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I stumbled across this claim pretty often in the last few years.

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Now the problem is that I wasn't able to reproduce it but maybe it was just because I rarely visit tall buildings with multiple floors (Or I did something completely wrong, which I doubt because you just have to hold down 2 buttons).

Often you also find claims that this trick works with absolutely every elevator worldwide. Now my question:

Does it work? And if yes, are there any exceptions/limitations to it?

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Many elevators don't even have door close button. –  vartec Jul 24 at 13:27
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Don't emergency personnel use the key to grant emergency control over the elevator? –  Brian S Jul 24 at 14:40
    
Both answers below assume you can't test it accurately because you don't know if there were people waiting to get on at other floors, but I always assumed this was supposed to mean that if you pressed 5 first, then did this trick for floor 10, it wouldn't stop at 5. Not a lot of use for it's proposed purpose (police in a hurry) if that's not the case. (not that I'm denying this is false) –  OGHaza Jul 24 at 15:51
    
Almost certainly not. On the other hand, the elevator at my office always stops on the first floor when going up from the garage and you can bypass it by doing something similar -- pressing close and waiting for the doors to close before pressing the button for your floor. Unfortunately it does not stop others from stopping the elevator. :) –  emodendroket Jul 24 at 20:05
1  
...pushing an additional button at the same time would drive the latching circuit with the voltage potential forced by the "cancel current floor" circuit. @MrLore: Most buildings have a lockbox which holds keys the fire department needs; the lockboxes in an area will be keyed alike (or will require a small number of distinct keys). –  supercat Jul 25 at 0:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 48 down vote accepted

No, this is nonsense.

I found an article from The New Yorker, which explored that claim. They asked some lift specialists about it:

“It’s just not so,” Charles Buckman, an elevator and escalator consultant in North Carolina, said the other day. “If it happens, it’s just happenstance.” He went on, “There’s no linkage in the control system between the door-control system and the floor-call system. ”

And there's some more about it in the article.

Of course you could try it out yourself with different lifts, and chances are that some of them will bring you directly up to the floor you want, not because it works but because nobody else wanted to get on. This might then lead you to believe that it works on some lifts, even though it's really just chance.

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1  
The article you cite also cites an experimental instance where it verifiably happened. I feel like this quote has been taken out of the context of the article. –  Emrakul Jul 25 at 15:27
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@Emrakul: That instance simply referred to holding the "close door" button, and it was clearly isolated to a single elevator (or perhaps a very old type of elevator - hardly a universal override). –  Aaronaught Jul 25 at 16:53
    
@Emrakul as Aaronaught already mentioned, this is just one instance, whereas the initial claim is that this is nearly universal –  drat Jul 25 at 18:33

It's an optional extra.

I've actually seen this working so I wasn't willing to accept the article linked. However I found the Specification for the Otis Elevator Company's GeN2 Regen elevator and on page 12 under the Special Functions section there is this:

NSB - Non-stop button: Once the NSB is pressed, all calls outside will not be registered, and the car moves directly to the destination floor

Additional lifts with this feature:

This proves that such a setting would be possible, and so even if this isn't true in all cases, a single elevator which had the non-stop button mislabelled as door close would be enough to start this rumour.

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It was explained to me as a kid (no references) that these buttons (marked "express") were found on freight elevators for the times they were filled with freight, so there was no point stopping to pick up more on the way. –  Oddthinking Jul 25 at 4:13
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@Oddthinking That's certainly possible for the older version, both the much newer elevators I linked mention "Load non stop" (Full load non stop in the freight one) on page 11 which automatically does the same thing based on if the cab is near full weight capacity. –  MrLore Jul 25 at 4:21
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The question is though, wouldn't this non-stop button be a different one, or will it generally be the close-door button? –  drat Jul 25 at 5:51
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There is also the possibility of bugs in the elevator programming to start such rumours. Back in university, we had an elevator that when between floors you were hitting all buttons (9) fast enough after each other, it would "forget" all of them, and you pressed then the floor you wanted to and could go there faster. –  PlasmaHH Jul 25 at 8:54

protected by Fabian Jul 24 at 21:46

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