Locating the First Number Using Listen and Feel Methods

There are listen and feel methods for locating the first number on a lock that has been closed, but the dial hasn't been turned. There is a ding for the first number, but it is very hard to hear and distinguish from other sounds made by the lock when the dial is turned. There is also a second increase in force needed to turn the dial, but it is much harder to detect than the increase in force when the second number is reached. Do not be discouraged if you can't hear the ding or feel the extra force. It really isn't much more effort just to try the possible first numbers and locate the correct first number by trial and error.

If you wish to try anyway, practice on a lock where you know the combination. Dial the combination normally, but don't open the lock. Now, turn the dial right past your second number, ignoring the ding and extra force that occur about 3 marks before it is reached. Continue right. The second ding and slight additional force should occur at your first number.

For further practice, redial the combination and repeat the test without opening the lock. After you have the feel, dial the combination normally. Open the lock, and then, close the lock. The place where the click and extra force occur for the first number will have moved about 3 to 4 marks to the right of the first number on the lock dial. For example, if the first number were 20, the ding and extra force might occur at 23. This movement occurs because the lock has a feature which moves one of the internal cams when the lock is opened. The feature avoids the need for the user to spin the dial after closing the lock. The amount of movement may vary from lock to lock and may vary on the same depending on how fast the shackle is pulled when the lock is opened.

When you try this on the lock where you don't know the combination, locate the second number, then turn the dial right to the last number, and perform the test for first number, starting from there.

To recheck after you think you have heard the ding for the first number, turn the dial left exectly one turn plus four marks, then right one turn exactly. Listen and continue turning right. If there was a ding, you should hear it again where the dial stopped the first time you heard the ding. You can repeat this test more times if necessary.

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