GunVault (pistol safe) Questions


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Guyon
September 23, 2005, 03:01 PM
Been doing some online research, including searching through old posts here at THR. I'm fairly sure I'd like to get the GunVault 2000 Deluxe model *IF* the locking mechanism problems have been addressed. Anyone know if this is true?

Old posts indicated that the old locks, like the Kryptonite bike locks, could be breached with a simple Bic pen. This was news to me. I watched a couple of vids online of the locks being "picked" with a pen.

However, I called the company, and a rep told me that the locks have been rekeyed (or maybe he used the word "retooled"). A dealer also told me that the company shut down for a year and then was bought by Cannon Safe, who now uses new locks.

I guess my question is this: Anybody here have a newer model GunVault that they've tried to get into with a Bic? Any success?

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Guyon
September 24, 2005, 08:53 AM
BTTT: Nobody owns a GunVault pistol safe?

markdaniel
September 24, 2005, 09:25 AM
I own 3 of the older ones I like them never tried to open them with a bic pen.
I like them very much they are child proof which is what I have them for.

phantomak47
September 24, 2005, 09:49 AM
Gunvault went out of buisness and they might have been bought by another company. I doubt that you can buy a new gunvault of any type, there arent any online companies that have any in stock.

markdaniel
September 24, 2005, 10:05 AM
Their website is back up and working and you can buy them online again although I havent seen them in any stores lately

Andrew Rothman
September 24, 2005, 10:39 AM
I have two of the old ones.

I know how to pick most locks.

I can't pick the GunVault with a Bic, nor any other tool. And I tried, for hours.

Is it impossible? Naw, I'm sure it can be done. But it isn't easy.

I am pretty sure I could "pick" it in about 5 seconds with a crowbar; it's a lockbox, not a "safe." But it'll keep out kids, nosy guests and smash-and-grab thieves.

I'm still using the old ones with confidence.

roscoe
September 24, 2005, 12:09 PM
I use the Deluxe one, which is larger - it holds 3 pistols plus other stuff. I have heard about the Bic pen routine, but I don't think it is an issue for me because I use it to keep the kids away from my house handguns.

Maybe your average house knows how to do it, but my impression is that it is the domain mainly of bike thieves. Also, apparently only some locks can be picked that way - it depends on the diameter of the pen and lock.

If it really worries you, you could always squirt some CrazyGlue into the lock and always use the touch pad - just make sure the batteries are fresh.

twency
September 24, 2005, 09:21 PM
Read the product manual posted on their website. I stopped after five pages because it was so painful to read. It is riddled with spelling errors. It doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

-twency

Rinspeed
September 25, 2005, 01:55 AM
I have one of the deluxe models and I've been very happy with it. I'm not in the least worried about the bic pen thing as my kids don't cruize the gun boards to know about it. If someone broke into the house a good size hammer would open a Gunvault up without too much trouble.

Guyon
September 25, 2005, 02:56 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Stevie-Ray
September 25, 2005, 03:33 PM
I have a deluxe model that I am very happy with. It does what I bought it for and that's to keep prying little paws off a few of my guns. No I don't have kids, but my relatives do and they don't always watch them, so I can't take the chance, especially if I'm at work and the wife's alone. :fire:

Sheesh, anybody that might be on here that has little kids, do you let them wander into other rooms of houses that you are visiting? :fire: Seems like I've gotta play the bad guy all the time because the visitors are empty-headed. I simply know that the wife won't when I'm not there.

bulbboy
September 25, 2005, 08:19 PM
I have the basic model - the mini I think. I really like it - obviously a burglar can pick it up and walk away with it - but it keeps kids out and easy to get to in the nighttime! for $99 I highly recommend it!

