My Safe Won’t Open: Five Things to Try

Electronic Safe Lock, safe won't openWhen I was the service manager, I would occasionally cover the late shift. I remember one evening I received a call from manager trying to close up for the night who frantically said “My safe won’t open; help!” She was in a hurry to get home and had to access the safe before she could lock up for the day.

One of the most common troubleshooting calls we receive is:

“My safe won’t open. What do I do?”

Here are five common reasons why your safe won’t open, and what steps you should try before you call a technician.

Five Possible Reasons Your Safe Won’t Open

Dead Batteries

Fingers crossed, the reason your safe won’t open is as simple as dead batteries.

Before you try anything, change the batteries using brand name batteries. Off brand batteries lose power much faster than their brand-name counterparts.

It is important to try this step first, even if your keypad beeps and lights up as normal. There may be enough power in the batteries to operate the keypad, but not enough to completely retract the boltwork.

Jammed Bolt Work

At times, the bolt work can get jammed for a wide variety of reasons. If you hear the motor trying to retract the bolt work, but the safe won’t open, a jam could be the culprit.

It’s time to unleash your inner-frustrations; you get to mule kick the safe. Turn your back to the safe, and kick the door, hard, a few times. Be sure that you do not kick the keypad or the handle. This will help loosen the bolt work.

Next, pull the handle in the opposite direction than you normally do and enter the code. This will release some of the extra pressure on the bolt and should help the handle move more freely.

Lockout Mode or Time Delay

Many safes  go into penalty lockout mode if too many wrong codes are entered. Depending on the type of keypad, it typically emits a rapid series of beeps. If this happens, wait 10 to 20 minutes, and try again.

Your safe also may have a time delay. If this is the case, you will need to wait for the specified time delay period (typically 10 minutes) and re-enter your code.

Deactivated Code

Another possible reason your safe won’t open is your code has been deactivated. Have someone else try their code to see if theirs works.

Disconnected and/or Damaged Wiring

As with any electronic device, wiring can get disconnected and/or damaged. Remove the keypad and inspect the wires to see if they have come loose, are kinked, or cut.

If everything is intact, disconnect the wire from the keypad, and remove the batteries. Wait at least 20 seconds, then reinstall the batteries and reconnect the wiring.

If wiring is damaged or cut, you will need to call a technician. Be sure to tell them the type of keypad you have installed so they can bring one when they come.

If you try all of these steps and your safe still won’t open, it’s time to call a technician. If you have any questions, let us know. We’re happy to help!

About Katie Willie

Katie Willie is the Marketing Director at LockNet. After growing up around LockNet, Katie formally joined the team in 2007. She manages the LockNet brand by developing and strengthening the marketing program. Establishing LockNet as a go-to-resource, she manages LockNet’s content creation efforts. Outside of work, Katie enjoys chasing her toddler and playing with her dogs Cody and Ollie (LockNet’s original Chief Morale Officers).

46 Responses to “My Safe Won’t Open: Five Things to Try”

  1. Willie Narro

    Hi there, I’m having a problem opening my safe with a LA Gard keypad. Ever since I bought it, it has its moments that it don’t want to cooperate for a day or two..but now it just won’t open.please help as I have money,things for a case in court that is coming up and without them things I dont have a case. What am I doing wrong?(323)253-8045 willie

    Reply
    • Whitney Fay

      Hi, Willie. Your best bet is to go to http://www.findalocksmith.com or http://www.savta.org to find a reputable locksmith/safe technician to help you. They’ll charge you and you will have to provide proof of residence for where the safe is located, but they’ll be able to help get the safe open.

      Reply
    • Bobby Mays

      I have a lagard lock on me gun safe. I changed my code. Worked fine for a day. My code consisted with of the 1 thru 6. Next day I put in the code and didn’t hear any beep as I pushed the numbers. If I push 7 thru 9 I hear a beep. Need your help please. Thanks

      Reply
      • jake

        hi bobby i have the same thing all i do is discontect the battery push the key pads and then connect the battery again and at works but i am get fed up with doing that

        Reply
        • Zach

          I have the same issue because I live in the desert and the static electricity is very high especially with carpet. I find if I ground myself first by touching the handle then I don’t have issues.

          Reply
  2. Peter Graeber

    Where is the battery located?

    Reply
  3. Steve Whitley

    Please help just bought a safe ( RedHead ) I have the comb but cannot get it to open

    Reply
    • Ian Greene

      Steve,
      If it has a mechanical lock (No buttons or keypad but has a mechanical 100 number dial) on it turn the dial five complete rotations in either direction. Next, turn the dial counterclockwise (left) three revolutions and stop with the first number comes to the index mark on the fourth rotation.
      Turn the dial clockwise (right) passing the second number twice and stop when it comes to the index mark on the third revolution.
      Turn the dial counterclockwise (left) passing the third number once and stop when it comes to the index mark on the second revolution.
      Now turn the dial clockwise (right) and the dial should come to a dead stop.
      you should then be able to turn the handle of your safe and open your door.

