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    Sentry Fire Safe Won't Open, It's Broken! Can't Unlock Fire Safe

    By lighthouse

    Pictured above, a sentry safe that failed to open after the combination numbers were pushed and the little plastic piece that disabled it.
    So I called the sentry safe company, (800-828-1438), and waited for about 10 minutes to speak to a representative, (that was alright since I have a speaker phone). The first thing they asked me was about the condition of the batteries. I told them that they were brand new. The person then asked about the brand name and expiration date of the batteries. They were generic batteries, but the expiration date was fine. They suggested a new set of batteries, and mentioned that I could bypass the battery pack, (which sometimes fails), by unplugging the pack and using a regular 9 volt battery.. So just to cover the base, I went down to the store and obtained a brand new 9 volt duracell battery. I unplugged the battery pack and plugged in my new battery. I then pushed the combination numbers and my safe again failed to open.

    I called the sentry company back using my speakerphone feature again while waiting to speak with a technician. The tech asked me about the batteries and I told him it had a new 9 volt at the last technician's recommendation. The person began to talk about the actuator cylinder inside the safe, stating that it did not sound like it was actuating. Then they told me something that really made me wonder about the quality of this safe. They told me I would need to hit the safe with a rubber mallet in an attempt to get the actuator to engage so I could open the sentry safe. OK, so the safe is supposively built to keep my belongings safe from thieves and fire, but now I am going to fix it with a rubber mallet? Good thing my sentry safe was inside, somebody might have wondered about my mental state if they had seen me beating this fireproof safe with a rubber mallet! (PS: If you use the rubber mallet option or any other suggestions that sentry's customer assistance supplied, and have firearms or dynamite in your safe, you do so at your own risk, use wise judgement for your own safety)

    Well it just so happens that I had a rubber mallet and did not need to once again go to the store to get something to personally fix my great sentry fireproof safe. So I begin beating the upper middle door area of the sentry safe with this mallet and then tried the combination again. Woolah, It opened! I stopped for a moment and began to ponder how many other things I could fix with this magical rubber mallet. I mean, what about the TV, the computer, my fridgerator and that cell phone that always drops calls? Could it be that I have discovered the fix all to all mechanical issues? As I began to look at my belongings in my fireproof safe that I have just opened with a rubber mallet, I thought  "so if I close the safes door will I need a sledge hammer next time"?

    Time for another phone call, back to the speakerphone. The technician this time listened to my issue and asked me if I had some lubricant like WD-40 with a small tube that attaches to nozzle. I thought,  "well of course I do, I was just using that to fix the broken water pipe in the garage." The phone tech tells me where to spray the lubricant on the inside of the sentry safe door. He has me do this in the open and closed combination positions, and it's now opening when I press the combination numbers with the door open, hurray! The only problem is that after working in the lubricant a few times the handle on the door does not lock into the locked position. I no longer need the combination to unlock my safe, I only need a can of lubricant! OK, this is one really tough safe, what thief would ever think that they would need a rubber mallet and a can of silicon lubricant to open up a safe?

    Back to the speakerphone, this time a lady technician. She wants me to get a screwdriver and pry off the plastic piece on the back side of the door. At this point I said to her, you have built a product that I need to have a rubber mallet, a can of 3 in 1 spray lubricant, and a screwdriver to open? She stated that she was doing all she could to help me fix my safe and asked me how long I had owned the safe. I told her about 2 years and she stated that it was out of warranty. I thought, well who needs a warranty when they have a magical mallet, a can of black led, and a screwdriver? Anyway she directs me to pry the plastic backing off of the door and when I do this little piece of plastic falls out onto the floor. I look at this little plastic piece pondering in my mind, what's it's part in all of this. Well the technician is directing me to look at the arms and gears and some arrows that line up between the metal arms and plastic gears. What's wrong with that picture? Metal and plastic don't really work together long before the plastic breaks. I had to wonder for a moment, is this some really expensive fireproof plastic? The arrows line up and with that information she directs me to the area of the actuator again, she says "you see the circuit board" and a little white button that sticks out from it?" I said well yes, I see the circuit board and the little white button you are talking about seems to be laying on the floor broken off. So I picked it up and said, "this little broken piece of plastic that connects to the metal arm on the safe is why the safe does not work right?" She tells me yes that's the problem, that i have broken it and since it's out of warranty that there is nothing she can do to help me. But she then asks me to hold on for a moment…..

