Troubleshooting Bernina Sewing Machine (Fix & Repair Guide)


How to Repair Bernina Sewing Machine

There will be some problems that require a serviceman to check out your Bernina sewing machine. But before you take your machine in for an expensive repair, go over it first to see if you can do the job yourself.

First, check the needles to see if they are still true. A bent needle will not let your sewing machine function as it should. Next, double-check to see if the needle is properly placed. If they are not, push it back up into the needle clamp and tighten the fixation screw.

Third, adjust the tension on the machine. If the tension is too high on the upper thread, it will break. The same goes for the lower thread. Lower the tension on both thread lines so you can have a smoother sewing experience.

How to Take Apart Bernina Sewing Machine


The first thing you need to do is take a screwdriver that matches the holding screws and remove those. Once those are out, just slip off the outer cover. Do this carefully so you do not pinch or bend any loose wires that may be nearby.

Inside, you will see an interior skeleton where the majority of parts are attached. Before you start taking parts off, watch out for the computer boards that are built inside. These boards replace the old fashioned gears and pulleys.

It is best not to remove or try to fix the computer boards. If you have an older Bernina, they are very straightforward in disassembling. You just have to be methodical and remove the different holding screws for each part. Just remember how the parts go back on so you have no reassembly problems.

Common Bernina Sewing Machine Problems

Some common Bernina sewing machine problems have already been discussed here. Those would be the loose connections and plugs as well as the needle placement, look and tightness. Not to forget the tension problem.

Other common problems are the drive belt, the power cord and the timing belt. These may become loose, frayed or stretch at any given time. Once those issues take place, you should replace them.

Another common problem may be loose threads hiding in the bobbin casing. These can interfere with your sewing machine’s operation as well as jam threads as they are being stitched.

Then if you are using old thread, it may break on you. Check the thread spool you are using to see if the thread is old or dried out. The latter issue may create a lot more fuzz than the machine can handle at one time.

Bernina Sewing Machine Will Not Turn On


If you have a Bernina 780 and it won’t turn on, just turn the machine off again and wait for about 3 hours. This should reset the electronic parts inside. If you have a Bernina 880 the cause for not turning on may be the battery inside.

For the Bernina 440 it may be a bad power board that keeps your sewing machine from turning on. On the 220 it could be something as simple as a loose or blown fuse. Check the fuse which is in the power supply section.

These are just a few examples of what may be the problem with your machine. It is not just a matter of a loose power cord or a bad power switch, which could also be the reason your machine doesn’t turn on.

Bernina Sewing Machine Buzzing


The location of the buzzing will depend on if you can fix it yourself or if you have to take the machine into a repair shop to get the buzzing to stop. If the buzzing is coming from the motor, it may be the suppressor that is going bad. This problem requires you to take it to the repair shop to get it fixed.

If the buzzing is coming from your foot pedal, then this is something you can do yourself. Just open up the foot pedal and remove the suppressor and throw it away. But those issues are for the Aurora 450 model.

For the 550 QE model it may be that the bobbin winder was engaged when it should not have been. Always check for the easiest problems first before going to a repair shop and racking up costs you may not have to spend in the first place.

Bernina Sewing Machine Handwheel Stuck

This can be a common problem among different Bernina machines. It seems to be consistent with the 530, 730, 830 and 930 models and there may be two causes for it taking place.

First, one or both white plastic gears are broken and to get these fixed, you do have to go to the Bernina repair service. They will have the correct parts to fix your machine. Even if they are cracked, the hand wheel should stop spinning.

The second cause would be that the machine has seized up due to a lack of lubrication and proper oil maintenance. The rule of thumb is that you should lubricate the machine after every 8 hours of use or 6 months of nonuse.

To get the lubrication working faster you can use an oil that helps cut through the seized parts and gets them loose again. Or you can take a hair dryer and use heat to thin the dry oil so that the mechanism can turn again.

Bernina Sewing Machine Stuck in Reverse


This may happen on a variety of Bernina sewing machines and the cause may not always be the same. For the Artista 180 it is possible that the directional lever got stuck in the reverse position.

All you have to do is to loosen the lever by unscrewing it and moving it to the forward position. A too-tight hold may keep the machine from switching gears. The Bernina 1230 has a reverse button and it too can be put together too tightly to switch gears.

To access the reverse button you need to remove the head frame and the circuit board. Then adjust the 3 parts that comprise the reverse button. On the 1090 the lack of proper lubrication will cause the stitch lever or the reverse lever to get stuck.

