Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

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Opening a Sentry Safe with a Rubber Mallet, some WD-40 and a Screwdriver

Posted by Russell Wright on May 7, 2010

I have a Sentry Safe that I purchased from Sam’s a year or two ago (too lazy to look it up).  My wife recently tried to open it and, even though it agreed with the combination that was entered, the electronic opener refused to release the lock.  Since this safe can only be opened with an electronic code, this is a BAD situation!

I first tested all four batteries with my handy-dandy battery tester and they all passed with flying colors.  I could hear the actuator trying to work each time I entered the code.  I even tried the “master” code.  No go.  Being somewhat mechanically inclined, I decided to whack on the front of the safe with my fist (didn’t think I would hurt it) after entering the code.  Viola!  The actuator fired up and it opened.

I then started looking on the web and found this post by lighthouse.  Exactly my problem!  All you need is a Rubber Mallet (or a hard fist), some WD-40 and a screwdriver. 

Needless to say, I’ll be taking it back to Sam’s and getting my money back, regardless of whether it’s in or out of warranty.  I think Sentry Safe has sold many of us a bill of goods…what do you think?  POS!

2010-07-10 Update

So my son purchased a Sentry safe today and I warned him about the sticking problem.  Since I never did anything about my safe since I opened it last, I decided to pry the plastic cover off so I could see the innards and determine what to lube.  Looks like the actuator in the upper left is the source of the problem.  So, if you need to whack your safe, you can see that the upper right (as you’re facing it) would be the place to smack.

When I pried the back off, there was all kinds of plastic slag and crap sitting at the bottom on the ledge.  Such quality…

One of the comments to lighthouse’s post was by a guy who used his “saws-all” to cut through the pins.  As you can see, these are all just cast parts, which means they are probably very soft metal.  I guess if this safe is ever involved in a fire it will open automatically as all the parts melt!

SentrySafeInsides

Keywords:

Can’t open Sentry safe

Sentry safe won’t open

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99 Responses to “Opening a Sentry Safe with a Rubber Mallet, some WD-40 and a Screwdriver”

  1. Jose said

    I AGREE THAT THIS SAFE IS MADE POORLY BY SENTRY SAFE, BUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BUY ANOTHER SAFE, DO THIS WHAT I’M ABOUT TO WRITE AND IT CAN LAST YOU A LOT LONGER. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT I AM DOING THIS, BUT I THOUGHT I HAD TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION TO EVERYONE. ONCE YOU HAVE THE DOOR OPEN, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GREASE THE GEARS. IT IS STUPID THAT SENTRY SAFE DOESN’T GREASE THE GEARS SO AFTER A WHILE, THE GEAR CAN GET STUCK. THAT’S WHY YOU HAVE TO USE A RUBBER MALLET TO LOOSEN THE GEAR. YEAH, IT’S PLASTIC, BUT IF IT WAS GREASED UP, IT WOULDN’T BE SUCH A PROBLEM RIGHT AWAY. MINES IS OPENING SMOOTHLY NOW AFTER I GREASED THE GEAR. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO REMOVE THE BACK PANEL WITHOUT BREAKING ANYTHING. TAKE YOUR TIME AND USE A BUTTER KNIFE TO PRY THE DOOR OPEN OR A FLAT HEAD SCREW DRIVER. I USED A BUTTER KNIFE. IT’S A LOT MORE THINNER SO LESS CHANCE OF BREAKING IT. I WISH I CAN PUT A FEW PICS UP HERE, BUT IF YOU NEED IT, HIT ME UP AND I CAN SEND THEM TO YOU. ISLANDMAN369@YAHOO.COM. GOOD LUCK!

    • Russell Wright said

      I found that my problem was with the solenoid sticking and not releasing the latch handle. Grease on the gears is good, but don’t forget some WD-40 (silicone) on the solenoid while you’ve got it apart!

      • ron w said

        Were you getting flashing/beeping error code? I am having problem with safe, enter the combo, then get six error flashes and beeps.

      • Capt Jack said

        If I punch in my 5 digit combination and can hear my actuator click and if I don’t do anything I can here the actuator return (click). Is this different to resolve? I’m sure the actuator is engaging and releasing.

      • BonnieBeeGood said

        I just kicked the snot out of it in the front by the two posts that lock it and it gave up and opened. There was kind of a cathartic satisfaction that went with it, too.