elric
September 25, 2005, 10:14 PM
I have a gunvault, and its not easy to pick with the Bic pen trick. And, I consider myself an expert on the Bic trick ... I raised a stink about the Bic trick at work when I read about the trick, practiced it a bit, and then showed the head of security how I could get anyone's Kensington laptop lock off in literally less than 2 seconds with a properly prepared Bic. That resulted in several thousand laptop locks being replaced :).
Anyway, the batteries got too weak in my gunvault to open it, and I couldn't find the key, so I was pretty motivated to try to open the thing with a Bic. Tried for a long time, wore out a few Bics, never got it open.
The batteries are my only complaint about the Gunvault - it eats them fast. The manual said to change them every 12 months, my fresh new Energizers wouldn't open the safe after 14, and I hadn't tried to open it for a few months before that, so I don't know if it would have opened at 12 months. Need to change them after like 8 months. Or get a model that you can also plug into the wall in addition to the batteries. (I eventually found my keys to open the thing).
In addition to their standard pistol vault, I have their shotgun lockup thing, and that thing really eats batteries. I put 8 (Eight!?!!) fresh Energizer Industrial Alkalines in that thing, and it was too weak to open after about 6-7 months. And I had only opened it maybe 4 or 5 times over that time, so its not like I drained the batteries opening it constantly. Had to plug it in to open it.

That's my only problem with the Gunvaults, the circuits consume an awful lot of power just sitting there waiting for a keypress. Poor electrical engineering, especially from my viewpoint as an EE. No reason that fresh batteries should be drained that fast just sitting there.

They're nice little safes, but be sure to plug it in/change the batteries often.

Andrew Rothman
September 26, 2005, 12:35 AM
I have the basic model - the mini I think. I really like it - obviously a burglar can pick it up and walk away with it

Um, you do know that it has mounting holes on the bottom to bolt it to, you know, something heavy, right?

Mine is bolted to a heavy dresser.

The batteries are my only complaint about the Gunvault - it eats them fast. The manual said to change them every 12 months, my fresh new Energizers wouldn't open the safe after 14, and I hadn't tried to open it for a few months before that, so I don't know if it would have opened at 12 months. Need to change them after like 8 months.

<snip>

That's my only problem with the Gunvaults, the circuits consume an awful lot of power just sitting there waiting for a keypress. Poor electrical engineering, especially from my viewpoint as an EE. No reason that fresh batteries should be drained that fast just sitting there.

That's peculiar. I've had mine (a Mini-vault 1000) running on the same set of alkalines since I got it 26 months ago. I carry daily, so I cycle the door at least twice a day, 7 days a week.

I haven't even heard the "low battery" beep yet.

Do you suppose they've changed the electronics? Or maybe you got a defective one?

Let me know if you'd like to hook up a multimeter and compare readings. I'm a dumb liberal arts major, but I follow directions well. :)

a1abdj
September 26, 2005, 10:38 AM
This is why I suggest that anybody using a firearms safety device chooses a mechanical lock over an electronic when quick access is required.

Although both are capable of malfunction, the electronic devices have a much higher failure rate, especially the cheaper versions found on the small safes.

elric
September 26, 2005, 11:22 AM
Do you suppose they've changed the electronics? Or maybe you got a defective one?

I would have thought that if it were just one, but since my Mini-Vault and Shotgun version both eat batteries so fast, I think its a design issue. I'm guessing they use the same/very similar core electronics inside the Mini-Vault and Shotgun version, since the lock operation is the same between the two, just a difference in form. haven't torn them all apart to see if its the same circuit board inside, perhaps sometime soon I will.
Perhaps they changed the design of the circuits since you got yours? My Mini-Vault is about 2 years old, how old is yours?

Rinspeed
September 26, 2005, 12:32 PM
Don't feel too bad I decided to buy the AC adapter. Well it requires a special one and ended up being $40 at Radio Shack. I probably could have found one cheaper elsewhere but didn't bother. You can buy a lot of batteries for $40.

Guyon
September 26, 2005, 02:44 PM
elric, thanks for the reassurances about the Bic picking.

I went ahead and ordered the GV 2000 Deluxe version. It was in stock and a good buy at Wholesale Hunter. Was going to get the AC adaptor, but didn't realize Radio Shack charges $40. May have to look into other sources--eBay, perhaps. Our DishNetwork remote went down this week, and the company wanted over $40 for a new remote. Got one on eBay for less than $10.

Having trouble finding the optional security cable. Everyone seems to be out of stock.