A hair dryer should loosen the old oil and get it to a point where it can lubricate your parts. To avoid this from happening again, practice good maintenance habits and regularly lubricate your machine.

My Bernina Sewing Machine Keeps Jamming


These may be due to a tension problem on the 801 machine. You should also check the needle to make sure it is the right size and is not bent or broken. Then you may need to re-thread the machine making sure the lever is up.

On the Deco 340 you may need a stabilizer under your hoop to help keep your thread from getting jammed. Another possibility is that the bobbin did not fully click into the tension slot.

Also, and this may be a problem on a variety of Bernina machines, loose threads may be making their way down into the bobbin area and get tangled up at that point. Pull your bobbin out to make sure, then if this is the problem simply clear away the loose thread.

Bernina Sewing Machine Not Stitching

This issue may be common to all Bernina machines as well as their competitors’ machines. The first thing you should check is the stitch length dial if it is set to 0 then your machine should not make a stitch. Reset the dial to 2 or 3 to get it working again.


Also, you may have changed stitching styles for one sewing project and forgot to put the feed dog back in the up position when that project was completed. Then you may have forgotten to put the presser foot down. Fabric won’t feed when it is in the up position.

Then, it may be that you have too much tension on your thread. Loosen the tension a little and see if the fabric goes through your machine better. After that, you can check to see if you are sewing too many layers at one time.

Finally, your thread has a knot in it stopping the thread from moving through your machine. You will have to re-thread the machine if this is the case.

Bernina Bobbin Case Troubleshooting

If you are having trouble with your bobbin case then you should check to see if it needs oiling. Regular oiling is a must if you want your Bernina sewing machine to function as it should.

Also, you need to check to see if any loose threads are jamming the bobbin case area. You can use compressed air, a vacuum cleaner, small toothpicks, and similar objects to clean out the loose thread.

Another problem may be that when you replaced an olde bobbin case, you bought the wrong one for your machine. Make sure you have the right case inside your machine. If not, you will have to use your owner’s manual to find the right part number and spend some more money replacing the replacement.

On top of that check your thread quality. The thread for your bobbin should be a top quality brand and construction. Inferior threads tend to leave a lot of fuzz lying around which can harm or jam your machine.

Bernina Bobbin Winder Not Working


Some Bernina models may have a little rubber tire that moves the bobbin winder. When these get hard or start to disintegrate then your bobbin winder should stop moving and stop winding your thread.

The rubber wheel is not supposed to be very expensive to replace, and it only takes a few minutes to do. Another thing you can do is lubricate the bobbin winder. You do this by removing the lid and locate the bobbin winder.

Once you do that, just a few drops, usually no more than 2, should lubricate the part and get it working again. Older models like the 800 series may have the problem described in the first two paragraphs of this section.

You can rule out electrical and motor sources as the cause of the problem by checking to see if the winder works without thread. If it does then you have another problem to look for.

Sometimes, the thread wraps itself around the winder and stops it from working. If this is the case, then you need to remove that troublesome thread and make sure everything is threaded properly. Or you can loosen or tighten the two screws handling the winding task.

Finally, a spring may be the cause and if it is not in the second notch of the gear it may stop the winder from doing its job.

Are Bernina Sewing Machines Dual Voltage?


The older machines are not provided with dual voltage technology. That means you are restricted to using your machine in Canada or America if you have a 110 volt sewing machine.

Most of the newer sewing machines, not all, are dual voltage and that would be a good question to ask the salesman before you make your purchase. Of course, most people do not need dual voltage capability. They are not going to leave their country and move to one that uses 220 or 240 volts.

If you are not planning on relocating any time soon, then it would be a waste to have dual voltage capability. This is good for hair dryers and other smaller beauty accessories as they can travel overseas with you when you go on vacation.

But for sewing machines, it is not a feature that is necessary or vital to your use of it.

Bernina 830 Record Tension Problems


There can be a few things that can go wrong with the threading of the Bernina 830. the first as discussed earlier, you may be using the wrong brand of thread. It seems that the Bernina sewing machines are calibrated to the Mettler thread yet that may only be a temporary problem.

Then to avoid problems with the tension, you need to make sure that before you put the thread through the needle the light needs to come on and the machine needs to stop making clicking noises.

Also, 2 thread guides have to be properly threaded or you may have a little difficulty with the thread. If you miss one, there is a possibility of the thread entering the machine.

Then, if you do not oil your Bernina that lack of lubrication may affect your thread tension. To solve this issue, just add a drop or two of Bernina oil that came with the machine after 10 to 15 bobbins have been wound.

