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Forum > Sewing Machines > Tips for machines with jackrabbit start-ups ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Tips for machines with jackrabbit start-ups
You get what you pay for, but...
Marilly
Marilly
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Date: 8/7/13 7:26 PM

A long while back I picked up a Bernette 50 at a yard sale and while it's in great condition it has one flaw that's making me wonder if it would be a good machine to pass along to a beginning sewer.
Unlike my Kenmore, there is no smooth acceleration when the pedal is pressed gradually. I can hear the power amping up and then it suddenly takes off in a burst of speed and it takes a second to drop it back to something slower.
I'm guessing this is just how low end machines behave, but if anyone has tips on how to 'drive' one more effectively it'd be great to hear them.
Shel

ilesliemy
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Date: 8/7/13 7:51 PM

I find many Janome machines do this. Occasionally I get one of these in a class at Quilt Festival and it makes me nuts because I am not used to it. I believe I could adjust my sewing style if I owned one perhaps.
Leslie

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Marie367
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In reply to Marilly <<


Date: 8/7/13 7:52 PM

I am not familiar with this machine but sometimes that kind of behavior is a problem with the foot pedal. A new pedal might solve the problem and they usually are not that expensive. As is, I don't think it would be a good machine for a beginner.

bestgrammy
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Date: 8/7/13 7:57 PM

I am not sewing machine motor savvy...but what I've read is this is a difference between a sm with a wound motor and a stepper motor.

The info stated that a wound motor takes 3x more current to start than run...so the motor stalls and buzzes...so we naturally press more on the foot pedal...then the sm takes off in a burst when the wound motor gets going.

If wound motors are "cheaper" than stepper motors...I don't know...but seems that could be a factor. Sms that state having full piercing power even at slow speeds evidently have stepper motors.

To overcome the stalling, buzzing, then sudden "take off"...when pressing on the foot pedal also turn the hand wheel at the same time towards you...pressing easily on the foot pedal until the motor "gets going". It may take a bit of trial and error to get the right combo of turning the hand wheel in sync with pressing on the foot pedal.

Edited to add: If your sm takes oil...it wouldn't hurt to clean and oil it.

-- Edited on 8/8/13 4:29 AM --

biochemistress

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Date: 8/8/13 8:21 AM

I would definitely try a new pedal. Believe it or not, this happened to me with a new serger. When I bought it, the pedal wasn't in the box for some reason. She just gave me another pedal. I got home, set it up, and it was impossible to use because it would amp up and then go 1300spm! My clue was that when I pushed further on the pedal, it actually seemed to slow down! She ordered a proper pedal which I tried in the store. A thousand percent better.

Pamela R
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Date: 8/8/13 11:24 AM

I have found that with some machines I need to give them a start with the fly wheel (just like the old treadle that I learned on), then they can go on by themselves, but otherwise they jump into action, just as you discribed.
Good Luck
Pam
-- Edited on 8/8/13 11:25 AM --

Marilly
Marilly
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Date: 8/8/13 2:53 PM

Thanks guys! Best Grammy, you may not be a sewing machine pro, but the motor descriptions are quite interesting and I'd bet the wound type is cheaper.
Thanks to those who mentioned turning the hand wheel, it does help get the thing started at a slower speed initially. If I listen to the pitch of the motor there's a sweet spot where a crank on the hand wheel will 'roll start' it.
Another subtlety is how you rest your foot on the pedal. On my other machines I'm a 'heel to toe' driver, but on the Bernette the pedal is smaller so more of my foot covers the pedal. Because of this I've found my foot needs to 'rock' from a central point instead of from my heel as I'm used to.
I did take off the front to oil the vertical moving parts and the throat plate ( think that's the term) to check for any packed lint in the feed dogs and oil in the spots around the front load bobbin case that the manual suggested. All looked really good in there, no abuse or rust or cracks.
I think I will get the foot pedal checked out at the repair shop just to be sure.
This is the kind of machine I've got:
Bernette 50 mechanical
Shel

a.rose.sews
a.rose.sews
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Date: 8/10/13 9:25 PM

I just ordered a foot control for an older Bernette, and they aren't cheap -- $39.90 retail. In some of those foot controls, there's a "potentiometer." Basically, it tells the machine what speed to start at. You have to pry open the foot control and look at the circuit board. There's a little slot in the middle of a round metal piece, that's about a 1/4" circle. With the machine unplugged, put a small screwdriver in the slot and turn it a little to the left to slow it down.

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Annette -- Sewing Machine Mechanic
Bernina 230, Bernina 800DL serger, Kenmore (60 lbs), Singer Treaddle 1901, White serger, Mercury MO111 industrial, shell-stitch machine, plus several to fix and sell or use for parts.

lamx
lamx
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Date: 8/12/13 8:31 AM

Most of the suggestions here deal with the foot control and that is definitely a possibility but there are others.
Often, jackrabbit starts are caused by friction somewhere in the drive train. The motor has to work harder to turn the machine and you have to supply more current to accomplish that. Once the motor overcomes the initial inertia, it takes less power to keep the machine spinning.
The causes could be dried-up lubricant, lack of lubricant, corrosion, a bent needle bar or main shaft, thread wrapped around some moving part, or the motor belt too tight.
Since you bought the machine at a yard sale, you probably have no idea what type of use it has had previously, when it was last serviced or who has monkeyed with it so you will have to apply one solution at a time until you find the right one.
I once heard a comedian say, "No one ever got rid of a car because it ran too well." I think this applies to most mechanical items, including sewing machines. When you pick up a sewing machine at a yard sale, thrift shop, etc., you have to expect that it is not a well-loved, properly functioning machine that has been recently serviced and adjusted. You could be pleasantly surprised, but the odds are that it will need something, even if it is just a good cleaning.

Ed
-- Edited on 8/12/13 8:33 AM --

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cruzer2013
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Date: 8/15/13 11:57 PM

Best Grammy was close in her description. The motor in that machine is an alternating current or AC motor. The other type in higher end machines is a direct current or DC motor. The ac motor has has less power the slower you sew. Therefore it has trouble overcoming the friction in the machine at start-up. As earlier stated by someone, there is likely a dashpot inside the foot controller that can be adjusted and I have seen this to be helpful at times. And as also stated, a good cleaning and oiling to reduce friction will be very helpful. Cheers!

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