How Do Combination Locks Work? You may have seen or used a combination lock at some point in your life, but you may not know how it works. A combination lock is difficult to open because it necessitates the use of several different components that must be manipulated together. If you’re interested in learning more about how combination locks work, keep reading.
It’s possible to get a combination lock to work with a variety of features, which can vary from model to model. In most cases, the wheel pack will be the primary locking mechanism. The spindle, which is attached to the combination dial on the inside of the lock, interacts with the drive cam and the wheels of the lock. The combination lock can also be opened with the help of the drive pin and wheel fly.
How the combination lock works depend on how many numbers are required to complete it. The combination dial controls a separate wheel for each digit. A notch and a tab can be found on each wheel. Using the combination dial, each wheel connects with the one next to it as you enter the correct numbers. Once you’ve entered the combination in the correct order, all of the wheel’s notches will line up. When you do this, the lock will unlatch, allowing you entry.
The security offered by various types of combination locks varies widely. Locks with additional numbers offer substantially more combinations and may give a potential intruder or thief a much more difficult time than a standard three-number combination. When deciding what type of lock is best for your situation, it is best to consult with your locksmith.
Contact Armstrong Lock & Security Products or look at our website to learn more about how combination locks work. There are a variety of options available to you when it comes to locksmith services in Orlando. Check out our website or call us at (407) 434-0181 if you live in the area and want more information about our company.
How Do Combination Locks Work Details
If you wonder how a combination lock work and what makes it one of the secured lock then you are in right place. Combination Locks have an effective locking mechanism that helps to safeguard any valuables that you might be protecting. Ordinary padlocks use keys, but combination locks do not need or use keys. This is why it is difficult to manipulate a combination lock. This is why many people prefer a combination lock over other types of locks. Combination locks were invented in China. But, as of today, they are widely used all over the world especially in the fields of banking and home security.
A combination lock consists of a locking mechanism that uses a sequence of numbers to open the lock. Sometimes, numbers are replaced with symbols. Combination locks come in various shapes and sizes.
They are also made for different purposes. Combination locks can be mechanical as well as digital. Such locks are used in everything from luggage carriers to high-security safes. They provide a quick and easy solution to the problems like theft or misplacing your valuables.
Combination Lock Components
Combination locks follow a set of well-known rules. It doesn’t open with a key, but rather with the correct positioning of its components. A central shaft is used to control a series of interconnected rings or discs that are connected to each other.
The lock can only be opened if the rings are perfectly aligned. A combination lock’s operation, on the other hand, is far from straightforward. Before we can understand how a combination lock works, we need to talk about a few different things. We’ll take a close look at a typical combination lock and all of its parts.
The combination dial is an important part of the combination lock. The combination lock has a dial on the front. Many different symbols and numbers can be found on the dials. To open the lock, it must be turned in a specific direction with the numbers perfectly aligned. Some of the best combination dials on the market:
A spindle is attached to the combination dial. It’s an axis on which something rotates, and the spindle is the rod that serves that purpose. Using a spindle, a dial and a drive cam are connected. At the back of the machine, a drive cam is attached to a spindle that travels through all of the wheels.
3. Drive Cam
Almost every mechanical combination lock on the market makes use of drive cams. Circular disks made of metal or plastic can be used.
They’re tucked away in the back of the lock, out of sight. In most cases, they are stacked on top of each other. A drive pin is attached to the top of the drive cam.
It is the primary role of a drive cam to transfer the movement of the dial to the wheels. The unlocking procedure will not take place if the drive cam does not transfer motion to the wheels.
5. Drive Pins
The top of the drive cam is where the drive pins are located, as previously mentioned. Fitting pins into pre-existing holes is the purpose of the pins. As a locking pin, they serve to keep the drive cam firmly in place. To begin the unlocking process, the drive pin must make contact with a wheel fly.
6. Pack of Wheels
A wheel pack is used to secure the locks. Combination locks frequently employ the wheel pack as one of their primary mechanisms. The wheel pack has been in use for over a century.. A wheel pack is simply a group of wheels that work together to decipher the lock’s combination.