One final issue is that your 830’s tension may be affected by the lack of cleaning your machine has experienced. Always make sure you clean your sewing machine to have it run right.

Bernina 830 Bobbin Problems


You would think that for what you pay for a Bernina sewing machine, there would be few problems to deal with. But for some reason, even Bernina produces a lemon now and then and the sewing machine breaks down a lot.

With the 830 you have a very unique bobbin system. The bobbin case does not come out. It is permanently placed inside the machine and that may result in a lot of broken thread finding its way into that compartment.

Which is why Bernina machines are calibrated to one brand of thread over another. That brand does not have a lot of lint to it. One thing to watch out for is that the bobbin case may be a bit touchy.

A slight bump and you can through the system out of whack a little bit. Lift the bobbin door carefully and gently from its place to avoid this from taking place. The bobbin needs to turn to the inside on its own before you can shut the door again.

Adjusting Bobbin Tension Bernina


One of the good aspects of Benina the company is that they usually include the tools you need to make adjustments. They also include the oil that is made for your particular sewing machine. The 830 is no different.

When you oil the 830 you should stick with the oil the company included in the package. If you don’t you may end up having a few problems. For adjusting the bobbin tension the company has included a special tool to use.

This tool fits over the bobbin case and can move it left or right to adjust the tension. To get back to normal tension setting, just line up the red dot on the bobbin case with the diagram on the door.

In other words, setting or resetting your bobbin tension will be one of the easier tasks you need to do on the Bernina 830. The good news is that you can set the bobbin tension wherever you get the best results.

You have a lot of flexibility with the Bernina 830 and that helps a lot when you are changing threads and fabrics frequently. Just remember to clean out the bobbin case regularly so the broken thread does not cause the newer thread to snap.

Benina 830 Repairs You Need to Avoid


It is tempting to think that you can handle a lot of different repairs when your Bernina sewing machine breaks down on you. But there are quite a few you should just leave to the experts.

Here are some of those repairs you should not tackle:

  • 1. Uneven button hole – Even if you are using the correct foot and technique, your buttonholes appear uneven or lopsided. Don’t try to fix this issue as there is a special tool required to handle the calibration.
  • 2. The machine doesn’t run – If the light works but the motor and other parts do not run, don’t fiddle. A qualified repairman needs to look at the machine and take care of the issue. You also do not want to buy expensive parts that may not fix the actual problem.
  • 3. Motor noises – these are different sounds your machine’s motor may make when something is wrong. Those sounds are not related to a lack of oil. A skilled repairman can diagnosis the issue and fix the problem without over oiling the sewing machine.
  • 4. Big breaks – And these are not in your favor. Instead, shipping, falling or other impacts may damage important parts of the machine. For example the handwheel, the take-up lever and more. Leave these big repairs to the experience of a qualified repairman.
  • ​5. A consistent tight spot – When you are turning the handwheel with your hand and the machine slows down at the same spot on every turn and no thread is causing the problem, you are in for some bad news. Take your machine to a repairman.
  • 6. Timing – There are several causes for the timing problem. Each one may be unrelated to the other and the fixes may be the same. Only a repairman knows which adjustments need to be made. Also, the repairs needed if done wrong can do more damage to your machine. Don’t chance it.

Some Other Common Bernina Problems


Not every problem is a major repair job needing a repairman. Here are some common problems that may arise as you use your machine:

  • 1. Loose plug – Sometimes, your machine’s electrical plug is not tightly pushed into the socket. Check it out and make sure it is.
  • 2. Loose connections – a little screwdriver can solve a lot of problems for you. Check your connections and make sure all wires etc., are tight and properly connected.
  • 3. The drive and timing belt – These may be loose and need a quick tightening job to get them working as they should.
  • 4. Using old thread – this is a very common problem as some people do not like to throw old thread away. If you are using old thread, replace it with new.
  • 5. The machine won’t start – turn the machine off for 3 hours. Then turn it back on again. This should reset the machine and get it going again.

Some Final Words

Troubleshooting a Bernina sewing machine is not that difficult. The key is to check for the simplest problems and solutions first. These you can normally fix on your own and save yourself a ton of money.

If the problem is more than you can handle, then just click on the link we have provided and put your location into the blank line and wait for the web page to generate the locations that can help you.

Categories: Technology

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1 reply »

  1. Hi. I have a Bernina 830, purchased in 1976. Never had an issue until today. The zigzag stitch is not working, I just get a straight stitch. What can I do?


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