I have a Yale mortise lock, 8847FL. I’ve set everything so it works for the side of the door it’s on, but every time I lock it, it flips a switch so even after unlocking, it’s impossible to turn the door handle from the outside. I can unlock it with a key from outside, but after that, I can't turn the door handle to open it. I don't know if there's something we have to change or if this is a bad lock.

enter image description here In the image, there is a part that behaves like a rocker switch circled in green. First, can anyone tell me the name for this part? (For reference, until I know better, I'll call it the rocker.)

I've circled in blue the adjustment used to change the lock from left handed to right handed. According to instructions, the red on it is supposed to be on the outside (locking side) of the door. Everything works properly except for this one issue. If the top of the rocker is out, the outside handle will not turn at all, whether the door is locked or unlocked. If it's in, the handle can turn. It looks to me like this rocker is part of the mechanism to prevent someone using the door handle to open the door from outside when it's locked.

When I lock the door, it kicks the top of the rocker out, so I can't turn the door handle from outside. But when I unlock the door, the top of the rocker stays out. As long as that top part is out, it's impossible to turn the door handle from outside. It seems to me that the problem is either that locking the door should not force the top of the rocker out OR that unlocking it should change so that the top of the rocker comes in.

I know the rocker is the outside part of a larger mechanism, so it's more like a control or a status indicator. The bottom line is I can't just unlock this door and open it from the outside. I can't see other mechanisms I can adjust to change a setting. I've tried this with the lock in the door and shut, with it in the door and the door open so I can watch what's going on, and with it out of the door.

What do I need to do to be able to open the door, from the outside, after it's been locked?


Adding a few notes. I found a "real" locksmith - as in someone who knows about locks and doesn't just have a van and deal with lockouts. While I did not take this lock into him, I took photos and notes on the model number. We had a short time to order a new lock and put it in so we could return this one. After talking with the locksmith (on the phone), he said the F20 would do pretty much what we wanted and to take it by when I got it. (I also needed a circular key duplicated - I found him while looking for someone to help with that.) So I took the new lock by.

He showed me that turning the key from outside would retract the deadbolt and turning it again would retract the latchbolt. He said that was how an F20 lock was designed to work and that it should NOT permanently lock out someone with a key, as our Yale lock was doing. He looked through my photos and said the problem was NOT the Yale lock, but the cam. I was using a cam that looks a bit like a trident. It works on our new lock, but it was NOT working on the Yale lock. In fact, I had to take the cam we were using to my workshop and cut off the two side tines on it to make it work with the Yale lock at all.

I didn't write down the name of the type of cam needed for the Yale model, since we were sending it back, but I think he used "Allen" in the name of the type of cam. The same kind of trident cam worked just fine in our newer lock, but neither the modified or new trident shaped cam worked in the Yale lock. The normal trident wouldn't even let me turn the key all the way around and the modified trident cam let me turn it and unlatch the deadbolt, but not for the extra turn to unlock the latchbolt.

I'm lucky I needed a cylinder key copied and found this locksmith. We did not want the Yale lock and decided to order another just to buy time to figure out what to do. It turns out if we had the right cam, the Yale model would have worked.

I felt I needed to add this not only to document what worked, but also because I felt nobody was understanding what I was saying that this lock would not let someone with a key in under any circumstances. It turns out that is not what an F20 lock should be doing.

  • 1
    Do you want the outside lever to be rigid while the door is locked, but free up again when you unlock the door, or do you want the outside lever to retract the latchbolt even when the deadbolt is projected? (This is the fundamental question that'll decide which lock function you'll need to replace it with.) Sep 21, 2022 at 3:12
  • @ThreePhaseEel When the deadbolt is locked, I want to be sure the door can't be opened from the outside. But once the deadbolt is unlocked, it should be possible to turn the outside handle and open the door. The rocker (now I know it's a toggle) trips when I lock the door and will not go back when I unlock it.
    – Tango
    Sep 21, 2022 at 3:41
  • @ThreePhaseEel I'd prefer the handle be rigid when locked, but if it still turned the latchbolt, but did NOT turn the deadbolt, that'd be okay - unless there are implications to that which might not be obvious.
    – Tango
    Sep 21, 2022 at 4:02
  • The other main question with regards to lock function is "is there any reason you do not want depressing the inside lever to unlock the deadbolt in addition to retracting the latchbolt?" (This is called an "anti-panic" function in some catalogs) Sep 22, 2022 at 1:46
  • @ThreePhaseEel: No, there's no reason for that. This is at my wife's business and there are times there could be a lot of people in there, so we would definitely want the door to function as an easy escape route in case of fire or other emergencies.
    – Tango
    Sep 22, 2022 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


That rocker is called a stopwork

The rocker-actuator on the edge of the lockset (circled in green in your photo) is called a stopwork actuator/activator, and is commonly found (but not universal) to certain lock functions. In particular, the ANSI F20 apartment corridor function you have is where it most commonly turns up, it seems, although not all manufacturers implement a stopwork on their F20 locksets.

It probably shouldn't do that

Normally, on a F20 when the stopwork is engaged, it should let you use the key to unlock and enter still. Yours not doing that was a function of the outside lock not engaging with the mechanism in the "unlock" direction, which would be explained by the wrong cam having been fitted to the lock cylinder's tailpiece. (A diagnostic test would have been to try to lock the door from the outside-side with the key while the door was still open.)

You'll need to take it back and get the correct function if you want to get rid of the stopwork

Since the behavior of the stopwork actuator is an integral part of the lock function, there's nothing you can do to this lockset if you want it gone short of outright replacement. In your case, since we can presume from the lack of panic hardware on this door that this is a mercantile or business (not assembly!) occupancy (given that your significant other's already gone over everything with the county/Authority Having Jurisdiction, that's a fairly safe assumption to make), we need a lock function that provides a single-motion egress operation (called "anti-panic" in lockset catalogs).

In the Yale 8800 series that you have, this means you need to take your 8847FL back and get an 8822FL instead. This implements an entry function (ANSI F13), with anti-panic operation on the indoor lever, and the ability to leave the door unlocked via the deadbolt. It does not have the deadlatch capability that you see on your current lock, but for an integrally deadbolted lock, that is not as critical as the case where the live latchbolt is providing the sole latching and locking means on the door.

  • It helps if I can re-phrase to be sure I get this. It sounds like you're saying that this lock is specifically designed to do this - make it unopenable from the outside once you lock it and that, even with a key, you're not supposed to be able to get back in? Also, does anti-panic mean that turning the handle on the inside unlocks the dead bolt or does not?
    – Tango
    Sep 24, 2022 at 7:31
  • Looking at this (youtube.com/watch?v=XsUnHEW7KRA) video on F20, it makes me think even if this is F20, it's malfunctioning, since the lock itself, whenever you lock the deadbolt, trips the stopwork actuator. It's not done manually, turning the deadbolt does it and unlocking it does not undo it. So without ever touching the stopwork actuator, just locking the door prevents ALL exterior access no matter what the actuator was set to, manually, before that.
    – Tango
    Sep 24, 2022 at 8:14
  • @Tango -- anti-panic indeed means that turning the handle on the inside unlocks the deadbolt Sep 24, 2022 at 13:58
  • @Tango -- what you're describing is actually intended behavior for the Yale 8847 implementation of the ANSI F20 function (different lockmakers vary a bit even within the same overall umbrella organization) Sep 24, 2022 at 14:53
  • Wow. An intentional permanent lock-out. So that's not something that can be changed on that lock, then.
    – Tango
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:19

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