Tool without locks … the Chinese tool

A little while ago I received some fancy looking opening tools. And normally when someone presents me an opening tool, I just grab one locks from my personal collection to try it out. But in this case I am sure I don’t have the right locks for the tool. And to make things worse, Han Fey also does not have an idea what kind of locks these are used for…

complete chinese lock pick kit

I must admit the tools look nice, and it is a real pity I do not have the locks that come with it to try them out. Too bad the manual does not mean much to me as my Chinese is still a little rusty …. So I can only guess how they work.

tools for chinese locks

Personally I think it is some sort of ‘decoder pick’. Turning the knob at the end of the tool moves a finger/lifter at the tip of the tool, and with it you can set (or feel) individual pins. The neat thing about this tool is that it’s also a ‘set up key’. Inserting small ‘break away key parts’ on the side of the blade will lift the pin to a specific position and keep it there. And by changing the inserts you can change the depth of this (set up) key. Most likely the idea is to use the included magnetic contact microphone to hear if a pin is under pressure or can move freely. After some fiddling around you will end up with a working key.

set up key filled on two positions

All in all an intriguing tool, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those locks. If I ever do, I promise to shoot some video and share that here …

* Update 7-11: I send the tool to one of my loyal readers who has a couple of these locks. After playing around with the tool he will send it back including a lock. So I guess a video will show up here some day …

26 Responses to “Tool without locks … the Chinese tool”

  1. JackNco says:

    I have one that looks strikingly similar to the round brass one in the image. There are a couple (if not 3) of variants of the lock design though. ill stick it in the post if you want to try it.


  2. mercurial says:

    I am pretty sure I know the lock that this pick is designed for and I have sent a description and crude drawing of the lock to Barry.

    John – are you able to send me a picture of the lock you are referring to, I will email you my email address to the email address you have listed as your contact in NDE Magazine.

  3. JackNco says:

    Sure Ill take a picture tomorrow but it will be on a phone camera so dont expect anything detailed.

    The lock I believe it is designed for know by most of the people I have talk to about it as “that crescent lock” the give away in the image was the round logo. on the actual lock its more visible obviously. the logo is a circle with 3 pins in it, they look more like bullets or claw marks at first glance but they are the shape of the pins used in the lock. There are also 4 Chinese looking symbols on the locks face. assuming I correct about the lock it is designed for.


  4. mercurial says:

    John – it definitely sounds like the type of lock in question – the ‘crescent lock’ definitely rings a bell.

    I’ve found a picture online of a very similar lock, but it has two rows of pins. Imagine the lock in this picture, but having only one row of pins down the centre of the keyway instead of two – is this what you are thinking of?


  5. scorche says:

    I also have one of these locks.

    Barry – Please e-mail me if you wish to borrow it for a while. I would be more than willing to ship it off to you for testing. I have both sides of the rim lock (the other side only has 2 pins), original packaging, and mounting hardware. We met at Defcon, btw ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I apologize for the piss-poor quality of the pictures, but my phone is the only camera I have.


  6. JackNco says:

    Bit of digging through some files and googling and I think its a Baodean lock or some variant.

    I have a core that looks very similar to that but all in brass.

  7. mercurial says:

    John – well done – thats the lock type I had in mind.

  8. mercurial says:

    If this is the lock in question, the tool would work as Barry described :

    The ‘blade’ of the tool goes down the right side of the keyway, the feeler wire goes down the left side, with its tip underneath the row of pins, in the centre of the keyway.

    Using the feeler wire, with feedback via touch and the contact microphone, the pins position and depth can be decoded & recorded.

    Now a buildup key can be assembled by inserting the correct breakaway parts into the tool to create the bitting. Presumably a normal key can be cut on a key machine using this setup key.

    John – I’ve never handled one of these locks, is it easy to pick? I would assume that it is, but I can see that applying tension might be a little tricky.

  9. JackNco says:

    Ive never “picked” it although I did have a theory about opening them. by cutting down the key and removing the shoulder i was able to open the lock by pushing the key in and out while turning the modified key. although with a single lock and only pre cut keys I couldn’t prove the method. I got it to work on mine and the tolerances are terrible so there’s plenty of scope for ways to open them.

  10. scorche says:

    Tension is easier than one might think on one of these. I just pulled on one of the side slots, as it is less of a twisting motion with these. As for picking, I came in from the other side slot with a diamond pick and worked it from the side.