      You may need to do these steps a few times before you get it. Make sure that each time you align the number with the index mark (at 12 o’clock on the dial ring) that you do it precisely, so you are dialing the number exactly.

      For example if your safe combination was 25, 45, 65, you would need to dial these exactly. If you dial 23, 42, 63, it will likely not open as the internal components are not aligned properly.

      If you have an electronic lock, try replacing the battery with a brand new Duracell battery and try again.

      You may need to contact the manufacturer if these procedures don’t get you your desired results.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  4. John Plumb.

    Hi, I have a dominator ground safe operated with a key which I have not opened in over one year. Now I kneed access to important documents and the key won’t turn the lock. Please advise.

    Reply
    • Ian Greene

      I suggest contacting the manufacturer of your safe to see if there is a manufacturer approved troubleshooting document available or if your safe is still under warranty.
      It may be that there is debris in your lock and could be as simple as vacuuming the keyway out to clean out debris. If there is a lock failure, you will need to locate a reputable safe technician in your area.
      Safe technicians can be found searched for at http://www.savta.org , http://www.findalocksmith.com, or http://www.clearstar.com

      All the best to you.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  5. Richard

    I own a protector gun safe and the batteries are to low to open the door. I tried my key and it will not turn and I broke the key tab off. I can remove the broken piece. What do I do now?

    Reply
  6. Elsa

    Hi,
    I need to change the batteries of our safe, but I cannot remove them by opening the keypad. Seems they need to be replaced from inside the door.It is a Fier Fyter from Costco. Should I call a technician or is there an easier solution?
    Thanks for your help!
    Elsa

    Reply
  7. Melissa

    We have a 2007 redhead cabinet with combination but lost the combination and cannot open the cabinetc. How can we reset this before calling a locksmith?

    Reply
    • Ian Greene

      Melissa, I would suggest contacting the company you bought it from. “Redhead” has been used by a couple of manufacturers as names for certain lines of safes. The company you purchased it from should be able to help you locate a number to contact the manufacturer.
      If this doesn’t work, I suggest going to http://www.findalocksmith.com or http://www.savta.org to locate a reputable safe technician in your area to remedy your safe issue.

      Reply
  8. Melissa

    We have a 2007 redhead cabinet with combination but lost the combination and cannot open the cabinet.How can we reset this before calling a locksmith?

    Reply
  9. Melissa

    How do u reserved the combination on a 2007 redhead gun cabinet

    Reply
  10. Brad Ulep

    Very good. After an evening of total grrrr frustration, I came across this site on google. You saved the day. The 24/7 phone number on the safe was useless as I called a few times with no answer (musta been on a p@#$ break). Anyway, even though the battery worked, lights worked and the beeps worked…. as you stated, the battery did not have enough “juice” to completely retract the boltwork. A quick trip to the drug store, a new battery and everyone’s happy again. ^5

    Reply
  11. Brandon Beasley

    I just bought a 24 gun stack on safe. Got home and the code I put in worked every time now 2 days later I pressed the keypad and makes no beep and when I press one number from my code such as 0 it beeps and when I finish the code, the yellow light flashes 3 times. I can still get in the safe with the back up key but it’s frustrating that 600 safe keypad won’t work when it did yesterday and the day before with no issues! Their customer support is closed till Monday. I disconnected everything and when I plug it back in it just beeps and does nothing on the keypad and just put in a energizer battery brand new!

    Reply
    • Lewis oliver

      Hi I just bought the same safe you havr and having the same problem as you. Have you figured it out yet? Any help will be appreciated.

      Reply
      • Brandon Beasley

        I called stack on customer service and they walked me through the problem. The black piece on the motherboard was loose which causes only one Or two buttons to work. They sent me all new parts for free and works perfect. I would just call them and they will help u out.

        Reply
        • Lewis oliver

          Thanks alot. I lef it alone awhile after messing with the wires and it wasnt doing anything and went back about an hour later now its fine. I guess it was a loose connection and it needed time to reset lol. Glad it also came with keys.

