Ask Technical Terry Silhouette

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dear TT,

First—thank you, and thanks to RMLS™—for keeping subscribers updated with the latest in lockbox technology. In doing so though, it puts stress on us REALTORS® to make sure we have the latest phone, computer, or tablet, and sometimes that gets confusing. Take the new SentriLock Bluetooth lockboxes—while I’m sure they’re a nice piece of technology, I’ve had a few issues getting mine to open. Do you have any general troubleshooting advice you can give? Keep in mind I’m generally in front of clients when the lockbox won’t open! Darn that Murphy’s Law!

Confused in Coquille

Dear CC,

You’re spot on—the new SentriLock lockboxes are a better piece of technology overall, but they also require the user to familiarize themselves with basic Bluetooth troubleshooting tactics to avoid embarrassment in front of clients like what you’ve experienced. Here’s my advice:

  • Make sure your cell phone is running the minimum operating system for SentriLock Bluetooth support. On Android devices, this means operating 6.0.1 or higher. On Apple devices, this means iOS 8 or higher.
  • Ensure your cell phone is running the latest version of SentriSmart™: the current version for both Android and iOS is 3.7.2. You can check your version by opening the app, selecting “Settings,” then scrolling down to “Version.”
  • Check that Bluetooth is turned on in the phone you’re using! This may sound simple, but the RMLS™ Help Desk has had calls from more than one subscriber whose Bluetooth radio was not turned on in their cell phone. Most phones provide access to a settings menu to control various aspects of your cell phone. You should find the on/off switch for Bluetooth in this area of your phone.
  • Make sure the Bluetooth radio is on in the lockbox! Remember that you need to press the ENT button on the face of the lockbox (shown below) in order to switch the lockbox’s Bluetooth radio on.
SentriLock Bluetooth with ENT Highlighted
  • Turn off the Bluetooth radio on your phone for five seconds, then turn it back on again.
  • Close other apps that may be running on your phone. Depending on the type of phone (Android or iPhone) the process for closing running apps will vary.
  • Reboot your cell phone. When was the last time you restarted your cell phone? Much like a computer, rebooting the phone can make a world of difference.
  • Make sure the lockbox you’re attempting to open via Bluetooth is indeed a Bluetooth lockbox! The older NXT lockbox (shown below) looks the same as a Bluetooth lockbox with one exception: Bluetooth lockboxes have a white front, not a blue front. [We really do want to see all the older NXT lockboxes out of the marketplace—if you happen to encounter one, let us know and we’ll contact the subscriber to get it swapped out.]

In the big picture, you may need a bit more understanding about how Bluetooth works with your specific cell phone, including some routine maintenance tasks (closing apps and rebooting the phone on occasion) to make your usage of the new Bluetooth lockboxes more successful.

CC, I hope this was helpful! Don’t forget, you can always contact SentriLock at (513) 618-5800 or the RMLS™ Help Desk at (503) 872-8002 [toll free (877) 256-2139] for assistance.

Technical Terry

Dear Technical Terry,

One of my listings is a solid hour from my office—two hours round trip. Yesterday I made the trip in order to put a lockbox on the listing. Then this morning I received an email from SentriLock about updating the lockbox firmware! Do I really need to drive all the way back to do that before anyone can access the listing?

Yours in Real Estate,
Fern in Forest Grove

Dear Fern:

How frustrating it would be to get that email right after making a long trip! Rest assured, you don’t have to return to this listing before it can be shown.

Here’s the story: the Bluetooth lockboxes we received for the upgrade events last fall have the newest firmware that was available at that time. SentriLock did issue a new firmware version at the end of December, but it’s not a required update. In fact, none of the firmware updates that SentriLock has released are required! The lockboxes will still function without updates! These updates just fix issues with battery life and working with Bluetooth radios on newer phones. They are good to apply, but are not required for the lockbox to function.

If you do want to update the firmware on your Bluetooth lockboxes, there are two ways to do it. If you have easy access to the lockbox—say it’s sitting on your desk—I’d advise using SentriSmart™ as the lockbox owner or as an agent with ownership privileges (aka team members) and select the “update firmware” option under Lockbox Tools.

The second way to do it is through a passive update. Passive firmware updates happen when the box receives small pieces of the update every time a broker opens that box to show a listing. The incremental update could take 15 or more container accesses, since agents may walk away from the door while showing the property. When the update is initiated and stops prior to completion, the next agent to access the lockbox using the app will start the firmware update from where the prior connection left off. (Think of this as the torrent version of updating your lockbox.) Once again, updating this firmware manually is not required.

As you can see, firmware is nothing to fret about!

Yours at RMLS™,
Ask Technical Terry