    She comes back to the phone sounding sincere, like she has just solved all my problems, and tells me that she has spoke to her supervisor and that they can offer me 10% off on any safe that I would like to purchase. I thought what great customer service, now they want to sell me another safe with metal and plastic pieces that break and give me a huge discount of 10%, and I bet it comes with a free maintenance kit which includes a polo stick, some lard oil, and a screwdriver on the rocks! Needless to say I declined their gracious offer.

    I will say that all the organizations personnel, (that I spoke with), were courteous and trying to be helpful, (that was within the realm of authority they were given). With a product such as this, and the great customer service I experienced, I thought it was probably best to find a safe that was free of little plastic pieces that break off, cause those plastic pieces won't save you 10% !

    A side note, recently I have received a couple of comments from someone who apparently holds stock in this company. He is trying to say that it's a fire safe and it's only supposed to protect your goods from fire. My first thought about that was; HELLO? Why would they put a key lock and combination lock on it then? I mean, are the locking mechanisms solely for the purpose of keeping the fire out of the safe? Then I thought some more, if this safe was in a fire, it would get hot, because it's not like a freezer inside, well except for those plastic parts and the plastic liner around the inside and around the door. What do you suppose might happen to those in a fire? I seen a stove recently that had some plastic on the door of the oven, high temperature resistant or not, it was melted.


    Topics: Kick It To The Curb | 316 Comments »

    316 Responses to “Sentry Fire Safe Won't Open, It's Broken! Can't Unlock Fire Safe”

    Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

    1. 301
      Becky Says:

      Thank you – the rubber mallet worked! You know when you
      need important docs you are probably doing something that is
      not fun to start with – then to not be able to open your safe
      to get to those docs – well I was about to lose it! Your article
      kept my blood pressure from going through the roof! Three solid
      smacks and WhaLa – open sesame! YAY!

    2. 302
      Timothy Lee Russell Says:

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      Had the key for the manual override. Had the electronic combination but the safe would simply not open.

      Sounded like the worm drive was engaging – it said “unlocked” but no “click” like it used to do when it actually worked.

      Went to home despot and picked up a 1/2 cobalt bit and a masonry bit and was about to just start exploratory drilling. But then I thought, I’ll see if the internet has some advice on where to drill when I found this post.

      So, I beat the ever-loving crap out of the front with a rubber mallet. Nothing.

      Then I thought, don’t give up. So many people showing their affirmation in this thread. It must work.

      So, I beat it some more, yanked the handle upward hard to make sure none of the components were engaged. Then jiggled the handle as I beat it some more. Then I heard a small piece fall to the bottom of the door…and voila, it opened.

      Thank you!!

    3. 303
      Natalie Says:

      I have two of them and both quit at the same time. After numerous phone calls to Sentry customer service and paying for master codes and keys and replacing batteries they still do not work. I can open them but at this point anybody can also. Company is absolutely not helpful. What a piece of crap . They need to go out of business.

    4. 304
      David Says:

      Yes!!! Rubber mallet magic. Nonetheless, we’ll look for another brand.

    5. 305
      Joe Says:

      I haven’t been able to open my safe for 5 years. Tried the rubber mallet trick
      and it opened right up. Sprayed WD40 and it seems to be working fine now.
      There is mildew over everything. So disgusted right now. Thanks for helping me open
      it at least.

    6. 306
      Greg Says:

      Wow! that’s a lot of comments on a safe that’s obviously a serious problem. Last time I’ll be buying that piece of garbage. I’ll be letting Costco know they’re buying poorly built products that reflect badly on them.

    7. 307
      Glen Says:

      Thank you!! Been trying to open it for 2 days, tried everything, then after finding this page I tried the hammer trick, worked straight away! The only thing I don’t understand is whey Sentry did not include a rubber mallet and WD40 and a screwdriver with the purchase??!!?!

