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Old 25-09-2015, 13:05   #1
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Sewing onboard question

I suspect that my sewing machine isn't getting a proper draw from the onboard AC system. The variable speed control is only getting up to slow; the slowest settings don't do anything.

The button for switching between having the needle up or down as the default isn't working at all.

I just used the machine on shore two weeks ago and all of these factors were working fine. I am pretty sure I have had the issue with the needle up/down button onboard previously, which is what really made me think it is a power issue.

The real question here: is it safe for the machine to run at improper current? Will continuing to use it under these conditions damage the motor?

If this is an issue, would I be able to find technical specs comparing the amp draw of my Husqvarna vs. a Sailrite, for example?
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Old 25-09-2015, 13:12   #2
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Sounds to me like you have a resistive loss problem (loses in the power cables). Depending on the length and gauge of the power cables, you can loose a lot of power to resistance.

Can you give us more information on how its hooked up? Are you using and inverter? Is it powered via a generator? Are you attached to the dock? If you are near a dock, can you take the machine over to the power poll and test it there to confirm its a power issue (and not mechanical)?
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Old 25-09-2015, 13:13   #3
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Re: Sewing onboard question

P.S. Yes it is possible to damage the motor if the unit is constantly stalling!
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Old 25-09-2015, 14:34   #4
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Re: Sewing onboard question

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Sounds to me like you have a resistive loss problem (loses in the power cables). Depending on the length and gauge of the power cables, you can loose a lot of power to resistance.

Can you give us more information on how its hooked up? Are you using and inverter? Is it powered via a generator? Are you attached to the dock? If you are near a dock, can you take the machine over to the power poll and test it there to confirm its a power issue (and not mechanical)?
It is shore power, probably with original 1987 wiring. I don't have anyway to connect the sewing machine directly to the 30A outlet. We have been meaning to invest in that for when we use power tools and the polisher, though, so I may just do some shopping.
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Old 25-09-2015, 15:13   #5
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Re: Sewing onboard question

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It is shore power, probably with original 1987 wiring. I don't have anyway to connect the sewing machine directly to the 30A outlet. We have been meaning to invest in that for when we use power tools and the polisher, though, so I may just do some shopping.
My guess, is that the dock power is already experience some loses (due to lenght and old wire), then add the extra wire in your boat is just too much loss.

Has it ever worked correctly on the boat?
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Old 25-09-2015, 15:23   #6
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Hm, could it be that the engine is meant to run on 240 V and you only offer her 120 Volts? Just a thought.
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Old 25-09-2015, 15:39   #7
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Re: Sewing onboard question

... I also think something else must be the problem ... A good sewing machine (Sailrite) takes something like 1.5A from 110V ...

I would check how another 'electric consumer' behaves on that outlet ...

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Old 25-09-2015, 16:09   #8
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Good Idea, but please also have a proper look at the ticket on the engine to verify it's 110 V. Although I'm in Europe I've bought the 110 Volt model, but Sailrite also sells them in 240 Volts.
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Old 25-09-2015, 16:47   #9
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Regarding the machine: In addition to incorrect power input damaging the motor, it could/will, permanently damage the sewing machine's "brain". Assuming, that is, that it has a small, internal computer to regulate things for the different types of sewing & stitching patterns.

It would be wise, and simple, to measure the power going into the machine (and it's draw) at the various locations that you've listed. And to also see what the voltage & output is from the various power sources; under both loaded, & no load situations.
Plus the resistance in the wiring of any of the power (and draw) of any circuts & tools, which are easy to measure.

That way, there's no guessing going on regarding how much juice your machine draws, nor how much power is available @ locations X, & Y.


If you're just doing simple stitching, is there the option to bolt an external motor onto the machine, & connect a power take off belt from it, to the machine's hand wheel? Thus, there'd be naught to worry about with regards to damaging the machine. Just an $20 motor instead.
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Old 25-09-2015, 18:06   #10
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Re: Sewing onboard question

What exact make and model of machine is it?
I'm a Certified Bernina Technician, and service all makes of sewing machines and sergers.
I also have 30 years of professional electronics background.
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Old 26-09-2015, 01:55   #11
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Re: Sewing onboard question

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What exact make and model of machine is it?
I'm a Certified Bernina Technician, and service all makes of sewing machines and sergers.
I also have 30 years of professional electronics background.
Husqvarna Eden Rose 250M
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Old 26-09-2015, 15:39   #12
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Re: Sewing onboard question


If this is your machine, it's not up to doing any kind of heavy stuff.
If you are running a non sinewave inverter, it might be confusing the needle up/down circuitry.
Don't worry about overloading wiring or the inverter as the total current draw can't be more than about one amp at 120 volts, and probably less than that.

Now, THIS is a heavy duty Viking Husqvarna !



It's from the late '70's/early '80's.
It has a big motor, and a low gear selection for the really heavy stuff.
The 6440 model has needle up/down as well.
If you can find one in good shape, it's worth about $300.
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Old 26-09-2015, 16:15   #13
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Greenhand,

I've always been able to run my Mom's old Pfaff 130 off our inverters. It is so old it has no "brain"; I prefer that, but that's another issue.

Are you running it from an inverter? If using an extension cord, then voltage drop may be your problem. Use the heaviest gauge short cord you can. (Mine's 5 or 6 ft, and like for use in the garage, not the light, house kind). If that doesn't solve it for you, then look to the people's advice who know more than me, like senor mechanico.

Honestly, I'd recommend the simplest, most mechanical, vs. electronic, machine you can find that will do what you need, for boat use. Then you can learn to tinker with it. Electronics means parts replacement, difficult when you leave the States, and also with age of machine.

I hope you can get it sorted fast.

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Old 26-09-2015, 17:25   #14
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Re: Sewing onboard question

The average home sewing machine doesn't draw enough current for the length or wire gauge of an extension cord to be a factor.
If it was an industrial machine such as this it would make a difference.
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Old 26-09-2015, 18:25   #15
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Re: Sewing onboard question

Check your extension lead plugs, if there is any greenish corrosion it can cause this problem. Try plugging in as close to the shorepower as you can to rule out bad wiring

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