Decoding Sesame Combination LocksHere's a new trick for today...decoding Sesame-style wheel-combination locks.
You see these on padlocks, bike chains and briefcases...three or four little wheels lined up next to each other, like this:
The trick to defeating these is incredibly easy. All you need is a thin, pointy piece of metal or plastic...a half diamond or hook lockpick would work, if the lock is made cheaply enough. Or cut yourself a piece of a soda can, or a plastic binder cover. As long as the end has a thin, flat point.
Some locks are cheaper and looser than others...some may be so tight you can't make it fit at all, and you're just out of luck unless you shim the shackle, but that's a trick for another day.
Take your tool and insert it into the lock, on the right side of the first combo wheel. Feel for the axle at the center of the wheel. Rest the point of your tool lightly on the axle, and turn the wheel, one number at a time. At some point, your tool will drop into a small notch in the axle. This notch will be right beside the correct combo number. Go to the second wheel, find the notch for that one, the third, fourth, and you've got the combo.
The reason this works is because combo wheel locks are resettable...when you change the combo on them, a lever inside lifts all the wheels at the same time, out of those notches in the axle. You turn the wheel to the new combo number you want, and set the new number back down in the notch.
The notch is so small you may make a mistake and set the number one off from the correct one. Just feel again with your tool and see if it feels dead centered.
Some of these locks are made so loosely that you can just look down inside the wheel hole and see the notch, not even needing a tool. This is common on cheap bike locks especially.
Also, some lockpick companies sell "Sesame decoder tools" for $12-$25 that are nothing more than a handle with a sharp pointy bit at the end. Save your money and make your own.