, or that the door lock emits a song each time you lock or unlock your door.
Being locked out of your apartment might not be the only emergency you will face in Korea, so we advise you to read our article on 10 Korean emergency helpline numbers.