Electric picks are commercially available from a number of locksmith suppliers. Like anything else, however, this has not stopped the home toolmakers from developing some very effective tools. Commercial tools range widely in both price and effectiveness. Homemade tools have been fashioned from a variety of devices such as electric toothbrushes, dental flossers, cordless drills and electric scissors.
The principle driving an electric pick gun is similar, though slightly different from that of a snap pick or pick gun. Kinetic energy is still transferred from a needle, through the key pins, causing the driver pins to hop. The difference is in the speed with which the needle oscillates. Because the needle oscillates typically somewhere between 1000 and 3000 oscillations per minute, there is very little time for the driver pins to come to rest on the key pins. No sooner do they touch down, they are fired back up again. This keeps the driver pins in a perpetual state of rising an falling. On more expensive models, the oscillation rate can be controlled with a dial. On cheaper models this effect can be created by pulsing the switch – that is, alternating between pressing and releasing. Getting the oscillation rate correct is pivotal to your success rate with these tools.
Much like with pick guns and snap picks, a gentle bouncing of the tension wrench will usually insure that the timing of the tension and the oscillations coincide at some point allowing the plug to rotate.
Once again, the effective use of these tools requires some practice and patience.