      • Russell Wright said

        Perhaps the “snot” was making it stick? :)

    • Tisha Wilhite said

      So what to do if the safe is closed? It is the manual dial kind?

      • Russell Wright said

        The safe has a electronic keypad…no manual dial. That’s the whole problem with this safe. It is closed, locked and unable to be opened. Bad situation.

  2. Michael said

    Am I missing something here? Those wires connected to the actuator, can’t you just apply a voltage to them from the keypad on the front and get in rather easily?!?!?

    • ron w said

      The three wire pairs on the PC board on the keypad appear to be:

      battery power
      beeper
      serial inputs off of the keypad back into the safe

      It looks like the actuator voltage is probably controlled by another circuit board inside the safe door.

  3. Mike S. said

    I own a Sentry Safe A3867, and after replacing the batteries, I couldn’t get it opened anymore. After punching in “any code”, I would get six beeps, and the red light would blink six times as well. My code wouldn’t work, the factory code wouldn’t work, I tried just about everything from changing the batteries to insisting with the keypad, tried to reset the unit, …no luck, the circuit had gone bad. Finally after researching online, I learned that if you use a rubber hammer and hammer the area where the actuator is more or less located, it will vibrate with the impact, and just like that, I kept pulling the handle until it opened, it took me no more than 30 seconds, …I ended up with a dent on the door, but got my documents out of the safe! After removing the inside panel from the door I also learned that the actuator cannot be manually powered at all. It has a built in circuit that “communicates” with the keypad circuit, and feeding voltage on those wires will not make the actuator work. I hope this helps other people with similar problem!

    • Mark I said

      I REPLACED MY BATTERY AND MY CODE DOES OT WORK. WOULD YOU HAVE THE FACTORY CODE?

    • Sdody said

      I just replaced the stuck actuator in my Sentry safe. I bought the actuator on ebay for $0.99 with $2 shipping. It looks like the code is stored on the actuator itself (not the panel). The actuator comes with a sticker printed with the factory code. The old code that I used with old actuator, does not work once I replace the actuator.

      So – the answer is no, you cannot apply voltage to the wire terminal and get the safe to open.

      • pascal m said

        Sdody,
        I am having the same problem with my sentry safe. The actuator gets stuck. I have tried to find it on ebay, but could not find anything similar. Would you have the reference or keywords to search for ?
        Thanks and regards,

      • Russell Wright said

        Never had to order any parts for one so I don’t have any experience purchasing a new actuator. But, that’s a really good idea to find one that’s worth a crap and replace the one Sentry provides.

    • michael said

      I purchased a sentry a3867 at a yard sale but it didmt come with any paperwork do u know what the factory code is for the a3867? I only paid 10 dollars for it so dont really want to put any money in it to het it open please help if u have a factory code that will work thanks

      • Russell Wright said

        Each one has a unique code from the factory. You’d have to contact Sentry. Good luck with that!

  4. john martin said

    Thanks for the mallet tip – works a charm.

    Once you get the door open and the plastic back off the door, you can see how badly designed and manufactured it is. Looking at the actuator placement, i can see why it sticks – the handle on the outside is quite heavy and if it is down even slightly, it will cause part of the lock mechanism to sit against the actuator, which causes the solenoid to work harder (or not work). Dumb design, pure and simple.

    Note: if you simply remove the actuator – it’s literally a single screw – you have a functional fire safe that works with key only (the keypad becomes useless decoration). I just did this last night and works fine now. It is a little fiddly – you need to take the plastic wheel off (remove a spring clip), and make sure that the lock parts line up when you put it on again (3 of them have arrows to help you – the fourth doesn’t but its pretty obvious). I don’t have the combination but i do have the key lock. I’m also re-assured knowing that if i ever lose the keys, i can potentially crack it open pretty quickly.

  5. steve said

    wow this worked terrific – thank you for posting!

  6. Amanda said

    Hi, can someone help me? My sentry safe works with manual combination lock and it does not open. With the right number, the handle is jammed. I greased the dial and the handle with wd40 that did not work. I think the solenoid tubes are jammed. If I used the rubber mallet, where area of the safe should I hit? Thanks.

    • Russell Wright said

      Amanda–

      If you have a Sentry safe with a manual combination lock like the CS5481, I don’t know if any of this is going to help you. I’m not sure if the insides are the same, however, in the off chance that the manual safe works similarly to the electronic combo safe, you could enter the combination and take a mallet and hit the safe sharply anywhere on the front of the door to see if that jiggles anything loose.

