You set up your sewing machine and are ready to sew, but when you press down on the foot pedal the machine barely moves at all. It is as though the machine is tired from a long hard summer. No matter how hard you press down on that foot control; no matter how much power you put in; the sewing machine just drags along.
There may be several different problems, but the most common are a motor issue or a binding issue. To repair sewing machines with this difficulty determine which is the major culpritt, turn the hand wheel toward you several times. Feel for any resistence, drag, or binding. Listen for any strange sounds. If the machine moves freely without significant drag or noise, the problem is most likely in the motor.
Sewing machines today have two kinds of motors. The traditional AC motor and the more modern DC Pulse motor operate differently, but can both be causes of difficulty. More commonly, however, we deal with problem AC motors.
Very simply, AC motors are composed of an armature, coil windings, and motor brushes.
While sewing at slower speeds, carbon deposits develop inside the motor. Wear can eventually ruin the motor brushes. As a result, the motors can gradually lose power and even stop working.
A quick and easy solution to this problem is what is known as a motor burn. Since the carbon has developed over a long time of slower sewing, it is sometimes possible to burn off the carbon by running the motor at top speed for several minutes. The carbon heats up and melts away.
Release the hand wheel break so that hand wheel will spin without turning the machine itself. The procedure is very easy, use a "c" clamp to press down on the foot control drive mechanism and hold it in place at its highest speed. Let the motor spin for about five minutes at full speed. Then test the motor operation at typical speeds. Test with the hand wheel break on to drive the machine and make sure the motor is working properly.
Caution: avoid excessive heat or potential sparking. Do not leave the motor unattended.
In some cases, the motor burn does not work. The damage is too extensive.
In these situations, you will need to remove the motor and service it.
For more details on servicing the AC motor look for my next article coming soon.
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