Author Topic: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine  (Read 11570 times)

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Offline Andromache

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Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« on: July 31, 2012, 03:51:20 PM »
The knob at the right-hand side of the machine, the one that you use to make the needle go up and down, won't turn at all, except for a small amount of wiggle room-- it's basically stuck.  The foot pedal doesn't make the needle go up and down, either.  I unthreaded the machine, so it's not the case that the thread got stuck somewhere inconvenient.

Do any of you know what the problem might be?  What do I try next?
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Offline Pina

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 04:32:42 PM »
The knob at the right-hand side of the machine, the one that you use to make the needle go up and down, won't turn at all, except for a small amount of wiggle room-- it's basically stuck. 

Andromache,are you talking about the balancing wheel,or hand wheel ? It would help if we knew which brand and model sewing machine you own.  ;) I'm traipsing in the dark here, I'm assuming the power turns on ?

The foot pedal doesn't make the needle go up and down, either.  I unthreaded the machine, so it's not the case that the thread got stuck somewhere inconvenient.

Do any of you know what the problem might be?  What do I try next?

There could be a bunch of thread inside the balancing/hand wheel.I found a bunch of different colored thread inside an old Husqvarna some weeks ago.

Is the needle up as high as it will go ? Do you hear a humming sound when you step on the foot control ?

Offline Back2Sew

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 04:42:05 PM »
This happens to me too! In most cases, it is because thread (or possibly a broken needle) is stuck in the bobbin area. The thread does not need to be very long so it may be hidden. The other reason it has happened to me is right after I wind a bobbin. I forget to move the spool pin back to the left and then the machine will not work at all until I move it back to the correct position.

A word of caution. DO NOT TRY TO FORCE THE NEEDLE DOWN. I made that mistake once and threw the timing off. Once you correct the issue, it will again go up and down with ease.

Offline Pina

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 05:05:56 PM »
The other reason it has happened to me is right after I wind a bobbin. I forget to move the spool pin back to the left and then the machine will not work at all until I move it back to the correct position.

LOL,Back2Sew ! I'm on my way out of the house and turned my computer back on to ask Andromache,if she by any chance wound a bobbin just before her machine stopped working.  ;)

Offline Andromache

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 05:27:02 PM »
Quote
Andromache,are you talking about the balancing wheel,or hand wheel ? It would help if we knew which brand and model sewing machine you own.  ;) I'm traipsing in the dark here, I'm assuming the power turns on ?

This would be the hand wheel.  The thing to make the needle go and the machine sew if you're not pressing on the foot pedal.  Sorry for the confusion-- I don't know all of these words!

It's a Singer Futura 900.  I think it's from the 70's.

The power does turn on.

Quote
There could be a bunch of thread inside the balancing/hand wheel.I found a bunch of different colored thread inside an old Husqvarna some weeks ago.

Is the needle up as high as it will go ? Do you hear a humming sound when you step on the foot control ?

I'm not sure I know how to check the hand wheel, but I'll see if the manual describes how to open it.

The needle is about midway up, I think.  There is a humming sound when I step on the foot pedal, like the motor is working but something is stuck and it won't move.

Quote
This happens to me too! In most cases, it is because thread (or possibly a broken needle) is stuck in the bobbin area. The thread does not need to be very long so it may be hidden. The other reason it has happened to me is right after I wind a bobbin. I forget to move the spool pin back to the left and then the machine will not work at all until I move it back to the correct position.

A word of caution. DO NOT TRY TO FORCE THE NEEDLE DOWN. I made that mistake once and threw the timing off. Once you correct the issue, it will again go up and down with ease.

I did not think to check the bobbin area-- I figured since the bobbin thread was flowing easily, the problem was not there.  I checked just now, and the bobbin area appears clear of thread.  This didn't happen to me right after I wound a bobbin.

Quote
LOL,Back2Sew ! I'm on my way out of the house and turned my computer back on to ask Andromache,if she by any chance wound a bobbin just before her machine stopped working.  ;)

No, alas.  Last bobbin-winding happened at least one muslin ago!

I got a screwdriver, so now I'm going to see if I can take the top plate off and see if anything is stuck inside there.
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Offline Andromache

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 07:18:31 PM »
OK, I tried taking off the top cover and poking around, and whatever the problem is, I can't tell where or what it is. 

So, at this point, is the machine valuable enough to be worth fixing?  I paid about $50 for it at a thrift store.  Or, should I just find myself a new machine?
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Offline BeeBee

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 10:36:22 PM »
Can you take the bobbin case assembly apart?  Not just the cover but take out the case & sweep around it.  Look for threads in the hook and underneath.

Offline J Miller

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 10:51:00 PM »
Andromache,

Almost everytime I've had a machine that was jammed like you describe yours, it was thread or lint or debris in or around the bobbin area.     The other times it was thread in the needle bar area on the left end of the machine.    I once sat for hours extracting many feet of thread that had been wrapped around the arms and levers that control the needle bar.   Machine was jammed up tight.
Quote
From ISMACS:
900    1973-75    Domestic    'Futura'. Auto. Built in and insertable cams. Buttonholes. Slant needle. Touch & Sew with slanted and curved head. White and gold.

One more thing.  That Singer 900 "may" have plastic gears inside.   Do not force them to turn.  They can break the gear teeth if you do.   

Any machine that sews good is worth getting repaired or spending time with to figure it out.

Joe
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 10:55:38 PM by J Miller »
Love the old iron and wood machines.  They're solid and reliable.   
Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

Offline Andromache

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 10:55:23 PM »
Hmm.  I will give the bobbin assembly another go, then.  Thanks!
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Offline J Miller

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 11:00:10 PM »
Andromache,

If you don't have a manual for it, I found one here:
http://pages.sewing-machine-manuals.com/173/InventoryPage/1833473/1.html

Joe
Love the old iron and wood machines.  They're solid and reliable.   
Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

Offline Machinetech

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 11:11:02 PM »
Another thing to keep in mind - I recently repaired a machine that would barely turn. Thread had wrapped around the main shaft just inside the handwheel, many feet of thread. I assume it got caught when the owner was winding a bobbin. The thread jammed the shaft against the bearing so the shaft wouldn't turn. All was well after I removed the thread, but it took about hour.

If you gently rock the handwheel back and forth, you may be able to tell where the bind is.

Offline Pina

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 02:18:45 AM »
Andromache,here is a free pdf manual for your Singer 900 Futura.  ;)

Edited to add,here are free pdf instructions on how to remove the panels to look inside your Singer 900 Futura and other model numbers,if you like to.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 02:53:33 AM by Pina »

Offline Andromache

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 02:13:12 PM »
Just wanted to revisit this topic-- I took off some more panels around the bobbin, and, yes, there does seem to be a thread stuck inside the bobbin area.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to take the bobbin assembly out, and none of the online manuals seem to cover it.  Anyway, I'll see what I can do.  At the very least, I can try to pull the thread out using needle-nosed pliers.
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Offline Andromache

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Re: Help me diagnose and fix a problem with my sewing machine
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 02:53:23 PM »
Well, victory!  I managed to take out the relevant bobbin case parts, extract the thread, AND put everything back together again correctly.  Yes!!!!!  Thanks for all your help guys-- without your suggestion, I would have never thought to check out the bobbin case.  Thanks again!
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