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Locksmithing/direction of combination numbers & number of rotations


I have a friend that just bought a Underwriters Laberatories Inc.  BP-280 SAFE.  They gave him the combination,something like, (Clear 4 turns to 0),"Which way do you clear it to L or R" then (L 4 turns to ??),(R 3 turns to ??),(L 2 turns to ??)and(R to 0). You see this is the first time my friend has ever had a SAFE so he's NEW to these kind of things,  dose this SAFE have a safety protection when you don't get it right the first or second time? if so, how long do you have to wait or what do you have to do to get past it?  Thank you for your time and we would greatly appreciate your input on this problem were having.    THANK YOU

Hi Raymond,

the safe is NOT an Underwriters Laboratories safe.   UL is simply a standards and testing agency.   The "BP-280" is simply a standard number, and has nothing to do with the safe.

Next item, the lock was "cleared" when it was locked.   No amount of turning will clear the lock any further.   This is simply an instruction past on by someone who doesn't understand the operation of the lock.

As you didn't provide me with the "combination" that they gave him I can't check it for possible errors, but based on the info that you have provided, the dialing sequence should be as follows:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops.

left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.  DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.   For instance if your first number is 50, you would turn the dial counter clockwise, stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index mark.

There are NO safety features that will stop the lock from operating if you mis-dial.  If it is not unlocking then either you are making a dialing error, or you don't have the correct combination.

If you still can't get it unlocked, then you may need to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company.   If you don't have a local safe company, then I will need to know where you are located (zipcode) to see who I might know in your area.

Hope this helps,  


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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".

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

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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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