When it comes to security, one of the oldest forms we have is the lock. We have them on doors and cars, and we have the option to add them to things like luggage and chests. One of the types of locks that most people are familiar with is the combination lock and when it comes to keeping our family and home safe they are vitally important.
Combination locks are frequently found in middle schools and high schools. They help students keep their belongings safe. However, these locks have more uses than just on the lockers in a high school. We’re going over all the different types of combination locks, what they’re good for, and how to set them up. Keep reading to find out more!
What is a Combination Lock?
Instead of a key, combination locks use a set of digits to unlock the mechanism. This means that there’s no key to lose making it a bit more friendly to people who are prone to losing things. This is particularly true of school-aged children and teens, which is why these locks are commonly distributed with school lockers.
Rather than using a key, the lock has a set of digits that have to be entered in the correct order. This is true of both dial combination locks, multi-dial combination locks, and 3 or 4 digit locks. The only difference is the way that the combinations are entered.
Dial Combination Locks
This is the kind of lock that most people equate with the term combination lock. These locks use a three digit code that is entered using a dial on the face of the lock. The code has to be entered in the right order, and while using the right motions on the dial. We’re going to cover how to open them, as well as how to reset them, a little later on.
3 or 4 Digit Combination Locks
These locks, rather than having a single dial, have several. Each dial has a series of numbers on it ranging from 0 to 9. The code has to be put in the correct order. Thankfully, there are no specific motions to be memorized. Of the combination locks available, these are the easiest to use.
It should be noted that some of these 3 or 4 digit locks use letters or symbols instead of numbers. The process is the same, however. The correct order of numbers, letters, or symbols must be entered for the lock to open.
Digital Combination Locks
These locks are similar to the 3 or 4 digit locks. However, the combination is put in using a keypad. These aren’t traditional combination locks, but they are becoming more popular as time goes on. As such, we’ve included them on the list.
Setting Up Your Combination Lock
Many combination locks come with a preset code in the packaging. However, these codes aren’t the easiest for everyone to remember. It’s more likely that you’ll be able to remember your code if it’s something personal to you. Check out the following steps to setting up an analog combination lock. We’re excluding the digital locks, because each has its own proprietary way of resetting the combination.
Setting Up Dial Combination Locks
When you’re using a single dial combination lock, you’re stuck with the combination that came from the factory. These locks are unable to be reset. As such, you’ll have to use the combination provided to you.
To open these locks, there’s a “3, 2, 1” rule that you can follow. Rotate the dial 3 times to the right to the first number, 2 times to the left to the second number, then 1 time to the right again for the final number. This sequence hasn’t changed since the release of the original single dial lock in the 1930’s.
Locks with multiple dials, on the other hand, can be reset. You’ll still need the original combination, as well as a tool to reset a multi-dial combination lock. Here’s how you can accomplish changing the actual combination in one of three ways:
- Insert the tool into the correct slot, then turn it 90 degrees. Set the lock’s new combination, then reset the tool. Remove it. Test the new combination. To make sure that it works.
- Push in the reset button, and set the new combination. Release the button once the new combination is set.
- Open the lock shackle, and turn it 90 degrees. Press the shackle down and reset the combination. Release the shackle once it has been reset.
Setting up a 3 or 4 Digit Combination Lock
When you purchase a 3 or 4 digit combination lock, you’re getting a product that will almost certainly allow you to reset the combination. It is very unlikely that you won’t be able to set a custom code to unlock these locks.
Most of these locks follow the same procedure to reset the combination. Follow the directions below to get started with your combination change:
- Unlock the lock using the combination provided by the company.
- Once the shackle has released, rotate it 90 degrees. Try pressing it down. If the shackle won’t press down, rotate it 180 degrees from its original position.
- With the shackle pressed down, turn the dials to the digits that you want your new combination to be.
- Turn the shackle back to normal after the combination has been set.
- Reset the dials to lock the lock. Then try unlocking it with the new combination.
- If the combination works, you’ve just successfully reset your lock’s code!
Commonly Asked Questions About Setting Up a Combination Lock
What happens if I forget my combination?
This is a scenario that no one wants to deal with. However, you’ve got a couple of options. If your lock has a serial number on it and you haven’t changed the combination, you can contact the manufacturer. They should be able to provide the combination to the lock to you.
However, if you’ve forgotten the combination to the lock and it has no serial number, you’ll have no choice but to cut it off.
What are combination locks good for?
Combination locks are great for stowing away your valuables. They require the means of storage to have a hasp, so that the lock can be put on it. Combination locks are great for storage lockers, auxiliary locks on pantries, and for luggage.
When should a combination lock be used instead of a lock with a key?
One of the best reasons to use a combination lock instead of a lock and key is when you have children in the home. Keeping children safe often means keeping things out of their reach. Sometimes, that means keeping certain items and supplies locked away.
When you have a lock and key, there’s a chance that they’ll come across the key or the spare. This grants them access to the items that are being stored away. However, a combination lock requires that they know how to open the lock and that they know the combination. It’s unlikely that they’ll have the ability to open a combination lock, in most cases.
How should I choose my combination?
When choosing a new combination for your combination lock, be sure to choose something unique that you won’t be able to forget. Birthdays and anniversaries should be out of the question. Choose something more unique, since it’ll be harder to guess.