      Russ

  7. Did the whole thing of rubber mallet et al and then called support. Did the battery check thing and icons. Then she had me lift the handle towards the 10 oClock position and punch in the code. Surprise click and open

    • Notprouda Sentry said

      Thanks. “…lift the handle towards the 10 o’clock position and punch in the code. Surprise click and open” I changed the batteries and I still couldn’t turn the handle. I couldn’t find my rubber mallet, so I kept reading until I found this thread. Thanks for the 10 o’clock information, that got me in. It is a pretty good fire safe. I bought this one to replace one that burned in a house fire. I had to cut the top out of the burned one to get the items out of it, but cash, papers and jewelry were unharmed.

      • C. Lanigan said

        Thanks for the 10 o’clock hint!! I was able to put in the code & see the unlock symbol but the handle could be lifted all the way up and nothing…. I tried this 10 o’clock thing and it immediately opened. Thanks so much!!

    • smartta26 said

      10 o clock worked. thanks for sharing this info.

  8. Doug Knowles said

    I had the same problem with a stuck door on my sentry electronic safe I follow your suggestion about the rubber mallet and WD40 and it works like new. Thank you all for the info.

  9. Martin D said

    These safes are garbage. Mine stopped opening after about 16 months and the rubber mallet trick would not work. It took my 10 minutes to pry the door off using nothing but a hammer and screwdriver! The safe is useless now but that is ok it was garbage before. This company sells nothing but junk!

  10. Tisha Wilhite said

    Have a piece of @!*! safe with the turning dial combination and the handle and it won’t open. I was told by a locksmith to turn 4 x to the left past the 1st number then 2x past the second # to the right then 1x past the third # back to the left. NOTHING!!!! Any suggestions?

  11. Lisa said

    To all who have purchased Sentry safes…you get what you pay for! Spend a little more money & get a quality safe such as Amsec or Gardall. Doors are solid steel; not plastic!

  12. Jim said

    Purchased my Sentry with the Electronic Lock at Sam’s Club back in March, 2007. Even though I keep it in a room with controlled temperature and humidity it started giving me opening problems a couple of years later. I called Sentry customer service and they sent me a new solenoid ($50) which seemed to correct the problem. Now it’s giving me problems again. I put in new batteries and no matter how much I pound on it with a rubber mallot it still refuses to open. I’m ready to get rid of it but need to get my valuables out first. Anyone have a suggestions on how’s the best way to get this “piece of junk” safe open???

  13. Don Cleveland said

    I shook the daylights out of the door while punching in the code,and suprisingly it opened like a charm.Still cannot figure out a
    route to acess the works without a lot of damage.
    Don

  14. So we bought one. And THE DOOR OF COURSE WILL NOT OPEN. ITS A A3867. nothing works wd.40, rubber mallet. Nothing is working im getting pi$$ed. me and my husband have tried everything to open this safe for about 6 months still nothing. when we punch in the code you can hear it click. but the door will not open. the door has dents all in it because we have beat on it with the rubber mallet and with HAMMER. any ideas?

    • Russell Wright said

      Dynamite?

    • Scotticus said

      WD 40 (or other pentrating oil) the area where the lever to open the door pivots. Wait 30 minutes. Do it again. Wait 30 minutes. Put in code in and firmly pull down on lever several times. WD 40 again. Wipe off all remaining lubricant. Put in code and just yank up and down on the damn lever till the f*ckig thing opens…. -Hit it a few more times with mallet as you do this… (It’ll make you feel better). Reccommendation: Have beer handy (it’ll make you feel better…)

  15. Treibs said

    **** ATTENTION ****** If you have an electronic keypad AND a manual key lock: The manual key lock button must be extended – e.g., unlocked – for the safe to work in electronic mode only. If the manual key lock button is pressed in – e.g., locked – the unit is manually locked. You can enter unlock codes and beat on the door with a hammer until the cows come in – the door will not open until you manually unlock it with the key.

    I learned this the hard way after my wife tried to get in the safe and inadvertantly pressed in the manual lock button!! It took a while to figure this out ( we haven’t pushed that button in for five years) after finding the key. After unlocking with the key I got the safe open and pulled off the cover mentioned above. An analysis of the way our safe (CSW 3813) worked led me to this conclusion. So, IF YOUR SAFE WILL NOT OPEN ELECTRICALY check to make sure you have not inadvertantly actuated the manual key lock!! This is not very clear in the owners manual.