Also picked up a Mossberg Loc-Box (http://www.mossberg.com/locbox.htm) for shotguns. The little one is getting more mobile, so it's time to take even greater care with the firearms.

elric
September 26, 2005, 03:59 PM
Don't feel too bad I decided to buy the AC adapter. Well it requires a special one and ended up being $40 at Radio Shack.

The only thing "special" about the the GV adaptor (my shotgun lock wanted 12v ... is that what your Deluxe wants?) is the +/- polarity on the tip is backwards from what you usually find on adaptors. I went through my box of misc adaptors I've collected over the years, and all the 12v ones were backwards. So a few minutes with wire cutters, soldering iron and heat shrink insulation tubing fixed that.

Oh, and although the rated voltage of an old late 90s era IBM thinkpad power adapter is a bit over 12v, it works in a pinch :). I'd like to say that it should be engineered to accomodate a bit of extra voltage, since most cheap 12v power supplies' no load voltage is going to be over 12v ... I can't say I'm too impressed with the circuit designer given my power drain experiences.

I'll have to take a look at the circuit board on mine and see if the first thing the incoming power does is go through a 12v DC voltage regulator, which is what I'd do if I were designing the thing.

Wingshooter
September 26, 2005, 04:03 PM
Odd, I haven't really thought about the batteries in mine.

I've had it for about 5+ years now and still have the original batteries in it. Makes me wonder if I should replace them. The biggest reason I haven't yet is because I have it bolted under my bed (which weighs about 300 lbs, and would require disassembly). Still going strong. I initially had problems with the rubber finger/palm pad falling off and they replaced it twice. Otherwise trouble free so far.

Guyon
September 26, 2005, 07:15 PM
Anybody got a lead on where you can actually purchase the optional security cable? Everywhere I've looked, the cables are either out of stock or backordered.

elric
September 26, 2005, 10:45 PM
Was going to get the AC adaptor, but didn't realize Radio Shack charges $40.

Hmmm, the GV manual says use Radio Shack 273-1680. Looking on RadioShack.com shows it as a selectable voltage supply.
http://www.radioshack.com/images/ProductCatalog/ProductImage/273/273-1680.jpg
GV say to just make sure to keep it set on 12v. What a waste, no reason to not just use a fixed 12v supply, it'd be lots cheaper.

If I didn't already have a suitable supply lying around, I'd use this 12v one from RadioShack: 273-1776 for $17.99.
http://www.radioshack.com/images/ProductCatalog/ProductImage/273/273-1776.jpg
It says if you go into the store and buy it, you get to choose 1 adapter tip free. So just take the safe in (empty, so as to not scare the salesdrones :D ) and get the tip that fits. If its like most other RS power adapters I've had, you can rotate the tip 180 degrees to change between negative and positive tip polarity. (The GV wants positive).

Andrew Rothman
September 26, 2005, 11:16 PM
I've had it for about 5+ years now and still have the original batteries in it. Makes me wonder if I should replace them. The biggest reason I haven't yet is because I have it bolted under my bed (which weighs about 300 lbs, and would require disassembly).

Nah. The batteries are inside where the gun is. If you can get the gun out, you can get the batteries out.

Rinspeed
September 27, 2005, 06:59 AM
Hmmm, the GV manual says use Radio Shack 273-1680. Looking on RadioShack.com shows it as a selectable voltage supply.

GV say to just make sure to keep it set on 12v. What a waste, no reason to not just use a fixed 12v supply, it'd be lots cheaper.

If I didn't already have a suitable supply lying around, I'd use this 12v one from RadioShack: 273-1776 for $17.99.


That's what I thought I would do also but if I remember right the manual is very specific in that there is a difference in way the voltage is regulated between the fixed and selectable AC adaptor. I will have to look. It has been five years or so, I just remember not being real happy about it.

elric
September 27, 2005, 08:45 AM
That's what I thought I would do also but if I remember right the manual is very specific in that there is a difference in way the voltage is regulated between the fixed and selectable AC adaptor. I will have to look. It has been five years or so, I just remember not being real happy about it.


