My Machine Hates Change
On my last post I mentioned that I had a switch go out on my longarm machine and I had to order a replacement switch since I didn't have one on hand. Well yesterday my DH decided to look at my machine after asking me a bunch of questions on how the machine works, and in particular how it works when the switches are pushed. Momentary switches evidently come in closed and open. I have no idea what mine is, but my DH knew once I explained to him what the machine does when the switch is pushed.
So we go into the studio and start playing with the old switch. My machine is an older model - a 2000 - and the momentary switch is welded on. So DH cleans the solder off the old switch, attaches plugs to the wires, and then plugs the old switch back in. We still have the same problem. The machine continues to run on it's own when the switch is pushed. There is no 'one stitch then stop' motion as there should be with this switch.
Now the first thing I did when this happened was to change the setting on the "min pot" screw in the back of the machine. This usually fixes the continually running needle problem. I haven't had to adjust this setting in several years. Once the machine gets used to the way you quilt, it usually settles in and you don't have to adjust it. So I made the adjustment, but it didn't fix the problem, so I assumed that the switch was the problem.
Well, after DH plugs in the old switch and we start playing with the machine we realize that the switch does it's job as long as we set the needle postion to stop in the down position! Hmmmm! Maybe that's the switch that is bad. So we change that one out since I do have extras of that switch. But it still is not working right. It's late, we're both tired, so we go to bed and plan on waiting for the new switches to come in and then we'll install them and see what happens.
This morning I decided to go back to the machine and fiddle with it. The problem is the same. The momentary switch will only work if the needle postion is set to stop in the down position. I tried it from the back of the machine as well. Now I review the maintenance manual and it says that this problem is the "min pot" setting. I heave a huge sigh and decide to bite the bullet and fiddle with the min pot again. Guess what! My problem is the MIN POT! ugh!!!!!!!!!!! I could have been quilting the past 2 days if I had only worked with that min pot a bit more. It is really touchy and it has to be in just the exact correct position for it to work correctly - at least on my machine.
Now why is my title "My Machine Hates Change"? Because my quilting style and speed have changed in the past few weeks. I'm quilting at the same speed for the most part, but I'm also using more rulers in my quilting designs which means I am having to slow down to use them. The previous 2 quilts had lots of ruler quilting along with the faster freehand. I think I confused my machine!
So lessons learned:
1. My machine hates change - When my quilting style changes I have to give my machine a bit more TLC to coax it to adjust to my changing style.
2. Always keep extra switches on hand for both the momentary and R/S switches. Even if there isn't a bad switch, using a new switch to test with will help determine where the problem is.
3. Get DH enrolled in a maintenance class so he can help me figure out problems as they occur! He is much more mechanical minded than me but he has kept his distance from my longarm in the past. I think he figures if he gets to play with my toys then I'll want to play with his! Come to think of it I have always wanted to build something with his shop tools and saws - like a cutting table. Maybe we can work out a deal here ;-)