How Do Combination Padlocks Work?

Combination padlocks are often a very popular method for protecting someone’s belongings whether they are at home or at the gym, for example. They are relatively cheap to buy and come in a vast number of designs. One of the main reasons these types of locks are so sought after is that you do not have to carry around a key that could get lost. The thing you will have to remember, however, is the combination of numbers you used to lock it.

Understanding the Features of a Combination Padlock

Combination locks can be used for safes or doors for protection. The thing with them is that they all look very similar when analyzed and, if you were to take one apart, the mechanism inside would be almost identical in every one. They are made up of a number of plates and wheels on the inside of the lock. The amount of wheels varies and is dependent on the total of numbers you can select from on the combination. So, for example, if you had to make a combination from three numbers, then there will be three wheels inside. Through the very center of the wheels is a spindle. This in turn is attached to the dial where the combination sits. A pin sits inside the lock and touches one of the wheel togs when the combination dial starts to turn.

How the Lock Works

When you enter a combination to unlock this padlock, inside the combination dial starts to spin. The pin that is in the center touches the cog of one of the wheels and starts to trigger the mechanism. The wheel in question will turn to the place where the notch on the wheel is pointing up. This will be the first number entered into the series of numbers. The dial then starts to turn in the other direction and again ends up with the notch facing up. This continues until all the wheels are facing in this position and direction. There is a fence bar that then moves down to close the gap. As this happens the combination is complete and if correct will unlock the padlock.

How Safe Is a Combination Padlock

Combination locks have one major advantage over others and that is the fact that they are extremely hard to break into and decipher the code. There are in excess of fifty thousand combinations for a three digit combination on the dials. This shows you to some extent just how hard it would be to break this code. When these locks are made the dial is placed in and the lock case is tightly fitted over the top. Each lock is thoroughly tested to ensure that the dial works. Additionally each padlock as a specific serial number engraved into it for extra security. The main way in which a prospective thief could break into a safe with a combination padlock would be to actually know what the combination is in the first place. Almost all these padlocks come with a combination that is pre-determined. If this becomes known, then it is easy to break in. That is why it is very important to set your own combination as soon as you can after obtaining one.