The current PDF manual on GunVault's website says: "The recommended AC/DC power supply is a Radio Shack P/N 273-1680 or equivalent regulated adapter with positive tip polarity. Use the 12 VDC setting only. Maximum permissible input voltage is 14.0 VDC."

The output of the two adapters I mentioned above will be the same, if the variable one is set on 12v. The variable one just uses a variable voltage regulator on the output, while the fixed one uses a simpler fixed 12v one. They're going to look the same to the GV. I think the person writing that part of the manual just used the P/N of the variable adapter they used when designing the prototype, and was too lazy to look up the number of a cheaper fixed version.

RTFM
September 27, 2005, 09:02 AM
Interesting. elric. I have the delux and have not replaced the batteries in about 3 years...... :what:

I think I need to get them out and put a fresh set it, though I do know where my keys are.

Thanks for getting me thinking about that.

Guyon
September 27, 2005, 04:34 PM
Might be worth a call to GunVault to see why they recommend a variable voltage adapter and then say to ONLY use it on 12V. My suspicion is that elric is right on this one.

Guyon
September 27, 2005, 04:47 PM
Call to GunVault got no results. The rep agreed that requiring a 3v to 12V adapter and then using it just on 12V makes no sense.

However, he had no idea where the original Radio Shack recommendation came from. More than likely, it was in the product manual back when GunVault was owned by another company.

This guy also had no recommendations for an "equivalent" fixed 12V adapter--though he said at one point that he thought the adapter should service 3mA at 12V. Not being an electrician, I have no idea what this means. However, I do see that both adapters in question here have 1000 mA on them.

markdaniel
September 27, 2005, 04:52 PM
I made my own cable with an eye bolt and bicycle cable that uses padlocks. I just put the eye bolt through the hole in the gunvault with a washer and a nut and a cotter pin through a hole i predrilled in the eyebolt its the same as the security cable only about 1/3 the price.

roscoe
September 28, 2005, 03:17 AM
I have also had mine for 3 years and am on the same batteries. I open it a couple times a week.

Guyon
September 29, 2005, 08:22 PM
Got my GunVault 2000 Deluxe today. Opened it up and what did I find inside?

An adapter.

Even though the product description where I bought it said specifically "adapter not included."

FWIW, Wholesale Hunter had the standard GunVault 1000 MiniVault bargain-priced for $77. I went ahead and ordered one of those for my vehicle. And Cabelas had the security cable for $5.99 plus S/H.

The 2000 looks nice. Going to bolt it to something tomorrow. :D

Andrew Rothman
October 20, 2007, 11:14 PM
Hee hee! This zombie thread has been resurrected to tell you that at 4.5 years, the low-battery indicator finally came on on my GunVault 1000.

Eight AAs every four years isn't bad. :)

Shipwreck
October 20, 2007, 11:27 PM
Did U have a power adapter hooked to it too?

I plan to change mine out 1x a year...

Damn - 2005 thread...

autospike
October 20, 2007, 11:35 PM
I have two OLDER gunvaults and one Stack-On. All 3 are electronic and all 3 of them are busted.

I have moved to V-Line products which use Simplex type locks and couldn't be happier. I will never own another safe / lockbox with electronics.

Ready2Defend
October 21, 2007, 12:46 AM
I have 4 gunvaults around the house. Three with guns in them and the 4th with my invalid father-in-law's prescription meds in it. I have changed the batteries out only once in 6+ years of use. This ressurected thread reminds me I ought to replace all batteries regularly.

BTW: when a visiting nurse asked us where we got the nice medication safe we explained it was actually a gun safe.

Rinspeed
October 21, 2007, 06:56 AM
BTW: when a visiting nurse asked us where we got the nice medication safe we explained it was actually a gun safe.



That's funny because I use mine for storing meds at times also.

Andrew Rothman
December 3, 2007, 06:03 PM
Nope, mine is the base model. It opened twice a day for over four years on a set of Energizers. Think they'd put me in a commercial?

Rustynuts
December 3, 2007, 06:40 PM
I use a mechanical lock safe to store all my electric lock safes' keys!

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