Password-aware wheel packs are built into the design of the wheel pack. The number of wheels on a combination lock varies from one to the next. The correct number of digits determines the number of wheels.
Let’s take a look at 1234 as an example. This combination has four digits in total. As a result, the wheel set will include four wheels.
7. Flying Wheels
There will also be wheelflies on every wheel There is a small tab on each side of every wheel that is called a “wheel fly.” The side of the wheel has a slot or a gate for this. In a wheel, the slots are located at specific points. The lock’s combination determines these points. Drive pins are intended to be stored in this slot.
Each wheel has a notch in addition to the drive pin. For the lock to open, these notches must be in the correct position.
The fence is another critical part of the combination lock. A thin metal bar serves as the fence. The lock’s wheels rest on this metal bar. The bolt that secures the combination lock must be unlocked before the lock can be opened. By resting on the wheels, the fence prevents the bolt from being opened. For the lock to open, the fence must be in line with the wheel fly.
How Do Combination Locks Work Actually?
A lever mechanism and a combination lock are both based on the same fundamental tenets. To retract a fence, the tumblers in the lever mechanism must line up. As a result, the bolt is freed, and the lock is able to be opened. The only difference is that a combination lock makes use of numbers, letters, or symbols instead of a single key.
Combination Lock Operation From the Outside In
- Turn the dials 4 times in one direction and you’re done! This aids in the engagement of the wheels, allowing them to rotate in tandem with the dial as it is turned. “The wheels are nested” is the term used to describe this process. To ensure that the wheel fly on each wheel is aligned with the fence, this is the primary goal.
- When the first digit of the combination is displayed on the indicator, it’s time to stop turning the dial. To make sure the first tyre’s wheel fly is aligned with the fence, do this.
- After that, turn the dial three times counterclockwise. Afterwards, There is a risk that the first wheel will come loose from the fence because of this action When the second number is at the indicator, stop the dial. The second wheel fly is in line with the fence at this time.
- Depending on the number of digits in the combination, this process can be repeated an unlimited number of times.
- After all the numbers have been entered, the dial is rotated in the opposite direction. The drive cam for retracting the bolt lever is rotated as the dial is turned. It is only when the dial can no longer be turned that the bolt is fully retracted and the lock is unlocked..
The Combination Lock’s Internal Workings
- A combination dial must first be turned.
- The spindle is directly connected to the combination dial. Thus, when you turn your dial, your spindle will follow suit.
- When the spindle is turned, the drive cam will turn as well.
- A drive pin connects the drive cam to the drive shaft. In order for the drive pin to rotate, the drive cam must turn.
- Somewhere during this rotation, the flywheels of two adjacent wheels come into contact with the drive pin. This is only possible if the entered combination is correct.
- The wheel begins to spin as a result of this contact.
- A domino effect occurs when one wheel begins to turn. When one wheel and another come into contact, they set the other wheels in motion. When all the wheels begin to turn, this will continue indefinitely. “Picking up the wheels” refers to the phenomenon where all the wheels are spinning at once.
- The notch on each wheel serves as a way to tell if the combination entered is correct or incorrect. The notches in all the wheels will align if the combination is correct.
- The padlock will become unlocked if the notches line up properly.
Either of the following outcomes is likely to follow:
- The lock will not open if the fence does not fall into the gap created by the notches.
- Due to its sheer mass, the fence topples over and falls into the chasm. The bolt also slides open when the fence is out of the way. This will open the lock, allowing you to get to your belongings more easily.
Variety In Combination Lock Designs
1. Locks with Several Dials
Combination locks come in all shapes and sizes, and this is one of the most basic. Notches are cut into the rotating disks of this lock. A pin secures the lock to the door. A slew of teeth adorn this pin, all of which point toward the spinning disks. Disk notches must line up with pin teeth in order for this to work. It’s possible to open the lock when this happens. Generally speaking, a multiple-dial lock is not recommended. This is primarily due to the locks’ reputation as being extremely insecure.
Many of these locks have been broken into despite the owner having no idea what the combination is. It is only a matter of time before the lock can be manipulated to open if it is not machined correctly. Pulling the pin outward is the most common method of unlocking this lock.
