A combination lock is an excellent way to keep a number of personal items safe. Combination locks have been around for quite some time and have, throughout the years, become many people’s favorite way of storing jewelry and all sorts of valuables. Combination locks are easy to use and far much safer than other locks.
In this post, we will discuss all the essentials of a combination lock to help you understand why it stands out among all other locking mechanisms.
What is a combination lock?
A combination lock is just that; a lock opened by a predetermined combination of numbers. It eliminates the need to carry a key, which can be lost easily, bringing inconveniences. As long as you will remember the combination of the numbers you need, to open it, there is no better way to keep your valued personal items than in a safe or room with a combination lock.
Most combination locks have the following features:
Combination dial attached to a spindle – The dial is the section that you turn clockwise and anticlockwise to set the wheel in the correct position. Its face has numbers that correspond to each wheel’s correct position. The spindle connects the combination dial to the wheels and all the other internal components.
Drive cam and drive pin – The drive cam is a bar that transfers the dial’s motion to the wheel. It also forms the mechanism in which the bolt lever is pulled to reverse the movements. The drive pin is the component that touches the wheel to trigger the aligning mechanism.
Wheel fly and wheel notch – Flies engage the pins on the wheels at predetermined points for them to pick up the aligning mechanism. The notches are the parts that align to form a gap when all the wheels are in their correct position. The gap is what makes the lock release and open.
Fence – This is a metal bar attached to a lever. It plays a crucial role in preventing the safe door from being opened before the combination is dialed.
How does a combination lock work?
The short answer is its working principle is pretty similar to that of a lever mechanism. In a lever, mechanism tumblers are aligned by a key and their slots create a gap that retracts the fence to release and open the bolt. In a combination mechanism, a combination of numbers is used to align the wheels and the notches create a gap making the lock release and open.
To help you understand this mechanism better, here is a stepwise guide of what goes on right from when you enter the combination to when the padlock unlocks.
Once you enter a combination, the combinations dial starts to spin and the drive pin on the center touches the wheel to trigger the aligning mechanism.
The first number you enter will make the corresponding wheel turn to the position where the notch on it is facing up.
The subsequent number will have the same effect on the other corresponding wheel, just that the combination dial will keep shifting from clockwise to anticlockwise and vice versa from one number to another. The movement continues until all the wheels are aligned to the correct position. At this stage, all the wheels’ notch will have aligned to form a gap that will release and unlock the lock.
Combination locks and safety
So, one may ask, how safe is a combination lock? First, you must understand that combination locks come with a predetermined combination and you should set your own as soon as you get the lock. The only way a thief or an outsider will break into a safe or to the interior of a door with a combination lock is by knowing what the combination of the unlock numbers is. As long as you are the only one who knows what the combinations are, there is no way anyone can break in.
Part of the manufacturing process of combination locks is testing rigorously whether the dials work. For a three-digit combination lock, they make sure that more than 50,000 combinations can be set to unlock it. With this alone, the probability of an outsider guessing the unlocking combination of your lock is close to nil.
It is not just about the combination numbers, there are extra features that enhance the safety that combination padlocks offer. There is a lock case fitted firmly over the top to protect the dial from any physical manipulations. Many combination locks also come with a distinct serial number to enhance their security.
Hopefully, you now clearly understand how a combination lock works and why using it is the best way to keep your personal belongings safe. Combinations locks have actually been recognized to be far much safer to keep valuable belongings than other types of locks. Visit a reliable local accessories store, acquire a combination lock, set your unlock number and you will never have to worry about the safety of your belongings.