    8. 308
      1abrasax Says:

      I was dying laughing, the entire comment was unbelievably funny, and followed up by posters comments cemented the deal. Ok, i as well, did not think this would work for me, since I had a blue keypad of death… no inputs accepted. So what the heck had i to lose. I sprayed wd40 into the door crack. I got my mallet. I got my crow bar. I was leaving no stone unturned.

      Then i got busy.

      Here’s what you basically need to know. the lock bars (depending on your model, it can have two or three). The ‘groove’ that the locks, lock against are about 4mm (3/8″) threshold. You basically need to just get your crow bar into the seam of the door to pry it open. So hitting it with the rubber mallet as suggested, it didn’t open the door per say, but it bent up the metal cladding. Just jam your crow bar, and pry. Voila. Open.

      REPLY: Sounds like you have a different model, however if your comments help anyone then it’s all good!

    9. 309
      Robin Says:

      I will never buy this brand again!! I am sick of it jamming and not i need to try these tricks!! BULLSHIT SENTRY FOR A LOUSY SAFE!! YOU LOST ME AS A CUSTOMER SEEMS I HAVE TO GO THROUGH ALL THIS SHIT!

    10. 310
      charlotte Says:

      this is the funniest thing i have ever read. i will do what you suggest and see what happens otherwise i will go for the crowbar

    11. 311
      charlotte Says:

      wow it worked what now? do you suggest i not use this safe anymore? will it eventual not open? i haven’t closed it yet to find out.
      i have two sentry safes they are a bit different haven’t had trouble with the other as of yet this one has given me trouble for the last year or so have been putting things of importance in the other just in case
      have a great day and thank you for such humor, it gave for a much needed laugh.
      thanks again

    12. 312
      Rex Says:

      My sentry safe would not open. I have the combination
      and tried several times to no avail. Then I was searching
      the internet on how to get it open and ran across this site
      and tried the rubber mallet. It worked after a few bumps wih
      the mallet. I am very happy now. Thanks,

    13. 313
      Nicko Says:

      I had the misfortune of buying a Sentry Safe Model OA3807.
      Recently it decided not to work. I entered the default code and kept getting ‘Err’; no other feedback.
      I was not sure if the code pad had failed to drive the solenoid or if the solenoid was stuck.
      I belted the day-lights out of it with a rubber mallet and got no satisfaction.
      I asked ‘Sentry Safe’ for support; I wanted to drive the solenoid directly; they said get a lock smith. With all the mucking around the code pad died.
      So I used a crow-bar (seemed no alternative) and it opened easily after forcing the top right corner of the door. The inner locking mechanism of the door failed dramatically. The metal used was brittle and cheap.
      I examined the solenoid and found a small circuit board between the solenoid drive and the code pad.
      The circuit board contained a voltage regulator, diodes, resistors and a transistor (surface mounted). In short if your code pad fails and you want to drive the solenoid directly disconnect the wires from the code pad; connect the black and red together and connect them to +6V. Get the green wire and connect to 0v (use the battery pack). Note the circuit gets hot doing this so don’t leave the connection for too long (maybe 20 to 30 secs); while connected the solenoid may operate or you may need to use the rubber mallet if it is stuck. I hope this helps someone and saves them breaking in with a crow-bar (this was not fun).

    14. 314
      Nicole Says:

      Thank you so much!!!
      I’d searched and tried everything even the mallot trick was banging the wrong area as recommended elsewhere. When I read your review and banged the mid upper, the light finally came on and beeped. I entered the code and presto!

      Sentry Safe SF123ES

    15. 315
      Barry Says:

      I, too, found this thread hilarious until a couple of days ago when I discovered that after entering the correct code to unlock that the handle will move all the way up or down but the door remains shut tight. Is the best solution to attempt prying the door open? Can the hinge pins be removed? Thanks

    16. 316
      pat Says:

      These safes are a piece of crap. Mine is a simple key lock fire safe and it is vacuum locked!!
      Called Sentry and they said the release button was probably broken. All my valuables and important papers are in that safe and we can not get it open. Out of warranty of course and so what are they going to do anyway? THey suggested calling a locksmith. What is a locksmith going to do? The key works fine. What I need is a safe cracker!! They then suggested turning the safe upside down and spraying WD 40. How is that going to fix a broken button that will not release? Besides we are seniors and turning the safe over is not gonna happen.

    Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

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