    All was not a complete loss as I was able to lubricate all of the mechanisms with some lithium grease.

  16. Rusty said

    Mate, thanks for the post, that rubber mallet works, one shot and I was able to open my safe, I’ve been trying to open it all day so I decided to surf the net and it took me here, very helpful site. On my day off I’ll try to remove the plastic and grease the gear and solenoid, hopefully this will last a few more years.

  17. Rudy said

    I’m here to validate the Sawzall solution. Metal cutting blade went through like the proverbial hot knife if the butter was room temperature. The pins are about 2″ behind the face and inset so I had to do a little surgery on the plastic liner first. I honestly think with a long enough crowbar you could just pop it. They really need to spend an extra $3 on that actuator so it works more than a few months.

  18. Elk Around said

    I have a Sentry Safe model AO3817 with an electronic lock and a key lock. Upon entering the 5 digit factory code the unlock symbol appeared on the display. From this point, apparently you have 4 seconds to push the handle down to open the door. After trying several times and changing the batteries and double checking all the wire connections I went surfing to find a solution as to why the handle would not go down allowing for the door to open. Of course the Sentry Safe FAQ on their website was no help at all. Then I stumbled upon this tread, hunted down the ole rubber mallet, gave it a good whack, just below the handle, entered the code and VOILA!!!! The handle moved and the door opened and I now have my passport!!

    Thanks!

  19. Katie said

    I would suggest prying it open That is the only why I could get mine open, They ARE JUNK!

  20. Darryl said

    I have an OA3810 electronic combination & key Sentry safe that would not release the actuator (as described above). I hammered the safe on the left, on the right and in the center. It opened! I have since lubricated all the moving parts with WD40 and opened and closed it 15 times. I’ll wait a week or so before putting my stuff back in the safe, however.

  21. Jeff Reeves said

    Does anyone know where I can get a new nylon gear like the one pictured above, mine is stripped out?

  22. Gary said

    I have a CSW3815 Sentry Electronic Lock Safe. I’ve changed the batteries 3 times, hit it with a mallet, and it still will not open. When I type in the code, I get an “ERR” message and it beeps 4 times. Sentry sent me a new Solenoid, but I can’t replace it without opening it. I’m wondering if I have a bad keypad. I’ve had the safe for over 5 years now. What a POS. Any suggestions???

    THank you

  23. Nick said

    Thanks for posting this information. This is exactly my problem with my Sentry safe. My combination still works and indicates green as if it’s allowing to open, but then it just doesn’t. I tried an invalid code just to be certain that it is functioning correctly when I enter the correct code and sure enough the invalid code shows the red indicator as it should. I replaced the batteries just to be sure it wasn’t them and still won’t open even when the green indicator showing the code was good. I’m on a business trip right now and after finding this post, I’m going to try this idea when I get home this Friday.

    I’ve had my Sentry safe for about 10 years and never had a problem. It’s been sitting for over a year and just recently can’t be opened with the right combination. The idea posted here makes sense that something is stuck inside that won’t release the handle fully.

  24. Danna said

    I think Sentry safes suck! Anyone interested in a class action lawsuit, contact me at dskincaid2011@hotmail.com.

  25. colleen said

    So I have a DS3607 Sentry safe with keypad and handle. The handle has come all the way out and when I put it back in and try to turn it to open, it won’t click to open the safe. Any suggestions?

  26. Jay said

    Thank you so much for the “open sesame” secret. We used a mallet on the area right below the handle, put in our code, and the door finally opened. This safe has caused so much frustration in the 5 years we’ve had it! Sentry should be sued because they make you go through all these steps every time you call customer service and nothing works. They know the safe is a lemon. Thanks again for sharing your technique.

  27. Eff Sentry.

  28. Jim said

    Thanks so much for the info. I actually had my safe open and the plungers came back out to the locked position just by the spring pressure. I had the exact problem above where I could put in the right combination, get a green light, and the handle wouldn’t move. I hit the safe door with the back of my fist a couple of times from the outside right where the photo shows the solenoid to be located. After a couple of whacks, the handle moved properly after getting the green light. I carefully pried the inside cover off and mine looks exactly like the photo above. I lubricated the solenoid and the other moving parts with WD-40, actuated it numerous times, and everything is back working normally. Looks like some preventative maintenance every year or so will keep everything working as it should. Thanks again for the detailed information. Without it, I would still be stuck. If you are careful, you can work the inside cover over the plungers in the retracted position without breaking anything and carefully work it back on once you’re through lubricating everything.