          Reply
  12. Sylvia rushing

    We put the five number code in but the handle doesn’t go all the way down

    Reply
  13. Sylvia rushing

    Handle won’t push down all the way

    Reply
  14. Tony

    Hi
    I have a safe that uses the lg basic 3710. The keypad has stopped working and the safe is locked. There is no power going to the key pad even though I’ve replace the 9V battery with a new one. The supplier is charging me more than the cost of a new safe to get access to my contents (I feel as if I’m held to ransom). Can I peel off the existing keypad and replace it with a new electronic Lagard keypad, get the safe door opened, get access to my contents and have a working safe?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Brandon Beasley

      Does it not come with a back up key? Also I wouldn’t go through the company unless your motherboard is defected and they send u another one like I got when mine quick working. I got it for free. But you should’ve gotten a back up key if it’s electronic

      Reply
    • Brandon Beasley

      Also, there is a motherboard inside the safe so u would have to open the safe to even get to the motherboard. Check all the connections and pull out the ribbon from the key pad from the circuit board and then plug it back in. Usually comes loose

      Reply
      • Tony

        Hi Brandon
        Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately the safe has no key hole … it cannot be opened by a key. The only access is through the keypad.
        Considering that I’ve had the safe for 15 year I think the circuitry has died (even though you would expect a commercial quality safe would last a lot longer).
        I was only wondering that, if I did peel away the keypad, removed the ribbon cable (I think the circuitry is within the keypad) and reconnect it to a newer model keypad (such as the Lagard LG Basic II) that maybe I can unlock the safe and, not only get access to my contents, but at the same time have a secure safe again.
        I’m only asking for advice before I attempt anything …..
        Thanks

        Reply
        • Brandon Beasley

          To be honest I couldn’t tell u. But I know there is a motherboard and a circuit board and one is inside the safe by the locking mechanism

          Reply
  15. Tony

    Thanks Brandon.
    I’ll do some more research before I make a final decision.

    Reply
  16. Derryl Van Dee

    i am have the same problem. it is a cannon safari safe.. no key!

    Reply
    • Brandon Beasley

      Call the company is the best option you have and have then figure it out. Always try the battery and unplug what u can and reset it. If not call the company and they could either send somebody to help u out or even send u new parts to get in the safe

      Reply
  17. Dan

    I’m a safe technician in Southern California, I specialize in troubleshooting service and repair of gun safes, money safes, inventory safe, utility safe and have a variety of locks, keypad and or complete lock kits at a very affordable price if interested please contact me at ds.services21@gmail.com

    Reply
  18. Suman

    I have an problem in keep safe …That is ….When I entered password after that it’s shows me timers again again …What should I do….Plzz help me

    Reply
  19. Cody

    Make sure that your battery terminals aren’t corroded because that’s what was wrong with mine. As soon as I cleaned up the terminals it worked

    Reply
  20. Odell

    I have an amsec esl5 electronic lock on a tactical gun safe that drains a 9V battery in 3 days. At this point the lock won’t open even with a fresh battery it beeps four times when I enter the correct code or the default code. What are my options?

    Reply
  21. Rachel

    We have a challenger tall gun safe. The code is beeping but when it comes to turn the bolt to open it it will not move… It usually makes a noise after code of it moving the bolts to open it is no longer doing that… Help please

    Reply
  22. Troy

    I have a Patriot safe that I bought from a guy that buys Estate sales. He did not have the keys nor the numbers for the key pad.so I got it for a great price. Well after getting it home I find out Patriot Safes are out of buisness now. What do I do?

    Reply
  23. MFB

    I had (note, had) an OA3810 SentrySafe. It wouldn’t open either.
    First I removed the 4 AA batteries, put in fresh ones. Nope. I installed a 9v. Nope
    The solenoid on the OA3810 is apparently on the upper right corner – getting physical.
    Tapping it with a mallet failed,beating it everywhere failed.
    So did the Rare Earth magnet I ordered, trying to get the solenoid to move. Nada.
    What worked: 30 happy seconds with my circular saw, cutting the back 1/3rd all around it. Then a bit of prying with my flat shovel, maybe 5 minutes, exposing the back wall of the inner plastic. The I carefully circular-sawed a square cut at the edges…got my stuff out.

    Reply
  24. John Burke

    I own a Sentry Model 1610 which I inherited. I have recently moved house and can’t open it. I have changed the batteries and they appear to be OK. I have used the original programmed numbers but to no avail. HELP

    Reply
  25. Irgend Jemand

    Thanks, you saved my life. I didn’t know that a simple battery change would solve my problem. I had luck to read your posting before contacting technicians which could have costed a lots.

    Reply
  26. Amanda Drew

    My husband’s gun safe’s lock has broken, and I had no idea what to do. I don’t want the kids to get into it and hurt themselves, so I was glad to see your tips. I am especially glad for your last tip about disconnected and damaged wiring because I suspect that may be the problem. Now I just need a locksmith to fix it.

    Reply
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    Reply

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