It’s possible that the pin’s teeth will begin to rotate. This causes the corresponding disc to spin. All the discs will begin to rotate as a result of the domino effect. In a matter of minutes, the lock will be unlocked. As a result, only low-value items like bicycle locks or briefcases use these types of locks.
2. Locks with one dial
The lock has only one dial. The rotary combination locks are another name for these locks. Several parallel discs or cams will be connected to the dial. Following this pattern, you’ll be able to enter the code:
- To get to the first digit, turn the dial counterclockwise.
- To get to the second numeral, the dial must be turned counterclockwise.
- The third numeral on the dial must be turned clockwise.
In order to open a three-digit combination lock, use the above-mentioned pattern. As the number of digits in the combination increases, so do the alternations. When the correct combination is entered, the cams have notches that fall into place. The lock will be unlocked as a result of this.
Locks with a single dial are generally thought to be more secure than those with multiple dials. However, they are not without flaws. Multiple combinations can be tried in succession, which is a major concern with these kinds of locks. In the long run, it may lead to the right combination.
It’s referred to as a “brute-force attack.” Single-dial lock combinations can be guessed in an average of 2.78 hours on average, according to research. Padlock shims and other similar tools may be used to gain access to the lock. It is also possible to manipulate the locks in order to find the correct combination.
It’s still a lot better than a lock with multiple dials. It’s possible to use this type of lock in child locks, lockers at school or the gym, and so on. However, such locks cannot be used for high-security purposes due to their impracticality.
The electronic keypad locks are another name for them. In today’s world, electronic combination locks are becoming more and more common. Electronic combination locks are common in most apartment buildings.
Mechanical locks lack many of the safety features found on electronic ones. It is possible, for example, to store large amounts of data using a large number of locks. It is possible, for example, to record information about the authorized users or the date and time of the most recent access.
Unauthorized access can be discovered and prevented through the analysis of such data. For these locks to work, you’ll either need batteries or access to an electrical outlet. With the same methods used to break into mechanical locks, electronic combination locks are safe. They do, however, have a unique set of flaws.
Data from previous unlock attempts can help determine the lock’s number sequence, but it isn’t always possible. An expert thief knows exactly what numbers have been entered.
This is done by focusing on the number pads that appear to have been used the most. Changing the password combination on a regular basis is an easy way to avoid this. As a result, all of the number pads will have a uniform appearance.
Combination locks advantages
Combination locks necessitate the use of a code to open, and deciphering a code is extremely difficult. For a three-digit combination, there are more than half a million possible outcomes.
Consider how many possible combinations of four or five digits there are. Isn’t it difficult? In order to use a combination lock, it’s essential to remember that half the battle is in coming up with a strong code.
Your valuables will be protected by a difficult to decipher combination. Always remember to avoid using birthdays or other prominent dates in your combination.
The key to a conventional padlock can easily be misplaced, making it a frustrating possession. To avoid accidentally leaving your key somewhere, you must always have it on you at all times.
After losing the key, you will need to replace the entire locking mechanism. A key can also be easily duplicated despite all of this. Combination locks can solve most of these issues. Stealing a key is much easier than cracking a code.
3. Sized to Fit in Small Spaces
The majority of padlocks are large and cumbersome. Users may be inconvenienced by this. Combination locks, on the other hand, are typically smaller and can be used on almost any surface. Depending on your security concerns, you may be able to fit the lock in a variety of locations.
A lock’s weakest link is usually its internal mechanism. Moisture can enter the lock through the keyholes. Rust or other conditions can harm the lock. Enclosed and shielded from the elements, combination locks have a lower risk of malfunction.
It is also possible for more than one or two people to use a combination lock, which is a major advantage. Consider how many sets of keys the average person possesses.
One or two are possible answers. Those who need access to your valuables can have the combination to a combination lock that you give to a group of people you trust.
You can rest assured that your valuables will be safe if you use a combination lock. It’s safe, secure, and inexpensive. As a result, the next time you’re scrambling for your keys, consider investing in a combination lock!