    • Rob Rogers said

      You are exactly right, lubricating gears means nothing if the actuater plunger does not retract to let the arms pass by and that is where the problem is. My only problem is putting the cover back on, it is binding on the hinge side, the inner spacer does not want to go over the inner wall I think and it is binding the plungers, any suggestions? With the inner cover off, everything is now working perfect for me as the actuater is where it is all at for sure

  29. Dawn said

    I have a sentry save with a keylock and electronic combination. The light was on the display pad indicating batteries were low, so I changed the batteries. After putting the keypad back on from changing the batteries, my code won’t open the safe. It’s giving me an err code of 1. The unlock symbol does not appear and the handle doesn’t move. Err 1 indicates that I’m not using the right code, but I know I’m using the right code. I will try the rubber mallet thing when I get home. Anyone else have this type of problem with the err code one even though you’re using the right code? I enter my code and press enter/pgrm button and it beeps at me once but does not display the lock symbol and shows a number 1….. Sentry is closed for the holiday apparently (labor 2012) and it’s only Wednesday and the holiday isn’t until next Monday, so I have to wait until next Tuesday to talk to them. I’ve had this safe about two years. This is the first time I replaced the batteries. Dawn

    • Dawn said

      Correction…. does not display the “unlock ” symbol after entering my code which I know is the correct code– the factory one.

  30. Mark said

    Thanks to all for the hammer tip.
    I couldn’t get the actuator out so I bent the tab that holds the plunger and removed the plunger, bent the tab back.
    Now I will just use the key. No combo needed.

  31. Richard said

    Same problem here with the A3867, RESOLVED. Installed new batteries and tested. I noticed that (with the door open) the lever was not behaving normally. It was not opening as others described above. I don’t have a rubber mallet, so I wrapped a kitchen cloth around a small picture mounting hammer (little 3oz) and taped-it. I entered my MFG Code and tapped the safe below the lever and keypad area from left to right while pushing the lever up and down while the Proceed LED remained lit. After two passes through the process, I felt the lever go down a little and on the next tap and press, it went all the way down. I’m not sure exactly which spot worked on this model.

    Thank you guys so much for this post.
    Richard

  32. Vance said

    I have a DSW5781, the key tumbler is open, the code works fine, but the handle just moves up and down without releasing the bolts. Tried the rubber mallet, still no joy.

  33. g said

    And the hammer works again. No rubber mallet but a book works to cushion a regular one

  34. guru said

    i have sentry V260 electronic with key, no handle. cant find key and dont remember password. hva not used since i closed my business in 2005. any idea how to open.. maybe key inside safe, not sure?

  35. I always spent my half an hour to read this blog’s content daily along with a mug of coffee.

  36. Sentry Safe Sucks said

    Have a MSW3517 with an electronic key pad. wouldn’t open after pushing in the correct code and it actually flashes green. Used the rubber mallet trick and it worked on the first hit. Thanks

  37. bcdaytonaboy said

    Bought a Sentry OA5848 Electronic safe that was missing key. Found that the door mechanism wouldn’t work so pried off the inside door panel carefully and found that they had apparently forced the mechanism against the solenoid to open door. When pulling apart the rods and gear to straighten out everything a little black piece of plastic with a spring popped out of the gear area and I cannot find where it goes or what it does. Safe is working ok now, just would like to put all the parts back in. Thanks

  38. Wary of Sentry Safes said

    My Sentry OA3807 would not unlock despite the putting in the correct electronic combination for hours then I found your posting. The safe opened after I gave it a couple good whacks. Amazing. Thanks.

  39. Randolph said

    Thank you for this post! I had important documents locked in a safe I couldn’t open for two years. It opened right up after banging on it with a hammer in the upper right as described above.

  40. Brian said

    Yep, Hammer in the top right worked. Then I greased the gears, WD-40′d the actuator and pins. Works like new. Now its going into the garage sale and I will go out and buy a real safe.

  41. Chris Hills said

    Hammer did not work for me… and after reading the comments above, I didn’t want the thing anyhow. A sawzall and prybar got it open in about 1 minute. Contents are safe and the offensive thing is removed from my premises!