  11. dosman says:

    Very excellent tool, I have one of these locks also. I have not been able to pick it yet manually though. Interesting to see another variant with two rows of pins in the middle. I have a 3rd type with one row of pins in the middle like this with two horizontal rows of pins pushing against the outside edge of the “wings” on the key. Peter Fields mentioned that he had not seen one of these types yet, unfortunately I wasn’t able to give him the lock before he left LockCon.

  12. JackNco says:

    Dosman If you happened to have that at the back of the hall in peters talk it may have been yours where I saw the third type?

  13. valanx says:


    You may have seen that 3rd type there or at Defcon. I had both the brass one and the third type mounted on the lock wall with the green roof, but I can’t remember if you saw it. Dosman and I have a few of these locks between us that we keep meaning to tear apart and photograph.

    The tool looks interesting, it has some similar mechanics to something I designed so I may be able to adapt that tool and see what I can come up with at the house.

  14. dosman says:

    Yea I had it in the back row for a while during his talk, it was Valanx’s lock from Defcon.

  15. raimundo says:

    The magnetic stethoscope will not attach to the brass lock, perhaps it can pick up the clicks it needs by sticking it on the box handle of the pick.

  16. Doug Farre says:

    Incredible tool! Little break away key pieces, and even a microphone included! Too bad it didn’t come with interchangeable key warding for multiple key ways!

  17. Martin K R says:

    Barry you could also scan the pages of the Chinese manual, and let some friendly Chinese guy (sadly I am not Chinese, I am Danish which you know already). Could take his time and translate the Chinese manual (or some of it), and what locks the tools are for. Hope that helps just a bit. sorry being so late in replying to this thread .

  18. Matthew hedges says:

    hi these picks are for BAODEAN locks 100% the key blank ref is BDA-1 from jma

    thse locks are chinise and i keep finding them on more and more comerical units as the have import security doors

    you can get these locks from the company here
    >> <<

    i am a locksmith an love picking aney questions feal free to ask me just guote blackbag when you are emaling me so i know ware you from

    p.s i lave picked thses locks befor but not whth the pick displayed i you need tips i will give

    thank matt

  19. mr_chris79 says:

    Hi guys, i have just taken my lock apart to have a look inside, it has a sidebar effect to the cylinder, i have made a tensioner by removing the central part of the key so it looks a bit like a green repair tool for those of you who golf. my only problem now is fabricating a wire with notches in it to make a ‘pull through’ pick.

    Best regards


  20. Prisoner says:

    Hey guys, I’m currently in China. And I’ve got this type of lock. And this Chinese company said people can win 500,000 RMB whoever open it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Prisoner says:

    Hi guys, it’s me again. Can anyone tell me where can I get those tools? And by the way, I’m Chinese but lived in Ireland. So if any of guys need translate some Chinese lock manual I’ll love to do so ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Andy says:

    I think you have a Mul-T-Loc pick. Check out See what you think.

  23. La la says:

    dear barry:

    i am a lock enthusiast in china,and those lock you mention about is all sidebar lock.

    the longer one with outer sidebar,the working motion which is quite similar to medeco’s angle lock’s sidebar.but its the pin without angle cut.

    the round and little one’s sidebar work as the opposite way as longer one.

    and i have planty of this two type of the lock can mail you some!

    it must be difficulty to read what i say with so many grammar mistake!

  24. mh says:

    guess I add this here now, so I find it next time when I search for this lock again… ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Lock manufacturer: ้‡‘็‚นๅŽŸๅญ / Jฤซn diวŽn yuรกnzว “Gold Atom” “Golden Point Atom” / “Gold Point Atomic”.

    The sidebar is spring loaded towards the pins, on cheaper 5 pin cylinders (e.g. brake disk locks) there’s one spring in the middle for the sidebar, on 6 pin door cylinders there are 2 springs, one on each side.

  25. mh says:

    And this is the company that made the tool: ๅนฟๅทžๅ›บ็›พๅฎ‰้˜ฒๆŠ€ๆœฏๆœ‰้™ๅ…ฌๅธ “Guangzhou solid shield Security Technology Co., Ltd.”

    The little breakaway key parts are patented in China: Publication No. CN3630292 (“Key Tooth Die” by ้ป„ๆ—ญไบฎ)

    (Chinese Patent research: )

    There’s another patent that the company claims: CN2844338Y
    And another lock related patent by the same inventor: CN2404965Y (Google translates that to “super secret pin tumbler” ๐Ÿ™‚