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Posted: 1/13/2002 6:26:42 AM EDT
I saw a thread a while back on a problem opening a safe and there was some good info. I just had a general question with a Brinks 5190 safe I have for value items, and important documents. I got a good deal on this safe but I am getting so frustrated with it. I bought it new at BJ's wholesale, so I have no local repair/support. I visited the Brinks website and cannot find any information on this other then being directed to the home security (alarm) site which also has no infomation. Does anyone have any experience with these? Mine takes me sometimes a half freakin hour before I can get it opened. The other night I wanted to lock up some cash I had on me before going out and after 20 minutes I gave up and put the cash in my gun safe. I follow the combination directions precisely and still cannot get the combo to unlock. It is 4 numbers. The problem is I hardly ever use enough to remember the "trick" I used to open it the last time. Today I am going to take notes if I have to call this in for warranty. I do not know who to contact since the warranty papers list no address or phone number. It is a combo and key safe made by sisco. I am thinking maybe inside the combo dial is a problem or maybe it off a digit or two. Anyway im just fishing for any information any of you have, are these safes complete garbage or just very hard to open??? Searching the net I can only find retailers selling no reviews or comments out there.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 2:39:58 PM EDT
I’m no expert and I’m not pretending I am. This is Internet advice!! Further, I have no experience with this safe – what experience I have had with safes might not be relevant. Anyway a few guesses – please don’t take offense if I bring up anything that sounds stupid: Just for info: normally, locks have about a one or two number window either way. So if the correct number is “50”, you should be able to dial “49” or “51” and still get it work. Are you clearing the lock properly before dialing the combination? Normally this is turning the dial at least three full revolutions in only the direction you turn it to get to the first number. Each revolution clears and resets one of the combination tumblers. I’m assuming you’ve got three tumblers and your last combination number is a “0”. Never pass a number even a little bit and then go back and pretend you didn’t, you can’t fool the lock. Don’t laugh; I’ve seen people do this!! If you pass any of the numbers, clear and start over. Try turning very slowly and creeping up on the number. Locks (at least the good ones) have clutches (or brakes) on each tumbler to keep the tumbler from continuing to spin from inertia after you’ve stopped turning. These clutches use friction and can wear. If you twist the dial vigorously, you can send the tumblers spinning a bit (sort of like a top, though that’s a exaggeration). Also, if the lock is worn or loose (or cheaply made), you might knock a tumbler that already lined up out of place. Be gentle! Try dialing the number correctly, except dial one of the numbers off by 2, both higher and lower. Do this with the “0” also. You’ll need to dial the combination a total of eight times to do this. Write each combination variation down a piece of paper beforehand and check them off as you try them. Can you see the back of the lock when the door is open? (Probably by removing an access panel and also possibly – but not likely - a small but very heavy plate directly behind the lock?) The lock’s manufacturer may be on the back of the lock. Also, dial the combination with the door open and the access panel removed – make sure it’s the combination lock that’s the problem and not the locking mechanism itself. While very unlikely in a low cost safe, if you see any smallish spring-loaded bolts in the mechanism that don’t seem to do anything, stay away from them; they’re relockers. Frankly, if you bought this a BJ’s, it may not be worth all of the above trouble. Plus it may be just plain and simply defective!! Can you return it? If not, at least ask BJ’s how to contact the manufacturer. Further, until you figure out the problem, open the safe and leave it open – cause some day it’s going to just not open, period. If it’s open, a locksmith should be able to repair or replace the lock pretty easily (thought I doubt it’s worth the cost of a locksmith). If it’s locked shut with valuables inside, well – you get the picture. Hopefully something here will help. Good luck!
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 5:46:47 PM EDT
Thank you! All I had to do was clear the lock like you suggested and it will open up on the first attempt everytime!! Also not like I know much but I was shopping around for a fire-resistant safe for my documents, CD/Tape backups of electronic personal data and valuables in the $200 and under range and couldnt find anything I liked. They were mostly all plastic sentry safes with 30 minute burn protection ranging up to $250.00. I saw this Brinks model at BJ's for I think $175 with 2 hour burn protection and of course this thing is pretty damn big. It is a commercial safe and for its purpose (my valuables arent really worth much hehe) its perfect and has room to store alot. Again thanks much for the reply!!!
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 6:47:33 PM EDT
Taelil: If I remember correctly, a "fireproof" safe will protect papers inside, which are OK up to temps of 325 degrees F or so. Magnetic media / CDs / data backups are harmed at a lower temp than can be experienced in a "fireproof" safe. Plus computer media are more sensitive to damage from smoke than papers. There are "Media" safes, and they have far more insulation than a standard "Fireproof" safe. If your media aren't too big, you may consider placing a smaller "fireproof" safe inside the larger safe for more protection of the media.
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