  42. Greg said

    Hi, given all the recommendations to dump the Sentry Safe and buying another, what replacement safes have folks purchased?

  43. Patrick Brinkschroeder said

    I think the little black piece with the spring is a relocker in case someone pulls out the key lock. With the lock pin removed the spring will push the plasticky piece in place of it to keep the locking bolt from moving. Why it is made of plastic is anyone’s guess, as it would be easier to defeat than the key lock is. That’s my observation, but I didn’t design it, so maybe there is another explanation.

    • Rob Rogers said

      I WONDERED WHAT THAT WAS TODAY WHEN I TOOK IT APART AND IT FELL OUT. SO IN YOUR OPINION WE COULD JUST ELIMINATE THAT PIECE CORRECT?

  44. rashmi said

    My safe finally opened after a lot of heavy jiggling of the handle. I opened up the inside plastic cover and simply removed the pin from the solenoid (I’m guessing that’s what it’s called from reading here). It pulled right out from the mechanism. Now I don’t have to worry that it will fail again later. I can freely open the bolts without punching in the code, but using the key will lock it. I mostly want it for fire and I figure it will at least deter amateur thieves…

  45. Jose said

    Took a B & D grinder and cut the back open rather surgically cut open a hole on the back of safe..15 min..

  46. Jose said

    From the money I saved from not using a locksmith I will buy me a new one

  47. Cory said

    I about gave up on the hammer trick. I didn’t have any wd40 so for about three hrs of trying off and on I bought some wd40 and sprayed the area around the handle. I let it set for an hr. I punched in the code and tapped across the middle and pop it opened! Now I’m going to follow the instructions above and lube the insides….thanks everyone

  48. Larry said

    Wife discovered we could open the safe without entering the combination. My thanks to this posting above and all the responses. I just finished repairing the safe. Basically the same issue as everyone else, but mine had the actuator stuck in the open position. I removed the back cover, Pulled off the retaining clip on the gear. Removed one screw off the actuator and then unplugged the actuator. The metal plunger for the actuator was rusted and the spring not near strong enough to overcome the built up rust. I removed another retaining clip on the actuator plunger and pulled the plunger out with a small screwdriver as a lever. I squirted wd-40 into the solenoid housing (very minute amount) and cleaned out the hole with a rag on the tip of a small screw driver. I did this a few times until no more rust/dirt seen on the rag. As for the metal plunger, I used some 220 sand paper to remove the larger corroded/bumpy areas. Then I used some Emory cloth (400 grit sand paper) to smooth it out. Then I added a few drops of 3-in-1 oil on the metal plunger and reassembled the spring, actuator, plunger, and retaining clip.

    The gear went back on as specified above with the small arrows lining up. I looked at the arrows before taking apart, but should have noted the top-right gear link since there are two arrows on that linkage. I should also have looked a bit harder since the door would not engage/lock properly due to mechanical issues. I reset the top right link to somewhere between the 2 arrows. Then I still couldn’t get the lock bars to extend by themselves. Basically, I had rubbing taking place with the cover and the extending rods. I installed and removed the cover about 6 times before finally getting it into the proper position. Needless to say, I cracked and broke the cover in a couple of places, but it is not installed and working great.

    .

  49. Brian said

    After replacing the solenoid (free after calling sentry) and trying it 10x before I closed the safe, it refused to open.
    Tried the hammer trick and no good. The handle wouldn’t budge. Fed up with this junk $400 safe I got a pry bar and 3 pound mallet.
    IT TOOK ME 10 MINUTES TO BREAK INTO THIS SAFE!!! What a hunk of junk!
    I relied on this thing for 5-6yrs to keep my valuables secure. Imagine how pissed I would have been if a thief had gotten in as fast as I had.
    TOTAL PIECE OF CRAP!!!

  50. RSniecinski said

    The advice regarding the sentry safes on this site is priceless. After 5 years, my model (OA3810 – not even listed on their website anymore) failed to open. Of course it had all of our important things like deeds and passports in it. I never would have thought to hit the damn thing in the right upper corner with a rubber mallet…but sure enough – worked like a charm.

  51. Karen Alvstad said

    We had this problem this week. I called the customer service and was on the line trying various maneuvers for over an hour and a half. Nothing worked. we called a locksmith and he referred us to this site. My husband tried the rubber mallet and that didn’t work either, so he went at it with a hammer and crowbar. Well, the safe is open but, of course destroyed. Cutomer service offered us 15% off on a new one. Big whoop. This one was less than 3 years old. I think I will look for a different brand.

