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Locksmithing/La Gard electronic lock keypad replacement

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QUESTION: Hi,
We have a 10 year old Winchester safe with a Brass colored LG electronic kdypad lock.  The keypad has stopped working and we cannot find a serial number anywhere on the safe. The customer support at Winchester said that we need to replace the kepyad. I have looked on ebay and amazon and there are several LA GARD Basic II locks that resemble ours and some cheaper ones. Do I have to get the exact keypad or can I get one that is similiar or even a more basic looking one that is cheaper? We contacted the only locksmith that will come to our place and he said it would be around $500. to do the job! We just can't swing that.

ANSWER: Hi Anna,

If you have a 10 year old safe, with a 10 year old LaGard key pad, then replacement parts are no longer available.   Even the LG Basic II is about 1/2 dozen models beyond yours.   Just like cell phones and computers changing, digital locks are upgraded as frequently as manufacturers come out with newer models or designs.    The older key pads used an RJ-45 type 8 pin modular plug, the newer units use a square 4 pin plug.   While they may look the same they are not.

This means that unless someone has an OLD style keypad, changing it out may not work.   It may also be the lock and NOT the keypad.    If you have changed the batteries (ensure they are good), and you still get no response, then you possibly have a dead lock.   Meaning the safe will probably have to be drilled.

The serial number associated with the safe, has no bearing on the lock - they are different manufacturers.   While you could possibly contact Winchester safes for support, as your safe is no longer under warranty, possibly the most they would do would be to "recommend" someone in your area.

Let me know what area you are in, and I'll see who I might know in your area.   Unfortunately, most of the safe techs are in the Florida area with a few in North Carolina.    Get me your zip code and I'll see who might be closer.    In the meantime the first safe tech I would have you check with would be:

Advanced Safe & Lock
864-229-0475          Gerald Wood
311 Center street
Greenwood, SC  29649

As far as the cost to open AND repair the safe - $400 to $500 is a reasonable fee, if it also includes the mobile service charge.   The ONLY additional charge would be for the new lock.   The LG Basic II currently retails for around $155, and an AMSEC ESL10xl retails for around $220.   This would be in addition to the labor charges.

Make sure that you know EXACTLY what charges to expect.   If they are vague or can't tell you a WORST CASE cost, then you probably need to look for another safe technician.

While I understand that you may not be able to afford it now, unless "YOU" have to have it opened at this moment, you can simply put it off until you can either afford the cost or get a better deal.   If you have any questions concerning the prices your locksmith or safe technician has quoted feel free to run it by me BEFORE having them do the work.   Complaining afterwards is simply crying over spilt milk, and I can't offer any help.    But I do want you to understand all of the prices associated with the work, AND what you should expect for the service, before paying for it.

Hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the answer Andy. I have one more question. What if I can find the exact keypad on ebay, judging from the outside, there is at least one that looks exactly like ours.There must be a few like ours still floating around out there.There is a locksmith in our area who said he would replace the keypad if I bought a new one.

Answer
Hi Anne,

If you have an older style keypad, the cable is hardwired into the circuit board of the keypad.   The cable feeds through the door from the keypad, and plugs into a matching socket in the lock.

when you indicate finding a "Matching" keypad on ebay, good luck!   while it may be similar it also may be a different version.   Just be cause they may look similar, doesn't mean that they would be the same.

Pull the keypad from the door, like you are changing batteries.   Is the cable flat, about 1/16th inch thick and 1/2" wide???   if so you have the really old style.   If it is gray and about 3/16" thick, then it is a few models old.   If it is black, round and about 1/8th inch in diameter, it is one of the newer keypads and locks.

ALSO, do not assume that changing out the keypad will magically get everything operational.   If you don't have the code, changing the keypad will NOT recover it.   If the lock is dead, then changing the key pad will not get it functional.    The keypad is simply an input device, similar to the keyboard for your computer.   Changing the keyboard out does nothing to or for the programs or saved files on the computer.

Check the cable out and get back to me at:   andy@securitysafeusa.com  or by calling me at:   1-800-326-4224,    I can look through my stock to see if I have that keypad, or a compatible one.   If you aren't sure, I will need a photo of the back of the keypad showing me the cable.
NOTE:   I will be out of the office tomorrow, working in the field,   I should be in the office on Wednesday.

Also note that these keypads are NOT designed to be changed out from the front.   They are designed to have the lock removed from the safe, BEFORE the cable can be removed and the keypad changed out - MEANING that the safe needs to be opened.    While it is possible to temporarily wire a keypad into the existing cable, again, there is no guarantee that this will work.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

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