  52. I’ve been having trouble like the rest. Did the WD40, rubber hammer, jiggle thing. Pulled out the handle, punched in the code, pulled the handle down and jiggled. OPEN!!! Thank You All!!

  53. John McLaughlin said

    Using a Rubber Mallet worked like a charm for me. Opened in 15 seconds. Thanks for the mallet tip!

  54. Steve T said

    Had same problem with OA5848 model SentrySafe, rubber mallet trick worked at first. Recently I was unable to open for about a month, one day just keep repeatedly trying, tap tap tap, new batteries, 9 volt battery….and it finally released the solenoid.

    Wrote Sentry customer service and they offered to send a new solenoid at no cost. The directions included were about an 80% solution. I am not a skilled tinkerer but was able to follow and complete the solenoid swap. Seems to be working fine now, I’m hoping this new solenoid is an improved model.

    Though I am very leery about a future lock out, not being able to get to titles, certificates and cash when needed can cause a heart attack.

    I’m looking t0 purchase a safe, one that has a manual key override should the electronics fail.

    Kudos to SentrySafe for the quick return on my email. Emailed them on Saturday or Sunday, got call back Monday morning, new solenoid with directions in my mail box on Wednesday or Thursday. I think they did more than can be expected of a company, safe is 5 years old.

  55. Larry said

    I have no power to the keypad> I have changed the battery and tested the battery pack with a meter (all good) no lights no beeps , nada> Any ideas besides hammer and prybar> had the safe for many years no problems ??

  56. M Chokshi said

    We have a sentry safe with electronic pad and key. After replacing batteries a few months ago cannot get the pad to work at all. We have tried a couple of set of batteries and wires seems intact. Any ideas?

  57. Dave said

    Bumping the front got the actuator to release and then got the door open :) you beauty, prized of the internal plastic cover, then got the Vaseline onto the gears etc and some WD40 onto the actuator shaft and now it works first time every time. :)

    Thanks for all the info :) Dave

  58. Michael said

    Rubber mallet worked for me!

  59. Kelly said

    Thank you everyone! We finally got ours opened tonight. Will not be locking it anytime soon. Hopefully, we can get Sentry to replace it. Yeah right….

  60. Bill said

    how do I get the factory combo for my 1610 safe. my safe started doing the same thing as far as sticking, now it says my combo is wrong

  61. michael said

    Does ne one know the factory code for a sentry a3867 I bought this safe at a yard sale and it had no paperwork? Please help if I can get the factory code to get it open I can program a code of my own

  62. tom mcginnis said

    Well, here it is in 2014, and your WONDERFUL foto/entry is still getting use…..

    I knew when I bought my Sentry that the whole idea of relying on something either electronic *or* battery-driven was a security mistake, but I guess I was rushed, and ….. and one followed my home.

    I ran into the sticking mechanism issue, found your solution, have kept the safe OPEN for the last few YEARS while I curse Sentry and neglect checking out the mechanism…..

    But again, here it is, 2014, and this morning, it took me all of 15 minutes to Dremel the plastic back off, to find EXACTLY your picture. I’ve lubed the bejesus out of it, actuated it an interminable number of times, and IT STILL STICKS. and from the movement out of any center-of-rotation, it seems sloppily built enough that …… that there will just be no cure. (No cure to which I’d care to trust my goodies.)

    The final impetus to do this was the clarity of your picture, again…. should’ve taken care of this a long time ago.

    FWIW, the engineering of the innards (and their apparent cheapness) has to do with making the lock mechanism impervious to hard actuation (of the handle, for example). Bigger safes have a glass/porcelain link somewhere in the lock, so that if you try too hard to open it, that link will break, and you won’t be able to open it without a locksmith and total destruction. (And lots of time.) This discourages thieves.

    Thanks again for your piece.
    TMc.

  63. tom mcginnis said

    HA! YET ANOTHER SOLUTION: GO FOR A 9-VOLT BATTERY!

    After writing/reading “solenoid” so many times, and ready to junk the whole thing, I thought I’d give fresh batteries a shot — the ones I’d put in last time were not name-brand, though they were fresh/bought. I put in some *older* Everyreadys, and “Clink!” goes the solenoid! Whoa!!!

    Then, I thought about the termination of the 4-battery battery pack (4 x 1.5v), and thought, “why not try a single 9′volt!” I did, and now the solenoid goes a solid “CLUNK.” I STILL don’t like the idea that I’m relying on a battery/electronics to get at my goodies, but watching this think retract with such authority is inspiring. As well, AND THANKS AGAIN TO YOUR POSTED PICTURE, I know that I can pop off the keypad, stick in a piece of angle metal as long as my index finger, and actuate the solenoid myself. (Then I can post another of those Youtube videos where a Sentry gets busted into in under a minute. Hooo boy.)

  64. Mark said

    Great info all around! I am so glad my wife found this site. I was at the point of grinding, saws-alling or just beating the crap out of my A3807 p.o.s safe when I came to the last post about trying a 9V battery.

    My safe’s actuator was trying to work. I could hear the little thing buzzing when I entered my code, but it would not budge. I tried beating it about with my rubber mallet to no avail.
    After I replaced the incredibly lame and flimsy battery pack with a 9v battery, it opened like a champ.

    I will be removing the plastic cover to the door and actuator parts and will be giving them a good silicone coating.

    Thanks to all for taking the time to post these helpful solutions.

  65. Tom said

    Several people have commented on the effectiveness of using a rubber mallet, but just wanted to add that this also worked for me. I sprayed some WD-40 into several holes on the back of the door but will try removing the panel to have better access and ensure all moving parts are lubed. It is quite disconcerting to have the very thing you bought for security be so unreliable.

    Model: MSW3517

    What would we do without rubber mallets, WD-40 and duct tape? sheesh…

  66. My sentry keypad went dead, and I replaced the 4 AA batteries and no go. The plastic battery holder has a connection for a 9 volt battery terminals. Plugged n a 9 volt and walla it functioned normally

  67. Joe said

    I have just experienced the same issue. My combo was good and the key unlocked the door, however even after beating on the door with a mallet and spaying the gap with penetrating oil, it still it would not open. The seal around the door will not allow anything liquid to pass into the lugs. I continued to beat on the door while forcing the handle to turn. I was relieved when it finally opened. The inside of the safe and items inside had a slight amount of moisture that I detected and thinking back a couple of months ago I realized it was due to a flood to the area the safe is mounted in. I was relieved to figure out why the moisture was there. In looking through the door and components this is why the digital release mechanism would not allow the lugs to move because of the rust and moisture in the safe.

    If I had to do this all over again and purchased a new safe I would mount it only slightly off the floor with something strong and spray the inside of the door and lugs with a silicon that would not hurt the things you put in the safe. The other thing you should do is use a bag of Silica or Desiccant to keep moisture from harming your items and the safe.

    I am in agreement that the components are cheap inside the safe, however its a cheap from a cost standpoint, and if you you should buy a safe of better quality. If you have the money to protect the items inside your safe you should buy a higher quality unit. I guess it just depends on how much you want to spend. but if you take these precautions when you first get it I think for the money its a decent unit.
    hope this helps you.

  68. Hans said

    All, lots of good comments here. My sentry safe was running about 2.5 years with the same issue, needed to be a 10 o clock position to be able to open, needed to have the key slot popped out to work at all. Then last week even with both being present, the safe couldnt be opened any more. From the front it was apparent that the battery seemed to be quite low, but the keypad still worked. Tried the rubber mallet etc but didnt work. Then i decided to give the batteries a try as if the battery is low, the motor might not have enough power. So turned the key pad 90 degrees, pulled out the kepad, replaced the 4 batteries, put it in back again and voila – it worked again. Glad if this will help you fix yours if you encounter the same problem.

  69. cameldriver69 said

    Thanks to all the great info from previous contributors to this thread. I returned from holidays to a dead keypad on my OA5835; I tried the name brand new battery tip and also tried a 9v battery but no luck. Unfortunately the rubber mallet solution didn’t work in my case and had to resort to violence. A power drill, chisel, hammer and 10 minutes of elbow grease had the door open with no damage to the safe’s contents. The photo posted by Russell Wright allowed me to punch a hole right where the solenoid was located, knock it out of the way and open the door. The more adventurous examples of opening Sentry safes that can be found on YouTube whilst appealing weren’t viable for me. After reading this thread and discovering how poorly designed the door mechanism for this safe is, even if it hadn’t malfunctioned I would have ditched mine as a future problem anyway.

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